WASHINGTON — Fans of “The Waltons” television show will soon have a new place to stay, evoking the Depression-era home where three generations of the fictitious family lived.
Ground was broken Tuesday for a new bed-and-breakfast in Schuyler, Virginia, near the home where writer Earl Hamner, Jr. grew up. In 1961, Hamner published his second novel — “Spencer’s Mountain” — about life with his siblings, parents, and grandparents, which was the basis for the TV show.
Carole Johnson — the owner of The Walton Hamner House — has been offering tours of the home, which is located in Nelson County, about 40 miles southwest of Charlottesville, for more than a decade.
Johnson told WTOP visitors to the attraction have had to travel to other towns to spend the night.
“I’m just trying to give them a place that they can come and stay, once they’re up on the mountain,” Johnson said. “It’s directly across the street from The Walton’s Mountain Museum,” on Rockfish River Road.
Although the bed-and-breakfast is being built from the ground up, Johnson believes it will be infused with Waltons essence.
“It will look like the house from the front — we want people to drive up and have it looked like it did on “The Waltons” TV show,” said Johnson. “It’ll have a warm family feeling of love and kindness.”
Johnson said the B&B will be evocative, rather than a duplication of the “real” Waltons home.
“Of course, the house really wasn’t even a house — it was a facade,” built on a Hollywood studio back lot, said Johnson.
“We’ve also had to make some modern conveniences — the Waltons only had one bathroom,” Johnson said, noting each room in the bed-and-breakfast will have a bathroom.
In the Depression-era, wood was the exterior of the Hamner house and the home depicted on “The Waltons.”
“We were going to use Hardie board, but we have decided to go with vinyl,” said Johnson. “Supposedly it will look the same.”
Johnson and Laurie Lane will be involved in cooking breakfast and giving tours at the nearby Hamner home.
“We’re just trying to do nice, wholesome, southern food,” said Johnson. “Comfort food — grits, French toast, little casseroles.”
The bed-and-breakfast required zoning approval from the Nelson County Board of Supervisors, from business to residential.
The conditions include no amplified music and limitations on outdoor lighting.
With construction underway, Johnson said the house should be done by mid-October, in time for the yearly Waltons event Oct. 25-27.
“I hope to actually have the new bed-and-breakfast full of cast members for that grand opening weekend,” so she anticipates fans will be able to begin booking rooms by the middle of November.
Johnson anticipates visitors will feel the familial warmth they felt watching the show while growing up.
“It’s almost like an adult Disneyland,” she said.
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