A Romantic  Timber Frame Getaway

About Us

Ralph and Karen

Your Hosts . . .

Karen and Ralph Riddle


Karen, born in NYC, is the middle daughter of parents who were second and third generation European. Following her early years in NYC, Karen’s family moved to Pennsylvania… and ultimately Virginia. Ralph is the youngest of two in what was a military family. His father met his German mother in Germany in the 1950’s where they married. His father, a career soldier, spent several tours with the family in Germany… where Ralph was often raised by his German mother and relatives while his father was deployed or on duty. This was the beginning of Ralph’s indoctrination to European culture and language. After Ralph’s father’s retirement from the US Army, they settled in Newport News, VA. Karen and Ralph met and started dating during high school in Newport News, Virginia in the early 1980’s. Immediately upon graduation from college, they married.

Karen pursued a career in business where she excelled in Sales; ultimately, making a name for herself selling technology product internationally and opening offices overseas. Ralph began as a fledgling Landscape Architect. After pursuing this career for a couple of years, he became tired of a minimalist lifestyle and his “wanderlust” took over. Ralph and Karen became a military family on Dec 1988. The couple settled nicely in the military life where Karen continued to travel the world selling technology product while Ralph travelled the world at Uncle Sam’s direction. Ralph and Karen enjoyed three European tours of duty (two in Germany and one in Italy) which further inspired them to pursue their vision of Shadow Mountain Escape. In later years, Karen reconnected with her German relatives near Marburg, Germany. Karen and Ralph, when not working their business, return continually to Europe (their other home) to visit their families, seek adventure, and to be inspired.

Shadow Mountain Escape proudly is a Virginia Green business and has been awarded Virginia Green Travel awards! To learn more about Virginia Green visit: Virginia Green – Supporting Sustainable Tourism