Once a historic private home, the 200-year-old Edgarton Inn is now a homey bed and breakfast.
photographed by Elizabeth Roth
Kathy King is out of bed each morning by 5 a.m. She gets herself ready and puts the coffee on by at least 6. She spends the next few hours cracking eggs, frying bacon or sausage, slicing fruit, and baking bread. Breakfast is served at around 8 a.m.
There’s almost always a crowd waiting for her. Sometimes they’re proud parents headed to a graduation at the nearby West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, or PGA golf marshals working the Greenbrier Classic, or New Orleans Saints fans come to watch the team go marching into its White Sulphur Springs training camp.
No matter who the guests are, they have one thing in common: They come to the table hungry. That’s no problem for King. “I love cooking for large groups,” she says. That’s one of the reasons she opened the Edgarton Inn in Ronceverte in 2010.
King is a Ronceverte native and always wanted to open a bed and breakfast, but told herself the dream would have to wait until her kids finished school. As luck would have it, the home that would become the Edgarton Inn came up for sale when her daughter was a senior in college. “I’ve always loved this home since I was a child,” she says. “It’s laid out perfectly for a B&B.”
The house actually predates the town where it resides. The first section was built in 1810 by Thomas Edgar, who founded the settlement of St. Lawrence Ford, which would become Ronceverte more than 70 years later. The home would remain in the Edgar family for three generations.
It was later home to Colonel Cecil C. Clay, timber baron and Ronceverte founding father. Another resident, Colonel C.E. Best, is responsible for the Victorian-style expansion of the home in the 1880s. A family of prominent merchants, the Townleys, purchased the home in 1917 and kept the property for much of the 20th century until selling it to the Allison family in 1986. King bought the home in 2010, two hundred years after the first residents moved in.
Although the home was naturally suited to become a bed and breakfast, King still had plenty of work to do before she was ready to welcome guests. She partitioned off a private residence downstairs while preparing the rest of the first floor with a meal serving area, dining room, and formal sitting room. She also brought the kitchen up to code so it would pass a health department inspection.
The major renovations, however, happened on the home’s second floor. When she purchased the home, the second floor had only one bathroom. King installed two more while also painting the walls, stripping and refinishing floors, and refinishing the original plaster that remained in many of the rooms. She also added a hospitality suite on the second floor with comfortable chairs, a television, and a kitchenette, and outfitted each guest room with beds, tables, chairs, local art, and antiques.
The Edgarton Inn now has four guest rooms. Three have queen-size beds, as well as a full or daybed. The fourth space, the “Renaissance Suite” located in one of the home’s tower rooms, is perfect for families with children or larger groups. It features a queen bed, daybed, and private sitting area.
Of course, nice rooms are only part of the reason guests go to a bed and breakfast. “That’s the thing about B&B crowds—they love to network and get to know other guests,” King says. The Edgarton Inn has plenty of room for that. The large backyard has cornhole and ladder ball games to keep folks busy, but many people just like to relax on the comfy covered porch. “In my location, a lot of them love to hear the hum of the trains going by,” she says.
King strives to make each guest’s stay as homey as possible. She’s happy to consider special dietary needs and will even prepare breakfast early if guests need to leave before the usual mealtime. When the PGA golf marshals arrive each July, King serves them breakfast at 5 a.m.
Each evening around 7 or 8 p.m. King puts out a snack and beverage as guests start returning to the B&B. It’s usually something sweet like a cookie or brownie along with sweet tea, lemonade, or coffee. “Whatever the weather’s driving,” she says.
It’s about meeting the guests’ needs but also anticipating their desires. That’s what King most enjoys about being an innkeeper. “Adding little special things to the rooms. Putting out that snack in the evening and watching their eyes light up. Having something different at breakfast they’ve never had before. If it’s an anniversary couple or a honeymoon couple, that special thing I might add to give it that touch,” she says.
Rooms at the Edgarton Inn begin at $85, although prices increase depending on the room and the season. King stays busy from mid-June to mid-October, so it’s a good idea to reserve your room as early as possible. 305 Walnut Street, Ronceverte; 304.645.1588; edgartoninn.com