There’s no question that Barbara Bradley, for years the owner of a quilting shop here, has woven herself into the fabric of the community since moving to the Eastern Panhandle in 1999.
Newly retired from her most recent job as the marketing chief at the Historic McFarland House, an upscale venue for weddings and other special events in Martinsburg, Bradley is planning a major life change.
She’ll auction off her quilts, collectibles and other belongings next month at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds and then relocate to Ormond Beach, Fla.
A native of Radford, Va., Bradley lived in Bethesda, Md., and Houston before moving to the Eastern Panhandle after her husband retired as an engineer with NASA. He passed away five years ago.
In the Panhandle, Bradley began teaching quilting classes and then a decade ago opened her own quilting business, Nutmeg Lodge. Customers flocked to Bradley’s shop from as far away as Canada, she said.
Her Sept. 15 sale with auctioneer Darwin K. Plumlee will include antique quilts from her collection as well as quilts she’s made over the years and other items from her household.
Although she closed Nutmeg Lodge in 2009, Bradley said that whenever she visits the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Chamber of Commerce office, she’s told would-be customers still look for her.
Tina Combs, the chamber’s executive director, has praise for Bradley. “She has such a creative mind and giving spirit and has been a blessing to this community,” she said. “We are really going to miss her.”
After closing her business, Bradley worked at Prettyman Broadcasting in Martinsburg and then as a regional PR director for Charleston-based Good News Mountaineer Garage, which accepts donated motor vehicles and matches them with West Virginians in need of reliable transportation.
When the organization began running into funding problems and was forced to lay off staff members, Bradley volunteered to be let go but then continued her duties as a volunteer. She later joined the staff at McFarland House, working with engaged couples to set up weddings and staging special events such as a New Year’s Eve gala.
Bradley also worked as a board member with Main Street Martinsburg and said she’s “stunned” and deeply grateful for the support she’s received from people in the community since she announced her plans to move South.
“I love doing things that help other people,” said Bradley, who also is a member of Martinsburg Rotary and Trinity Episcopal Church in Martinsburg. “This is such a benevolent, philanthropic area.”
Bradley isn’t sure if she’ll move on from Ormond Beach at some point. She calls herself “forever a child of the world” and says she’d like to travel to Rome and other destinations overseas.
She also plans to continue her volunteering work. “It certainly makes you a part of the community,” she said.