Local News

Historic Hillsborough Inn closes for renovations

Posted January 10, 2002
Updated November 5, 2008

— Hillsborough is home to one of the oldest inns in the United States. After nearly 250 years of continuous operation, The Colonial Inn is taking a rest.

The Colonial Inn holds a special place in history, and the hearts of many who live in Hillsborough.

Long before the election of the country's first president, the inn was a fixture in Hillsborough. Built in 1759, it has a rich past.

"You can look at these floors and wonder how many people have walked on these floors and what kinds of conversations have they had. It's just the imagination can run wild thinking about what's gone on here for the past 250 years," says owner Sara McKee.

Legend has it that during the revolution, Gen. Cornwallis made the inn his home. Aaron Burr, the third vice president, was a guest as was first lady Dolly Madison.

It is the familiar comfort of the inn that has kept people coming back over the years.

Twins Barbara and Bernice have been regulars at the Inn since 1944.

"It's a family inn. It's family food. The people here treat you like family," says Bernice Stiles.

"We love this inn because the food is good and it's part of the old historic south," says Barbara Stiles. "I don't think many people think of North Carolina as pre-revolutionary. They think of Massachusetts, or the north. We do have a rich history here."

After 12 years, the current owners are moving on. They leave with the pride of knowing just how much the inn has meant to so many generations of visitors.

The new owners plan to reopen sometime next year.

Historic Acquisitions of Raleigh plans to completely restore and renovate The Colonial Inn. The cost is estimated at $2 to $2.5 million.

Reporter: Christine Rogers

Photographer: Adrianne Traxinger

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