So, in the mornings I have to stroll 5 mins from my beloved Inn to get to the ocean...but, I'm super thankful for that 5 min stroll. For I'm sure without that small distance to the water's edge - the "Atlantic" would most probably be gone, lost to the countless storms and hurricanes that have ravaged Hatteras throughout the almost 100 years of the Inn's existence.
No matter how well a structure had been designed and built in the early 1900's, if it had been on the ocean front, I'm quite sure Mother Nature would have claimed it by now, particularly since the Inn was not raised above the flood plain level, until 2006. (The Inn had been severely damaged during hurricane Isabel in 2003 and was refurbished and reopened 2006 as The Seaside Inn). Both the distance from the ocean's edge and the raising of the Inn have helped the longevity of this precious building, which we now have the great fortune to call not only our business, but also our home 💗 .
As we've continued our renovations of the Inn, we've uncovered several mysteries from the past, many we'll never understand.... like why there are 2 large cut outs in the beautiful hardwood walls in the upper hallway - found when we decided to remove a rather strangely positioned mirror and old picture that had been nailed (very thoroughly) to the wall? We have no idea why this would have been done...and more to the point - why were the holes hidden instead of repairing...
Under another picture that was hanging in an odd place in the guest lounge/dining area, we found this:
I know it wasn't the previous Innkeeper, but obviously someone from the past wasn't very happy in their job!
When cleaning the beautiful, old, baby grand piano, we uncovered some old sheet music...
Thanks to my Mom, I took piano lessons for about 5 years when I was a child (gave it up to spend all my time riding horses, sorry Mom :o), and am now planning to relearn how to play, when I find the time.
In an old bookcase I found a collection of children's encyclopedias entitled "The Book of Knowledge"(copyright 1911), other books included "Evangeline" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (written 1866, this version printed 1905), "The House of Life" by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (copyright 1903), "Their Heart's Desire" by Frances & Foster Perry (copyright 1909), and several others from the same period in time.
I absolutely love books, and these were magical finds for me. We had already decided that the upper guest lounge would be a comfy library area (although it does also have a large screen TV for those who'd rather watch a good movie), where guests (and me😉) can relax after a busy day at the beach, with a nice drink, and find a book to lose themselves in for a little while. The books found in the Inn will be a welcome addition to the library of books we've accumulated over the years, for guests to enjoy.
Other not so ancient finds included a set of "The Nautical series" from the Dollar Store K-Collection, and I have to say, I rather like this little guy...and he has now taken up residence in my office!
Built in 1928 by Ellsworth Burrus, a local entrepreneur, the hotel originally had15 rooms, that rented for $1.50/day. Since arriving in the village, we've heard stories of "important" people that have stayed at the inn, which on the surface one might dismiss, but considering the "Atlantic" was the first, and only hotel on Hatteras from 1928, until others were built in the late 1940's, early 50's, anyone who did visit the island to hunt, fish or vacation would most likely have stayed here. A local recently told us that Billy Mitchell (who is often referred to as the father of the United States Air Force), used to stay at the Inn when he visited Hatteras after he retired from the military, which may explain the old photograph we found of a plane "parked" next to the Inn, or maybe someone reading this, knows who the plane belonged to?
Just think of all the people who have stayed at "The Atlantic" over its 93 years....and the stories these walls could tell, if only they could speak...
When working on "The Bodie Suite", our dog friendly accommodation, we found a few small holes in the floor, which we now know were drain holes, used before the Inn was raised to help get rid of water from the room if it flooded. Fortunately, these haven't been needed since the Inn was elevated in 2006.
When we bought the Inn, we found this rather odd contraption on the front porch, it's in terrible disrepair, but we will try to restore it. There is a faded plaque on it that indicates that at one time, it was rented out on a boardwalk. We'd love to know the history of this particular piece...
Another find that we don't have an explanation for, is a broken-down wall in the back of the grounds of the hotel. We would love to know what that structure was, and when it was used. Hopefully, someone may have some information they can share with us.
At one point in time the Inn was a gathering place for locals, having had a well-loved restaurant and billiards/pool table, and at one time held dances in the "Atlantic View Pavilion". During some research, this photo was found, and it looked like there may have been another structure on the grounds - could this have been the Pavilion? Again, if anyone has information that would help us verify this, we'd love to know.
On this topic, many people have so kindly shared their memories of the Inn, and with their permission, I would love to include them in an historical timeline story of the "Atlantic Inn". This would be an ever-evolving book containing information about the Inn and the Hatteras area, that I would add to, as we learn more about the Inn's past. It would be available for guests to read when visiting, or downloading from our website.
We're getting a lot of enquiries as to when the Inn will be ready for guests to enjoy. We are hoping for the end of April, beginning of May at the latest, and are taking reservations now on our website:
Just click on the "Check Availability/Rates/Reservations" Button at the top of the page.
We are really looking forward to giving you a warm welcome at the "Atlantic".
Now, I must go help JB, who is as always, hard at work on the many renovation projects around the Inn 😊
Until next time.... Take care, have fun, and stay safe!
PS. Bailey and Bodie, the Inn pups find the whole renovation process particularly exhausting...