Culpeper residents enjoy, benefit from Airbnb

Stephen Found's West Park Gardens has hosted guests from around the world.

Whether it is a room or two, an apartment or an entire home, Airbnbs are becoming an increasingly enticing way to travel. Culpeper, Virginia is home to at least eleven Airbnbs.

According to Airbnb.com, “Airbnb was born in 2007 when two hosts welcomed three guests to their San Francisco home, and has since grown to 4 million hosts who have welcomed over 800 million guest arrivals in almost every country across the globe.” 

Culpeper resident Stephen Found, 57, has been serving as an Airbnb host since 2016. He said hosting his bed and breakfast, West Park Gardens, on the website has been fantastic as has the company. 

“It has helped me get through some really tough times,” he said. “It’s been really fun to share what you have and also pay the bills a little bit.”

The two gentlemen who created the Airbnb concept had the technology to put a worldwide platform together, online, so that anyone would be able to be an Airbnb host.

“All you have to do is set up an account, make a description of the place, take pictures of the house/room and off you go.” When hosts join, they become a 1099 employee of Airbnb because they are not a commercial entity like a hotel or a traditional bed and breakfast.

Walter and Faith Gil, of Culpeper, recently offered one of their apartments on Davis Street as an Airbnb. Faith Gil said it rented through the website one weekend and now rents out as a four-month rentals apart from Airbnb.

In addition to the financial benefits, Found said he has met some amazing people from all over the world through his hosting experience. Travelers, hikers, historians and wedding parties stay at West Park Gardens which, he said, is a midpoint between North and South. Even people who reside in town stay while their house is being renovated, he added. West Park Garden has seen guests travelling from China, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Berlin and Scandinavia.

Found describes Culpeper as a “really googleable location.” 

“Believe it or not a lot of people came to Culpeper from overseas because what they would do is start in New York, go to Philadelphia and then go to D.C to see the monuments,” he said. “Then they would say, ‘I want to go to the country,’ and they’d end up here.”

Besides the three bedrooms and two baths, West Park Gardens offers a game room with a pool table, coffee makers and televisions in every room, a full kitchen and a beautifully landscaped backyard with fountains, gardens and a firepit.  A complimentary breakfast is also offered. He encourages people to relax and unwind when they come to his Airbnb and purposely tries to make it feel like home away from home. Found is very serious about slowing down and seeking down time.

“We want people to chill out in the garden, take a walk, just really relax,” he said. “Come here and chill out, don’t necessarily come here with the 30,000 things you need to do in the two hours you have to be here.”

To get more information about Airbnb, visit Airbnb.com.

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