- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 18, 2010

A common fantasy for many overworked city dwellers is to abandon the urban jungle, get away from it all and open a bed-and-breakfast in a quiet country oasis where the toughest choice is whether to make pumpkin muffins or banana bread for breakfast.

A place where that dream could be reality, the Strathmore House Bed & Breakfast on the North Fork of the Shenandoah River in Quicksburg, Va., is on the market for $719,900.

While this estate, which rests on 4.3 acres with 228 feet of riverfront, has been used as a bed-and-breakfast on a seasonal basis since the owners completed their renovation in 1999, the property also could be purchased for a private residence. Built in 1892 in the Victorian Queen Anne style, this home at 658 Wissler Road overlooks the historic Meems Bottom Covered Bridge.

The Franklin Wissler family built both the covered bridge and Strathmore House and originated the first successful commercial apple export business in the Shenandoah Valley. The buttresses of the bridge and the foundation of the house were built of stone quarried from the river’s banks.

The owner and her husband purchased Strathmore House in 1995 as a retirement home and spent four years renovating the property. When they recognized the potential for opening a bed-and-breakfast in the residence, they began to operate it on a seasonal and occasional basis. The home recently has been designated as eligible for inclusion in the Virginia Landmarks Registry and the National Register of Historic Places.

The site includes landscaped grounds with 100-year-old boxwoods lining the 200-foot front driveway, a private bridge spanning a ravine over the Shenandoah River, two large brick terraces, brick walkways, and a lighted parking area for six or seven guest cars. Outbuildings on the property include a three-car garage with a workbench, the original smokehouse, a carriage house and a well/pump house.

Guests will be tempted to spend all their time on the covered porch that wraps around the house and leads to the wide sweep of front lawn, which has a view of the covered bridge and the Shenandoah River. The first-floor public rooms have 8-foot-tall French doors at their entrances and include a large foyer or reception hall with a restored, original Victorian staircase. Other rooms include a large parlor or sitting room with a fireplace, a formal dining room that seats about 20 guests and a sunroom with another wood-burning fireplace.

Handcrafted molding, original windows, solid maple floors and decorator window treatments all attest to the care the owners took in restoring this property to match its history. The first-floor ceilings are 10 feet high, while the second-floor ceilings are 9 feet high.

The main level also has a modern eat-in kitchen with quarry tile on the floor, maple cabinets, a center island with a butcher-block top, double ovens, a refrigerator, a dishwasher, a five-burner gas cooktop and a walk-in pantry. Adjacent to the main kitchen is a mudroom/butler’s pantry with a brick floor, a second dishwasher, a sink, an electric cooktop, a warming drawer and additional cabinet space. A second refrigerator and an upright freezer are located in the office area, so extra catering for guests can be accommodated easily.

The home currently includes private owners’ quarters on the main floor, including a family room, a powder room and an office. A private staircase links the second-floor master suite with the main-level owners’ quarters. The master suite includes a bedroom, sitting room, laundry room and renovated bath with double sinks.

Four additional bedrooms on the second floor, each with a private tiled bathroom, can function as guest accommodations.

The house has approximately 4,166 finished square feet on two levels. A partially finished attic and an unfinished basement level provide 4,000 more square feet for storage and potential expansion.

As part of the restoration process, the owners updated the electrical system and replaced all the plumbing. The property has a generator, a water softener, a water purifier and three water heaters. An oil-fired furnace provides heat, with some rooms using radiators and others baseboard heating units.

Whether the buyers want to open their own inn or preserve this Victorian gem for their friends and family, Strathmore House offers an opportunity to fulfill the fantasy of genteel country living.

For more information about Strathmore House, contact Mike Beasley at ERA Beasley Realty in Woodstock, Va., at 540/325-2123 or visit www.ERABeasley.com or www.strathmorehouse.com.

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