BY AMY MCLAUGHLIN, CO-OWNER, LAFAYETTE FLATS BOUTIQUE VACATION RENTALS
When my husband and I invested our blood, sweat and retirement accounts into the creation of Lafayette Flats, our mission was not to remodel a historic building and create vacation rental properties. Our mission was to create a destination full of West Virginia contemporary style, art and literature so beautiful that our out-of-state guests would return home mesmerized, spouting high praise for our beloved home state.
Our guest reviews indicate that we have made a good deal of progress toward our mission of creating a new narrative, and business is booming during tourist season (Memorial Day – Bridge Day), but we are always looking for new revenue sources during the off season to keep our business afloat.
When the leaves fall off the trees in the New River Gorge and Fayetteville’s population returns to 2,892, life gets hard for local entrepreneurs.
Throughout my professional career, I’ve found that my most successful ventures share two traits: they always lie at the intersection of my skill set and national trends that WV has been slow to adopt, and they always involve collaborations with cohorts I respect.
Our state’s reluctance to capitalize on trends sweeping other parts of the country can truly be an asset to savvy entrepreneurs and creative place makers.
I’m good at creating beautiful spaces and showcasing the best of West Virginia contemporary culture. West Virginia has been slow to jump on the wave of wellness tourism that is sweeping the county in many forms including self-care retreats, forest bathing and alternative and complementary medicine.
At this intersection, I’m carving out a place where I can curate personal wellness experiences by showcasing WV makers and shakers at our beautiful Lafayette Flats. People want to spend their money on mind and body-enhancing experiences. They are doing it all over the country. Now they can do it in West Virginia.
During January and April, we are offering personal retreat packages at Lafayette Flats.
What makes our retreats special is the ability to customize unique personal itineraries. We’ll supply the gorgeous accommodations, inspiring location and beneficial accouterments from West Virginia makers. The guest will create an experience that feels right to them by selecting wellness services from West Virginia shakers.
In addition to a private luxurious flat, a private yoga/meditation studio and additional accessories curated to enhance the retreat experience, guests will receive a collection of all-natural bath & skin care from Silver Market Co. of Point Pleasant and custom herbal tea handcrafted by Gum’s Hollow Apothecary of Jane Lew.
The menu of wellness services for our guests to choice from includes the following: private yoga instruction with Randy Boyd of Edmond; Thai yoga bodywork with Erin Larsen of Fayetteville; therapeutic massage by Ocean’s Massage of Oak Hill; acupuncture & ashiatsu massage by On-Point Acupuncture of Beckley; energy work by Healing Touch Energy Work of Oak Hill; juice detox packages by Starlings Coffee & Provisions of Charleston; and guided forest bathing in the New River Gorge by my husband and myself.
I’m looking forward to seeing all of the plans we’ve been working on come to fruition, and I’m excited to share the success with the West Virginia collaborators who have enthusiastically supported my vision of bringing wellness-based entrepreneurship to the Mountain State.
Find us online at https://www.lafayetteflatsretreat.com/.