June 6, 2014 – The Art of Repurposing

At the Natural Bridge Park and Historic Hotel, we have quite a bit of STUFF.

The majority of our property is open space, but on the roughly 150 acres visited by, inhabited by, and under the influence of humans, we have multiple structures, buildings, parking lots and other areas that have been on site for over fifty years. As we get ready to renovate the Historic Hotel, we have encountered the issue of all the things we need to relocate. With about 90 rooms in our main hotel buildings and an additional 40+ across the property, you can imagine the amount of furniture pieces we have just there (think about it: beds, chairs, desks, entertainment centers). Outside of the lodging areas, we’ve also got endless amounts of electronic items, housekeeping items… so many different kinds of items it would take forever to list them all.

So what, with all this STUFF, are we to do?

The easy solution would be to throw it all in the dumpster… disposal company hauls it away and it is out of sight, out of mind. But, is that really the best thing we can do? At Natural Bridge, we think not. We realize that we are a huge resource for local charities of all types. As a multi-faceted business, we have the possibility of donating everything from meals to bath mats. So, we’re running with that idea and contacting various outlets to see if they’re interested in what we’ve got to offer. Some things we’ve done so far is donate more than 50 blankets to a local animal shelter, and more than 50 lbs of canned goods to a local food pantry. We’ve collected 70 bath towels for a local emergency shelter, and another 50 bath mats for another animal shelter. We’ve donated countless pieces of furniture to the local Goodwill, and we will continue to go through our items and donate those in good condition. Our opened but unfinished toiletries bottles will be sent to a charity which reallocates and distributes hygiene products to developing countries.

We have such an amazing opportunity to aid the organizations that help people in southwest Virginia and all over the world.

We are also perfecting the art of repurposing here at Natural Bridge for our own items. Agendas, emails and notes are written and printed on reused paper, recycle bins have been created out of old nail kegs, even antique historical items are being restored to their former glory, to eventually be displayed and interpreted on site. We are striving to make our impact as small as possible and to use our resources to help people locally, nationally and globally.

A repurposed recycle bin nail keg, before and after.

A repurposed recycle bin nail keg, before and after.