The Monterey Inn Is Set to Open in Spring 2023
You may have seen the sign on Main Street in Monterey. Work is underway and The Monterey Inn is coming soon.
Valentina Meehan, and her husband Paul, are the new owners of the new Inn.
“We bought a cabin in Highland County, in Mill Gap, during Covid and we sort of started coming to the area and fell in love with the place,” says Meehan. “We kept driving by Main Street, by this beautiful Victorian house and I just fell in love with it and once we saw it inside, I was like ‘We have to have it!’ And then we heard all these people saying how there’s no places to stay, you know, Highland Inn, as beautiful as it looks like outside, we don’t know when it’s going to open up. So, I thought since it’s already a commercial place, maybe we can turn it into a small hotel, which is what we’re doing.”
The Monterey Inn will have five bedrooms and will house about nine to ten guests. They are hoping to open around Maple Festival time.
“So, we first started by doing the outside, there were some buildings in the backyard that, unfortunately, were so old and held up by straps and mud and as much as we wanted to keep them and restore them, there was just absolutely no way we could do it,” says Meehan. “So, we started by clearing all that out and our plan is to build a big barn in the backyard that is going to serve as an event area for the hotel and for the community as well. Then inside, we are adding bathrooms to each bedroom and just sort of sprucing everything up and adding a commercial kitchen and getting it ready for the guests to come in.”
So why did they choose to come to Highland County?
“Because it’s the most beautiful and peaceful place on earth, I swear,” says Meehen. “So, we live in Northern Virginia now and Northern Virginia is an incredibly busy, fast paced, almost too many people, place. Now that our kids are growing up, we’re thinking about going somewhere where it’s a little bit more quiet, a little bit more slow paced. So, when we started looking in the area, my husband does a lot of bike riding, cycling, so he went out a lot to the Harrisonburg area and he was doing a lot of rides, a lot of charity rides and stuff like that. So, once we started seeing just the landscape and the beauty and more cows than people, that really started talking to us. And we finally found a cabin in Mill Gap that was up for sale and we drove there, first time, to Highland County in December. So, it was kind of snowy, there’s no leaves and I could only imagine what it would look like in the spring and the fall. This spring, summer and fall definitely didn’t disappoint in 2022. It was absolutely gorgeous. And we love the people around too. Everybody’s so friendly, everybody’s nice and I just love the small town feel. My husband is originally from Alexandria so his grandpa had a farm, he grew up on a farm and I’m from a small town, so it’s kind of like coming back home to us.”
The couple is splitting time now between Highland and Northern Virginia and they hope to become full time Highland residents in a few years.
“We were thinking about when we retire in Highland County, it would be nice to have something like that around and it will still keep us busy,” says Meehan. “And we’ll be able to hire local people to help us run it and it would be a nice retirement place. We’re incredibly excited to be part of this community and we’re just excited to open it up and start bringing a little bit more tourism to Highland County.”
Meehan wants to collect some history of the building for a display at the Inn. She is hearing lots of memories from people and would love to share them. If anyone would like to share their story or some history of the building, email Valentina@MontereyInnVA.com