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“It Feels Like Coming Home”

Old-Time Hospitality at the Park View Inn

by Jeanne Mozier

Park View Inn
The Country Inn in Berkeley Springs, formerly the Park View Inn of Jennie and Walter Harmison, is the site of a long tradition of good food and warm hospitality.

“It feels like coming home,” was the comment made most often by guests at Walter “Toad” and Jenny Harmison’s Park View Inn. The Harmisons kept in personal touch with their guests, and guests responded in kind. Visitors returned year after year to the hotel in Berkeley Springs, often making reservations a year in advance. They wrote thank-you notes to the Harmisons and sent flowers.

The decor supported the homey feel, from the cozy living-room atmosphere of the lobby with its couches, antique wing chairs, and fireplace, to the bedrooms with maple furniture and white, ruffled curtains. In season, every room had a bowl of fresh, local apples. Area rugs were used throughout the hotel, no wall to wall carpet. The dining room had paper doilies rather than tablecloths. The waitresses, however, were always dressed in white with aprons so starched they could stand on their own.

From 1933 until 1972, for many guests, the Park View was home. Families would come from Pittsburgh and Clarksburg for the summer. The wife and kids would stay while husbands traveled back to work during the week, returning to Berkeley Springs for weekends. Others remained for weeks to take the baths for their health. Five rooms were set aside on the first floor for those who had difficulty walking up the stairs. Family ties were also prominent among the workers, with many parents and children on staff.

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