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Staying Inn Love: The “Soulmates” Behind Inn Upon Moon River Plantation Blues B&B

Staying Inn Love

David and Elizabeth Claytor, innkeepers at Inn Upon Moon River Plantation Blues B&B, are soulmates, as they say. This Valentine’s Day, we have asked the couple a few questions about their love story and moments they have shared while running the Inn in Chester, South Carolina. 

From their chance meeting to unconventional Valentine’s Day celebrations and the touching story of a couple who met during the Vietnam War, the Claytors share more about the character of Inn Upon Moon River. 

Quotes have been edited/proofed by the Olde English District Tourism Commission. 

How Did You Two Meet?

It was fate. Let me explain. I was a guest at a reception welcoming David’s Dad from Horseheads, New York, to Tallahassee, Florida and onto the Florida A&M University’s School of Business and Industry Faculty. David was in attendance. We were introduced and began talking. 

We talked practically all night, from the time we met to the end of the event. We knew, in those moments and hours, that our lives were interwoven. We completed each other’s thoughts and words. For a short while, our conversation was non-verbal. We were in a telepathy conversation. We are truly soulmates, and we knew it from the first date!

owners of inn upon moon river plantation bed & breakfast

What is One of Your Favorite Dates?

Looking back, most of our dates were at blues festivals or other music venues. One common theme that we both shared was the love of the blues and especially blues club hopping. We would travel for miles around just to sit in the old-style blues juke joint and hear and see live blues shows. 

But the one date that stands out as the most memorable was our very first Valentine’s Day dinner. David picked me up in his truck with a box of candy and flowers but would not tell me where we were going. He said it was a surprise. It turned out to be his apartment. I was disappointed at first. But then he opened the door to a beautiful table setting and announced that he had planned a complete dinner menu that he cooked himself. It included a salad, baked potato and steak (which he grilled on his deck) and topped it all off with pie a la mode and champagne. He cooked the entire meal; I was impressed. We drank champagne and danced to recorded blues music on CDs. It was a very beautiful and special date.

What is Your Favorite Part About Owning an Inn Together?

Our favorite part is sitting with our guests at breakfast, sharing stories of the Inn and our journey together. For me, Elizabeth, I also enjoy being in the kitchen while David is cooking. We have some of the most poignant discussions preparing breakfast for guests. David may not agree with this assertion because cooking is a time for him to think — to ponder new ideas and ruminate and clarify old ones. We also love getting to know our guests, listening to their stories and — in many cases — forming lasting friendships. 

inn upon moon river plantation blues B&B

What’s Your Favorite Love Story You Have Witnessed at the Inn?

Our favorite love story was when a 76-year-old Vietnam War Veteran made a reservation to come to the Inn Upon Moon River Plantation Blues B&B to get married. The bride and groom were from Salisbury, North Carolina, and both had been married before. As a matter of fact, he explained that he and his first wife had married in Chester prior to being sent to Vietnam. Both of their spouses had long since passed away. He and his bride-to-be had met in Vietnam. He had been wounded and had to stay in the hospital to recover. His wounds required a long recovery period. His new bride was his nurse during the entire time he was in the hospital. They developed a strong bond and kept in touch for 30 years.

The groom had been on top-secret assignments in the military during the Vietnam War, and his service record could not be immediately verified. As a consequence, he did not receive his full Veteran benefits, and his body and his health had been compromised during the war. Before they arrived at the Inn, his benefits had just been awarded. He wanted to finally marry his sweetheart and see that she was taken care of for a change. She had taken care of him for so long. He was aware that we have a cross and had heard our story—he wanted to be married at the Inn.

The groom and the bride-to-be arrived on Thursday evening. Our staff planned a Saturday afternoon wedding and reception. It was a beautiful and loving ceremony that we were able to share in and has not been matched to this day.

inn upon moon river plantation blues B&B

What Advice Would You Offer to Younger Couples?

We are a little uncomfortable giving advice as we are still making our own way through life. We will start with this declaration: we are soulmates and we have had our ups and downs. We believe that experiencing ups and downs is just the nature of human existence. 

We also know that you can come out on the other side of the storm with your relationship intact by adopting the following principles. The first and probably the most important is to love yourself and then love each other. Be steadfast in your love for each other as challenges and distractions come up. Treat each other as you wish to be treated. Be of good cheer; always keep positive thoughts, always use positive words and have a positive attitude throughout the relationship. Lastly, have fun; in all that you do, be happy! 

We embrace these principles for what we expect to be a lifetime of love, romance, togetherness and friendship with each other.

inn upon moon river plantation blues B&B owners