Home is where the heart is

Published 6:56 am Tuesday, January 21, 2014

MURFREESBORO – Imagine lounging in a rocking chair on a spacious front porch.

Overhead, a ceiling fan provides a gentle breeze. In your right hand is a piping hot cup of Irish Breakfast tea; in your left hand is a delicious oatmeal brulee, or perhaps a slice of chocolate cake topped with fresh whipped cream frosting.

Imagine that environment is right here at home, because it does indeed exist at The Flanagan House Bed and Breakfast & Tearoom in historic downtown Murfreesboro.

Teresa and Tim Flanagan cut the ceremonial ribbon to formally open their Bed and Breakfast on Main Street in Murfreesboro. The New Jersey couple have purchased the old Lawrence House / Barnes House, built in 1818. Staff Photo by Cal Bryant

Teresa and Tim Flanagan cut the ceremonial ribbon to formally open their Bed and Breakfast on Main Street in Murfreesboro. The New Jersey couple have purchased the old Lawrence House / Barnes House, built in 1818. Staff Photo by Cal Bryant

New Jersey transplants Tim and Teresa Flanagan are the new owners of the old Barnes House, located at 308 West Main Street. They have restored the majority of this historic property, once of the home of David Collin Barnes (1875-1959).  The former Mayor of Murfreesboro went on to a bigger career in politics – representing the local area in the North Carolina House of Representatives, and spent three terms in the NC Senate. He was the son of Judge David Alexander Barnes who moved to Murfreesboro from Northampton County.

How the Flanagans – Teresa, a native of Laurence Harbor and Tim hailing from Atlantic City – arrived and opened a business in Murfreesboro is a unique story of its own as neither had any experience in operating a Bed and Breakfast.

“We found Murfreesboro online,” said Teresa, pausing for a few moments while entertaining guests at a ribbon cutting ceremony held Jan. 15 that formally opened the new business.

“Tim and I were married in August of 2011 and we honeymooned in a bed and breakfast in Pennsylvania,” she recalled. “We both fell in love with the idea of operating such a business like that.”

Prior to changing careers, Teresa worked 15 years for an industrial supplier; Tim was a car salesman.

While neither of their previous jobs prepared them for such a bold, new adventure in life, Teresa did mention that being one of 13 children did give her a background in how to share living space with others as well as the techniques of preparing meals for family and guests.

“My mother encouraged me to learn how to cook; I guess you have to when coming from such a big family,” she said. “I don’t know how to cook small.”

The online search led the Flanagans to several properties in North Carolina.

“We started touring those properties and I knew in my heart that I had to see the old Barnes house here in Murfreesboro before we went back to New Jersey,” Teresa stated. “When I first walked in the front door here I remember saying that I was home. And now that we’re here, I can see why I feel so at home because the people here are so warm and welcoming.”

The rest, as they say, is history.

However, there’s still plenty of work to be done. One larger downstairs room is the next big project to tackle. The two guest rooms upstairs are complete, as is a large dining room (tea room) downstairs. That room can be rented out for parties, receptions, etc.

The Flanagans are planning an arts fair on the grounds of the home in April. Their hope is to get as many local artists as possible involved in that event.

“This is not just a bed and breakfast business, we want people to drop by to visit, and while you’re here be sure to enjoy our wide variety of teas and desserts,” Teresa said.

The Flanagan House has been opened since September.

“We love it here; each month gets better and better,” Teresa noted. “January has been our best month to date.”

She said The Commons Bed and Breakfast and Wine Bistro next door has been great to work with.

“I can send my guests over there for dinner or down to Tavern 125,” she remarked. “We also work in collaboration with the Jernigan House (Bed and Breakfast) over in Ahoskie; if they’re full, they refer guests to us.”

The Lawrence House / Barnes House, built in 1818, is a beautifully crafted Victorian home. Inside, the foyer gives way to the gorgeous stair case that invites guests up to their rooms and lets them know of the strength and character of this fine house. The guest rooms are newly renovated with vintage elegance in mind which shows in every detail of these exceptionally beautiful rooms. Morning breakfast, featuring Teresa’s treats, is served in the front dining room which has an outstanding view of the grounds as well as Main Street.

For more information, call (252) 398-3676.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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