By Sarah C. Cespedes
Boren lived with her legacy in mind. The Upland community knew her for her kind and hospitable nature. She served as a member of the Board of Trustees at Taylor for more than thirty years. She supported the academic dreams of students. Her kindness touched countless lives, as well as her own family. In her memory, LaRita's family and friends transformed her home into a bed and breakfast: LaRita's Lodge.
The lodge, opened in 2012, was LaRita's dream. It was the perfect transition: using her gifts of hospitality and generosity to start a local business right in her own home.
Visitors to the bed and breakfast are guided on a tour around the house by Beth LaMacchio, LaRita's cousin-in-law. Beth finished the project after LaRita's unexpected passing in Feb., 2011. LaRita's Lodge is on a farm property in Upland. The white-pillared house is surrounded by pink barns, mini horses, llamas, cows and open fields.
The farm is called the LeLaLo Farm, named after Leland, LaRita and Lori: the first three members of the Boren family. The lodge is the house where the family grew up.
Beth decorated the bed and breakfast exactly as LaRita had instructed. In doing so, LaRita's presence and hospitable ambiance are in every detail of the furnishings and color choices. Beth's attention to even small matters helps each room seem more personal and inviting.
Beth can talk at length about each room's history, both as a family house and as the present location of the bed and breakfast. Downstairs is a newly furnished kitchen. Rows of cookbooks added the final touches. Beth cooks every meal served to the guests, which ensures a home-cooked meal three times a day. The dining room is set up for meals, and the family room serves as a relaxing place to spend time together. The La-Z-Boy chairs were LaRita's requests.
History of the family and the house is displayed along the walls of one of the downstairs rooms. The walls of the Blue Heron room display a family tree full of photographs, drawings and newspaper articles representing all the life the LeLaLo Farm has seen.
Upstairs, the four bedrooms each have a unique name and specific theme. Some of the wallpapers were stripped down to easily match each room with a new theme and color scheme. Each room was painted to match the quilt lying on the bed.
Originally, Beth did not know about the quilts, but a simple day of cleaning led to the discovery. To Beth, the quilts were a gift from LaRita and a new idea for the bedroom set-up. LaRita chose every color scheme and theme for the house, and the quilts gave Beth renewed motivation to continue bringing her visions to life. The final results are displayed in each bedroom.
Beth placed LaRita's favorite books on the shelves in the upstairs hallways. Guests are allowed to borrow from the rows and rows of fiction and nonfiction books for the entirety of their stays. This way, LaRita continues to share her favorite characters and plots and ideas with any curious guest.At the end of the profits and liabilities, the openings and closings, the regular customers and the wandering strangers, what LaRita cared about was the touch of home and taste of comfort. Through Beth, her lodge caries that legacy.