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Marlinton inn keepers mark decade in business

Pocahontas Times photo Marlinton's Old Clark Inn
Pocahontas Times photo
Marlinton’s Old Clark Inn

MARLINTON, W.Va. — The winding roads and scenic beauty of Pocahontas County attracts motorcyclists from all around the country. One biker in particular – Nelson Hernandez – never got over the attraction and decided that it was time that he and his wife, Andrea Biondi, realized their dreams to own and operate a lodging facility.

“This was Nelson’s discovery,” Biondi said. “He was just out on his motorcycle, looking for the best possible roads he could find, and places he hadn’t discovered and explored before. He came through here and once he did, he was kind of in love with it.”

Hernandez returned home to Asheville, North Carolina, and shared his discovery with Biondi. At the time, the couple owned and operated an ice cream shop but they were looking into changing to the lodging business.

“We pictured ourselves more in a roadside motel and we actually came out here to look at the Rustic Inn but we decided that was not for us,” Biondi said. “Someone pointed us to this place and everything just fell into place, and we sold our other business. It was just kind of like karma, one thing after another led us here.”

The couple bought the Old Clark Inn in 2004 and have maintained its rustic, yet modern appeal. The inn has 13 rooms, some with private baths, and all share a nice common area and dining room.
In the beginning, winter was the busiest season for the inn.

“People never came out this way for summer. They were here for skiing,” Hernandez said. “I guess back then, everybody with an empty room was renting rooms, and this place was really thriving. Over the years, that has actually flipped completely.”

Now, with the assistance of reviews online and in travel magazines, the Inn has become very popular with motorcyclists and bicyclists who travel to the county in the spring and summer to enjoy the Greenbrier River Trail and scenic mountain roads.

“Bicycles and motorcycles are probably our biggest in summer,” Hernandez said. “With the trail, they’ll do part of it and come back the next year, or they’ll come back and bring other people with them. It’s exactly the same with motorcycles. Probably more so because we’ll often get a single motorcyclist that will come in and then he’ll come back with a group of his riding buddies. Then, he’ll come back again with his family because he saw things here he wants to show the wife and kids.”

The guest list has expanded to include international visitors from Ireland, Germany and Asian countries…

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