When first pulling up to Starry Night Inn in Seaside, you can already see the hustle and bustle of people. It’s obvious that it’s attracting guests and it comes as no surprise that it was completely booked. Walking up to the front door you can see a sign that says “Knock Loudly” and I make sure to do so. Quick to greet me and open the door is Anastasia Corya, one of the owners of the inn. She leads me past the front entry and I am instantly entranced by the obvious creativity that went into the remodel.
Anastasia leads me to the lobby and leaves me alone for a moment. I take that time alone to look over all the amazing artwork. They caught my attention second to the vintage style furniture. There is a pellet stove in the corner next to the front facing window, a record player almost adjacent to the stove and a collection of instruments and a microphone with a stand in the corner.
Anastasia soon returns and she offers to give me a tour. She takes me to the cabins first, after walking through the kitchen. The cabins are separate and just a short walk across the driveway that leads to the garage. All the cottages are set up with kitchenettes and fireplaces. In addition each room has its own artist featured, Anastasia explains. They have a curator out of Portland that helps collect artwork, which they feature in each individual cabin, room, and then a mix of various artists in the lobby. After leaving the cabins for a short tour and photo shoot, we return to the inn through the kitchen and that is when I get to meet Jen Neitzel.
Just under forty days ago, Anastasia and Jen began a tiresome, but happy journey together by remodeling this Victorian house. Built in 1919 and previously known as the Custer House, the two friends turned it into the Starry Night Inn. It is obvious that the two women are proud of their purchase and remodel, but it didn’t come without some sweat and tears.
Anastasia and Jen decided to come together and run a business about a year ago but their individual stories start way before that. Both have past business experience. Anastasia started the Delta Café and Miss Delta in Portland. She also helped remodel the Sou’Wester in Seaview, Washington. Jen started with businesses in handmade crafts like Knot Ugly and DIY Lounge. She even started a life coaching business called Life Maven and also organized art sales.
Jen and Anastasia met at a craft show and found they had more than one mutual friend. “I was already a fan of Anastasia’s Delta Café,” says Anastasia. They quickly became friends and boast that they are both Aquarians. Then a year ago, they started looking for properties to start a business together and even took some business classes. Once they purchased 811 1st Ave., they wasted no time and started remodeling quickly. Even recording their adventures daily in short videos available on their Facebook and YouTube channel.
The remodel took 36 days and the previous owners were not able to move out right away. That didn’t stop Jen and Anastasia, they maneuvered around them and stuck with their goal to get Starry Night up and running. Even when they got the flu, they didn’t take a break. They both admit the experience took an emotional toll but in the end it was like “child birth” and they were proud. It was a real estate investment and “every day we weren’t open, we were losing money,” Jen explains.
They both still live in Portland and commute back and forth on a regular basis. If Jen is in Portland, Anastasia stays in Seaside with the friends and employees helping with the remodel, and vice versa. It’s important that one of them be there. “With hospitality you give yourself,” they explain.
I am given one more small tour of the upstairs of the main building, where there are three more rooms. One is a hostel room that includes a set of bunk beds, and another with a small space that includes a yoga mat. I then return to the lobby with Anastasia and we meet up with Jen to talk a little more.
They obviously work well together and they have found the community of Seaside to be a positive environment. They are looking forward to the future with their new business. They both have many ideas to add, things like renting out the property for group events. “We want to help people have a good time,” says Jen. “We want to foster other people’s parties. I love hosting parties!” She keeps listing off all sorts of ideas the she hopes to put into action like a karaoke night or a St. Patrick’s Day event with karaoke and getting a liquor license so they could serve drinks during such events.
Before leaving, I grab a small stack of glossy postcards, which include specials and rates. It’s the perfect place for a weekend gateway close to home.