Innkeepers to welcome holiday customers

Upcoming holiday celebrations will help to bolster the historic Wayside Inn at Middletown for the next few months after the owners’ decision to take the building off the market.

George and Becky Reeves said they were planning to sell the building in June after almost two years of owning the inn and pouring more than $200,000 into various needed repairs – what George Reeves called “raising the Titanic.” The listing will expire today and the Reeveses want to use the coming months to reach out for further community involvement.

The couple stressed that they were never in it to turn a profit, they simply wanted to invest in the future of an integral building in Middletown’s history. George Reeves said that at one point they had considered pursuing nonprofit status.

“Our goal was – in the relatively short term – to what we call ‘save the inn’ and try to develop enough interest in the community,” he said.

At one point, more than half the inn’s staff were out because of various incidents, and the Reeveses were working continuous 12-hour days. Since then, the couple has recouped or hired new staff to prepare for crowds of 100 or more.

Spirit Watch Enterprises will host Spirits of the Wayside Inn with television ghost hunter guests Dustin Pari and John Tenney on Saturday, and the entire inn has been booked for the night. Later in the coming months, the inn will be hosting those visiting for the 151st Battle of Cedar Creek anniversary, a Halloween concert event and small groups and private parties that have booked up several weekends.

“We have had reasonable good success with the Christmas type of (events),” George Reeves said. “You don’t see it as much as you used to … budgets are a little leaner and tighter, and there’s a heck of a lot more competition.”

Besides the influx of guests for the holidays, the Reeveses said they want the inn to be a more viable day-to-day option for dining and a venue more local groups like Valley Needle Works take advantage of for meetings and small events.

“A certain nucleus of townspeople have been supportive, but it’s the minimum,” George Reeves said.

Recently, cooperation efforts with local businesses have given the couple some unexpected but welcome business. George Reeves said those types of relationships are vital in keeping up the momentum with partners in the community.

Previous owners Jacob and Lois Charon sold the inn to the Reeveses in October 2013 after six weeks on the market. The Charons had purchased the inn in 2009 for $1 million and sold it via auction for $806,250. The Reeveses listed the inn for sale at $1.1 million in June after their investments.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com