MIDDLETOWN, VA- A memo that hangs on the front door of the Wayside Inn reads, "Wayside Inn Restaurant is temporarily closed." It's a sign that things are slowing down.
"I had eaten here two months ago and it was pretty delicious food," says Sharon Louis, who brought a friend to lunch. "When I arrived today and saw that it was closed, I was pretty disheartened," she adds.
Wayside Inn owners Jacob and Lois Charon say they've had a hard time keeping a staff in the 22 room inn and restaurant. Just before Thanksgiving, they decided to close the dining room.
"We didn't have any problems with customers to come," says Jacob. "The problem was who was going to serve those people," he adds.
A walk through the 215-year old Wayside Inn is like a walk in a museum, with antiques, furniture and china dating back to the 1700's. The Charon's bought the property for one million dollars at an auction, after longtime owner Leo Bernstein died. Their original plan was for it to be their second home.
"When we learned what was going on here, that's when they asked us to keep it going, so we did," says Jacob. "We were very successful. We did very very well," he adds.
"We were too successful," says Lois Charon. "We couldn't keep up," she adds.
The Charon's say they're now selling the inn for 1.5 million dollars. They say the sale is not a result of strained finances, but rather strained health and age.
"We had a need for help in the kitchen," says Lois. "Mr. Charon is back there and he needed help and the servers; we didn't have adequate servers," she adds.
The Charon's say they hope whoever buys Wayside Inn will keep it's history intact.
"Selling it will hopefully maintain the inn," Lois says. "It's a beautiful place. People make wonderful memories here and we want that to continue. We don't want to be the ones to stop it. It's been going on for over 200 years and it would be a shame to have it close," she adds.
Currently, the inn is still open to guests; the most recent guest checked out Tuesday. The Charon's have no plans to re-open the dining room.
Their realtor, Butch Barnes, says four different parties are currently interested in purchasing the property.