If you’re anything like us, you’ll be taken with Ashford Manor the moment you pull into the driveway. There’s something about this property that draws you in. It’s like an instant oasis. The world goes on outside the gates, but here behind the brick wall, you’re safe from it for a while.
Dave Shearon and Mario Castro felt that way the day they arrived here back in January of 1997. They emerged from a blustery Chicago winter to a mild Georgia day and felt the kind of joyous relief you get when you leave winter behind. The two knew they wanted to open a B&B – well, in theory, at least – and that they wanted to move somewhere warmer. A realtor showed them several nearby properties before they arrived here at the Ashford estate. Suddenly, a relatively casual look at possibilities became a sealed deal. This was the place.
The history of Ashford Manor dates back to the mid-1800s, when William and Louisa Booth Ashford raised their family on this property. The original house is no longer standing; in 1893, Louisa and William’s son, Alexander Woodson Ashford, known as A.W., built the grand Victorian that serves as the main house for Ashford Manor B&B today. (A.W.’s older brother William Ashford was a successful businessman in Atlanta; Ashford Dunwoody Road bears his name). In the foyer near the Garden Room, there’s a photo of A.W. and his wife Loula with their nine children, and their spouses and children, taken in 1930, on the occasion of A.W. and Loula’s 60th wedding anniversary.
Dave and Mario live in the Cottage next door to the Manor, which puts them in the unique position to give hands on, 24 hours a day service to our guests. (In its earliest years, the cottage also served as a home to the Ashford family while the main house was being constructed.)
The architectural and cultural history of Ashford Manor is truly rich, and the only joy greater than spending our days here is sharing it with others. We invite you to see Ashford Manor for yourself and experience firsthand one of the treasures of the South! Better still, Watkinsville is a wonderful, thriving community of artists and small businesses. Visit our “Local Attractions” page for a taste of all the fantastic shops and restaurants Watkinsville has to offer! We’re also only 10 minutes from Athens, so there’s really no shortage of things to see and do!
*Background photos courtesy of Once Like a Spark and Karen Hagerman