Spend five minutes with Colleen, and you’ll leave you feeling motivated. You’ll love her humility, easy laugh, and self-deprecating humor. You’ll appreciate the positivity she carries in her spirit.
Colleen McCullough was born in Calgary, Alberta, to two young unmarried American kids who decided to give her up for adoption. She was then adopted by two wonderful Canadian parents who had “real jobs” and a hobby farm west of Edmonton, Alberta. Colleen shares that she had an idyllic life growing up with two brothers, many dogs and cats, a few chickens, two cows, a horse, and some geese running around.
Whatever she did in her life, she did with all her heart. She spent winters downhill skiing and summers riding horses. She got her first job at 12 and hasn’t looked back.
After building a successful career in teaching, deep down, Colleen knew she would not settle for a regular life after retirement. “Golf didn’t seem my thing, and when I have too much time on my hands, I twitch,” she laughs. In 2010, her passion for food ignited when she met a new Foods teacher at her school.
“I am indebted to him for teaching me so much about ingredients and just trying new concoctions even if I get them wrong,” she said. “The great irony about him is he wasn’t a trained Foods teacher, so he taught me that people can always reinvent themselves.”
Coupled with her zest for hospitality, Colleen shared food with her teachers in her department as a way of saying “thank you” for their dedication each day.
It was in 2015 when she traveled to Italy and spent six weeks in B&B’s, she came back knowing this was her path, but retirement was still seven years away to ponder the location.
The impetus for change came in 2016 when her adult daughter moved to Virginia. “I felt we were too far apart, and I started seriously thinking of the USA. So over the next three years, all I did was obsess about Texas and dreamed about a B&B,” she shared. “I must have checked Zillow a million times.”
The Virginia May founder had lived in Texas for five years in the 90s, so undoubtedly, Texas was at the top of the list outside Canada. “I had my Texas teaching certificate, so while Texas weather was totally at the top of my list, somewhere deep– and I mean deeply buried– if the BnB didn’t work out, I could always teach,” she shared.
In 2020, amidst Covid, all the restless nights on Zillow paid off. “I asked my brother, who also lives here in Texas if he would check out this house on Randle Lane for me,” she shared. Colleen bought the property by only seeing pictures online.
“I signed the papers in Amarillo en route to Fort Worth on July 2, 2020. My hand was shaking, and I remember thinking, this could be the dumbest thing I have ever done, or it was going to be the best,” she recalled. “I mean, who signs a real estate contract without actually seeing the real estate?”
Situated in the Eagle Mountain Lake area, The Virginia May is a delightful weekend escape, ideally located for all you need to enjoy the Fort Worth area.
“This was the best BnB experience! The location is beautiful, and the cottage was decorated beautifully. We loved the food” is one of the many reviews you see on Google or the website.
What makes The Virginia May unique is Colleen’s hospitality.Cleaning, cooking, attending guests, looking for new recipes, learning how to put up content on social media and the website, planning for events, thinking of new ideas for the business, learning finance skills, and so on are now her norm each week.
“I don’t have to worry about earrings and high heels any longer, and I certainly can clean toilets like a champion,” she laughed. “Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t achieve your dream job because you can, no matter how old you are; look at me, this is my second dream job, and I am only 56,” she chuckled.
An interesting fact about The Virginia May is the name’s origin. Colleen named it after Colleen’s mother, Virginia May, who is 93 now. While juggling possible names for the business, Colleen ended up with this name, and both mother and daughter are proud to build it as a brand.
Her mom spent five weeks here this past summer, and the first morning they walked out to the front sign, Virginia giggled and said, “isn’t that something?” She loved it here. “Mom loves the heat as I do, and she said several times you have a nice place here,” Colleen said.
“The guests were sweet to her and always shook her hand and hugged and called her Miss Virginia.”
While challenges are a part of the process for a growing business, Colleen is determined to take The Virginia May to the next level as she goes. She’s looking forward to hosting the first Tiny Wedding. She has successfully hosted an Italian Ladies’ Night, Murder Mystery, and two separate anniversary parties. A second Paint Date Night event will be in February, and an adult Easter Egg Hunt and Wine Night are planned for April.
Colleen believes in supporting small businesses and helping each other thrive. She encourages people to visit her website and book the stay directly instead of coming through travel platforms. “Small business is a real person trying to compensate for the things we have come to despise in our highly ‘self check out’ world,” she said.
Colleen looks forward to continuing to build the business, meeting new guests, improving her culinary craft, and of course, sitting around the table sharing how The Virginia May came to be, with a twinkle in her eye and an infectious smile on her face.