The Inns of Roanoke Island

By Beth P. Storie

There are lots of things that make Roanoke Island the fantastic place it is. Every year, more people discover this little island. They hear about the beautiful waterfront area with the boardwalk that wraps around the downtown area like a belt holding in all the good stuff. The come for the restaurants that are laid back and easy to enjoy, even in the middle of summer. They absolutely come for the attractions such as The Lost Colony, Roanoke Island Festival Park, The Elizabethan Gardens, Island Farm, the North Carolina Aquarium and more. And, more and more, they come for the feel of this place. It's different than most other parts of the Outer Banks. There's grass and picket fences and beautiful restored houses, and you can walk or bike pretty much everywhere on the island. The pace is easier here, and it's quieter. All that said, it's not old in the sense of stuffy. There's a happening bar and restaurant scene, the surrounding waters are filled with kayakers, sailors and paddleboarders. There's a vibrant arts presence and outstanding outdoor music festivals.

Overall, it's an island that, while it can claim history that literally goes back to the first English people who tried to colonize the New World more than 425 years ago, is really just being considered by modern-day tourists as a place to base their vacation, not just come for a day visit. But islanders are ready; they've known for a long time that their little island paradise would be discovered - and coveted - sooner or later. So, when you're ready to experience it for yourself, you'll have some excellent choices for places to stay.

 

Tranquil House Inn

Tranquil House Inn

Tranquil House Inn is a jewel on the Manteo Waterfront. Sitting just feet from Shallowbag Bay, the waterfront porches provide views that, perhaps, no other Outer Banks inn can offer. Directly across the water is the picturesque Elizabeth II ship, to the right is the glow from Marshes Light, farther out is a panorama of Nags Head that sweeps the soundside sights of Jockey's Ridge, houses, wind-full sailboats, the Causeway bridge and Pirate's Cove into one big beautiful picture. The 25 rooms are all individually decorated and have every nicety you'd expect from a top-notch inn. Plus, you're welcomed with a wine and cheese reception each night and a continental breakfast each morning. And, one of the biggest draws is the inn's resident restaurant, 1587, which is a hands-down favorite with locals, both for its incredibly well-prepared food and its elegant yet fun bar scene.

 

Cameron House Inn

Cameron House Inn

Right down the road is Cameron House Inn, a beautifully restored Arts and Crafts-style bungalow. Less than a block from the waterfront, it's an easy stroll to all the shops, restaurants, arts and attractions of the downtown area. The inn itself is an oasis of calm.

The front porch swing is perfect for relaxing, and the back porch with its fireplace and big rocking chairs is where you want to spend a lot of your time. The inn itself offers six rooms, each with inviting features such as a soaking tub, fireplace, writing desk or sitting area. Unlike most inns in the area, the Cameron House serves a full breakfast in the morning and has homemade sweets out all the time. They also provide free bicycles for touring the island. Both the owners and manager have lived on the Outer Banks for decades, so they're perfect tour guides. The inn is frequently host to intimate weddings.

 

Scarborough House B&B

Scarborough House B&B

A few roads over, still in the historic waterfront area, you'll come to Scarborough House B&B. It spreads over a large lot with several buildings, and an interesting feature is the goldfish pond where guests like to relax in rocking chairs and take in the aquatic activity as well as the surrounding garden. The inn has lots of options for accommodations, with rooms and a guesthouse. All provide you with a microwave, coffeemaker, refrigerator, WiFi and TV. A light continental breakfast is provided inroom. A charming aspect of this inn is the artwork throughout, much of which one of the owners painted herself. There are also beautiful antiques throughout. The owners are natives of Roanoke Island...and, boy, the tales they can tell! Their granddaughter is the innkeeper now.

 

Scarborough House

Scarborough House

Scarborough Inn is owned by the son and daughter-in-law of the folks at Scarborough House. Located on U.S. Highway 64, the main road that runs through Manteo, Scarborough Inn is a great find that's convenient to Roanoke Island's attractions, the waterfront and the Nags Head beaches. The inn's style is classic Outer Banks cedar-shake with wrap-around porches that catch lovely breezes. Here, there are three buildings - the main inn, the Annex and the Barn - for a total of 14 rooms, each of which is well-equipped with WiFi, microwave, refrigerator, coffeemaker and cable TV. Right across the street are two well-liked local restaurants. The owners provide a light continental in-room breakfast.

 

Wanchese Inn Bed and Breakfast

Wanchese Inn Bed and Breakfast

If you want to experience a different side of Roanoke Island, take the road to Wanchese, located on the south end of the island, and stay at the Wanchese Inn Bed and Breakfast. Wanchese is the heart of the fishing industry on these northern Outer Banks shores, and trucks leave from the fish houses here every day headed to Fulton Fish Market in NYC! It's interesting to go see where your seafood comes from. Wanchese Inn is in a lovingly restored island house, built in 1900, that now offers four guest rooms, one of which features a Jacuzzi tub for a day's end soak. Every morning, a full breakfast is served to guests. This is a perfect B&B for anglers since the inn offers plenty of space to park your boat in the yard.

 

Call to reserve a room for your Roanoke Island Getaway

Tranquil House Inn

405 Queen Elizabeth Street, Manteo                    

(252) 473-1404, (800) 458-7069

www.tranquilhouseinn.com
 

Cameron House Inn

300 Budleigh Street, Manteo

(252) 473-6596, (800) 279-8178

www.cameronhouseinn.com
 

Scarborough House

Bed & Breakfast

323 Fernando Street, Manteo

(252) 473-3849

www.scarboroughhouseinn.com
 

Scarborough Inn

524 U.S. Highway 64, Manteo

(252) 473-3979

www.scarborough-inn.com
 

Wanchese Inn Bed & Breakfast

85 Jovers Lane, Wanchese

(252) 475-1166

www.wancheseinn.com
 

 

About the Author Beth P. Storie
Beth Storie first came to the Outer Banks for the summer of 1976. She fell in love with the area and returned for good three years later. She and her husband published the national guidebook series, The Insiders' Guides, for more than 20 years and now are building OneBoat guides into another national brand. After spending time in many dozens of cities around the country, she absolutely believes that her hometown of Manteo is the best place on earth, especially when her two children, six cats and one dog are there too.