HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. (WDVM) — It has been a bumpy road for a proposed lodging retreat on one of the most scenic landscapes in West Virginia, but it is now full speed ahead for the Hill Top House Hotel.

It is a multi-million dollar investment with a huge payoff for the region’s economy. Steeped in history, the site where the Hill Top House sits was described to be “worth a trip across the Atlantic” by Thomas Jefferson. In its heyday, this old, now-dilapidated hotel hosted Pearl Buck, Carl Sandburg and Alexander Graham Bell.

“They came here to see the natural beauty they came to appreciate the history of what happened here,” Karen Schaufeld, a co-developer, said. “This is a place where people should feel inspired.”

Partner Fred Schaufeld is upbeat about this unrivaled location in the Mountain State.

“We think that West Virginia, the panhandle, has so much to offer. We think that people just need to come experience it, know about it, immerse themselves in it. This becomes a beautiful place to stay,” he said.

It was not without a rough lift off the launching pad. The previous Harpers Ferry mayor had reservations about the Hill Top House, but the new town council is all in.

“We think it’s going to attract people from all over the country and frankly all over the world to come to this part of West Virginia,” said Fred Schaufeld.

Harpers Ferry is so steeped in history. John Brown’s pre-Civil War raid was staged here. But the scenery!

“When you think on the east coast where is the place to come to, what is a must-see? And that ties in so beautifully with the national park, with the natural offerings of this area, the hiking, the biking the trails,” said Karen Schaufeld.

The Schaufelds have brought on board some of the world’s top hospitality, food and property management partners for this much-anticipated project. They hope to complete the project by the end of 2024.

The State of West Virginia — the legislature & governor — designated the acreage for this project as a special district for tourism, now eligible to draw economic development grants. Jefferson County Senator Patricia Rucker (R) was the lead sponsor of that measure.