The founders of Maria's Garden and Inn have quite a story to tell.
In an interview, Peg tells the story about how she came by this statue.
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Margaret “Peg” Perry was born in Hagerstown, Maryland in 1933. Her mother, Constantina Davalos, was of strong Spanish decent originally from Argentina and, in 1953 Peg married Jim Perry and moved to Berkeley springs where she would begin an extraordinary experiential life like no other.
Jim was in the U.S. Marine Corp. and spent the first segment of the marriage fighting for his country in Korea. During this time, Jim and Peg had two children, James Curtis and Alesa Margaret. The Perry family lived a wholesome and traditional life in this idyllic small town.
In 1971, the Perry's began a new journey. But those that know the Perry family know that they are always on the move creating new ventures in their lives. Not only did Peg have an undeniable faith in God that was taught by the Catholic Church, but she displayed remarkable gifts in the kitchen. Even though Jim had been employed at duPont and Peg was the owner of her own beauty shop, the family still went on to start another business called 'Perry's Pizza Parlor'. Peg had tested and tasted submarine sandwiches from the shops in Hagerstown, Maryland where she got the idea to bring the same foods including sandwiches and pizza to Berkeley Springs. From July, 1971 until November, 1982, Perry’s Pizza Parlor was the local tradition for children and adults alike. During the operation of the business Peg had opened a second beauty shop, both of which she eventually sold and then she studied and passed her realty exam to become a real estate agent. Unfortunately, Peg's career was not long lived due to severe health problems.
It was at this time that in her life that Peg spent much time at home praying and reading and in May, 1982, Jim and Peg, along with the local parish priest, had the privilege of travelling to Fatima, Portugal to visit the Holy sight where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared in 1917. This was a momentous occasion due to the fact that Pope John Paul II had come there to give thanks. It was exactly one year prior on the Fatima Feast Day that he had been shot with a poison bullet and almost died. November of 1982 had now arrived.
After their trip to Portugal, Jim, Peg, and son Curtis, purchased a 1929 two story brick home with a large auto repair garage. The reason for the purchase was the idea of moving Perry’s Pizza Parlor to that location as well as Peg having an “itch” to expand the menu to offer the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia good spaghetti! “How many times have you asked for spaghetti when you go out to eat?” she asked. The garage was converted into what is now the large dining room while the basement became the restaurant's kitchen. The original intent was modest, but the Perry’s couldn’t resist adding on. But, of course, this is not the end of the story by any means.
The restaurant grew and the present name was not chosen by accident. It was inspired in part by a replica of a miraculous portrait of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which recalls a story of divine intervention that Peg and the family hold dear. According to tradition, in 1531 the Blessed Mother appeared to Juan Diego, a poor Aztec Indian, and told him to entreat the Bishop at Mexico City to build a church on the spot where she had stood. The Bishop did not believe Juan’s story, so as a sign to the disbelieving Bishop, the Lady told Juan Diego to climb to the top of a barren hill (it was mid-winter), and pick the flowers, which he would find growing there. At the top of the hill Juan discovered beautiful Castilian Roses, which he picked and which Mother Mary arranged them herself in his tilma (cloak). Later, in the presence of the Bishop and others, Juan Diego opened his tilma to present the roses. The flowers fell to the floor. Juan bent to retrieve them when he noticed the Bishop on his knees in adoration. He then looked upon his tilma to see the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Bishop shortly afterwards ordered the church to be built. Not only has scientific analysis of various studies failed to indicate a man-made origin, the image led to the conversion of over 9 million pagan Aztec Indians to the Roman Catholic Faith. The inspiration for the Bed & Breakfast followed a year of success in the restaurant and from the many friends made there. Curtis said, “God opened the door for us and we just walked in.”
The upstairs of the first house was remodelled during the winter of 1984-85 followed by the purchase of the adjacent house in 1985. All the rooms have been given their own special name. Alesa and her husband Bill had the honor of naming the rooms on the second floor after their children: Laura, Aaron, Stephen, and Louisa. After the conversion of both houses into the Bed &Breakfast, the quaint patio between the houses was beautifully transformed into a garden dining room with glass top tables, balcony dining, and sliding Glass doors to give view to the garden and grotto of Our Lady of Fatima. Maria’s Garden had now started offering small retreats during the week on scheduled days. Speakers of various backgrounds would come and share their faith in God, the Virgin Mary’s roll in their walk of faith, and the wisdom that the Holy Spirit has granted. People from all walks of life, religious convictions (or not) had come to attend and be enlightened. Peg shared her insights and the poetry that she had been inspired to write over the years (and is still inspired to this day).
Although many plans were in the working on retreat center 15 minutes from the town of Berkeley Springs on a 27-acre tract dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas, the Perry family have lived and will continue to live on the motto: “Work as if everything depends on you, pray as if everything depends on God!” If the retreat center does materialize, Divine Grace will accomplish it through the friends of Maria. Maria’s Garden & Inn is the product of faith and hard work. It is what you might call the “AMERICAN DREAM”. It is not just the faith of the Perry’s that has built Maria’s, but of the many guests and friends. They bring gifts from afar, pictures, keepsakes, relics, icons, statues, rosaries, medals, holy water, and many other religious articles. Glass cases and shelves were built in the dining area to display the array of gifts from countries the world over. So browse through our website and see what we have to offer. You will love our quaint little town, our two state parks, the antique malls, the little shops, the fine dining, and the down home feeling. We hope to have you as our guest someday. Ave Maria, Carpe Diem
A in-depth interview with the founder of Maria's Garden and Inn, Peg Perry.
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