HISTORY OF THE IRIS INN
The main building of the Iris Inn was opened in 1991. The lodge itself was purpose built to be a Bed and Breakfast with the Great Room and six guest rooms. The original owners, Iris and Wayne, owned and operated the business independently for quite some time. The joke they often shared between themselves and guests was that they named the Inn after Iris, and the town after Wayne. We still have guests that return to the Iris Inn today and share the stories of Iris’ dove shaped breakfast pastries. In 2001, the couple sold the Iris Inn.
The second owners were Bob and Barbara. They each had a unique set of skills that perfectly complemented one another. Bob handled maintenance and his wife; Barbara used her management experience to take care of all business operations for the Inn. They added two buildings one to the north and one to the south of the main building. These two buildings are now some of Iris Inn’s most popular accommodations, Deep Woods, Garden Path, Bear Den and Hawk’s Nest. Bob and Barbara sold the Inn in 2007 to Dave and Heidi.
Dave and Heidi brought a unique perspective to the Iris Inn, as they had previously been in medical sales and service management. They used their marketing savvy to launch the Inn to an entirely new level. In 2013, Heidi and Dave added an additional six cabins as an expansion to the Inn. Business grew rapidly with the addition of the cabins. In 2016, renovations were completed on the Hawks Nest Cottage and the Bear Den Cottage. In addition, spa-like bathrooms were added to all six rooms in the main Inn.
In April of 2018 the Inn was featured in several magazines and online publications including Southern Living, and Virginia is for Lovers. By now the Iris Inn had become a five-star destination favorite for travelers and experienced significant growth. Heidi and Dave enjoyed tremendous success as a result of their hard work and retired in late 2019.
Brad and Yelena’s shared passion for travel and hospitality led them to purchase the Iris Inn in January 2020. Their vision for the property is to enhance the guest experience in every way possible, including a full remodel of the entire resort. In April 2020 work began to install new flooring, paint, and furniture. Yelena’s elegant tasteful additions including local art combined with Brad’s quest for smart rooms has led to a unique fusion of art and technology. Using the backdrop of the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains as their inspiration they have added to the magical quality of the property to create a rejuvenating getaway. They want the landscaping to be as thoughtfully planned as the rooms, so they hired a local landscape artist to complement the magnificent views of the Shenandoah Valley…complete with rockers on the porches and wood burning fire pits on the lawn.
Plans to open a trail system around the 19-acre property are a work in progress for 2020. Phase two for renovations will include a small fitness center, a spa including massages and facials, a lounge and an additional outdoor sunset viewing deck on the slopes of the lawn.
Since 1991 the Iris Inn has perched atop the hills of Waynesboro and in the heart of the Blue Ridge Parkway as a steady and constant reminder to all travelers that hospitality will never go out of style. The Iris Inn will continue its 30-year tradition of welcoming guests from all over the world.