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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 4, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 09
Morehead Manor B&B gets all the details right
Arts & Entertainment
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Morehead Manor B&B gets all the details right

by Marian Michener - SGN Contributing Writer

My partner and I, as well as our 14-year-old daughter, were very impressed by the Morehead Manor Bed & Breakfast in Durham, N.C. We found them in the Damron Women's Traveler. They were listed as Gay-friendly, and they certainly were.

Innkeeper Monica Edwards met our taxi and showed us through the 1910 building. We learned that they have been in business for 13 years and have four rooms that can accommodate up to 11 guests.

Monica demonstrated her sense of humor by showing us the guest bathroom on the first floor and saying, 'That's in case someone is hogging the bathroom in your room.' I responded that we have a rotation of bathroom hogs in our family.

My partner was impressed with the striking art throughout the house, much of it inspired by its era. I liked the black-and-white photo in the front hall of Monica and her husband, Daniel, who make an attractive African-American couple.

The forest green hall also has a large fish tank and a dazzling chandelier. There is a formal cotton candy pink living room with a fireplace and art deco furniture, including the most amazing coffee table. A lovely sculpted female figure with an impish grin holds up the glass tabletop.

'Jacob's Library,' also located on the first floor, had nutmeg colored walls and a variety of games. 'Preston's Parlor' contained a large TV and collection of movies.

The guest kitchen included complimentary beverages, wonderful oatmeal cookies, and the local beverage: sweet tea stored in a vintage icebox-type refrigerator. My partner appreciated that Monica offered to put out coffee early in the morning in case she, as an addict, needed some before the breakfast hour.

The upstairs hall is a luscious emerald green. It has a desk and computer which guests can use to access the internet.

Monica showed us to the Magnolia Suite, clearly enjoying demonstrating the independently operated reading lights on each side of the king-sized canopy bed. The suite also had a single bed and desk in an alcove that worked well for our 14-year-old. The wood stove was not necessary in the 100-degree weather, but would be a charming touch if we returned in the fall. A dresser with a large mirror and brass lamps added effect. Two wingback chairs were comfortable.

The Magnolia Suite walls were buttercup yellow with purple diamond patterns above the fireplace mantle and cornflower blue ceilings. The drapes, with a gold pull, and bedspread coordinated perfectly. The bathroom had black and white tiles with patterning picking up the blue. The bathtub was deep and hot water plentiful. Guest soaps and bathrobes were a nice amenity. The sheets have a high thread counts and made for sumptuous sleep.

The guests rooms, which also include the Jasmine and Eagles Inn, each have their own unique color palette, ranging from a rich burgundy in one room to mint green striped walls in another, and then to peacock blue in yet another room. The bathrooms accent the color scheme including the tiled floors. Each guest room creates its own unique ambiance and all draw you in with delightful seduction.

We had arrived late, and had not had a chance to eat much on the airplane, so we asked Monica to recommend a place for dinner. She sent us to Cuban Revolution in the American Tobacco area. We mixed up her directions and walked a bit too far. We wound up flagging down a car at a stop sign for assistance. It turned out they were going to the same restaurant and offered us a ride. We were impressed with the friendliness of the neighborhood! But walking too far had its rewards: we spied a few lightening bugs along the way.

The arroz con pollo wrap I ate at Cuban Revolution and fried plantains were pleasing. My partner had ham croquettes, which she quipped were a Southern version of crab cakes. The restaurant was housed in a building with a collection of stores and galleries located across from the Durham athletic field where the movie Bull Durham was filmed, and where the Durham Bulls played for many years.

The next morning, I got a better look at the dining room. Its tobacco- and sand-colored walls had apt art hanging on them. There was a distinctive mural that placed the guests at the manor and its staff in 1910, when the building had been built. I was entertained by the Inn policies: 'No smoking or domestic disturbances. Guests late for breakfast will clean their own room. Difficult guests will be thrown out by the police,' especially amusing since Daniel is a police officer. 'Great guests will be appreciated and always welcomed back.'

The breakfast of link sausage and puff apple pancakes with whipped cream was delicious. It was laid out on fruit-patterned plates that picked up the art. I liked the blue mugs with the B&B white cat emblem. After we finished, Daniel came through in his uniform to say hello.

He noticed our 14-year-old was texting and said, 'You are an addict. You are going to get carpal tunnel syndrome.' I pointed out that she might be violating the difficult guests rule, and Daniel offered to take her away in handcuffs.

Breakfast our second day was French toast with fresh strawberries and blueberries, maple syrup, and patty sausage. Again, the food was excellent. We talked with Monica about how clear it is that she loves her work. That fact made it a pleasure to stay there.

We had fun at the North Carolina Museum of Art. The museum has recently undergone an expansion and has some new digs. There are lovely outdoor sculpture gardens and lily ponds surrounding the new building. The museum sits on a 164-acre plot of land that provides a splendid indoor and outdoor experience, including walking paths and bike trails. Its permanent collection includes a Picasso, a Breughel, two Monets, a Degas, a Pissarro, works by Italian Renaissance artists Raphael and Titian, 29 Rodins, a Henry Moore sculpture, and on and on. The museum also houses a nice collection of Judaica and Egyptian funerary. It's an impressive collection.

We also spent time, at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. It has some amazing fossils. The paleontology holdings include two large dinosaur skeletons. There is a collection of 20,000 bird specimens and 18,000 mammal specimens. The 14-year-old taught me how to play 'find the tree-toads' in a terrarium. But what impressed us most about the museums was the fact that they are free! We were momentarily speechless. Free? Really? Astounding. The docent at the North Carolina Museum of Art said the state of North Carolina believes art should be available to everyone. I completely agree. As we left Morehead Manor, we looked back at the yellow house trimmed in burgundy with green shutters and appreciated how beautiful the whole experience had been. The proprietors unmistakably take pleasure in their work, which made for a truly enjoyable trip. We three agreed that North Carolina is a great place to visit.

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Morehead Manor B&B gets all the details right
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