B & B Closes Doors, Hosts Party!

Jenny Scarborough

The 1918 Walter C. O'Neal House will once again be a family residence.

Beach House Bed and Breakfast owners Carol and Warren Ritchie invited family and friends to celebrate their latest step towards retirement.  After 25 years of welcoming guests, Carol said, "It's time to close this chapter." 

Like all good stories, it had a happy ending.  On November 3, about 25 people enjoyed the Ritchie's hospitality.  Many of the party-goers, like Jim and Mary Ellen Piland, Woody and Terry Billings, and Sandy Marley, were in the retired but still working club the Ritchie's are joining.  Carol will continue part time at Island Artworks, and as the pastry chef for Dajio; Warren plans to keep working in Dajio's kitchen and as the jack-of-all trades handyman at that restaurant, which is in an historic structure that requires continued care. 

When they go home, they won't have to worry about anyone else.

B & B Closes Doors, Hosts Party!

"The house is ours," smiled Warren.  The four in suite bedrooms they rented will now be strictly available for kids, grandchildren and other by-invite-only, non-paying guests.  At other times, they can shut off that part of the house, and "we won't even go upstairs," said Warren.

Long time visitors to the Beach House were given recommendations and bid adieu.  "There are plenty of other nice B & B's on the island," noted Carol. 

She originally ran the Beach House in its original location, where the Silver Lake Hotel is now, from 1978 to 1987, with her first husband, Tom Beach.  It was the first B & B on the island, said Carol.

That property was sold to the Wrobleski family; they built the hotel, "Victorian" suites and the Jolly Roger Restaurant.  The historic home was moved to a lot on highway 12, and rented yearly to tenants like "Wild" Bill Ames and Jerry Burham.

In 1997, Carol bought the property and her former home, and re-opened the B & B.  Her daughter, Martha, ran it for the first year.  Carol and Warren moved in around the time they were married, 14 years ago.  Marrying Carol "was the best move I ever made," said Warren.

He continued cooking at Captain Ben's Restaurant, and Carol ran her other business, the Fig Tree Deli and Bakery.  Until she sold the Fig Tree to Darlene Styron in January, 2005, Carol woke up, baked for her guests, headed to the Fig Tree to bake some more, and then returned home to clean rooms. 

The "heavy hors d'ouvres" promised on the invitation didn't disappoint.  Carol brought back favorites from her Fig Tree days, like bleu cheese slaw, rice salad, and her pimiento cheese.  Dajio chef and friend Doug Eifert contributed roast beef, and a casserole--with spicy sausage, lump blue crab and sun-dried tomatoes--that he whipped up from groceries leftover after Dajio closed. 

Both Carol and Warren look forward to having the house all to themselves.  Carol plans to continue exploring beautiful, wild parts of the world with her lifelong friend Kathleen O'Neal.  This winter the women will trek amongst Andean wildflowers in Patagonia.  In the past they've been twice on African safaris, and orchid hunting in Bali. 

The party was still in full swing when a few guests headed off to catch a benefit performance of musical fish tales by Bland Simpson and Don Dixon.

The Beach House doors remain open to friends, and summer evening cocktail hours on the sunlit front porch are sure to go on.



Comments powered by Disqus