Published 12:00 am Friday, July 18, 2008

JACKSON – In just nearly a year of saying “hello” to Jackson, Bill Shaw has bid farewell to the Northampton County town.

On July 8, the co-host of the Old North State Bed and Breakfast got into his gray, 1988 pickup truck to make the more than 600 mile trip back to Kentucky with his old mutt, Rebel, by his side.

“I have a mixed complex about it (leaving),” he said. “It’s sad to leave, but as soon as I cross the Kentucky border I’ll get a smile on my face.”

In June, Shaw learned Old North State’s owners, Pam and Gary McCullough, are selling the bed and breakfast after just a little over a year in operation.

Soon after its official opening, Shaw came on board as the B&B’s co-host. The McCulloughs, who live in Matthews, NC, were only able to open the Old North State on the weekends, but with Shaw’s help the business was opened to guests each week, 24/7.

In his role as co-host, Shaw was responsible for the everyday operation of the B&B, which included making breakfast for guests.

Relying on the southern way of cooking his mother passed down to him, Shaw offered an assorted menu. Quiche, country ham, biscuits and gravy, grits, French toast, spiced apples and muffins are just a sampling of what was offered.

Originally from nearby Halifax, Shaw found a niche in Jackson. He was known as the “Muffin Man,” as he would bring extra muffins to local businesses in town.

He attended Jackson’s United Methodist Church and children would stop by to say “hello” to Mr. Rebel, either with a pat on the head or shout out a passing car’s window.

Shaw said the close proximity to his home town allowed him to reconnect with old friends and also make new ones.

Back at his “old Kentucky home,” Shaw plans to spend his time with his daughter and grandchildren. He also has been offered a co-host position at a Holiday Express Hotel.

“I might do some horse farm tours,” he said.

Along with being a veteran in the bed and breakfast business, Shaw also has an extensive background in horse farms.

Shaw said he will miss the people of Jackson the most.

“Jackson is such a unique town,” he said. “You just get to know everyone here; it’s just a wonderful place to live.”