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An old family home becomes 'rare treat'
Kristine Guido is turning a large white house that's been in her family for four generations into Colonial Beach's newest bed and breakfast.

 River Terra Retreat was built in 1911. Patrick O'Toole, Kristine Guido's great-grandfather, bought it in 1920.
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Date published: 12/30/2012

By Cathy Jett

KRISTINE GUIDO wasn't ready to stop working when she retired after 30 years in the corporate world.

So the former human resources executive is turning a large white house that's been in her family for four generations into Colonial Beach's newest bed and breakfast.

River Terra Retreat, 37 4th St., will open in mid-January as a "rare treat," the phrase that's serendipitously formed by the last two letters of Terra and all seven in Retreat.

"When you look at the name, that just pops out," Guido said.

She envisions it as a place where people hold small retreats, special events and customized activities in addition to spending the night in four bedrooms outfitted with 600 thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets.

The lion's share of the business is expected to come from what Guido terms "petite retreats," small groups needing a place to meet and possibly spend the night. They could be scrapbookers looking for a getaway to pursue their hobby, for example, or a business searching for a quiet environment where it can hold a meeting.

"Meetup.com was a very good resource for me," she said.

But guests are more than welcome to just spend a day or two relaxing, watching the sun rise over the Potomac River and exploring the area.

Each visit can be personalized. Guido can have cold beer and steamed crabs ready for a motorcycle touring group that prefers a private place to stop instead of a restaurant, for instance, or ask a Colonial Beach chef to prepare a birthday or anniversary dinner for a couple spending the night.

A friend even suggested that people living in Colonial Beach might want to have family and friends stay at River Terra Retreat if they don't have enough room for them at their home. Guido said she's willing to let them use the kitchen if they want to get together to fix meals.

She's also is developing relationships with the handful of other area bed and breakfasts so that a wedding party or other group needing more bedrooms than she can provide will have a nearby place to stay.

River Terra Retreat dates to 1911, when it was built out of cement blocks poured into molds on the one-acre site. The original owners, Mr. and Mrs. Edwards, painted it dark green.


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