During the summer of 2010, cast and crew of Lifetime’s “On the Road with Austin and Santino” traveled to Radford to create a dress for a local policewoman. Two Pulaski County businesses interacted with the group and found themselves wishing they would never leave.
Historic Rockwood Manor in Dublin became the crew’s home base, as well as residence, while in the area. According to the owners, their lives were turned upside down.
“They came in and changed the world for me,” said Sarah Kent Schell. “When you’re young you might have trouble with change but not like you do when you are older.”
Although the crew rearranged her inn, blacked out windows and placed huge stage lights throughout the residence, Schell found her guests delightful.
“They were a wonderful group,” said Schell.
The group obviously felt the same of her. They affectionately called her Grandma and spent the majority of their free time talking with her about their adventures and lives back home, including the show’s stars, Austin Scarlett and Santino Rice.
Schell said she had an artists’ bond with Austin, as she spent the majority of her life as an interior designer. She also recalled that as soon as she heard Santino’s “deep, wonderful voice” she knew he had to be a singer as well and he performed her a song.
Baker’s Best employee Chris Vandyke has his own experience serving the cast and crew. The local catering company was hired to serve daily meals during the show’s stay. Vandyke’s first experience meeting Austin, to him, was quite embarrassing.
The company’s owner, Linda Eads, said Vandyke was down on the floor at the Rockwood Manor unpacking food when he looked up to see what he thought were a pair of women’s shoes.
As he lifted his head, Vandyke began to say, “Can I help you m’aim…” Realizing upon first glance he was looking at one of the show’s male stars, Vandyke quickly apologized saying “Oh… I am so sorry.”
To which Austin replied, “Honey don’t worry about it, it happens all the time.”
Vandyke agreed talking to the crew was one of the most fascinating parts of his job that week.
“It was interesting to get to talk to these individuals who travel all over the country nine months out of the year living out of a suitcase literally six to nine months at a time,” said Vandyke.
Eads believes they were the best catering company for the job as flexibility was a necessity, something many companies do not offer.
“They had a lot of interesting things that they wanted us to do,” said Eads.
The company’s employees worked in shifts serving different portions of the crew, sometimes working up to 12 hours in one day and carrying boxes of food up many flights of stairs; however, the crew was happy to help in any way they could.
Both Rockwood Manor and Baker’s Best did not know who they were booking services for at the beginning of the process. Linda Eads realized it was the stars of a spin off of one her favorite shows, Project Runway, when she began billing for services.
Frank Schell, son of Sarah Schell, found out his clients identities all on his own. “I wasn’t hesitant,” said Frank, “I just wanted to know who they were. I did a little research and found out it was for real.”
According to Baker’s Best the cast and crew of “On the Road with Austin and Santino” plan to make a trip back to the New River Valley to shoot another show centered in Blacksburg within the next year.