ORLEANS — David and Marilyn Snodgrass hope to sell the Orleans Hotel Bed and Breakfast to the right people.
The couple purchased the hotel in south-central Nebraska in 2014. They remodeled the establishment to add 21st-century comforts, such as central air conditioning and a new roof, while preserving its historic charm. A map hangs on the wall in the hotel’s lobby, pinpointing the homes of all their visitors; they’ve had guests from over 40 states.
When the opportunity arose for the couple to purchase a farm that has been in David’s family for over 100 years, they couldn’t pass it up.
“We decided if we didn’t buy (it), it would never be up for sale again. It’s just a small farm with a nice house,” explained Marilyn.
They bought the farm and moved into the farmhouse eight miles north of Orleans. With a hot housing market and the ability to help transition new owners into the hotel, the Snodgrasses decided to seize the chance to sell their business.
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“It was just the time was right,” Marilyn said.
The Orleans Hotel has been on the market for about a year, and the couple has no plans to close the business.
“That’s another thing when we decided to sell is you really can’t sell a dead horse, so you better have it going,” she explained.
The hotel first opened in 1929 and features 22 bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, a basement den, a large dining hall and a kitchen. Original hardwood floors and a majestic staircase in the lobby give guests a peak at the character that the hotel has to offer. The couple collect antiques and have filled the hotel with unique pieces that will remain in the hotel when it’s sold.
“If they buy it today, tomorrow they could rent rooms because we’ll have all the linens here and dishes. ... It’s going to be that convenient for somebody,” said Marilyn.
Along with running the business, the Snodgrasses are heavily involved in the community as board members and mentors for TeamMates. David is also board member for Camp Joy and the Orleans Cemetery as well as a volunteer firefighter with the Orleans Volunteer Fire Department.
When the next owners take over, the Snodgrasses will be available to help with the transition.
“We’ve also told people that we would be just 15 minutes away if they needed help or need some advice,” Marilyn said.
They have had interested parties look into the hotel, and there has been a variety of ideas for the property from an Airbnb to adding a restaurant in the building. The Harlan County Lake and hunting have piqued many potential buyers’ interest in the property.
For the Snodgrasses, getting to know the guests and having breakfast with them in the dining room each day has been the best part of their experience with the hotel. The venue has hosted a number of Christmas and Valentine’s Day parties, family reunions and a weekly bridge club. Marilyn has mixed emotions about selling, but she is hopeful about passing the keys on to someone who will loving care for the hotel as they have.
“It’s fun. It’s not like a regular hotel or motel or any of that,” Marilyn said. “It worked really well. We’ve had a good time, and we kept it going.”