Nestled in the heart of Hatfield-McCoy country, the Tug Valley Inn serves as a home away from home for anyone who happens to stop in for a stay. The warm, welcoming style of the inn paired with the employees’ hospitality that the Tug Valley is known for allows for visitors to feel immersed in the true spirit of Appalachia that many seek when traveling to the area.
A Historical Home
Before becoming the Tug Valley Inn, the home had 105 years worth of stories built into its foundation already. Built in 1905, the building is likely the oldest in that area of Williamson, according to current owner, Leigh Ann Ray, making it rich with personal narratives and history.
The original owner, Tivis Ball seemed to be representative of the hard work and dedication rooted in Williamson and Appalachia. The American Historical Society described him as, “a man of prominence and influence in his community, he has risen solely through
the medium of his own efforts and well-applied industry.”
The Ball family continued to pass down this home full of work and memories through three generations and two major floods until finally selling it in 2010.
A Bustling Business
Current owners, Chuck and Leigh Ann Ray, continue to capture the Appalachian spirit of hard work with their dedication to renovating the home.
The Rays decided that in order to create a successful inn, they would have to give it the welcoming feel they were looking for through their own efforts. These efforts included renovating the exterior with new siding, roofing, and windows, as well as, installing new plumbing, heating and cooling systems, and electrical wiring.
The business stands by its vision of being “your home away from home in the Tug Valley”. As a way to ensure this homey feeling, the owners and staff work constantly to provide the amenities one may find at home such as free wifi and free long-distance calling. Another important aspect of home that the Rays incorporate into their business is safety with a gas-powered generator, security system, and a fire suppression system.
The Tug Valley Inn originally opened to give runners in the Hatfield McCoy Marathon a place to stay close to the race, but it has since grown into a place for trail riders, history buffs, and everyday vacationers.
When asked what this business meant to her, Leigh Ann Ray said, “I like this business because you get to meet people from all over the world and teach them about our area as it really is — not the stereotypical region that typically is shared.”
With the growing tourism industry in Williamson, it is important that visitors feel like family and that’s exactly the kind of feeling the Tug Valley Inn evokes.