Historic inn offers Southern charm

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Innkeeper Denise Wilkie irons the sheets for a bedroom upstairs Friday at N.C. Wesleyan College's Bellemonte House.


Staff Writer

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Rocky Mount’s newest bed and breakfast inn is actually one of the oldest homes in the area.

The Bellemonte House, a local historic landmark that was formerly situated on the front campus of N.C. Wesleyan College, has now been restored to much of its former glory after it was moved to the back of the campus in November 2016. As of Friday, it is now open as bed and breakfast, filled with period charm combined with modern conveniences.

“We have these lovely period pieces here, but the inn offers features of modern technology,” said Rick Wilkie, as he revealed a smart TV hidden in an antique linen press in the parlor of the home. He and his wife, Denise, live in the house and serve as its innkeepers. 

The Bellemonte House also has free WiFi, cable television and modern showers in its three elegant guestrooms, which also feature antique furnishings — some of which were donated by patrons of the college — high, four-poster beds and claw-footed bath tubs. The beds are covered with hand-ironed sheets and soft, luxurious coverlets in keeping with the historic feel of the home. Guests of the inn are not provided with electronic key cards but with golden skeleton keys.

The renovation and restoration process of the Bellemonte House began in 2016, when it was moved from the front of Wesleyan’s campus to the back, within sight of the Dunn Center. The move was prompted by the desire to enhance the home’s architectural significance and to fulfill the college’s need for future expansion of classroom and office space.

“We kept telling ourselves, we have this beautiful home on campus being used as office space. There has to be a better way to utilize and preserve the historic value it,” Wesleyan President Dr. Dewey Clark said in a press releasing announcing the completion of the restoration of the Bellemonte House. “After much thought and consideration, we decided to restore the home to its original grandeur in a way it could be appreciated and utilized by the community, parents and alumni.”

The Georgian and Federal architecture of the former plantation-style home has been fully restored to its original design and now awaits final approval to be returned to the National Historic Registry after its move. The house features three relaxing porches, which provide a view of the wooded grounds that are in the process of being landscaped. The grounds already feature a new rose garden and will soon have a fire pit.

The Bellemonte House also offers several services. Guests enjoy a daily complimentary farm-to-table breakfast, sourced locally, when possible, and an early evening reception offering wine, sweet tea, soft drinks and a light appetizer. The innkeepers also offer concierge services to help guest take advantage of the dining and entertainment options Rocky Mount has to offer.

The Bellemonte House Bed & Breakfast was funded largely by donations. Reservations are now being accepted and meeting space is available for rent to the public. With a price tag of $150 to $160 a night depending on the room, Clark expects parents, alumni and business travelers to keep the Bellemonte House full. However, the bed and breakfast is open to all travelers to the area.

For more information or reservations, call at 252-955-2054 or email dwilkie@ncwc.edu.