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Family preserving historic Berkeley Springs Country Inn

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BERKELEY SPRINGS, WV -

The main structure of the Country Inn in Berkeley Springs has stood as an icon in the community for the past 81 years.

Built in 1932, it has changed very little over the years although additions were made and other buildings added on the grounds. The inn was closed in May 2013 when its owners declared bankruptcy. The inn was auctioned off in August 2013. Purchased for $800,000 by the Omps family, the inn reopened in November 2013 and currently has 40 of the 70 rooms and suites ready to occupy.
 
The family includes patriarch Larry Omps and his wife Barbara, Matt and Kristy Omps, Andy Omps and Elizabeth Hinckle, and Lara Omps-Botteicher and her husband Marcus.
 
Guests entering the Inn are welcomed to the Gallery Room. A piano sets in one corner and a fireplace in another. The large sofas in the center of the room beckon guests to come and relax. The walls are lined with paintings reflecting historical relevance. The balcony of honeymoon suites is complete with old wooden floors. One suite touts a claw-foot bathtub while another modern corner Jacuzzi tub.
 
The inn also offers the Parkview banquet room, which is attached to the original part of the building and seats over 200 people. The banquet room is very unique. Several trees are growing up through the building.
 
"The trees were about six inches in diameter when planted," Matt Omps said. "Now they are 24 inches round."
 
Behind the inn is a two-bedroom treehouse cottage. From its lofty windows guests can see downtown Berkeley Springs. For executive retreats, family reunions or any large group needing to get away, the Omps family offers the Retreat Center with six bedrooms and a conference area. An elevator in the west end of the back building connects rooms and out buildings.
 
The Country Inn also offers the Renaissance Spa. Berkeley Springs is noted for its drinking and bathing medicinal waters to seek health and relief from stress of everyday life. The Inn, like the adjoining park, is tapped into the town's famous warm springs and offers a variety of spa services.
 
The Parkview restaurant and tavern will be opening in December. The entire complex employs a staff of 40, but preparing the inn for its opening has been a family affair.
 
"We have all been heavily involved in getting everything up and going," Matt Omps said. "My father has been in the construction industry for over 40 years. When it comes to renovating, we have been busy with hands-on work."
 
Omps said the family is trying to keep the historical feel and charm of the original inn. No major renovations will be done to change that ambiance.
 
"We've been working on getting everything clean and functional. Amenities such as bed linens, hair dryers and such have been upgraded," said Omps.
 
"The town and community are behind us," he said. "It is amazing how many local people call and want to stay here. I really think they are offering their support. It's been overwhelming."
 
Family members want to bring the inn back to the prominence it once had. The famed Berkeley Springs Hotel was built in 1848 by Col. John Strother. It burned in 1898, leaving the site empty until 1932 when Walter "Toad" Harmison and his wife Jennie Hawvermale Harmison built on the historic site adjacent to Berkeley Spring State Park.
 
Omps said his family plans to bring the remaining rooms and suites online as they continue preparing them for guests.
 
"Several guests in the past have come through since we purchased the inn. We asked them what they would recommend we do to improve the inn," Omps said. "The answer was, ‘Nothing.'"
 
For information on the Country Inn, call 304-258-1200 or visit the website at thecountryinnwv.com.