Wilmington, North Carolina is a 19th century town at the edge of a river and also close to the Atlantic Ocean. A bed and breakfast in Wilmington, North Carolina can be in the historic downtown. Or stay at the beach to explore Wilmington. Philadelphia Traveling Mom Sarah Ricks first stayed in historic Wilmington at an elegant mansion converted into a bed and breakfast. Later, she explored the nearby beaches from a casual beachfront bed and breakfast with a fun retro 1950s vibe.
A bed and breakfast in Wilmington, North Carolina can be a relaxed beach house or an elegant formal mansion decorated with antiques. On a long weekend visit from Philadelphia, my husband and I enjoyed both takes on a bed and breakfast, an historic house downtown and a casual beachfront inn.
Camellia Cottage Bed and Breakfast in Wilmington, North Carolina
First I noticed the welcoming front veranda of Camellia Cottage Bed and Breakfast in Wilmington, North Carolina. Comfy wicker furniture and rocking chairs beckoned us to relax and enjoy the view of the lush flowering garden.
Camellia Cottage is in an historic neighborhood of 19th century houses, tree-lined streets, and flowering gardens. Surprisingly, this quiet oasis is within easy walking distance of the restaurants and shops on Wilmington’s Riverwalk and its historic downtown. Since the B & B’s ideal location made it easy to walk everywhere, my husband and I welcomed the chance to ditch the car.
The friendly innkeepers, Steven and Paula, clearly love their adopted city and suggested ways to enjoy the culture of Wilmington. Inside, Steven and Paula have uniquely decorated each bedroom. Even though antiques fill the rooms, the big house is warm and welcoming. Our room, the Crane Suite, has formal floor-to-ceiling windows and a fireplace. Our quirky bathroom, once a sunroom, now is filled with plants and even a sitting space.
Small kindnesses make staying in a bed and breakfast special. For example, after a day of exploring, my husband and I were delighted to find fresh almond shortbread waiting in our room. At 7:30 the next morning, we woke to find a big pot of hot coffee left outside our door. Children are welcome over age 9, as are all dogs and cats.
Fit for Foodies
Breakfast at Camellia Cottage is worth the trip. For this three-course affair, we ate at the big dining room table and chatted with other guests. Paula is a pastry chef. She followed a hot strawberry crumble pie with “North Carolina in a pot.” That’s a baked egg dish made with all local ham, grits, and goat cheese. Paula’s idea of breakfast includes dessert, naturally – homemade dulce de leche ice cream.
Despite Paula’s love for sweets, she’ll happily adapt to gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegetarian diets.
Rosehill Bed and Breakfast in Wilmington, North Carolina
We didn’t stay at Rosehill Inn Bed and Breakfast. But the innkeepers gave us a tour of this elegant 19th century mansion, including the portrait of an ancestor, a Confederate general. Like Camellia Cottage, it is a few blocks from the Riverwalk. Each of the six bedrooms is uniquely furnished. Breakfast features North Carolina country food, including seasonal fruits baked into French toast. Rosehill Inn Bed and Breakfast in Wilmington, North Carolina allows children ages 13 and above.
Hotel Riverwalk Bed and Breakfast in Wilmington, North Carolina
Hotel Riverwalk is an 8-room boutique inn, also walking distance from the riverfront. The friendly owners recently refurbished the large yellow brick building, which was a school. Our room was clean and modern. Additional welcome features are on-site parking and a handicapped accessible room. The cozy shared living area would be useful for down time. Breakfast is grab-and-go yogurt, coffee, fruit, or granola bars. I was surprised that this Inn is for kids 12 and older, since the quick, no-fuss breakfast would work for kids unenthusiastic about a gourmet start to the day.
Casual Bed and Breakfast at Carolina Beach
We enjoyed the casual beach house, retro vibe of the Beacon House Inn Bed and Breakfast, starting with the framed vintage 1950s women’s bathing suit hanging on the wall. This B & B is like staying at a funky version of Grandma’s house, if she lived in Carolina Beach near Wilmington, North Carolina. The friendly owners, Heather and Mike, greeted us with fresh baked banana bread as we checked in. Heather suggested things to do in Carolina Beach and Wrightsville Beach and gave us great restaurant recommendations.
Beacon House’s location worked well for us. The Inn is across the street from Carolina Beach and we even glimpsed the ocean from the 2d floor terrace. Since most places we explored required driving, we appreciated that Beacon House Inn has parking for guests.
While the main house is available for ages 12 and up, kids of all ages and pets are welcome in the three cottages on site. In the main house bedrooms, dark wood paneling is soothing after a day in bright sunshine. Although bedrooms in the main house are compact, there were two comfy outdoor porches and a shared living room if we had needed more space. A curious feature is that the staircase to reach the several bedrooms on the second floor is external to the house.
Located on the same property as the main house, each of the 3 cottages has 2-3 bedrooms, a full kitchen, and a living area. The largest cottage has a porch. Guests staying in the cottages do not eat breakfast in the main house.
Fit for foodies
The glorious breakfast is the star of Beacon House Inn. Mike creatively prepares breakfast using fresh local ingredients. Who knew cantaloupe could be improved by feta cheese, mint, and lavender syrup? Or that cubes of caramelized sweet potato would be delicious with apples and pancetta? The frittata of sausage and fresh cut dill was a tasty and filling Farm-to-Table breakfast that put the kibosh on lunch. Finally, as a welcome parting touch Beacon House’s onsite baker slipped us chocolate fudge cookies straight from the oven. One for the road – yum. (And if you are a foodie looking for a Bed and Breakfast closer to the northeast corridor, consider Bucks County, Pennsylvania.)
Does staying in a Bed and Breakfast appeal to you? Tell us about it in the comments.