In the late 1800s, before highways began crisscrossing the country, America moved along waterways. Towns sprouted along these waterways, which flowed with commerce, linking Water Street, where boats dropped their goods, to the merchants on Main Street in river towns like Belhaven, N.C. The space between Water and Main is where backyards came together, and where neighbors talked over picket fences, tended their gardens and found sweet solace under the blooming magnolias. This space can be found at Between Water and Main, a bed and breakfast that connects the town’s waterfront, now largely used for fishing and recreation, with the residential charm of tree-lined Main Street.
Once the home Willie “Capt’n Will” Wilkinson, who managed the Atlantic Ice and Seafood Company or “The Ice Plant,” the house was expanded into a six-bedroom private residence by local visionary and former Belhaven Mayor Dr. Charles Boyette. In the 1990s, 367 E. Water Street was converted to a bed and breakfast, operating as The Duck Blind Inn. The owners closed the inn before putting it up for sale. While visiting family in North Carolina one cold day in January 2005, Gail Fowler and her husband Alan Rogers discovered Belhaven. They made an offer on the property while driving back home to New Jersey, fully intending to re-open the inn. As with most labors of love, it took longer than they had planned. After several years of renting the house as a single-family residence, they began a multi-year, top-to-bottom renovation, revealing the home’s true potential.
Mid-way through renovations, an adjoining property came on the market. They purchased a second Victorian home, currently under renovation, to provide ample parking for Between Water & Main guests while preserving the integrity of the original half-acre grounds for guests to enjoy. This additional property connects the Water Street house to Main Street, giving the inn its name.
Future plans include linking the Main Street grounds to the inn with pathways, gardens and additional outdoor living space.