Written by Danielle Taylor | Photos courtesy of Kellygreen Bed & Breakfast
For a quarter of a century now, innkeeper Julia McCray has welcomed travelers to Kellygreen Bed & Breakfast in the western Forest County town of Tionesta, a few steps from the Allegheny River and the iconic Sherman Memorial Lighthouse. The beautifully restored Victorian home and McCray’s friendly hospitality have long created a warm, elegant destination for overnight guests, but in recent years, her art workshops have added an extra dimension to the retreat experience she offers.
Kellygreen’s name comes from the original owner, A.B. Kelly, a first-generation Irish-American and business tycoon who had the home built in 1886. The home features Queen Anne-Eastlake architectural design and accent elements, and it includes four guestrooms upstairs as well as spacious living areas on the main floor. McCray bought the home in October 1993 and spent three months restoring the home to its original Victorian beauty before she opened for business in January 1994. Her background includes professional experience and personal interests in architecture, history, decorating, gardening, landscape design, and cooking, so the opportunity to run a historic B&B created a perfect outlet for her array of talents.
“My first customers were newlyweds, who came back for their anniversary last year!” McCray says. “The first year, I just worked on the house and got the business going. I added the art studio in 2016 and the gift shop in 2017.”
McCray has honed her skills in visual art since childhood, and her art education has included instruction in media such as colored pencil, watercolor, oil painting, pastels, precious metal, clay, pewter casting, and silk dying. She has long been a mainstay in the local art community, co-founding the Forest Area Arts Council in 2000, and after years of participating in local art shows, she began offering instruction at Kellygreen for overnight guests as well as daytime visitors. Popular classes with McCray include colored pencil, pastel, and silk dying, but she’s happy to customize classes to her students’ wishes and can bring in other local artists to meet requests for other forms of art. Visitors to Kellygreen will also want to check out the gift shop, which offers a variety of arts, crafts, housewares, and other local products.
In her art classes, “I’ve had groups of Red Hatters, groups of church ladies, [and] ladies who are seasonal residents looking for things to do, and I’m now doing a monthly class in pastel/pastel pencil because I had a former resident request a class when she comes home to visit her elderly mother. The only ‘unusual’ media that I currently teach is dying silk scarves. It’s great for six-year-olds and up and can be done in just a couple of hours or a full day.”
The B&B is currently on the market, and McCray hopes to pass it on to a new owner who will appreciate its history and continue to provide the same level of hospitality she has offered over the years. “Still waiting for the right buyer to come along,” she says.
Kellygreen Bed & Breakfast is open to overnight guests from March through early December, although hours and availability vary, so call (814) 755-8808 or email JMKellygreen@verizon.net for reservations. Learn more and find other interesting places to visit in the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors region by going to VisitPAGO.com or calling (814) 849-5197.