Local News

Rodanthe beach house is 'what Christmas is all about'

Posted December 3, 2010 3:09 p.m. EST
Updated December 4, 2010 11:09 a.m. EST

— A Hatteras Island house made famous in "The Nights of Rodanthe" movie is taking its place as a North Carolina Christmas landmark.

Its owners, though, say its importance lies in the way the house being used to help others.

Ben and Debbie Huss, of Newton, are celebrating their first Christmas as owners of Serendipity, which starred in the 2008 movie based on a bestseller by Wilmington author Nicholas Sparks.

The couple has collected Christmas decorations throughout their thirty-plus year marriage and are putting them all up at the house. So far, it sports 10 Christmas trees, 40 homemade bows and 10,000 lights.

"I wanted this to share the real meaning of Christmas," Ben Huss said. "I hope it helps everyone involved to realize what Christmas is all about."

This weekend, the couple will open the house to public tours, so thousands of tourists who stop to take pictures from the outside can finally come in and see the inside.

Proceeds from ticket sales and a raffle will go to the Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation.

Hatteras Island is far from any major cancer hospitals, and the foundation helps victims pay for transportation and treatment.

Anne Styron, a cancer patient and Hatteras resident, said the foundation helped her buy needed medicine that she couldn't afford.

"I was diagnosed the last day of June, two years ago," Styron said. "It takes your life."

The cause is dear to the hearts of the Husses. Their daughter, Elizabeth, is a cancer survivor.

"I don't know how that would be, to live on this island and have to go hundreds of miles for treatment and not know how you're going to pay for it," Debbie Huss said.

Ben Huss said he believes there's a bigger reason the couple from western North Carolina was moved to buy an old movie icon on the Outer Banks and join an isolated community that has welcomed them.

"We have to give back to the community that has helped us so greatly," he said.

The "Nights at Rondathe" Holiday Open House at Serendipty runs 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4 and 1-6 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 5. To buy tickets, go to the Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation's website, hicf.org, and click on the Events Calendar. Tickets are also available at the door.