Its a Mad Rush!

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Two weeks ago, Brett met with the Zoning Director. At that time, he gave us some additions that he was going to need for our Zoning Package. These additions need to be submitted by December 20th. So over these last two weeks, we have been working with our surveyor, with Virginia Department of Transportation and the owner of Belle Grove to get those additions done and ready to be submitted. Today, I contacted Commonwealth Architects out of Richmond, Virginia. They completed the restoration work on Belle Grove between 1997 to 2003. One of the things we are going to is a letter from them that states the house was completed in a historic manner. We should have the letter tomorrow. Check one more off the list. But there are still just a few more things that need to come together for us to submit this one time.

Cross your fingers and say a prayer for us!

Curved Carriage side Porches

Curved Carriage side Porches

Once we submit this package on the 20th, we have some steps we will need to go through before zoning is done. On the 20th of December, the package will be delivered to the Board of Directors for the County. They will send the package to the Planning Commission from there. Once the Planning Commission gets it, they will hold a meeting on the 2nd Tuesday of January (which is January 8th) for the public. During this meeting the public is invited to come and give their views on the bed and breakfast. We will be present at this meeting too. We will have an opportunity to speak as well. If the Planning Commission approves it, then it will go back to the Board of Directors. They will hold a meeting on the 3rd Tuesday of February (which is February 19th) for the public. Again the public will be invited to come and give their views on the bed and breakfast. If the Board of Directors approves us, then we have our zoning approved.

Whew…

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All while this is going on, we are going to get busy with the improvements needed on the grounds and in the house. The house has been completely restored, but since it hasn’t had a residence since the restoration, all the systems will need to be tested. That includes the elevator. Yes, we have an elevator. We will also need to install the parking area and upgrade the driveway. Then there is the landscaping and hardscapes such as the sidewalks and such. We are hoping to get a lot of this started so we can jump quickly once the approval is done.

Riverside Portico Stairs Detail

Riverside Portico Stairs Detail

If we get the approval done, we are hoping to do a “soft opening” on March 16, 2013. This will be James Madison’s Birthday. What better day to do our first “opening” than on his birthday. We are hoping to have a wonderful open house that day with possibly James and Dolley in attendance. And maybe a few more surprises.

Riverside (Front of the house) at Sunset

Riverside (Front of the house) at Sunset

Then if we can get things completed on time we would like to have the Grand Opening on April 1st. This is going to be a lot of work and we are going to have to push hard, but I believe it can be done. That is if we don’t run into issues with the approval of the zoning. If we do, it could delay us a month or so. But I am going to stay positive and keep our nose to the grindstone.

The Scots holding their young king's nose to the grindstone

The Scots holding their young king’s nose to the grindstone 1651

By the way, did you ever wonder where that phrase came from?

Keep your nose to the grindstone” means applying yourself conscientiously to your work. There are two possible explanations as to where it came from.

One is that it comes from millers who check that the stone used for grinding wheat wasn’t overheating and burning the flour. They would do this by putting their nose to the stone in order to smell for any burning. The other is that it comes from when knife grinders would sharpening blades. They would bend over the stone or even lie flat on their fronts with their faces near the grindstone in order to hold the blade against the stone.

The first is likely not true. The stone used by millers were commonly called millstones, not grindstones. The two terms can be interchangeable but the distinction between the two was made at least as early as 1400. In a line from Turnament Toenham “Ther was gryndulstones in gravy, And mylstones in mawmany.”

While Middle English language is difficult to interpret it certainly shows that grindstones and millstones are distinct from each other. If the phrase came from milling you would expect the phrase to be “nose to the millstone“.

The second is be most likely correct. This is more in keeping with the notion of the continuous hard labor in being strapped to one’s bench.

The first known citation in 1532 is John Frith’s A mirrour or glasse to know thyselfe: “This Text holdeth their noses so hard to the grindstone, that it clean disfigureth their faces.”

Another thought too is that it refers to holding someone’s nose to the grindstone as a form of punishment. It is a cartoon from 1651 showing Charles II being lectured by his Scots subjects.