Do you remember the old Woodfords Inn at the intersection of highways 88 and 89? It was the property that was flooded a few years ago when the irrigation ditch broke. People used to say that the rooms were "OK," but the walls were a little thin. It was the property that came up for sale after the death of the owner.
The ditch was re-engineered and new pipe was laid.
Last August a young couple, Zach and Tagan Weber, bought the motel and set to work.
He recalls, "The work has been a real experience for me. The common area, that used to be lawn and landscaping, was buried in three feet of mud." Restoring that was not a priority.
"My first job was to jack-hammer the sidewalks. No one could even get to the rooms without replacing all that concrete," Weber explained as he pointed to the perfect slab along the front of the motel.
He continued, "Since I grew up at Camp Richardson and graduated from Douglas High, I have friends who helped me with some of the work."
"We had to put the whole building up on stilts to begin restoring the motel. We put extra insulation under every room and more insulation in the walls between the rooms. People complained about thin walls. That is not the case anymore," Weber said.
"The place is all redone," Weber said as he opened the doors to several of the motel rooms for inspection. He proudly pointed out the stylish new bathrooms, some with a tiled shower/tub. Spa-quality towels are neatly rolled by each sink, and toiletries are neatly arranged alongside.
One would expect new carpeting because of the flooding, but the Webers went beyond that: there is crown molding, attractive wooden shutters on the windows, and all new furniture. New energy-efficient heater/air-conditioner units keep the rooms comfortable."
"What I want is a property that is affordable for families, so they can vacation for a week or so and enjoy the skiing, fishing, hiking, and whatever in a safe, clean, and friendly environment," Weber explained.
"I am not out to get rich quick. I would rather build the business on family values and let the rewards come more slowly," Weber said.
Zach and his wife were living in San Diego with their two boys, Zach, 7, and Toree, 5, where Weber worked a seven-day a week sales job. One summer they vacationed at Twin Lakes with another family and Weber said, "I was so impressed with the idea that I could enjoy such a beautiful natural setting with my wife and my boys and not spend a fortune."
"When the opportunity came up to purchase this property, I knew that the timing was perfect. My best friend and his family had recently moved to Gardnerville, so all the pieces were fitting together," he said.
The Webers expected to drive their children to Gardnerville for school because some of those elementary schools are highly rated. However, the Webers found the Diamond Valley School to be excellent and infused with the small town friendliness they were seeking.
"Mrs. Bell, Zach's teacher, noticed that I was wearing a Boise State sweatshirt and asked if I were an alum. Since I played football there and she is a devoted fan, we connected right away. And more importantly, Zach Jr. is learning so much in her class," Weber said.
Weber appreciates that he can spend time with his wife and the boys, although living in a small apartment on the property with two active little boys can be a little cramped.
"This is a work in progress. Most of our rooms are ready to go, but we have a few that we are working on to provide more of a suite situation with sliding doors and decks. Eventually we will have flat-screen TVs, but we are not aiming to be the Ritz," Weber said.
Drive down Highway 88 and see the new calves and attending hawks and eagles. Check out the serene setting and comfortable rooms at Alpine County's newest property. Plan to ski at Kirkwood, only 25 miles away, or take a soak at Grover's Hot Springs.
For reservations and information, call (530) 694-2111.