History in the Making
The original Inlet Inn was built in the 1850s by the owners of a dry goods store in Beaufort. It began as a private residence known as the Lowenberg House and was renowned for having one of the “best views on the east coast.” Sold in the early 1900s to the Morris family, the original structure was used as a Summer home and was known as the Morris House until Carrie Dill Norcom operated it as a boarding house named “Norcom House.”
Congressman Charles Abernathy bought the house in 1911, expanded its size with rambling additions and named it New Inlet Inn. He added windmills to pump in freshwater and a second-floor ballroom. His Innkeeper, Mrs. Worth, and her four children along with two other Beaufort boys, made up a small orchestra. There was even a dance instructor!
During this period Beaufort enjoyed many visitors, partly due to its popular half-mile long boardwalk and a lovely beach for swimming. The boardwalk, long gone, extended from the 500 block of Front Street to Gordon Street and passed directly in front of the Inn, providing access to the beach.
The dredging of Taylor’s Creek, resulting in unsightly piles of sand on the south side of the channel, combined with the Great Depression, led to the closing of the Inn in the early twenties. Though several comebacks were attempted, none were successful and eventually the beach was filled and Front Street was created and paved.
Finally in 1967, 110 years after it was built, most of the building was torn down to make way for construction of the BB&T bank building just east of the current Inlet Inn. From the second-floor walkways, visitors can still view one wing of the original Inlet Inn which sets back at the edge of the parking lot and is used as a private residence.
Inlet Inn as it now stands was built in 1985 by three North Carolinians who loved history and foresaw Beaufort’s potential of becoming a historic travel destination. The Jones family bought the Inn in 2004, operating it until May 29, 2019.
Stewardship of Inlet Inn was then passed to its third owners, Barbara McKenzie and Jay Tervo. Barbara and Jay got engaged at the Inn twenty-five years ago and are honored to continue its legacy as a welcome respite for visitors from all over the globe. Inlet Inn forever reserves a place as one of Beaufort’s iconic landmarks in the historic waterfront district, offering one of the best views on the East coast. And by the way, visitors may still hear music wafting down from the upper level of the Inn’s Widow’s Walk Lounge as Ms. McKenzie, a well known classical concert pianist, plans to host candlelight concerts on occasion. Who knows, there may even be some dancing. You’re invited anytime to be our guest at the iconic Inlet Inn.