APPOMATTOX, Va. – Customers say the Babcock House is a place unlike any other.
“It makes you feel like you’re at home. And I love that it’s not a chain [restaurant],” said customer Marie Milton.
The bed-and-breakfast spot is a staple in Appomattox. Talia and Charles Clusman own the historic house.
“We are in a house that was built in 1884. We have a lot of history in the bones of the home, as well as furnishings; and it’s cozy,” said Talia, who serves as the innkeeper.
The cozy confines include six guest rooms, a second-floor balcony and a backyard for recreation or relaxation. The restaurant on the first floor is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday and offers fresh ingredients.
“A lot of the meats we offer here, we cure inhouse. My husband does all the bacon and the ham and the corned beef from scratch,” said Talia.
Her husband, Charles, is the head chef.
“I don’t make cheese. I don’t make the bread. And, I don’t make the mayonnaise, the mustard and the ketchup. Everything else, though, we make in-house,” said Charles.
The area’s well-known Babcock family lived in the home until 1996. Then, it later became a boarding home.
Six years ago, the Clusmans purchased the location and have since then lived onsite to help guests.
“We want to be the area leader in southern hospitality,” said Talia.
That hospitality took a hit during the pandemic as the inn lost 70% of its business, according to Talia. But luckily, it’s staying afloat thanks to an outpouring of support from the community.
“The restaurant actually ended up having a good year, which I look back and am sort of stunned by that.”
What kept customers coming back? Talia explained that it was takeout meals and to-go drinks.
“The people who had regular reservations to dine would have their regular pick-up night instead,” said Talia.
Babcock House also received $15,000 last Fall in CARES federal funding through Appomattox County’s matching gift card program. Yet, the Clusmans say they’re facing difficulties and have to adjust, which includes expanding their catering service.
“We’re just changing our focus a little bit and looking for new opportunities to do better at fewer things,” said Talia.