Melrose Inn reopens on town’s 125th birthday

Published 6:07 pm Friday, September 3, 2010

Tryons 125th Birthday celebration will also mark the rebirth of the historic Melrose Inn.
Marilyn Doheny, the inns new owner, is holding the grand reopening of the 112-year-old Melrose Inn in conjunction with the towns 125th birthday party this weekend.
“This weekend is technically my open house. Its perfect,” said Doheny, who moved from Seattle, Wash., to take over the Melrose Inn and continue with her career as an internationally known contemporary quilt artist as well as a teacher, judge and author on the subject of quilting.
Doheny said taking ownership of the inn and returning it to its bed-and-breakfast form as well creating an artists retreat for quilters is the conclusion of a 20-year dream. In the past, Doheny has traveled the world to teach the quilting seminars she now plans to give at the newly named Marilyns Melrose Inn.
“All I needed over the last 20 years is somewhere to bring them to,” said Doheny of her students. “Now I have that.”
Doheny and a cadre of handymen, carpenters, plumbers and electricians have been hard at work to transform the Melrose Inn at least partially to a former glory.
And it hasnt been easy.
The inns former state of disrepair was worse than Doheny had feared and initial response to local quilting and cooking classes she has offered has been small, bumps in the road she believes are due to the countrys slumping economy that has ravaged the tourism industry locally and nationally.
She has battled through bursting pipes in the winter and the extreme heat of summer as she prepared for this weekends open house.
“Then, for fun, after the pipes burst, the ceilings started falling down,” she recalled, pointing behind her toward the front of the inn. “This ceiling, over the bar, when it fell, 22 towels fell out, so that was everyones solution when the ceiling leaked before.”
She has remodeled and decorated the entire downstairs as well as eight uniquely themed bedrooms on the upper level of the main house. The wings will remain closed for now as Doheny rebuilds the inns bed-and-breakfast business as well as other sources of income.
“Its not what I expected,” she said. “I expected 19 bedrooms, 26 bathrooms and full classes. I have had small class response and eight bedrooms.
“Ive kept my head above water in a spiritual sense by saying, Im doing this, so I might as well enjoy it and be open to the gifts it brings,” she said.
She also laughs at the lengths Victorian Age owners went to to keep the servants sequestered from the guests and owners, including hidden staircases.
“It is funny because now Im the owner and the servant and the cook and everything else,” she said.
Dohenys plans for the inn include cooking classes, once-a-month elegant dining and living space for seniors.
“I want to have seven streams of income and try to be stable in a very volatile economy,” she said.
This weekend, the newly remodeled Melrose Inn as well as several of Dohenys quilts will be on display throughout the historic building.
“Im just getting my feet wet, my finances clean and my staff stable, and it will be good,” Doheny said.

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