During a research trip to Wilmington, NC earlier this month, I stayed in a warm and inviting bed and breakfast inn, The Taylor House. Located in the city’s historic district, Taylor House is about a 10-minute walk to the gas lit Front Street and some of the city’s best restaurants and shops. As I pulled up to the house at sundown, I could not help but notice the for-sale sign out front.
After about a dozen years, proprietors Scott and Karen Clark have decided to “move on,” in Scott’s words. But they aren’t moving away, content to continue to raise their 13-year old daughter in a town they have come to love after domiciles in New York City, upstate New York and the west coast. The Victorian was built in 1905 and features six bedrooms, a full bath in each one. A dramatic wooden staircase, stained glass windows, original tile are just a few of the house’s architectural details. The Clarks have accessorized nicely, especially with the early-20th Century table lamps that are attractive beacons in the windows at night.
My two-night stay at the inn was everything the promoters of bed and breakfast places say it should be – warm, friendly, personal, comfortable and relaxing. All the rooms at Taylor House have cute names. I stayed in the one at the back of the house, Serenity, the smallest of them all but plenty for me. Its two windows each looked out on a garden. The bed was comfortable and fit for a queen, both in terms of its size and the style of its headboard, which would have made Queen Victoria feel at home. The gas fireplace on the cold nights I stayed came in handy; the rush of gas provided quick warmth to the room, although Scott was right to warn me to be careful not to singe my eyebrows when I lit the thing. The only picky little criticism I have is that the shower was too small, maneuverability affected by a faucet handle that protruded from the wall. I kept bumping into it, sending a burst of ice cold water my way (at least I didn’t push it in the direction of scalding hot).
Breakfast was a hoot, especially the second morning. At my first breakfast, which included a soothing plate of scrambled eggs and cheese, fruit and a muffin, Scott leaned against the antique sideboard as he filled me in on local history, the specifics of the house and his take on the local restaurants. He warned me that a honeymoon couple would be arriving that evening. The next morning I sat down with the happy couple, both well into their 70s. I think the proud groom had practiced his line when he smiled at me and said, “I hope we didn’t keep you up last night.” His wife, way past the blushing stage, laughed contentedly at the joke. I was all too happy to be the butt of it, and resisted the temptation to ask if they stayed in the Joy or Love room.
The house is on the market for $795,000 and does seem most suited to a B&B business (unless you need four mothers in law suites!).. Rates at Taylor House begin at $125 a night, breakfast included, but discounts are available. My initial email was greeted with a quick response and the offer of a rate of $90. The inn’s web site is www.TaylorHouseBB.com. I’ll post some comments in the coming weeks about the golf communities in the area, as well as some notes on the two restaurants I sampled for dinner.