Changes in Life’s Adventures

Why age Gracefully when you can age Successfully?  This magazine ad caught my attention.  It spoke to me as I am about to experience a change in life adventure.  After nineteen years as a Bed & Breakfast innkeeper/owner, my husband Richard and I decided to put our property on the market.  We hope to transition into aging successfully by enjoying our family, grandchildren, traveling, exercising and focusing on maintaining a healthy diet with new and nutritious foods.  I welcome you to join us in this adventure and see where it takes us.

Our first order of business was to clear out, throw away and donate twenty years of collecting and antiquing.  We joined the national movement of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo (  This enlighting concept of junk clearing caused such a surge that many thrift stores were forced to limit donations.

We started in our clothes closet.  Everything was dumped in a large pile and sorted with the theme- Does this bring joy to your life?  It wasn’t long until we both grasp “Joy”  with both arms and embraced it like a great opportunity–for someone else to enjoy this huge pile and get on with our life.  Our local clothing banks were elated–especially with the warm winter items and cold weather predicted.   Our house closets seemed to breathe an air of relief as well.

Next, we tackled the books.  We are both readers.  At this point, I must tell you two years ago I culled my self-help and personal motivational books which I regifted to my daughter.  So why was I so surprised when ten bags of books made the donation trips.  My usual book donation site is Madison County Public Library (  But a major renovation/remodeling project created a different “Joy” opportunity –Half Price Books ( in Hamburg shopping mecca.  Originally, I would drop off books, collect my few dollars and head to another shopping venue looking for a way to find Joy in spending my money. But then I remembered Marie and hurried home to continue  “tidying up.”

There’s more to come, but for now, have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!



  • Nancy Wray February 15, 2019 at 4:42 pm

    This was very well written … so glad I read it…. keep up the good works and plans for a life change…. which will be Wonderful for you and your family and friends AND new adventures….. Fun… Fun…. Fun!!!! You two have certainly earned it and I know everyone wishes you well …. and the people who become new innkeepers and owners will be so blessed to enjoy the delightful Bennett House and its many charms and will fall in love with Richmond as newcomers or existing residents…. as I have!!! Love Nancy❤️❤️?


    • Rita Smart February 20, 2019 at 2:53 pm

      Remembering our wonderful”teas” we did at the Bennett House all those years. So much fun, beautiful flowers, elegant surroundings and the delicious food. People still call for reservations even though we stopped this in 2008.


  • Sandra W Plant February 16, 2019 at 3:48 am

    Rita and Richard Smart have created many memorable moments for me and my family over the years. When I first came to Richmond in 2003 for my new job, these two made me so welcome that I spent 40 nights in the beautiful Belle Room. The introduction they gave me to Richmond opened many doors that brought much happiness. I loved the very elegant Bennett House teas, classy weddings, birthday parties, holiday events and more. Everything was done with friendly elegance and good taste. The Smarts have more than earned the opportunity to rest on their laurels and enjoy friends and family more than they could as full-time innkeepers. I wish them much happiness as they move to the next stage of their lives. And I am hoping they pass the torch of fine hospitality to good people who will maintain the same outstanding tradition of hospitality.


  • Sandra W Plant February 16, 2019 at 4:13 pm

    Rita and Richard Smart are the masters of hospitality. I have enjoyed their beautiful home and their generous welcomes to many events since discovering the Bennett House in 2003. Best wishes to them for a well deserved new adventure. May the next Bennett House innkeepers maintain their wonderful tradition of good food, comfortable surroundings and warmth in this beautiful historic home.


  • Donna Angel February 16, 2019 at 5:37 pm

    Your journey sounds incredibly “joyful” & Rita I wish for you every day an extra special appreciation of life for today!


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