Shepherdstown is the oldest town in West Virginia, and Thomas Shepherd Inn is the only bed and breakfast in town. Six guest rooms are available.
Innkeeper Jeanne Muir, who owns the B&B with Jim Ford, answered some questions about the inn.
Thomas Shepherd Inn
Corner of Duke and German Streets
Shepherdstown, West Virginia
Please tell us a little about your inn's history.
The Thomas Shepherd Inn Bed and Breakfast was built in 1868 as the parsonage for a Lutheran church in Shepherdstown, on land once owned by Thomas Shepherd. Previous to the construction of the Federal-style building that is now the Inn, the first house was built on the property in 1774 and was owned by Aaron Jewett, a prominent town attorney.
Many of the changes to the building were made after 1936, when two young physicians, Dr. Halvard Wanger and Dr. S. Elizabeth McFetridge, moved into the house and raised two sons and two daughters. They added the back Duke Street quarter of the house to provide offices and examining rooms for their patients. A plaque on the Duke Street exterior wall commemorates their presence. In the interior of the inn, evidence still remains of the additions -- an exterior window in the back hallway to guest room 4.
The property was purchased in 1983 from Elizabeth McFetridge's estate by Ed and Carol Ringoot, who renovated it as a gracious bed and breakfast in the traditional style to serve the Shepherdstown area. Hospitality for travelers has continued since that time through to the current owners.
What are some of your inn's unique features?
We are the only B&B in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, the oldest town in the state. From the inn, you can walk to over a dozen dining options, unique shops and our small independent movie theater, as well as Shepherd University for music and theater.
We have a large living room with three seating areas, a well-stocked library on the second floor near the guest rooms and a spacious porch overlooking the garden, also on the second floor. I make homemade spice biscotti as a treat to go along with our early morning coffee service, set out at 7:00 a.m.
What are some of the attractions in your area that guests seem to enjoy the most?
We get a big crowd for the Contemporary American Theater Festival held in July every year, a series of four brand-new plays with professional actors at Shepherd University. The C&O Canal Path for biking and hiking is less than half a mile away, just across the Potomac River and now easily accessible from the access ramp of the new Rumsey Bridge.
Historic sites are nearby -- Antietam Battlefield (the bloodiest battle of the Civil War with 23,000 casualties) is less than 5 miles away and Harpers Ferry, scene of John Brown's uprising, is about 10 miles away. There are several outfitters in Harpers Ferry who can arrange rafting and tubing trips.
Twice a year, in June and September, the Mountain Heritage Arts and Crafts Festival is held nearby. Fall brings out the foliage watchers who take short drives into the mountains to enjoy the leaves changing and just relax.
Which is your personal favorite room at your bed and breakfast?
Room 6 has a lot of the features that I look for when I go to a B&B; a comfortable sitting area with good lighting for reading, a pretty bed that's not too frou-frou, and it has a clawfoot tub for a nice long soak. Room 1, though, is a room that I redecorated using a red/white toile theme and I think it is a very pretty room. I also love the chaise lounge chair in that room and the electric fireplace.
How do you make a stay at your B&B special?
We know our town very well and can help with dining arrangements, things to do, and the general history. We can provide special packages -- flowers and locally-made chocolate truffles or a celebration cake for a special occasion, at very reasonable prices. Other than that, we're here to help you or leave you enjoy your stay in peace, whatever you want!
What might a guest expect to have at a typical breakfast in your inn?
Our full breakfasts consist of a fruit course, an entree, and fresh baked goods. Guests have recently enjoyed hot apple soup with a mushroom/cheese omelet and local sausage patties with sour cream coffee cake; another morning's menu consisted of fresh fruit and blueberry-pecan French toast with crisp local bacon and zucchini bread.
We're happy to accommodate special diets or food allergies -- just let us know what your needs are when you make your reservation. Our breakfasts are typically served in our two dining rooms, each with a communal table, from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.