We'd stopped at the Preston County Inn around Halloween, so we got to see it in its full spooky glory. It has a bit of history:
The Inn was constructed in the Civil War era by James A. Brown, an attorney and a graduate of West Virginia University. He fell in love with a beautiful girl named Isabel who was from Baltimore. They were married and the house was given to Isabel as a wedding gift from her loving husband.
However, they lived in the house for only one year. Isabel contracted smallpox and soon died. James Brown became a Victorian mourner and would not allow anything belonging to his lovely wife to be touched. Nothing was to be changed or moved. Even her sewing remained as she left it, needle in cloth and thimble nearby.
Highlighting the exterior decoration of the house was the roof; in large letters of light colored slate was the word "home." Through the years and change of owners, this was either removed or covered with new roofing. Much of the front part of the home has been restored to its original nature. There are a total of seven fireplaces in The Inn, three downstairs and four upstairs. The hearths and mantels have been refinished and restored to their original condition. Guest sleeping rooms were added in 1948 as a new addition to the inn. Also included in this large addition were the large kitchen and dining room.We'd parked behind the inn and began walking around toward the front when I saw a sign on the side of the building that said to enter this way for the restaurant, which is named "Maxime's at The Inn." So, we walked in and awkwardly around the kitchen and down the main hallway. There was no one to greet us, so we walked around and stood awkwardly in the middle for about five ~long~ minutes until I found a server and asked if we could be seated.
Finally seated, I took a look around. Lots of red glowing Halloween decorations, but also lots of classic art and draperies. It has a bit of charm to it, but it could also use a nice deep-cleaning.
The first thing I noticed is that they had a salad bar. You don't see that often at local restaurants. So, I knew that was in my future. While there were many options on the salad bar - including macaroni salads, seafood salads, etc. - they weren't exactly fresh. In fact, the tomatoes had mold all over them, which cast a shadow of doubt on the quality of the rest of the food.
I tried, but I couldn't mentally get over it. I nibbled on things and they were fine, but ultimately set it aside and hoped the entree would prove better.
The menu has a little bit of everything, but I felt like I needed to go the homestyle route. I ordered the meatloaf and mashed potatoes, which came with a thick brown gravy overtop. I can't say this is my favorite iteration of the meal - I prefer a tomato sauce. This meal was just fine - everything needed a little bit of work. The corn was chewy, the mashed potatoes were very thick and stiff. The meatloaf was dry, and that gravy didn't help. Was it bad? No, it was fine, but would I order this again? No.
I hope there are far better options on the menu, and I totally dig their use of local ingredients when they're competing, but it didn't shine for me this time. I also appreciated how the owner had the chef whip up a simple stir-fry upon learning my friend was gluten-free (but I also suspect he was just wanting to use up the salad bar).
It's also likely I could've chosen poorly. I'm known to do that. What have you had there that you like? What's the best thing on the menu?
Also, of note is the Norma Jean Bar -- lots of Marilyn Monroe happening. Lots of cool little tidbits in this place, but not a total home run for me.
Monday - Saturday 11:00am - 2:00pm
Tuesday - Saturday 4:00 - 8:00
Happy Hour at Norma Jeans Bar & Bistro
Tuesday - Saturday 3:00 - 6:00