When Dana Cross moved to Weyers Cave about four years ago, she felt out of place and wasn’t sure if the village on the northern edge of Augusta County was for her.
But during her first snow there, a neighbor took her by surprise by offering to help her shovel. Since then, she’s loved the small town for its good neighbors and warm atmosphere and wouldn’t leave it for the world.
Cross and her husband, Dennis, have lived in Weyers Cave since they bought the Inn at Keezletown Road, now named the Cross House Garden Inn. Dennis Cross works in Montgomery County, Md., for the school system, and commutes three hours each way, leaving Dana Cross to tend the inn mostly by herself during the week.
During that first snow, Dana Cross was shoveling when her neighbor walked over to offer assistance.
“He says, ‘Can I help you?’ and I said, ‘Well, I’d love it but I don’t have any money right now to pay you,’” Cross said. “And he said, ‘Lady, I’m your neighbor, I’m not wanting to get paid to help you.’ And I just started crying. I’ve never heard somebody say that before.”
She baked cookies for him as a thank- you, and the next time it snowed, the driveway was plowed before she even got a chance to go outside.
“That’s the wonderful thing about being here,” Dana Cross said. “It’s just no expectations. It’s neighbors helping neighbors.”
There’s no rhyme or reason to how the Crosses got into the bed-and-breakfast business about four years ago. Dana Cross can’t really explain it except to chalk it up to chance and God’s will.
She and her husband are originally from Maryland, where Dana Cross had always lived. One day, her husband came home from work and announced, out of the blue, that he wanted to start a bed-and-breakfast.
“I had no idea why,” Dana Cross said. “His great-grandfather was born and raised in a home down here not too far from us, so he was kind of looking in this area unbeknownst to me. … I just played along with it.”
They put their condo on the market and it was sold within days — during the time the housing market was at one of its lowest points.
“Our condo got sold within a week, which should have never happened,” she said. “Getting this loan for this home should have never happened, and it did.”
At first, things were hard for the Crosses. Dennis Cross lived in Maryland during the weekdays because of his job, and Dana Cross was left to navigate the unfamiliar Weyers Cave area on her own. But it is home now, and they’ve come to appreciate the town’s slower pace and great people.
“I just cried and screamed and kicked in my heels,” Dana Cross said. “But I was put down here, and so was my husband, for a reason. And it took me some praying and some faith to find out that, you know, we were put here for a job and our theory is we don’t own the home, it belongs to the Lord and he just put us here as innkeepers.”
The Crosses have enjoyed getting to know their guests, but one of the biggest reasons they’ve fallen in love with Weyers Cave is their neighbors and the warmth of the surrounding community.
People who visit the Victorian-era bed-and-breakfast, which was built in 1896, frequently tell the Crosses how comfortable they’ve felt during their stay. Even though they’re still fairly new at being innkeepers — last year was the first full year the couple has had the inn up and running and consistently busy — their guests say they truly feel at home at the inn.
The inn, where rooms go from between $115 and $145 per night, features amenities that help its guests keep a slower, more relaxing pace during their stay. That includes a porch swing, Southern cooking and a garden during the warmer months. The inn affords its visitors beautiful views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and just steps from the village center and only about a mile from Interstate 81.
“This is their home as well as ours,” Dana Cross said. “We do our best to try to make them feel as if this is a place that’s been blessed and that it’s theirs just as well as it’s ours.”
Contact Kassondra Cloos at 574-6290 or firstname.lastname@example.org