Serendipity, the romantic inn with blue shutters that had a starring role in the Richard Gere-Diane Lane tear-jerker Nights in Rodanthe, used to sit on the edge of the Pea Island Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina’s Outer Banks. But then it started to wash away.
After I featured the beach house a couple of years ago, several local residents wrote to tell me what a bad state it was in. It was on a “death watch.” One reader said that after every bad storm, everyone wanted to know whether Serendipity had survived it.
Here’s how the Inn at Rodanthe, as it was called in the movie, looked onscreen:
Not only was it looking kind of naked after the film crew left, but it was declared a public nuisance and condemned. One local wrote to tell me that vandals had been breaking into it and stealing things.
This photo was taken after a bad storm (source) when the water came up so far that the road buckled:
The owners told the Island Free Press that they had “everything tied up in this house,” and didn’t know what to do next. They had tried to sell it for a couple of years but no one was willing to take it on.
Then, last year, I got an email from Ben and Debra Huss, who described themselves as “extreme fans” of the movie, telling me they had decided to buy Serendipity and move it to safety. Not only that, but they wanted to “restore it to the original splendor of the movie.”
They did just that. It has been moved, renovated, and reopened for business (on higher ground!). Some of you have written me, asking for an update on the inn. Here’s how the exterior looks now, on its new lot:
Much better, right? They have also given some of the rooms a makeover to look more like they did in the movie (the interiors were filmed on a separate soundstage). For example, here’s how the kitchen looked before:
My hat’s off to Ben and Debra for taking on the monumental (and expensive) task of buying, moving, and redecorating this inn. You can see all of the photos on the website along with rental rates and info.
To see more photos of how it looked in the movie, check out my original post: Nights in Rodanthe: A Romantic Inn on the Beach.