Chester Gap column for Aug. 14

Renovations continue at Mountain Home

We recently had the pleasure to spend a few hours with Lisa and Scott Jenkins, the current owners of Mountain Home Bed & Breakfast in Front Royal, across from the entrance to Lake Front Royal. The Jenkins purchased the property from Nevill Turner in 2013.

Mountain Home is listed on the national and Virginia Department of Natural Resources registers as a historic property; the original main home was built in 1847 by wealthy landowner Samuel Gardener. An addition was added to the back of the home in 1869. It is one of the few structures in our area that survived the Civil War.

There are seven designated historical structures on the property — the main house, lower garage, upper garage, chicken coop, meat house, sheep shed and “The Cabbin,” the only spot currently available for rent. It can be rented by through hikers and visitors to the area.

So-called because Gardener’s daughter, Annie, refers to it in her diaries as such, Lisa says The Cabbin was originally a log cabin from the 1780s, slave quarters from the 1800s and the tri-county courtroom for Rappahannock, Page and Warren Counties in the early 20th century.

Mountain Home is a work in progress. The Jenkins showed us all three levels and explained in great detail their plans for renovation, including working with a historical contractor to ensure the renovations are as accurate as possible. The home still contains the original fireplaces, hardwood floors and in some areas Greek revival woodwork around the doorways.

In some areas of the basement one can see the original wood beams dating back to the 1800s. The Jenkins’ plan on three rooms, all with private bathrooms, that will be available for rent. Two will be on the second floor along with their private quarters. The upper floor will also have a sitting room/library for guests to enjoy.

The main level, along with a gathering area and a handicapped accessible room, will have a large kitchen and workspace for Scott, who loves to can. The basement or lower level will have a game room/entertainment area for through hikers and guests.

The Jenkins currently reside in McLean during the week and at Mountain Home on the weekend, alternating work schedules so someone is always present to care for the property. They are active with local chapter of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) and they will be hosting an ATC family hike on Sept. 27. (Scott hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2012.) The Jenkins had their first guests in the winter of 2013 and hope to have renovations complete in four years.