The House: Built in 1902, the house originally belonged to tobacco merchant Douglas Longstreet Tuggle. Traveling widely to other parts of the state, New York, Boston, Atlanta and Europe, Tuggle often invited folks he met in his travels back to Blackstone. The Tuggle home became a gathering place for many a far-flung visitor. Remaining in the Tuggle family for almost a century, the home was sold in the ‘80s to new owners who thought it was time for a second chapter in the spacious home’s life. With its five bedrooms, 12-foot ceilings, original Southern yellow pine and maple hardwood floors, French doors, English wainscoting, and wrap-around porch, the old Tuggle home became an inn, once again giving shelter to guests from near and far. The Hasbroucks bought the Grey Swan Inn Bed and Breakfast in 2007.
While working with the USDA Forest Service for most of his career, Jim Hasbrouck had to travel frequently. Hotels were impersonal and lacked character, so Jim began to stay in B&Bs instead. After each trip, he would come home to Christine and describe his experience. Soon it became obvious that his interest in the bed and breakfast business was more than just idle conversation between husband and wife. A retirement job was in the making.
“We had a lot of antiques that needed a huge house in which to display them and we wanted to have an income that would support living in that large house,” says Christine.
To qualify them for this bed and breakfast venture, Christine had the organization and problem-solving skills from years of experience as a medical administrator and Jim, a human resources professional, had the people skills. With five children and 10 grandchildren between them, both husband and wife loved to cook and play host. Most importantly, the couple had the courage to go out on a limb.
The Hasbroucks read some books, took a couple courses on innkeeping and started seriously searching for a property. In the summer of 2007, Christine found an inn in Blackstone, VA, on the Internet. After traveling two successive weekends to look at the B&B, the fit seemed perfect. Blackstone and the Grey Swan Inn had everything they needed to operate a top-notch establishment and start a new and exciting journey together. The rest, as they say, is history.