In 1996, Karen and Pete Nagle bought what is now the Mountain Magnolia Inn as a mountain vacation home with the idea they might ultimately retire there. At the time, they were living in Charlotte where Karen was active in the local community and Pete was in the investment management business. Dana and Jenna, their two daughters, were off at college, and son Phil was married and living in Ohio.
As the Nagles learned of the fascinating history of the home (then called Rutland), and the town of Hot Springs, Karen had the idea of restoring the property and opening an inn. Karen ultimately moved to Hot Springs to see how she liked living in a small mountain town and, at the end of the first year, the decision was made to restore the property and open an inn. Karen would be the general contractor and Pete would commute on weekends from Charlotte while maintaining his job. Work began in January of 1997.
The Inn opened in May of 1999 after a very interesting restoration project which was featured in “This Old House Magazine.” Mountain Magnolia has been open 14 years under the Nagle’s management and continues to reflect their interests and values. Karen is the creative element on the team; daughter Dana, a professional landscaper, has a contract for the grounds; Pete does marketing and the business side. The Nagles are environmentally conscious and this is reflected in their operation. Both Pete and Karen enjoy good food and Karen is a wonderful cook. While running a restaurant was never on their wish list, they are proud of the fine food created by Chef Zeb McDermott and breakfast Chefs Marion Cook and Gina Cox.
The Nagles enjoy living in the mountains and regularly take advantage of the beautiful outdoors and area adventure opportunities. They both hike regularly, swim in mountain creeks, and sit around camp fires with friends. When they can get away they enjoy traveling and getting involved in different cultures and people.
Pete continues his involvement in the investment business and has an investment firm called WNC Investment Advisors where he serves individuals and families on a fee-only basis. He has a handful of clients and enjoys staying involved with the economy, markets and client investments.
Karen enjoys Scottish country dancing and dances weekly. She loves restoring old properties and recently restored the 1892 Adirondack lodge which was formerly the Jesuit Retreat Center. She and her best friend Karen Moore operate it as the Laughing Heart Lodge which, in addition to offering lodging for visitors, has a focus on providing a venue for retreats and gatherings.