The Inn’s restaurant and lodging facilities closed in October of last year. “We were concerned about the Inn sitting empty and the impact that has on all Main Street businesses,” says Susie Newlen, owner of Highland‘s Mountain Flowers, who organized a group of community retailers to discuss options for saving and revitalizing the Inn. “I am thrilled that The Highland Center has stepped in to help find investors and explore ways to renovate the Inn.”
The Highland Inn is not only a historic Main Street feature, being built in 1904 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register, but it is also Highland County’s largest lodging facility. “A major feature of The Highland Center’s renovation is the conference-retreat center, which is designed to bring more visitors to the area, encourage start-ups such as a catering business, and bring mid-week and off-season revenue to the County,” says The Highland Center’s Executive Director Betty Mitchell. “That project is really not possible without a large-scale lodging facility such as the Highland Inn.”
“This was a natural decision for us,” says board member Donna Bedwell, who is also chair of the Highland County Tourism Council. “The Inn is such an important piece of infrastructure, and its success is critical to The Highland Center’s community and economic development efforts.”
The Highland Inn will be open for overnight lodging over both Maple Festival weekends and will serve continental breakfast for guests. Plans are for the restaurant and lodging to be fully up and running by early summer.
“We want this to be a community endeavor,” says Mitchell. “We will have volunteer work days to make minor repairs, as well as open forums to talk about the future of the Inn.” Long-term plans are to rehabilitate the Inn and come up with an investment model that encourages local ownership.
The Center will hold a Community Visioning & Potluck Dinner in the dining room of the Inn on Thursday, April 30 from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. Please join us to talk about the future of the Inn. If you have questions or would like to be involved please call The Highland Center at (540) 468-1922.
See The Recorder’s article here.