Heartfriends Inn is one in a series of blog posts about the innkeepers and their accommodations in our area. Join us as we take a turn off the main road to see what’s around the bend.
Yvonne Stegenga is the owner of Heartfriends Inn B&B in Siler City. Working in and/or owning a bed and breakfast property is pretty much a full-time job…for two people. A solo innkeeper has to be a multi-tasking, efficient, tireless, and happy host. Yvonne has hospitality and nurturing in her blood, it seems. Yvonne says, “Becoming a nurse was a natural path to follow because my mother was sick for several years before she died. I became aware of her prognosis when I was nine. Since I was the oldest girl, my mom started preparing me to take over household chores, cook and take care of my younger brother and sister. In those days, a child did not have the option of saying “No” to something they did not want to do. The month after I turned thirteen, my mother died at the age of thirty-three and I became a “mom-sister” to my siblings (a word my sister coined). Thus my life of taking care of people began fairly early.”
As an adult, Yvonne realized she wanted to make a positive difference in people’s lives at a time they needed it the most…when they were sick or injured. While she enjoyed nursing, she eventually decided it was a profession for younger, stronger folks. After almost three decades in a predominately critical care setting, Yvonne felt the need to interact with people in healthier, happier times. When asked about her decision to open her business, Yvonne is genuine in her warmth, “Although I retired from nursing this year, I still love taking care of folks. Being an innkeeper allows me to meet some of the nicest people on the planet. I wanted people to know they are special and I appreciate them supporting my business venture. So I furnished the B&B with the comfort of my guests utmost in my mind. I have made an extra special effort to give all who stay here pretty, interesting things to feast their eyes on, a tranquil atmosphere in which to relax and unwind and a home away from home. I cook from scratch and prepare a feast for breakfast, then serve it on the finest of china. Only the best for my guests.”
Anyone who has inquired about and/or stayed at Heartfriends Inn quickly discovers Yvonne’s goal, which is to provide a bit of elegance for a reasonable price. Yvonne works hard to provide as many amenities as possible here, in Chatham County. Siler City was not originally a destination for her bed and breakfast. “It simply worked out that it was convenient and land was relatively inexpensive at that time. But being in the Heartland region of N.C. is beneficial in that three hours to the east and one is at the coast or three hours to the west and one is in the mountains.”
Before it was an inn, it was a dilapidated, neglected farmhouse and bringing it to its full potential has been a labor of love for Yvonne. She laughs as she speaks of how she labored so long and hard to restore the place that she feels as if she has given birth to it and, in a sense, that is exactly what happened. Today, it is like a new baby and Yvonne takes much pride in showing her off, though looking back, it is hard to believe it was so run down and lacking in love.
Remarkably, Yvonne and some family and friends began working on the property in 1994 though actual construction of additions and renovation did not start until 1999. Many obstacles caused major setbacks and all along, she worked full time in nursing and her five-year plan doubled to ten and then twelve. A journey fraught with calamity, delays, disappointments made the opening even sweeter. Yvonne’s strength is clear, “I have always heard when God picks a flower from your garden, He sends His angels to plant more. And so it has been here at the Inn. With each delay, each interruption, each hardship and each crisis, God has sent His support in the form of heartfriends and family.”
Guests can expect and receive a hearty welcome, a clean room, a stress-free environment, a microwave, fridge, coffee pot, alarm clock, hair dryer and an en suite bathroom. Snacks, fresh fruit, candy, beverages and water are fully stocked for guests in their rooms (no mini-bar charges here!). An abundance of reading material and movies are available throughout the house and Wi-Fi and Dish network are additional amenities. Yvonne tells us that her guests often enjoy full days when visiting, whether for leisure or business, and then sink into their unbelievably comfortable beds.
So on to the important stuff…food. Yvonne likes to cook foods for guests that they would not cook for themselves and provides a selection worthy of a king’s feast. The veritable buffet for one certainly extends beyond what one would order for breakfast or brunch-it’s seemingly everything on the menu! Yvonne cooks eggs, bacon, and pancakes, southern style. Visit and you might be treated to Sweet Potato Pancakes with peach butter, Souffled Pumpkin Pancake with caramel pecan topping, Orange Cranberry Waffles with Cranberry syrup, or Cheese Crepes with blueberry topping (just a few of the “different but delicious” ways to serve pancakes and waffles). Eggs Benedict Casserole with Hollandaise Sauce or Eggs Florentine with Monterey Jack Cheese Sauce are a couple of the ways to dress up the plain egg. If quiche is your thing, a Broccoli and Swiss or a Spinach Quiche should whet your appetite. Hashbrown and Southern Grits Casseroles delight the potato or grits lover. Brown Butter Strawberry Banana Nut Bread or Pumpkin Bread are real treats.
Yvonne had a guest tell her that she dreamed of the inn’s Gorilla Bread. Add to all the entrees fresh fruit salads, quiches, casseroles, muffins, waffles, omelets and a variety of meats and juices at every meal. In order to accommodate special diets, Yvonne cooks with Splenda, Splenda Blend and Brown Sugar Splenda blend and she balances protein and carbs. Gluten free and vegetarian diets are also provided upon request.
Ate too much? Just take a walk along the grounds, with the big pond, beautiful wooded areas, and much serenity. Heartfriends Inn is part of the Heart of Carolina Bed & Breakfast Trail.