Remember the inn with the blue shutters from the Richard Gere-Diane Lane movie Nights in Rodanthe? In real life, it’s known as “Serendipity,” a house that sits on the edge of the Pea Island Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina’s Outer Banks. According to an article published when the movie premiered:
The house was dolled up and temporarily renamed The Inn at Rodanthe; all the movie’s interior shots were done in Wilmington, N.C. Shutters were painted blue and decks and a gazebo were added.
Here’s how the house looked after filming ended and all of the shutters and decks, etc., were removed (looks kind of naked, doesn’t it?):
The house was built in 1988 with piling driven down 14 feet and set in concrete. At the time, there was 400 feet of beach in front of the house. Now the beach front is gone, and the ocean is slowly washing the house away.
The Island Free Press published this photo and more details about the state of the house in November:
The county is in the process of declaring Serendipity a public nuisance, which means that the owners will have to either move the house or have it torn down (source).
The owners purchased the house in 2003 just before Hurricane Isabel. The house was a rental property but has been condemned several times over the past two years.
I have received numerous e-mails and comments from local residents who are concerned about the house. One told me that after every storm, everyone wants to know whether Serendipity is still standing.
A reader named Curt sent me the following message:
Not only is Serendipity condemned for a failed sewage system, but also the next 6-7 houses just down from it in a row. It’s inevitible that it will be lost to nature. This is the most encroached upon area in the Outer Banks and is a great concern for the residents of Rodanthe today.
The current owners have been trying to sell it for $499,900, but apparently there haven’t been any takers. The listing shows us that the real house looks nothing like the movie version. Here’s the movie kitchen:
And the actual kitchen:
The movie’s version of the dining/living area:
And the actual living area:
Lisa, the reader who sent me the photo of the real Serendipity at the top of the post, tells me that people have actually been breaking into the house and stealing things because they want a “souvenir” from the movie.
In November, high water caused Highway 12, the road that runs past Serendipity, to buckle, and sections of it had to be closed (source):
It’s a sad situation. I feel sorry for the homeowners, who told the Island Free Press that they have “everything tied up in this house,” and don’t know what to do next.
1/10 UPDATE: Serendipity has been rescued! Ben and Debra Huss bought the house and are in the process of moving it. They want to restore the house to its former glory for fans of the movie and rent it out. Huss says, “We just had to save it,” adding that his wife agreed, telling him, “You’ve always been a dreamer.” They sent me an e-mail about their plans that you can see here.
For more photos from the movie: Nights in Rodanthe.