New paint, new owners for inn

Toms Brook couple who now own Wayside Inn say they have a long history with former owner Leo Bernstein

By Ryan Cornell

George “Len” Reeves and his wife, Rebecca “Becky,” went on a trip to California and all they got was the country’s oldest continuously operated inn.

Mrs. Reeves said they were visiting old friends and their son in the Golden State, cramped in a Mazda Miata they were delivering to him, when her sister called her on Oct. 7 and told her the Wayside Inn was going to be auctioned off.

The Toms Brook couple looked into the property and asked some friends if they could help them run it. On Wednesday, the couple purchased the Wayside Inn with a bid of $750,000 by phone.

The couple first moved to Toms Brook from Arlington in 1988. Len Reeves is retired and buys and sells cows on his 63-acre farm. Mrs. Reeves retired from FEMA in 2010.

“My husband had always wanted to have a B&B, a place where people traveling with horses, cows and pigs could stop and keep their animals in the yard,” Mrs. Reeves said. “But I felt like nobody would know about us. [The Wayside Inn] has such a rich history and it’s right here on Main Street.”

Part of that history includes ownership by Washington, D.C., banker and philanthropist Leo Bernstein, who owned the Strasburg Hotel, Strasburg Emporium and neighboring Wayside Theatre.

The Reeves family is no stranger to the Bernsteins. During his summers in high school, their son worked the front desk at a D.C. hotel owned by Bernstein. Len Reeves used to work for D.C. National Bank, which was run by Bernstein. Mrs. Reeves said she also worked with him in banking. Her dad worked in construction for him. Her father-in-law worked at the Strasburg Emporium.

“We always felt that Bernstein was generous toward our family,” Mrs. Reeves said.

She said she has plans to upgrade some of the older fixtures and paint the exterior of the property. She said she also plans to host Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners as well as an open house sometime between the two holidays.

She said they’ve asked Strasburg Councilwoman Sarah Mauck to help them out in the restaurant. She said Mauck will be in charge of running it.

“We know that people who bought it in 2009 put a lot of effort into it,” Mrs. Reeves said. “It’s a great opportunity. A very good price for the buyer and not so good for the seller.”

The inn eventually will hire staff, but it won’t be before the end of the year, she added.

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com