Highland Inn Closes

A burning front porch light on Halloween is normally a sign that treats can be found at a particular address – however, that was not the case this year at The Highland Inn in Monterey. While the porch light was indeed on, the lights inside were not, and a sign on the door informed all that the establishment was closed for the foreseeable future.

First constructed in 1904 and originally known as the Hotel Monterey, the Inn is a Historic Virginia Landmark, and has long been a mainstay for travelers visiting Highland County, whether for the annual Maple Festival, fall foliage sight-seeing, or summertime road trips.

It has been owned and operated for the last 12 years by Gregg and Debbie Morse, who will continue to manage the Montvallee Motel, where they currently reside. In a press release announcing the closing at the end of October, the Morses’ noted that they had done what they could during their tenure to keep the Inn in good repair, including installation of a new roof and renovation of the two level porch in 2004, but they were limited in upgrading other areas. The national economic downturn hurt the owners’ fortunes, and it’s length eventually forced the decision to close the facility. The Morses’ were quick to express appreciation to friends and patrons for their support, and to current and past staff for their dedication and concern for the Inn and it’s future.

While the future of the Inn may be in transition, county commerce, tourism and economic development leaders were confident that needs of visitors could be met during it’s hiatus. They felt better days lay ahead for the Inn, and that the historic facility provided a great opportunity for potential new owners.

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle. scott@amrmail.org

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