After 13 years running the Seawood Bed and Breakfast, Maggie Benzing is about to call it a night.
Benzing, 56, and her husband Thomas Eberling have sold their 11.5-acre property to a private buyer and closed the business down. The move is bittersweet for Benzing, who said she loved running the bed-and-breakfast, located just off Highway 24 between Sheridan Lake and Bridge Lake, with lakeside access to Roe Lake.
Although she loved the work and the people, the business was getting to be too much, Benzing said. In June, they moved to a temporary home on Bridge Lake for a year while they look for a smaller and more manageable property.
“It can be pretty lonely out here because everyone has big properties. So if you don’t want to, you won’t see your neighbours for weeks or months in a row,” said Benzing. “Germany it’s way easier to get to know people because there are outside pubs and beer gardens but here to get to know people you really have to get involved in the community. We’re not hermits, so we need social contact.”
Born and raised near Frankfurt Germany, Benzing and Eberling emigrated to the Interlakes area in 2009 after travelling to more than 40 countries to find the ultimate place to settle.
“We came to Canada for the first time in 1998 and we liked it immediately, then we returned five more times looking for an area we liked until we ended up in the Cariboo,” she said.
READ MORE: Time to monkey around at the Interlakes
Over the years, the Seawood B&B has welcomed visitors from over 60 countries, which led to a lot of nice campfire talks, with “a lot of interesting people of all ages, from all places in society and all educational levels,” Benzing said. “We really had international guests and that was really enjoyable.”
Although she is moving, Benzing won’t be leaving the Interlakes. She will continue her volunteer work at both the Interlakes Community Hall and the Interlakes Farmers’ Market. This summer she’ll be selling bread for the Lac La Hache Bakery at the market, the eighth year she’s been doing it.
At the community hall, Benzing, as program coordinator, organizes events and activities, like carpet bowling and walking groups. She also uses her accounting background to do the books and apply for grants. Benzing said she loves organizing things that keep people busy and get them out and about.
“I think a lot of people come up here to enjoy nature, but I’d like to see some more people at the community hall. It’s really rewarding to be a volunteer there and it’s also rewarding to come and join programs. For me, it’s all about getting out and having social contacts.”