First established B&B in New River Gorge now for sale
Nearly 35 years after its inception, the New River Gorge’s first bed and breakfast is on the market, and times have changed in almost inconceivable ways during that time, according to its owners.
“Nothing is the same here 35 years ago,” says Susana McArthur, the third owner of Garvey House since it was established as a lodging facility in 1988.
“The internet was still young when we took over the property, and some things, like rafting, have been completely reinvented since its inception.”
For example, the creation of a full-fledged national park was still a pipe dream when the Garvey House opened its doors to guests. The National Park Service ten years earlier had created the New River Gorge National River, but the designation as a park was several years old.
Airbnbs was not only unknown, but also inconceivable before the invention of the World Wide Web. McArthur coincidentally created the property’s first website through West Virginia Explorer in 2005, long before online marketplaces like VRBO were widely used.
Rock climbing, too, drew only a few thousand souls a year to the gorge in 1988, though it now draws tens of thousands of climbers, and the area ranks alongside Yosemite and the Shawagunks as climbing destination.
Whitewater rafting also flourished in the gorge until the 1990s, although the pursuit declined significantly by 2000, only to be revived with the designation of New River Gorge National Park and Reserve in 2020.
Now, however, McArthur says it’s time to pass the property near the edge of the park to new owners.
“The new park opens so many new doors and creates so many new possibilities, but it’s time for us to connect with our families and our grandchildren, and it’s time for someone new to take ownership of the property,” she said.
Even before the five-bedroom house became an inn, it had already achieved local fame for its gardens and as the residence of one of the area’s leading industrialists, JW Garvey, superintendent of the Maryland-New River Coal Co.
Garvey and his wife developed the house after it was built by the coal company in 1900, including constructing an elaborate series of gardens that climb into the forests behind the house.
“Ms. Garvey was particularly proud of the gardens,” McArthur said. “She spent years designing the ponds and walls and commissioning the plants with the help of a longtime gardener.”
McArthur said that in recent years she has worked with the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia to name the property to the National Register of Historic Places.
If found eligible for registry, grants and tax credits may be available to help restore and maintain the property.
For more information on selling the property, visit the Foxfire Realty listing.