ELIZABETHTOWN — One of Elizabethtown’s oldest homes recently had new life breathed into its 184-year-old walls and, on Thursday, a ribbon-cutting and grand re-opening was held to kick start its next chapter as a bed and breakfast.
The Elizabethtown Inn, located at 105 Cromartie Road just a short distance from the business district of Elizabethtown, was recently reopened by Nico and Christine Maraise, a husband and wife team who are originally from South Africa but came to Bladen County from France.
“We are very happy to be here in Bladen County,” Nico told a crowd of about 40 people at Thursday’s event. “It’s easy to tell we are not from here, but we plan to grow roots here.”
“I’m not moving again,” Christine chimed in.
Nico came to the United States to assume the position of president for Elizbethtown Prismaflex, a company started by Hunter Cole, who also owned the Elizabethtown Inn at the time. Soon after Christine arrived, the couple purchased the property that features six bedrooms, several bathrooms, a grand entry and spacious living spaces.
On Thursday, the visitors — which included many of the Cole family — were treated to a tour of the 1834 home built by Col. John A. McDowell. Included within the home is what Nico and Christine have called a “unique room,” which has been named for Kitty Cole Nye.
“This is such a beautiful, historic home,” said former Elizabethtown Police Chief Bobby Kinlaw. “I’m happy to see it’s been so well restored and kept alive.”
After many of the visitors had spent time wandering throughout the two-story home or fellowshipping on the back screened-in porch and on the backyard lawn, a gathering assembled on the front porch for a special blessing by Pastor Shannon Ross.
“As we celebrate today, we know it was God who brought this family here,” she said. “Today is a day of new beginnings, but this site has a historical background that is a strong part of its story — and we want to ask for His blessing on this family, this home and this business.”
Shortly after the blessing, members of the Elizabethtown-White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce gathered with Nico and Christine on the front steps to commemorate the day with an official ribbon-cutting.
“This is exciting for Elizabethtown,” Mayor Sylvia Campbell told the Maraise family. “We’re so happy to welcome you and to have this business here. Thank you so much for preserving this beautiful home.”
The Elizabethtown Inn, along with its deep roots in history and southern antebellum architecture, is filled from room to room with decor and furniture from all over the world. Included is a locally crafted large quilt from 2001 that hangs in an upstairs bedroom and an antique German piano that belonged to Nico’s great-great-great grandfather that is located in the foyer.
The Maraises plan to be able to host weddings, small receptions and meetings on the property, as well as offer visitors four bedrooms, each with their own bathrooms, as part of the bed and breakfast.
For information about availability and rates, The Elizabethtown Inn can be reached by calling 910-991-3081, online at www.TheElizabethtownInn.com or by email at Reservations@TheElizabethtownInn.com.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached at 910-862-4163 or firstname.lastname@example.org.