By Taylor Boyd
Lisa Martin and Beth Almond Ford, who have collectively served the Reynolds Homestead for 33 years, officially retired from the organization at a Farewell Celebration.
Martin said she decided it was the right moment to leave because she felt it was time to slow down and make a change after 30 years of service.
“I want to get to do some of the things that I’ve provided for others over the years, and enjoy that kind of thing,” she said.
Interacting with visitors to the Reynolds Homestead has been a favorite part of her tenure.
“I also loved just being able to tap into the incredible resources, too. I mean, finding so many people that know so much about our incredible history and art, and having them to share that with others is great,” she said.
Martin said she will miss working on the various art shows.
“I love the artists and I love putting the art up and starting with a pile of pictures all over the tables, and all of a sudden, it’s all over the walls and beautiful,” she said.
She plans to start her own business, The Wormy Chestnut, to teach craft classes and other artistic endeavors, and is seeking something she can do to connect with some of the at-risk folks in the community and help.
“I don’t have a degree in social work, but my heart is there, and I would like to find some way that I can help,” she said.
Ford said the construction on U.S. 58 influenced her decision to retire.
“I live in Meadows of Dan, so I already have an hour-and-a-half commute a day. Once the works starts, it will be hard,” she said of the upcoming project to four-lane the highway.
Ford also wants to pursue her other passions of working with her antique postcard and book collections and continuing to teach writing workshops.
“I think that with COVID and quarantine, and when we were working from home, I realized how much I liked being on the mountain,” she added.
In her 19 years at the Reynolds Homestead, Ford said her favorite experience has been working with volunteers.
“We started a volunteer tour guide program in 2009. I trained all of the volunteers and worked with them, and that has just been a really big highlight” of my career, she said.
Ford said she also enjoyed working with the Homestead’s Arts Fusion program and working with Alzheimer’s patients.
“I would do four different facilities and go every month with art and spend time with each of those groups” doing crafts, she said.
She is considering volunteering at the Homestead and potentially giving tours.
“We’ll see where I am in the spring,” she said, chuckling.