"We kind of thought it would be a five-year plan," Eric Goodman said.
Then came the evening he was online and found a former bed-and-breakfast for sale in York City. The Goodmans drove from their home near Baltimore to see it the next day and became the new owners of the Smyser-Bair house in December.
The house at 30 S. Beaver St. had been vacant a year before the Goodmans bought it, so they have had to spend a few months on cleaning and minor repairs.
But now that the house is looking better, they are getting ready to open the Historic York Inn and its nine bedrooms to short-term renters and overnight guests.
170-year history: The house was built in the 1830s and was owned for much of its history by Dr. Henry Smyser and his family, Eric Goodman said. A former gaslight in an upper bedroom hints at the building's history, and a downstairs room once served as Smyser's operating room.
Then there is the parlor, a soaring room with sky-blue walls, flowing
drapes over the windows and hand-carved mirrors leafed in gold Smyser brought back from his Gold Rush adventures, Eric said.
The parlor could be the perfect venue for receptions, and the Goodmans said they might hold one after a children's book they wrote gets published this summer. Nataliya said she dreams of someday turning other parts of the building into a tea-room or other unique attraction, though they need to get the bed-and-breakfast running first.
"It's a lot of work here, but it's fun," Nataliya said.
A trend? The Goodmans' plans come as good news to the city's economic development office, where officials have long said a bed-and-breakfast would contribute to the city's tourism offerings. Now several are under development, said marketing and economic development coordinator Kevin Schreiber.
"It's an outstanding thing for the city," Schreiber said.
Eric Goodman said the building's $250,000 price tag was perhaps an eighth of what a similar house would cost in the Baltimore area. And he and Nataliya are happy to be so close to the heart of the city, within walking distance of Sovereign Bank Stadium and the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center.
"It really seems to be an area on the rise," Eric Goodman said.
Trying something new: Both of the Goodmans are new to the York area. Nataliya grew up in Nizhny Novgorod, one of Russia's major industrial centers, and met Eric while he was there as an exchange student. The two married and have settled in Towson, Md., with their two children.
Neither has experience in anything quite like this. Eric writes press releases for a living and fiction on the side. Nataliya teaches math and physics at a private school in Maryland and paints with watercolors.
So far, she and Eric have been washing walls and waxing floors in their free time, but she will take the coming school year off from teaching to try to get the bed-and-breakfast off the ground.
The two were never the kind of people to jump happily into home repairs, Eric said, but they are suddenly enjoying their work in the new house, where cleaning also turns up 90-year-old Sunday school books and wall inscriptions dating back more than a century.
"Sometimes we just stop and look around and think, 'Wow, this is our house,'" Eric said.
--Reach Daina Klimanis at 505-5439 or firstname.lastname@example.org.