Omni Homestead Associate has seen decades of service

This radio interview is Part Two of a pair of stories about Mrs. Virginia Strasser who has worked at the Omni Homestead for 66years. She is currently in the general accounts office, but recently finds herself sharing her history with hotel guests, and news reporters from further afield than Allegheny Mountain Radio. I would also like to have this pair of stories be the first in a collection about working in the Allegheny Highlands. I’ll hope to address some of these questions.   What are some of the companies or organizations we work for? How do seasoned workers think the next generation should best prepare to find and keep work here? What are some of the changes employees have seen over the years?

I asked Mrs. Strasser what she thought of the water park that opened up at the Omni Homestead in the last couple of years.

“That was really an asset to our hotel. It brings in a lot more families.”

“More so than golfers, maybe?”

“Yeah, well no, golf is still one of our most popular things you know. But it brings in a lot of people.”

As well as being such a longstanding Omni Homestead associate, Virginia Strasser has easily stepped into a spokesperson role sharing hotel history with guests. She told me too that the Old Course-

“was opened in 19and13, and Donald Ross was the designer, in 1913, and that’s called the Old Course now, and the shooting sports came in 1911; they came to the Homestead; this was in the history notes. And the Warms Springs Pool, the Jefferson Pool was opened in 1761.”

Whether it is the Pools, or all of the comforts, or the mountains, something draws guests back again and again. Mrs. Strasser believes for many visitors it is something more personal.

“I met a couple last year that had been coming here since he was seventeen years old, and he was seventy. Why, he’d been coming at the hotel all those years, each year with his family, and now his children are coming too. So I think that’s what keeps us going all the time. The children do whatever their parents did. If they come here, they remember that from their childhood, and they want to come back to the Homestead.”

Along with that kind of tradition there is all of the festive decking of the halls during the holidays.

“Our Hotel is gorgeous at Christmas. Christie Ford who is over all of retail does all of the decorating, and she is amazing. You can’t imagine how pretty those trees are.

Mrs. Strasser was glad to share a couple of her own favorite memories, one recent and one distant past.

“Now last year, last Christmas a year ago, I lit the Christmas Tree, and all my family was here for that.” Then she continued.

“One story I told, when I first came to work at this office, the guests used to mail post cards and letters and they didn’t put the postage on a postcard one time. And we had to, you know, put the postage on ‘em to mail them. Of course me, I read the little note, and the little boy wrote home and told his best friend that if you were a dog, you could stay at the Homestead for dollar a night.”

And if positive attitude is any indicator of how well we cope with change, then it’s no wonder Virginia Strasser has had so many years of success and satisfaction.

“I’ve worked here a Long time; I’ve seen a lot of changes, yeah, lots of changes; and they’re all for the best.”


Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

Current Weather