Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2015 - 45
country riVer inn
9060 GaTeWood Road, FayeTTevIlle,
304-574-0055 | CounTRyRIveRInn.CoM
Two rooms can be rented inside the schoolhouse at the Whitestone Country Inn
near Kingston, Tennessee.
Lying near West Virginia's popular Hatfield McCoy Trails, the
Bramwell High School ATV Lodge
caters to customers who love to
ride all-terrain vehicles.
"It's kind of a dormitory-style
set-up," says the owner and operator, Eric Dunham. "People get to
hang out and meet different people, and they end up having a
really good time together."
The old high school at Bramwell
closed in 2004. But one section -
the gymnasium and the band
room - was recently refurbished as
the lodge in Mercer County. "And
I like knowing it is being used for
something to bring people here,"
says Bramwell's mayor, Lou Stoker,
who attended the brick high
school in the 1950s.
Sleeping in this old school -
with group rates averaging about
$25 per person - is kind of like a
giant sleepover: You bunk in communal sleeping quarters and take
turns sharing the bathrooms.
Restaurant for Recess: Sample the
crab cake slider - with some sweet tea
- in nearby Bluefield, West Virginia,
at the Rail Yard (304-800-4141), a
restaurant where postcards of the
past lie under glass on the
Alice Cooper may have had a hit
singing "School's Out" for summer.
But, in the heat of summer from
June to September, it is actually cool
to be in the school now known as
the Country River Inn in Fayette
County, West Virginia.
"There are times when we go 110
days straight without a day off,"
says the owner, Richard Arnt, who
operates the six-room inn with his
wife, Lois Amos, and their daughter,
A portion of this old school
building dates to 1929; another section was constructed in the 1960s.
The exterior walls still look like
it's time for bells to ring and children to sing. "There's really not
much that you can do to the outside
of the building to disguise it," Arnt
says. "And I don't know that you
Just before this school was shuttered and subsequently sold, officials put on a fresh roof and installed
new windows. Soon after, Arnt's
father-in-law, the late George Amos,
bought the brick building at an auction in 1987.
"He bought it just because it was
a good deal."
It took another 14 years before
Arnt assigned himself a task that
most shop class students would only
dream about: Refigure walls, bust
out blocks, paint and plaster.
In the end, the Fayetteville
Consolidated School became the
Country River Inn in 2005. "And a
lying near WeSt Virginia'S popular
hatfield Mccoy trailS, the BraMWell
high School atV lodge caterS to
cuStoMerS Who loVe to ride allterrain VehicleS.
May/June 2015 45