Tales from Beaufort: When life throws you a curve ball

Sherri Maynard and Leo relax on the porch at "Bella Blu" in Beaufort recently. (Contributed photo)

By Rebecca Jones, special to the News-Times

Sherri Maynard moved into her house in Greensboro in 1992 with a dream in her heart to one day move to the beach. She named the Greensboro house “Mermaid Mansion” and kept that dream of moving in the back of her mind. Sherri wanted to be in an “up and coming neighborhood” and found it at 1007 Cedar Street just on the outskirts of historic Beaufort.

Maynard found an old 1973 houseboat that needed lots of love. She purchased it and made it into a vintage boat-office with the best water views at Homer Smith Marina. Sherri christened it the “Whales Tale” for the many tales that will, in time, be made here with friends, family and co-workers. It is a great office for her, a graphic artist working remotely for a large company out of Winston Salem.

But in April Sherri lost her job due to COVID-19. It seemed pretty dire at the time as life threw her a curve ball. She had to make a decision.

“Was I to move back to my original home (landlocked) in a bigger city for more corporate graphic work? That’s who I thought I was, a corporate entity, my identity, or so I thought,” Sherri said. “I was 57 years old with tons of knowledge in the graphic arts field, but would I be picked over by the younger applicant? Would anyone hire me? Was my life by the sea over? Or maybe ... I could reinvent a living for myself in Beaufort!”

Sherri decided to do just that.  She now rents her house on Airbnb, and lives on her boat. And that’s how the “Whales Tale” became her permanent home. “Bella Blu” as she fondly calls her pretty blue shotgun style home, is her new Airbnb one bedroom, one bath rental. With expertise as a graphic designer, she created a brand and a new business under her name. In a few short months, she was placed as a super host on Airbnb. She has had so many newlyweds and seasoned visitors in Bella Blu. Sherri offers great service and hospitality for couples who want to fall in love with Beaufort as she has.

She says her life is much simpler now. She has given up the corporate world, the fancy cars and vacations, deadlines, retirement plans and more.

But she says, “I have gained so much too! In this friendly little town, I have time for loving, inspiring friendships, volunteering and  long walks on the beach with my dog Leo. I am at a place I love now, a sweet little town by the sea.”

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