If you are local to the Knoxville/ Brunsiwck, MD area or frequent highway 340 from Frederick to Harpers Ferry, WV then you have likely seen Westhills Manor whether you realize it or not. At over 230 years old the Manor house and grounds are ripe with history and ties to the civil war. After standing empty for nearly 40 years the Manor is finally getting a fresh breath of life through restoration and the love of its own family once again.
My name is Allie Nemcosky, my husband Jeremy, and children - Siddalee and Wesley bought and moved into the Manor on January 27, 2017. A veteran of the US Army Reserves I used my VA benefit to purchase the Manor in pursuit of my dream to own and operate a country inn and wedding venue. The dream of the inn and venue ownership started in July 2017 while I was on maternity leave with the birth of my son. I decided I wanted to own my own business and build something of my own. I came upon a book of operating a wedding venue and read it cover to cover in a matter of days. Everything about the concept echoed my abilities and personality. I was sold. I started creating a mental business plan - a country inn (bed and breakfast), wedding venue, flower farm, and working farm all wrapped in one. Later that month I started cruising through realtor.com to see what kinds of farms were available and how much they were.
By August I was bugging Jeremy just about daily about my ideas until he finally caved one weekend and we went for a drive in the country to just window shop at the farms for sale. By the end of August I had found a realtor that was willing to start showing us properties. All through September every weekend we spent farm hopping from once farm to the next looking for the perfect location to build the business and family farm. Every weekend was a disappointment as there was always something that wouldn't work about the property - too close to other houses, too small house or property, house was falling down, property was in a flood zone or completely rocky.
On October 6 we had 3 farms on the list to see that day - saving what I had hoped was the best for last. Entering the long driveway off Weston Drive I knew I had found the one. The pond, the large yard, trees, fields, barns, and then there was the massive stone house. Old, run down, in need of a lot of work but walking through the back door into the foyer it was full of character and charm. Room after room we walked through the giant house amazed that with each turn or door was yet another room. With a large unfinished walk up attic, 2 main living floors, a finished basement and large unfinished cellar I knew this place would fit the bill as a country inn. With 5 bedrooms and 3 full/2 half bathrooms, 3 living rooms, a gym, a rec room, dining room, and a kitchen we would have plenty of space to grow and create the business.
There was a down side to this big and beautiful place. The Manor house was big, very big, very old, and in disrepair. It was going to be hard to get the VA to sign off on the purchase of this place. The windows were all rotted and falling apart with large air gaps. The doors were in similar condition. The old oil furnaces (2 of them) were more than 40 years old and highly inefficient. But it didn't matter, this was the place. I could feel it. We were meant to be here. I knew that I would do just about anything to make it happen.
From October to January 26 we fought with the VA appraisers to get the Manor to pass their vigorous requirements. The massive bank barn and house windows were peeling paint, the stairs and walkways hand broken bricks, and there was mold in the basement and cellar. All of this would need to be remedied before they would allow us to close on the Manor. Eventually we settled on an agreement - we would have all of the outdoor repairs completed within 6 months from closing. The mold was remediated and finally we were given green light for purchasing the Manor.
Wesley was only 7 months old and Jeremy had just broken his big toe on his right foot the day before the move rendering him unable to help. With an infant on my back, a couple of friends, and 4 movers we packed the moving trucks again (2nd time in a week as our 1st closing had fallen through forcing us to move into a hotel and store our things in storage for a week) and moved into our new place filled with hope for the future. The next year would be anything but easy. It would test our bonds as a family and the strength of our marriage.
The story continues…