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I help people find their own way to the retreat they need . . . whether it's a weekend away or an afternoon listening to their heart . . . we all deserve

 love, light & beautiful spaces

equus coach
innkeeper . boutique owner 
writer . interior designer 

About Gari

Hi, I'm Gari Lister! I grew up in Washington, DC, the oldest daughter of two lawyers.  I spent much of my life doing what I was "supposed to" -- I graduated from Wellesley College and got a law degree from George Washington University.  Even though I repeatedly proclaimed that I was only going to practice law for a year or two, somehow a year or two turned into twenty years and a partnership at a large law firm.  Along the way, I got married, divorced, married again and then adopted from Eastern Europe.  Children who have experienced early trauma present special challenges to their families, and I spent years grappling with our struggles and learning how to to help first our kids and then other families.  I volunteered for organizations dedicated to helping older orphans like our girls, and became immersed in the world of attachment and trauma, serving on several boards. I coached families on how to help and understand their children and on how to shift things at home to find peace and connection.  (Trust Based Relational Intervention Practitioner, 2016; Trauma Competent Caregiving Facilitator, 2017)


But in the crush of work and home, like so many other warrior moms, I lost myself.  And the grief of losing both my parents in relatively quick succession only compounded that.  Yoga helped (RYT 200 hours 2014), as did a number of life coaching training courses I took.  Over the years, I gradually learned that I needed to shift both my internal perspective and my external circumstances; neither one was enough without the other.  And then on a whim I signed up for a morning of equus coaching and fell in love.  The connection I felt with the horse somehow made dealing with hard things both clearer and easier.   And ever since then, I've been on an equus coaching journey; it's helped me grieve, handle my frustration at my teenagers, and even work through what I truly need and want.  


In 2020, in the middle of covid, my husband and I bought an Inn in a beautiful tiny heart-filled town on the Rappahannock River in Virginia.  I've spent the next two years renovating and re-imaging the Inn, opening a boutique and a vacation rental home.  And today, after a long and winding path, I find myself sharing the lessons I have learned along the way through coaching, hospitality and design.

PS "Gari" is pronounced just like "Gary"

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Equus Coaching

connect with a horse and gain priceless insight with my support & gentle guidance

an hour or an afternoon of a magical heart-based retreat

Sometimes we all need a little support and understanding as we navigate life's challenges -- and to me, that's what life coaching is about.  As your coach, my goal isn't to tell you what to do (this isn't high school track); instead, it's to help you dial in to what you want and need.  And with equus coaching, I have the best partner in the world!  Horses have highly attuned nervous systems, and as herd animals they want to connect with us. So no matter how good we are at hiding feelings or fears, our bodies always reflect our truth, and horses read that energy.  They offer us a clear and yet always gentle and compassionate mirror to ourselves and the patterns that shape how we show up in the world.   

Every session is different, but equus coaching has helped me work through challenges and has showed me:

how I show up in my work and family relationships

my deep need for space and

my fears about truly stepping into my own power

And connecting with a magnificent horse is, quite simply, fun! No horse experienced is required; there is absolutely no riding involved -- everything is on the ground.

Mountains in Clouds

Blog: Space in the Chaos of Crazy

I have a lot of crazy in my life -- work demands, teenage dramas, haywire puppies and more.  Along the way, I've learned a few things that help . . . and some that don't. 

This blog explores my journey toward peace -- or at least a little breathing room:)


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sometimes we all need a physical getaway . . . or something special to bring us joy 

As an entrepreneur, I love building businesses that bring peace and joy to my customers . . . and make them feel like the special & amazing people they are

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The Chesapeake Inn

The Inn is designed to be what we call "Coastal Elegant": elegant enough to make our guests feel special but not so elegant they can't put their feet -- or their puppies -- on the furniture.  Every room has a chandelier, original art and a mix of vintage and modern furniture.  We believe in true personalized hospitality . . . as a boutique inn with only 12 rooms, we focus on giving our guests the experience they want rather than a cookie cutter getaway.


Little Key House

Little Key is a laid back VBRO in the heart of Urbanna that brings a bit of Key West to our small Virginia town  . . . a little more on the laid back side than the Chesapeake Inn, little key is designed to help you -- and your kids and pets -- have the perfect escape from everyday life with a pool, hot tub & lots of love

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Ballgown Barefoot

Ballgown Barefoot refers to those seemingly perfect moments when magically you feel beautiful and special -- like a princess in a ballgown -- but also absolutely comfortable and authentic -- barefoot.


We carefully collect and curate gifts and home decor to create perfect moments of beauty, love & delight for our clients' home, wardrobe and life.  Some are "self care" tools, but some are just ways to personalize your space -- and others are just plain fun!


Hello!  I'd love to hear from you!

Send me an email or send me a text if you'd like to explore equus coaching or if you have any questions:). Or just come by the Chesapeake Inn or Ballgown Barefoot and pop in to say hi!

Gari Lister

Urbanna, Virginia

Washington, DC


Thanks for reaching out!

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