About the Innkeepers
A brief history of the Terra Nova House owners
The Terra Nova House Bed & Breakfast is known for its elegant Victorian charm, its amenities and its hospitable innkeepers.
Meet the Innkeepers, Ryan and Molly Mercer
We are in our late thirties (okay, Ryan is turning 40 this year but still insists he feels like he is 25). Shortly after our wedding, we stayed at our first bed and breakfast and immediately fell in love with the concept. We have stayed at countless B&B's over the past decade and have gotten acquainted with many of their innkeepers. We expected to wait to run our own B&B during retirement, so we both pursued careers in the corporate world - Ryan in Information Technology and Molly in Accounting.
Ryan Mercer was born and raised near Oil City, PA (45 min. from Grove City)
He holds a BS in Management Information Systems from Penn State - Behrend in Erie, PA, where he met Molly. His corporate career has included Wachovia Bank (Winston-Salem, NC) and Innovative Systems, Inc (Pittsburgh, PA) where he focused on helping large international financial institutions comply with governmental requirements of screening their customer list against known terrorists and bad guys. Ryan enjoys technology, cooking, golfing, photography, politics and serving people.
Molly Mercer was born and raised in Erie, PA
She holds a BS in Accounting from Penn State Behrend, has her a CPA and is currently working on her MBA. Her corporate career has included Arthur Andersen (Pittsburgh, PA), Education Management Corporation (Pittsburgh, PA), Westinghouse (Cranberry Township, PA) and Slippery Rock University (Slippery Rock, PA) where she is currently. Molly enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, movies and shopping.
Through a series of events in 2011, God made it perfectly clear that NOW was the time to pursue our dream and He led us to the Terra Nova House. Ryan officially retired from corporate life and runs the B&B full time.
Our first year as innkeepers was AMAZING! The first part of the year was focused on completely separating our owner's quarters from the guest areas. We did such a good job at the separation that many guests were surprised to find out we had children and cats! The separation also made first time B&B'ers very comfortable as they didn't feel like they were invading our space.
A majority of the year was spent learning the ropes of innkeeping and hosting many guests from all over the world. Our guests spread the news about our hospitality, cleaniness, breakfasts and great amenities that we offered, they left numerous online reviews on BedandBreakfast.com, TripAdvisor and Google, they wrote many entries in our Guest Book and have left and sent us personal notes. All of these energized us and acknowledged that we were doing it the right way! Our success was also noticed by the local community as they awarded us the Best of the Best Bed & Breakfast for 2012.
At the end of the year, during our Winter Break, we went full steam into construction. The British Empire room was repainted and the bathroom was enlarged and completely remodeled. The English Rose bathroom received a bit of a make-over and the Foyer got a new guest powder room. We also found out that we recieved a grant from VisitMercerCounty to renovate the 3rd floor in 2013 to create an additional 2 guest rooms.
Got lot of press and guests!
On May 11, 2013, we moved our family and cats into our new neighboring house (approximately 75 paces away) for more privacy and space. The Terra Nova House Bed and Breakfast is now all business! So that guests can talk to us if we are away, we have installed a Call Box at the front door and a cordless phone on each floor - all of which auto-dial to Ryan's cell phone. Don't worry, Ryan is still at TNH quite a bit as innkeeper is his full time job and he has a lot of laudry to do.
We started the year working on the 3rd floor which quickly turned into a much larger project than expected. We were very fortunate to have received a second grant from VisitMercerCounty to help offset some of the extra cost. What was to be a simple reconstruction of a bathroom, quickly turned into a complete demolition of the entire floor; however, we wouldn't have done it any differently as we have made many improvements (most that will never be seen by guests - plumbing, electrical, insulation).
On May 2, 2014, we finished the 3rd floor at noon and had guests check-in both rooms at 2:00 PM. We are pleased to be able to offer a snack and beverage center in the 3rd floor common area. We are now officially at 6 guest rooms with a total maximum occupancy of 16.
This was the year of the "Country Crossing" guests. It first started on July 2 with Jessica Goldman (GoldmanGoesForIt.wordpress.com) who was running across the country unassisted (only the 2nd woman to do so). On August 25, we had Steve Martin (7MillionSteps.com) and his wife, Pat, stay with us as Steve walked across the country. Then on September 5th, Brian and Lenita stopped by as they were biking from Minnesota to the East Coast.
The year ended with a "bang" (literally) as Terra Nova House's two furnaces decided enough was enough. The one lasted 25 years and the other 16 years. We were able to replace the two furances with a single furance due to all the improvements we did on the 3rd floor and we qualified for yet another grant to help cover 50% of the cost!
We took it easy over break and really only did some deep cleaning, carpet cleaning, paint touchups, and a quick makeover of the Caribbean bathroom. Finally had time to relax and enjoy the family.