High Meadows Vineyard Inn Essay Contest To Win

We have had a ton of questions regarding Owner's Quarters...so I'll try to do them justice here by putting everything in one place! I have tried to explain in other places that we have utilized MANY different parts of the inn for our own space over the years, as the needs of my family changed. I assume that the new owner will also use the spaces as they see fit. There is no 'one size fits all' owner's quarters here!! Options, however are everywhere. :) Since many people also are interested in the Cottage, I will start there:

This is a photo of the Cottage (today...leaves are falling fast!),

and the professional photo from late spring

which, as you can see from the floor plans below, is currently divided into two guest rooms, each with a private bath. This cottage was built in 1996ish for the previous owners' parents, and when they passed away, it was divided as you see it is now.  We removed the kitchen appliances - but there is still 220 elec and plumbing run to the little sitting area (the room with the windows and yellow walls below) that has the door onto the deck, just capped off, that could easily convert this space back into a kitchen. This cottage also has drop-down attic stairs, accessed from the bathroom for the Cottage Room, for a storage space where we currently keep all the boxes for holiday decorations.

This is a photo of the entry hall, looking in as you open the front door. To the left is the door to the Cottage Room, to the right is the door to the Cottage Suite (with the deck)

Photos of the interior of the Cottage Suite:

Here are a few photos of the Cottage Room:

These bottom two are obviously NOT the professional shots...but you can see the bathroom, and the new flooring, bed and table/chairs.

That pretty much sums up the cottage...definitely potential and space for owners quarters, if the winner is so inclined.

 These next pictures are of the basement hallway, in between the kitchen and the rooms my children use:

These stairs are the ones that go to the main level, and you can see into the kitchen from this photo. The doorknob is just pretty, it goes into the full bathroom on this level. The wooden closet doors on the left cover a whole wall of shelving we use for towel and linen storage.

I like the floors...white stones in the bathroom with painted brick wall, and brick floor in the hall.

The next photos are of the rooms down on the lower level that we turned into our personal space for living room/dining room. You can get a feel for the spaciousness, and the window placement. That's a great gas stove insert! Directly across from it (not pictured) is the door that connects the kitchen.

The photo below shows the small room adjacent to the room above, and which also has a door out to the brick patio. This 'window' you see is covered with a board divider, and is seen from the other side above my son's bed (with the red/white coverlet below).

I got brave and took pics of my teens' rooms...don't judge me...it's their mess. 

Top photo as a guest room many, many years ago - nice and neat. Bottom is my 13 year old daughter's vision of pink.We painted the paneling - it's not fancy woodwork, just literally beadboard panelling, added in the 80's to cover rough plaster walls. There is an in-the-room handsink. The floor is painted concrete - we like that, but basically you could put down anything you want over this surface. This is at the front of the house, with a door connecting to the full bath (that also has the door from the hall with the pretty knob...two doors into one bathroom), as you are reading the floorplan...the room on the bottom right of the picture below.

Below is my son's room (the bottom left room in the photo above) - it's a painted concrete floor as well. Nothing fancy, the windows let in nice light. It is at the front of the house, directly below the Peony room.

The last photo of where we 'live'...

This is called the 'Office' on the floor plan, it's on the main level, and we have a tv in an alcove here (not pictured, on the right), there is a full bathroom to the right also. 

Behind the curtain, there is a doorway we boarded up (but could easily be taken down) that leads to the massage room - which has a separate entrance from the back porch. Before we closed it off, that part of this room held the bed for this room, which has been a guest room, and was also where my mother lived when we first came. 

SO...these are some of the spaces you HAVEN'T seen on the website, as they are generally off limits to guests. I hope it's obvious there are SO MANY configurations for pretty much whatever the new owners needs are! Lastly, the laundry room, kitchen....

And the large chicken coop/tool shed. 

Now go, write your essay, and ENTER!!!  Good luck!

In a chilly drizzle on the county courthouse steps, Scottsville’s 175-year-old High Meadows Inn sold at auction for $360,000, less than half of the amount of the inn’s defaulted mortgage and about $200,000 less than its listed price.

But for the inn’s former owner and mortgage holder, it was a good day.

“I’m overwhelmed with happiness,” said Peter Sushka, who, with his wife, turned the 175-year-old federal and state historic building into a successful inn nearly 30 years ago. “I consider that the buyers got a fair bargain and there’s a good chance it will be an inn again. I think that’s great.”

The successful bidders declined to be identified or to comment. They also declined to say if they would continue operating High Meadows as an inn.

The buyers have 30 days to complete the sale and close on the property. The auction rules required that they put 10 percent of their bid down as a deposit.

Sushka was one of only two bidders on the 13-acre historic estate that includes a unique home with five guest rooms and five bathrooms; a cottage with two guest rooms and two bathrooms, one commercial kitchen and two dining rooms; and owner’s quarters.

His bid of $349,000 started the auction, with the winning bid coming afterward. No one else bid on the property.

The sale closes out a low time for High Meadows, which went on the auction block after its current owners defaulted on the $737,000 mortgage. The inn had been on the real estate market for as little as $550,000 before foreclosure and was the center of a failed win-the-inn essay contest in 2015.

High Meadows, first known as Fairview, was built between 1831 and 1832 by Scottsville businessman Peter White as a one-and-a-half-story brick house. It stayed in the family for 50 years before being sold in 1882 to Charles B. Harris, who ran a Scottsville mercantile store.

Rather than tear down the older house, Harris built a new stucco and brick house next to it and connected the two buildings together to form one home. Rather than connecting the two buildings with a hyphen hall, which would have given the joined buildings an “H” shape, Harris built a hallway that ran the length of the buildings and connected them seamlessly in a “longitudinal passage.”

It is the only building of its age in Virginia to feature two homes joined in such a way.

Fairview remained in the Harris family until 1920, when L.L. Hayman acquired the property, subdivided it into several parcels and renamed it High Meadows. It was purchased by the Melton family in 1943 and then in 1985 by the Sushkas.

With new plumbing and electricity, vines of pinot noir planted at the advice of renowned local winemaker Gabriele Rausse, the Sushkas renovated each guest room, added a restaurant — which received excellent reviews — added a few outbuildings and increased the number of rooms for rent.

In 2007, Sushka’s wife was serving in the state department, and his business partners opted out of the business. He found the inn too much for one person and leased the property and business to Cynthia and Nancy Bruce.

The mother-daughter management, along with Cynthia Bruce’s two children, made some repairs, redecorated, closed the restaurant and turned the home into a respected bed and breakfast. In 2010, they bought the inn from Sushka in an owner-financed mortgage arrangement.

Unfortunately, the Great Recession between 2008 and 2009 hurt attendance and the availability of small business loans, making it difficult for the Bruce family to continue the inn, Sushka said.

The Bruces then offered the inn in exchange for a well-written essay and an entrance fee, but too few entries were received and efforts at refunding the entrance fees became controversial.

Unable to keep the inn running, they defaulted on the mortgage. Sushka said they cooperated in the process of preparing the property for auction and remained at the inn to take care of the property until it could be sold.

The Bruces could not be reached for comment, but Sushka said the family plans to relocate to Florida.

“It’s worked out very well for everyone,” he said. “And I believe it has worked out well for High Meadows.”

Bryan McKenzie is a reporter for The Daily Progress. Contact him at (434) 978-7271, bmckenzie@dailyprogress.com or @BK_McKenzie on Twitter.

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