Morning Glory Inn blooms near Snowshoe

BILL LYNCH | Sunday Gazette-Mail photos
The Morning Glory Inn in Pocahontas County strives for tasteful comfort without a lot of frills.
BILL LYNCH | Sunday Gazette-Mail
Rod Molidor and his wife, Karin Anderson, have run the Morning Glory Inn for the last 17 years.
The Morning Glory Inn is a smaller, more intimate alternative to lodging than chain hotels or nearby resorts.
The Morning Glory Inn recently won a TripAdvisor certificate of excellence.
The small inn’s owners are proud to have earned the TripAdvisor certificate.

SLATYFORK — For husband and wife Rod Molidor and Karin Anderson, getting the certificate of award from TripAdvisor for their Morning Glory Inn seemed like an acknowledgment that had been a long time coming.

“We’ve been here 17 years,” Anderson said. “But it’s still really nice they noticed us. Not everybody gets the award — it’s just the top 10 percent.”

The award is given to hospitality businesses that consistently achieve outstanding reviews on the TripAdvisor website.

The Morning Glory Inn was supposed to be a second act for Molidor and Anderson. The pair, originally from Chicago, spent 20 years working in the food and beverage industry, the last eight of those years as managers at Snowshoe Mountain Resort.

“We’d moved around a lot before,” Anderson said.

“Been in Arizona and then Wyoming,” Molidor added.

When they first arrived in Pocahontas County, they divided their time between Snowshoe and the Grand Tetons Lodge, in Wyoming. They spent summers out west and winters in West Virginia before finally coming to stay here full time in 1996.

Molidor managed food and beverage for the resort, while Anderson was one of the dining room managers.

It was a lot of stress, particularly for Molidor, who oversaw 315 employees.

“We both worked a gazillion hours and never saw each other,” Anderson said.

“So I decided to get out of that rat race,” Molidor said and then chuckled. “I got us into our own private rat race.”

With the help of Molidor’s brother, they built Morning Glory Inn in 1997.

“He was the main carpenter,” he said. “I was his apprentice, but I did the landscaping.”

Working on the place in their free time, which was scant to begin with, they started construction in the spring of 1997 and finished in December.

“We opened up Jan. 1, 1998,” Anderson said.

Located about a mile and half down the road from Snowshoe, they caught on with travelers who weren’t all that interested in the bustle at the resort.

Most of their guests, they said, are in their mid-30s to late 50s.

“The kids tend to stay up close to the bars,” Anderson said. “They want to be where the party is, but we get some of them down this way. We’ve had groups of snowboarders turn up on our porch.”

When they do, sometimes they seem a little bewildered, she said.

“We’re not what they’re used to or what they expect.”

Still, they’re close enough to the ski resort to be an alternative, though they don’t really see themselves as competitors to Snowshoe — just neighbors.

“If they’re full, they’ll send people our way,” Molidor said. “We’ve done the same and sent people to other places around the area.”

Morning Glory Inn has six spacious guest rooms with vaulted ceilings and plenty of windows.

The guest rooms are tastefully decorated, and they haven’t covered every square inch with antique bric-a-brac and delicate doodads for people to gawk at or worry about breaking.

“Clutter isn’t comfortable,” Anderson said.

There’s a dining room, a living room and large kitchen.

With 8,000 square feet, there’s plenty of room for guests to move around in, but with only a limited number of available beds, even when the inn is full it doesn’t get too crowded.

The focus, they said, is on comfort, but the Morning Glory doesn’t go in for a lot of frills.

“We’re not so la-di-da,” ­Molidor said.

But they have a room that’s cleared for pets, which has its own entrance.

Morning Glory Inn tries to be more personal than most hotels. They get to know their guests better, learn their names and learn about them. They help them navigate their trip to the area, and pitch in if they need a little help with making dinner reservations or getting a tee time, which is nice since cellphones don’t work in Pocahontas County.

They don’t have hot tubs or saunas or a pool out back, but it’s quiet.

“Everybody gets their own bathroom,” Anderson said. “People ask about that sometimes. At some bed and breakfasts you have to share, but we’re an inn. Every room gets a bathroom.”

And everybody gets breakfast.

Breakfast is what Molidor and Anderson call “deluxe continental.” For two hours every morning, they serve fruit, yogurt, homemade banana bread and homemade granola.

Sometimes they do scrambled eggs. Sometimes they do pancakes.

“Simpler is easier for us,” Anderson said. “We used to do the whole full breakfast thing, but it just got to be too much for us to keep up with — and people really seem to prefer this.”

They love their inn, but acknowledge it was a lot more work than either of them ever imagined.

“We’re strictly a mom-and-pop kind of operation,” Molidor said. “We do everything, and there’s always something to do, something that needs fixin’, cleanin’ or something.”

Aside from the guest rooms, the commons area and the 13 acres surrounding the inn they have, Anderson takes care of her 93-year-old mother, who lives with them in their apartment inside the inn.

“We have our own living room,” Anderson said. “We have our own bedroom and it’s not one of the guest rooms. It’s away from everyone.”

They said they’re both “people people,” but if they had to spend their time 24/7 with strangers, even paying strangers, they’d both lose their minds.

It’s better for the guests too.

“Part of what some people like and what some people don’t like about bed and breakfasts is that it feels a little like staying at grandma’s house,” Molidor said. “It’s homey. When you’re in the living room, you feel like you’re in someone’s living room.”

“This,” he said, pointing to the large room with the couch, the fireplace and the television, “is not our living room.”

Owning an inn, they said, isn’t so much a job as a lifestyle. It’s next to impossible for both of them to leave the property when they have guests staying at the inn.

“We take April off,” Anderson said. “That’s after Snowshoe has closed down and the skiing has stopped and everything is just kind of brown. Nobody wants to come up here then.”

They also get a week or two off in early November, after peak foliage has passed, Cass Scenic Railroad has finished its final run and before ski season begins, but the area has become a destination through much of the rest of the year.

“We’ll see as many people in July as we’ll see in January,” Molidor said. “The difference is, in January, it’s all on the weekends, and in July, we’ll get them on Tuesday or Wednesday. You never know.”

When they do get away, they take vacations. They go see their children and grandchildren in Chicago, but during the long winter season, they can feel a little bottled up sometimes.

After 17 years of running an inn and 47 years of marriage, Molidor and Anderson said they’d like to move on to something else. Out front, near the road, there’s a big “for sale” sign that’s been up for a while.

“We’re in our late 60s,” Anderson said. “We’d like to turn it over to someone else and move on to the next stage in our lives.”

They aren’t in a hurry, though.

“It takes about five years to sell a bed and breakfast or a place like this,” Molidor said.

And they want to find the right people to sell to.

“We built something special here. We’d like to see it go in the right hands,” Anderson said.

For more information about the Morning Glory Inn, visit www.morninggloryinn.com.

Reach Bill Lynch at lynch@wvgazette.com, 304-348-5195 or follow @LostHwys on Twitter.

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