It was while training for the Ironman that Darryl discovered Luray, Virginia,. He was bicycling on Skyline Drive and got off at Thornton Gap. “I’m coming down the hill to [U.S. Route] 211 and I can’t really see Luray yet but I see the valley and I’m like, ‘Oh my God, this is gorgeous,’” he recalls. “I finished my ride, I come back, I drive around and find the lake. I’m looking at the roads, the community and the resources that are here. Sixty days later I came back and bought a bed and breakfast.”
Though he hung up his running shoes two years ago and does more cycling these days, Darryl is a regular spectator at the Luray Triathlon. “It’s a great introductory race for most people,” he says. “The organization of the race itself is very proficient and it’s a nice, scenic course.” Darryl says it’s nice for beginners because the lake water is not choppy, and the bike and run courses are challenging yet beautiful. Darryl, who has continued to be involved in personal fitness training and athletics for more than 25 years, has even helped train athletes for the Luray Triathlon.
Owning and operating the Darryl Haley Bed and Breakfast is a perfect fit for Darryl, who loves people. “When you’re playing sports, especially at the level of a professional athlete, you’re kind of isolated because everything is done for you,” he says. “I think people are fascinating. Being able to sit and talk and exchange with all different types of people from every walk of life is pretty awesome.”
Darryl enjoys hosting Luray Triathlon participants at his B&B every year. “The hosting part is really fun because you get to provide them with a pre-race meal before, you understand what their needs are going to be with the bikes and after the race I have something for them to eat again and then they can just sit back and relax.”
Not only does he enjoy cooking for guests, but Darryl, whose mother taught him to cook at an early age, has a love for food and baking that goes back to his childhood. “I like baking all kinds of stuff,” he says, “but the pound cake is a very interesting cake to make in a sense that it’s one of the simplest cakes to make, but at the same time one of the most complex cakes you’ll ever make.” The recipe he uses was shared by a dear friend years ago and he’s tweaked it some over the years to make it his very own.
He sells his pound cakes at his B&B and Luray vineyard, The Valley Cork, and also makes cookies and chocolates to sell. Proceeds benefit female veterans and the wives of veterans with everyday life maintenance. Darryl recognizes that freedom isn’t free and does what he can to assist the men and women who protect this great country. Every pound cake is made by Darryl himself, who bakes them in the commercial kitchen at the B&B, one at a time, to make sure the recipe is just right. “Pound cake requires you to be a little disciplined, kind of like doing triathlon, when you’re working with it.”