Rosemary House Bed & Breakfast is the first in a series of blog posts about the innkeepers and their accommodations in our area. Join us as we take a turn off the historic traffic circle in downtown Pittsboro to see what’s around the bend.
Today, she’s an innkeeper but before that, Karen Pullen worked in a cubicle for a corporation for 16 years. Her educational background is math and engineering and she worked for a systems engineering consulting firm. Karen grew up in southern New Jersey and has lived in Florida, Missouri, Massachusetts, and Northern Virginia. She first came to Chatham County to visit her daughter at UNC and quickly fell in love with the area, increasingly upon each visit. Once her children graduated from college, she decided to make a drastic shift and became her own boss. Karen’s longtime interests included fiction writing; she took classes and tried getting stories published. She had also thought about innkeeping for a long time and had begun extensive research by reading books, going to seminars, and studying the business. When Karen and her family moved to Pittsboro in 1998, she decided to open a B&B. Today, Karen manages her time pretty impressively–teaching, writing novels, spending time with family, and the duties of an innkeeper as well. She has help; Debbie Webb is her day manager and Ginna Earl (owner of Vespertine Cafe) lives at the B&B and manages it at night.
Karen began the process of looking in the area for a home, preferably historic. Upon seeing a number of falling-down farmhouses on beautiful acreage, she was afraid that her guests couldn’t find the site, or that the power would fail in an ice storm, and that they would have no water! What attracted her to the property at 76 West Street? In 2000, she saw the Poole house for sale, with city water and sewer and thought it was perfect. It was built in 1912 by Logan Womble, who owned a general store where Roy Underhill’s school is now located. If you have ever been inside this beautifully restored home, you can tell from the ceiling, staircase, and woodwork modifications that originally, it was only the four front rooms, two downstairs and two upstairs. Over the years, rooms were added in the back, in stages. When Karen and her family bought the house, it had three kitchens and just one barely usable bathroom. They worked tirelessly renovating the B&B that eventually became the Rosemary House, today a Colonial Revival home listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Rosemary House B&B is special for a variety of reasons. Karen’s top ones include the “location in Chatham County in charming historic Pittsboro, close to restaurants and shopping. It’s also the variety of amenities in the rooms–two have double air-jet tubs and fireplaces, one has two double beds, and one has a small sitting room and a twin sleep sofa. The B&B can offer a suitable room to business travelers, families, couples, and solo guests. Lastly, Rosemary House is vegetarian, which many visitors appreciate.” Also special about the B&B are the features, including the heart pine doors, 100-year-old woodworking and windows, the enormous front porch. Karen loves the feeling she gets in the home, and her guests instantly relate, the spacious rooms of an old house, which is 100 years old this year.
When asked about her hopes for the future of Rosemary House, Karen says, “Well, this is a timely question as I am going to try to sell the B&B this year. After eleven years, it is time to hand it over to someone with fresh ideas. In 2000, I had one grandchild and now I have seven. I also have a budding fiction career!” The B&B has been a work in progress, naturally with much renovation initially in 2000 when they spent nine months on it, adding bathrooms, heating, and air conditioning.
Guests can expect an inviting stay at the Rosemary House B&B. The quiet, comfortable, and clean home is ideal for visitors looking for a warm welcome and good location. Guests often say that the B&B reminds them of their grandmother’s house, though modern amenities are offered, such as private baths, flat screen TVs, and free Wifi in every room. We believe it’s also the little details, such as the bottomless cookie jar, hot chocolate, and tea available around the clock. Breakfast is when you want it, no set time and no group seating, which is great for those travelers who are hesitant about staying at a B&B because they seek privacy along with comfort.
Karen is continually inspired to create the different, incredible dishes she prepares for the hearty gourmet breakfast. She has always enjoyed cooking and trying new recipes and occasionally will ask her guests to help her by tasting something new! She has a few favorites including vegetarian eggs Benedict, quiches, sweet potato pancakes, and rosemary roasted potatoes. Rosemary House B&B caters to food preferences so guests can feel free to inquire with Karen before making reservations.
Visit this historic B&B just steps from downtown Pittsboro that is part of the Heart of Carolina Bed & Breakfast Trail, created by the CVB. We hope guests to our area find the gifts of friendship and remembrance and that they’ll return; it’s right around the bend.