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The Pender House: Burgaw’s Past Meets the Present

Looking out from the inviting wrap-around porch of Burgaw’s only bed and breakfast, we see owner Larry Owens’ pull up in a white pick-up truck, offering a welcoming wave accompanied by the all too familiar Burgaw smile. As we enter The Pender House through two black-paned screen doors, we immediately sense the same small town hospitality & charm reflected in every corner of the bed and breakfast. 

Standing in the foyer, Larry tells us of the house’s rich history; originally built in the 1890’s in the heart of downtown and named The Black Hotel, it was a center for town gatherings and events. As he continues, we catch a glimpse of the well-deserved Historic Wilmington Foundation Award tucked behind the front door. This accomplishment is granted to folks who embody the foundation’s mission of preservation efforts through adaptive reuse, rehabilitation and restoration. Soon after, Larry explains that almost all of the floors throughout the home other than the originals are reclaimed from demolished Wilmington homes. Each board fits like a puzzle and offers a depth of character to the home. 

Saving the bedrooms and suites for last, Mr. Owens’ leads us through the beautifully curated kitchen full of gathered treasures to the sunroom with a view of the large backyard deck and lawn; a seamless addition to the property that offers a bright and airy gathering space for guests to enjoy their continental breakfast, curl up with a good book or just relax and enjoy the hand-picked, vintage furniture and decor. “That’s all my wife” Larry remarks, “she’s got an eye for that stuff.” 


While every corner of the room offers eye-catching detail, the beautifully crafted, reclaimed wooden beam structure supporting the elevated ceiling is the star of the show. Designed by local architect and owner of Burgaw Antiqueplace, Johnny Westbrook, this piece captures the essence of the home; the charm of Burgaw’s deep history with the comfort and luxury of today. Mr. Owens begins leading us through the rest of the home and as we linger to admire the many relics of the home he pauses and confirms, “The Pender House is really an experience, not just a place to stay.” We agree.

The stretch that follows guides us through the first floor suite equipped with two fireplaces, a large, vintage living room and a king bed. We head up the stairs to the four other spacious and charming bedrooms; each named to honor different towns in Pender county and offering intricate glimpses in time from picture rails to antique wall sconces. Though perfectly coordinated, Larry tells us that the pieces have come from all over- mostly estate sales, antique shops and local architectural salvage; a hobby of both Larry and his wife Beth. 

As we head out and thank Larry for his time and hospitality, he interjects to invite us back again next week saying “each time you come back it’ll be different!” Much like Burgaw, The Pender House represents a preservation of the warmth of a small, historic town and the hope for what is possible. 

The Pender House is a short walk from the main attractions in downtown Burgaw and located at 214 S Dickerson Street, Burgaw, NC 28425. Book your next stay here!


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