Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Kid & Pet Friendly B&B

Posted March 20, 2007

What was your most interesting bed & breakfast experience? Let's talk about that today. As a conversation starter we will begin with the changing face of the b&b.

You enjoy the warmth and personal touch of a bed and breakfast over a traditional hotel. But you want it to be a family getaway with child and pet in tow. So, you're out of luck right? No, not necessarily.

More and more bed and breakfasts are embracing tots and Totos. WRAL colleague Kelcey Carlson recently had a wonderful experience in Wilmington. Kelcey and company including husband Dave and infant Charlie ventured into Blue Heaven. That's the name of a bed & breakfast that any Carolina fan would love. But the name Blue Heaven came from the previous owners. It's named for their favorite restaurant in Key West called Blue Heaven. The place also has a Key West room because of their love of the place.

Kelcey reports that innkeeper Jay Gartrell is pet friendly, "but likes to discuss the 'pet' with guests before they book. He says he's had to say 'no' to a dog that has bitten people and a puppy that's not quite house trained."

Blue Heaven is a beautiful Queen Anne style home built 110 years ago complete with stained glass, seven fireplaces and a wraparound porch.

Kelcey says Blue Heaven attracted an interesting blend of guests during her weekend getaway. That was her favorite part of the trip - and people and their stories. I loved Kelcey's narrative and I will share it with you:

"We learned all about Jay, the innkeeper the first 15 minutes we were there. He has two grown children, 25 and 21 and he got divorced a few years back. His wife was a librarian at Duke and he says they were always entertaining people at their home so when he got divorced he decided to buy a b and b.

His daughter is a student at Kalamazoo College and he had recently visited her in Ecuador. He wore his Ecuador pants on Sunday. His son is a newspaper reporter in Wyoming. The next morning we ate with a couple in their 50's. She's an artist and between the two they had 5 children. They joked that at least one of their kids turned out normal! Their son lived in Wilmington, but they couldn't find him. They also had a cute little dog.

Then there was the young party couple. They were really cute and they had been out canoeing, walking, to a movie, dinner and then a club on Saturday. She went to Carolina and he had gone to State, but they had no idea the two teams were playing in Sunday. The guy said State was doing better because Chuch Amato was gone. She had to correct him to say that was football. The whole thing was just a hoot! The visit ended with the Inn Keeper showing us a news clip from WWAY after he captured a loose Wallaby in his backyard!"

If you're looking for a nice bed and breakfast check out the North Carolina Bed & Breakfasts and Inns Association at


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  • Maddie girl Mar 21, 2007

    Hey Bill, do you think us DUKE fans would enjoy blue heaven ?

  • kimwells Mar 20, 2007

    I know this has nothing to do with B&B, but I just wanted to let you know Bill, that I enjoyed your concert at Edgecombe Community College Saturday night. Even though I had to miss the TarHeels play, I did enjoy the concert!

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Bill Leslie