Given its 126-year standing in Watkinsville, the 22 years Ashford Manor welcomed overnight guests was but a blip in its history. And yet, the past two decades have been transformational for Watkinsville as the bed and breakfast became a cornerstone of the city and even a catalyst for change.

Town Center, one of Watkinsville’s main commercial buildings, was built directly across from the business. Over the years, Ashford Manor guests would patron downtown restaurants and shops, marriages would blossom out of the wedding vows spoken on its serene grounds, and many friendships began at social gatherings and charity events.

From the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation’s annual Wine Fest to concerts on the lawn, the picturesque purlieu of the Victorian-style house was as much of a town square as Rocket Field. 

“It was a genesis of a lot of activity that brought new life to the town,” said co-owner Dave Shearon.

After several years of scaling back, the historic abode will be just that—a spacious and cozy home for a new family with its charming terrace, gardens and cottage house to be enjoyed by property owners Shearon and Mario Castro.

“We have no intention of moving out of this great town,” said Shearon, who was elected mayor of Watkinsville in 2017.

For more on this story, see the July 11 edition of The Oconee Enterprise, on sale now at convenience stores and grocery stores and newspaper boxes throughout Oconee County. To subscribe, call (706) 769-5175 or visit the tab on our website. 

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