If you’ve ever wondered what the inside of Inn Around the Corner looks like – and plenty of people have – now’s your chance, following an extensive renovation to the Black Mountain inn.
Owners Chris and Myra Vergani closed the seven-bedroom inn in January to redo a bathroom, have the floors sanded and put in new fixtures and lighting. They redid the dining room too, but none of the work was the kind of thing a guest – a new guest, anyway – would notice. It involved a lot of activity, though – at times there were as many as seven or eight workers in the inn.
You can see the fruits of their labor during an open house from 2-7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21. The community is invited, and the Verganis are anxious to show them the inside. Through April, locals can stay at the inn for a 15 percent discount – a “staycation” that lets them luxuriate in comfort while staying close to home.
“To experience a wonderful breakfast, sit on the porches and walk to shopping and supper,” Chris said at the inn last week, summing up the experience. He hopes the discount will tempt locals to treat themselves to an experience they might not otherwise indulge in.
“We’ve had so many people say ‘we love your place, we’d love to see it,” Myra said. And they’ve asked if they can come to breakfast (the Verganis serve only guests). The “staycation” discount and the open house will allow the town to get a peek inside.
The large bedrooms with ornamental fireplaces have detached bathrooms, ports for phone charging and TVs if guests want to watch them. The antiques and art came from Myra’s family outside of Atlanta. The third-floor bedroom – the Blue Spruce Room – has a window seat that’s a favorite of one guest, who insists on sleeping there when she visits with her girlfriends.
Inn Around the Corner was built in 1915 by an artist, near as Chris can tell. The house changed hands a few times and “languished” twice, once in a family inheritance battle in which a daughter didn’t speak to her father for 40 years, Chris said.
During the 1950s the house was a boarding house and became an inn in the late 1980s. Nancy and Roger Schnepp bought it in 1998 and ran it as Inn Around the Corner, adding a wing in the back. In spring, 2015, the Verganis found the house by accident.
They were in Asheville, up from Florida, looking for an inn to buy. Myra was a registered dietician and Chris had been in the financial side of the hospitality business for 30 years. They weren’t finding anything that they liked, and they were getting frustrated.
“I was in a business that bought and sold resorts for millions of dollars, and we couldn’t find a bed and breakfast to buy,” Chris said. “It was driving me nuts.”
Myra suggested they take the day off to go to Black Mountain, a town she remembered from a previous visit. They showed up in town at 9:30 a.m. – half an hour before most of the shops opened up, they noted approvingly – and walked around downtown.
“He said this is a town I would love to live in,” Myra said. “Everyone was so nice when we walked into the stores. They all asked, what brings you to Black Mountain?”
They told them they were in the area looking for an inn to buy “and everyone said the Inn Around the Corner was for sale,” Chris said. They drove literally around the corner to look at it. The yard was a bit overgrown for their tastes, but the house looked good. They loved the double porches on the front.
“We saw a lot of potential,” Myra said. “I broke two of my cardinal rules,” Chris said. “I don’t look at a place without running the numbers, and I don’t cold call.”
The Verganis did both, going up to the door to meet the Schnepps, who “very graciously” showed us around, Myra said. “We saw potential in a fantastic town,” she said.
Six months later, Chris was closing on the sale. Two hours later he was upstairs making the beds.
The renovations began immediately. New furniture was brought in (they wanted things that looked at home in a century-old house). Each of the seven bedrooms got a new bedframe. They menu was reworked.
Chris loves to cook. He makes the kinds of breakfasts that guests aren’t likely to make for themselves, such as soufflés and stuffed French toast made with croissants, Madeira wine and pecans.
And if someone has a special diet, Myra (the registered dietician) can accommodate them, Chris said. Being an innkeeper is all about accommodation.
“It’s a business, but you never want to say no,” he said. “You find a way to say yes. That’s just a part of hospitality. We want to make people feel relaxed.”
Inn Around the Corner is having an open house from 2-7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21.