Its a Mad Rush!


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.



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.


44 thoughts on “Its a Mad Rush!

  1. seniorhiker says:

    I hope everything related to the zoning goes smoothly.

  2. John says:

    That’s a beautiful home! The millstone story is kinda creepy… πŸ˜‰

  3. belocchio says:

    I am saying a million prayers that all goes well with the planning commission. This is quite stressful. I can appreciate it having to go through a little of this with the opening of three restaurants. You have the extra demands of a historical home and it is incredibly demanding. I applaud the grace and understanding you two are exhibiting. My very best wishes to you and your family for a relaxed and happy Christmas and the New Year will be a successful fulfillment of your dreams. The battle is almost over. V.

  4. Wow! I never knew there was so much involved in opening a Bed and Breakfast.

  5. Fingers crossed for you! Am sending lots of luck from NYC!

    And fascinating about the origins of the expression to put one’s nose to the grindstone πŸ™‚

  6. terry1954 says:

    you two have worked so very hard. I have a good feeling that the zoning will be smooth sailing……………Merry Christmas my friend

  7. RJ Dawson says:

    Great post! “The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage…” [Proverbs 21:5]

  8. Jon-Paul says:

    “Ask, please ask” [paraphrasing from here] yet not with an unfaithful heart. If you believe in what you are asking for, AND it is God’s will then it is going to happen! You folks are too awesome!

  9. So excited for you! I’m still hoping for that trip in the spring to see you!

  10. gardeniahung says:

    Good Luck on your efforts during the holidays!

  11. What an arduous process to get a house of that size ready! I loved the history and background of the grindstone phrase. I’ve always wondered where it originated.

  12. Sarah says:

    So much work involved! – good luck, hope everything goes smoothly.

  13. Amy says:

    Such an enormous effort you and your husband have put into…
    Good luck! Thanks for sharing the progress with us!

  14. chr1 says:

    Hoping for the best for you guys. It’s been a labor of love, no doubt, and it will benefit many,many others.

  15. David says:

    Best wishes and hopes for a smooth approval process.

  16. dcwisdom says:

    Lots of your fans pulling for your success! Of course you’ll be approved! Exciting times for you and in your anticipation of opening, I’m sure. Merry Christmas!

  17. What a beautiful place this is. I love the curved porch. I hope you saw the PBS special on ‘freedom of religion the first ammendment.’ Lots of detail on the founders, especially the Constitution, James Madison. and the papers he wrote on the subject. Very good. He felt bery stonly about freedom of religion.

    • Yes we did get a chance to see it. I just caught the last part. But my brother sent me a link today so I can see it completely! I just loved it! And no worries about spelling.. I do it too. That’s why I have to have Brett proof every posting I do on the blog. I type so fast that I don’t always read what I am reading. I am just trying to get my thoughts down before they escape me. πŸ˜‰

  18. Sorry about the spelling errors. D.

  19. atridim says:

    Having watched all of the Planning Commission and Town Council meetings in Gilbert Arizona for the past 15 years, I can imagine the task you face. I keep a Scorecard of the council’s ‘Proper Votes’ on a tab at the top of my blog…Atridim News Journal. Keep up the great work! Captain Rick

    • Thank you! We know that there is a process and we are willing to do what it takes to get it done right. We aren’t looking to shortcut the system. We just want to become a part of a wonderful community. We just didn’t know it would take this long. πŸ˜‰

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