Patti and Bernie, Innkeepers

Nothing happens, but first the dream.

…Carl Sandburg

It all began with a poem Patti’s fourth grade teacher had the class study which contained the line, “Let me live in the house by the side of the road and be a friend to man.” This wonderfully engaging thought stayed with Patti through the years. Although she didn’t even know the term “Bed and Breakfast,” from that day on she set her sights on having a house “by the side of the road” where weary travelers could spend the night in a stable, comfy environment. . . And so the dream was born


Patti grew up in Harlan, Kentucky, lived 11 years in South Carolina, 27 in Iowa, and now 14 years in Virginia. She retired in 2005 after 33 years Federal Service with the last 19 years serving as Postmaster, Adel, Iowa.  Bernie was born in Omaha, Nebraska, but moved to Iowa as a child and lived there until he retired also from the Postal Service with 37 years service. His last position was Postmaster, Redfield, Iowa – which was the town next to Adel.


While this was always Patti’s dream, Bernie eagerly shared her excitement to own and operate their very own bed and breakfast. It was chance that brought them to Virginia – and chance that led them to Wytheville. As they traveled down I-77 from West Virginia enroute to North Carolina, they got off the Interstate at Exit 41 to get gas and miraculously discovered a home Patti felt was perfect for a B&B. Bernie didn’t have the same stars in his eyes as did Patti since the home had fallen into disrepair and would require a gigantic rehabilitation effort. The realtor even tried to talk them out of looking at the home since he felt it was beyond saving. But Patti asked to see it anyway. Once in the foyer, she took one look at the Romeo Balcony that overlooks the foyer and declared, “It’s perfect. I love it!” In Bernie’s words, “Patti saw the balcony – I saw the work and the dollar signs.” One month later, they owned the home!


Patti moved to Wytheville in February 2006 and commenced the monumental task of restoration. She worked alongside two carpenters every day for a full year. The carpenters quit work each day at 4:30 p.m., but Patti worked until it was too dark to see. (There was electricity, but no lights.) The home was gutted and taken down to the studs. Now the home has insulation for the first time, all new wiring, plumbing, drywall, and light fixtures. Thirty-five new windows were built, and six new bathrooms were added to provide private bathrooms for all guest rooms. The columns, hardwood floors, wainscoting, balconies and that beautiful staircase with the Romeo balcony were all saved. While the interior of the home is virtually new, the overall ambience of this 104-year old home remains intact. They welcomed their first official guests in February 2007.


Patti grew up cooking at her mom’s elbow, and she loves spending time in the kitchen. She prepares all the food. Bernie’s duties include server, gardener, shopper, and generally does whatever it takes to get the workload accomplished. Both feel truly blessed to be able to live their dream – and what a great life it is!

Trinkle Mansion Bed & Breakfast
525 W. Main Street
Wytheville, Virginia 24382

Listed on National Register of Historic Places and Virginia Landmarks Register