Avid cyclist hopes to set up ‘bed and bike’ in Strasburg

STRASBURG — When Kevin Watson and his wife, Alice Muellerweiss, walked inside 117 High Street in Strasburg for the first time as they considered buying the house, the first thing they thought of was the potential for a bed and breakfast.

“Literally, the first thing out of both of our mouths was, ‘This looks like a bed and breakfast,'” Watson said. “You could’ve rented rooms that day, we thought.”

Now, Watson and Muellerweiss are going through the process of setting up the house to do just that.

On Tuesday, the Strasburg Planning Commission approved a site plan for the planned bed and breakfast. They also recommended that Town Council approve a special use permit for the facility.

Although Watson’s plans fit into the definition of a “bed and breakfast” according to town regulations, Watson describes his plans as more of a “bed and bike.”

Watson said that he will only be serving fresh fruit, coffee and food from local businesses in town. That way, he said, the Virginia Department of Health will not require him to make large-scale changes to his kitchen.

“We’ll be offering a continental breakfast,” Watson said. “There’ll be no quiche, no eggs benedict.”

Instead, Watson hopes to focus on biking.

Watson said that he and Muellerweiss are both avid cyclists.

Over the years, he said, the couple has met a lot of great people as they’ve bicycled throughout the country and in Europe.

Meanwhile, he said, their house at the corner of High Street and Holliday Street is set up for a bed and breakfast. The early 20th-century building has had a long history of renters coming in and staying, even for years at a time.

“The house has a history of having people in it,” Watson said.

So when Muellerweiss came up with the idea of having a bike-themed bed and breakfast, the concept made sense.

“We’ve met a lot of nice people who cycle and we figured, ‘What the heck, let nice people come to our house,'” Watson said.

For the “bed and bike,” he said that he intends to provide visitors with recommended routes to take along the Shenandoah Valley.

“Folks would come in and we’d give them the route,” he said.

Watson said that, assuming the Town Council approves of his plans, he hopes to have the bed and bike operational by the end of the year.

But initially, the bed and bike won’t be open many days.

Watson and Muellerweiss both work in the D.C. area, Watson said. As long as they continue working, the bed and breakfast will only be open on Fridays and Saturdays.

But Watson said that once one of the two retires, the couple will allow people to rent throughout the week.

The bed and breakfast is also set to be a mostly seasonal business. After all, most people — including Watson — don’t ride their bikes often during the winter.

“I love to ride, but I’m a fair-weather rider,” Watson said.

Watson said that he plans to rent units out in the spring, summer and fall.