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By Erin Smith

The Elizabethtown Inn celebrated its Grand Opening and held a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on Thursday evening. The Inn, located at 105 Cromartie Road, is known to many local residents as the Col. John A McDowell House and offers visitors to Bladen County a unique experience.

The Inn’s owners, Christine and Nico Marais, invited the Cole family, who had owned the home for a number of years, to the Grand Opening. The Rev. Shannon Ross offered a brief history and blessing of the home. During the reading of the home’s history, Ross noted that one of the Inn’s rooms is dedicated to a past resident of the home—Mrs. Katherine “Kitty” Cole Nye.

“Today is a delicate day of celebration for the business aspect and a personal story here. But, there is also a backdrop that I think we all need to understand of how powerful today is,” said Ross.

Ross spoke of the impact of Hunter Cole on the business community in Elizabethtown then she shared a story from Christine and Nico Marais about Kitty’s Room.

“As we were talking she simply said, ‘Shannon, we have named a room in honor and memory of Kitty Cole Nye,” said Ross.

Ross explained that she met Kitty Nye through ministry in the Elizabethtown Baptist Church. She noted that Nye worked tirelessly  behind the scenes “to get things done.”

Following the blessing of the home, the Marais family cut the ribbon and declared the Inn officially open for business.

According to a plaque mounted on the house, the home was constructed about 1834 by Col. McDowell.

The Inn offers its guests lodging in an area where there are few choices for accommodations. There are hotels located at White Lake and cabins which can be rented at Lu Mil Vineyard and Cape Fear Vineyard and Winery.

The Inn offers four spacious guest rooms with private baths, complimentary full breakfast for guests, off-street parking and meeting space is also available.

Christine Marais said her family’s journey to Bladen County took to them to Australia and France before they arrived here. The Marais family is originally from South Africa. Nico Marais works with Prismaflex and due to his job they have had a few international moves.

When Nico announced they were moving to the United States, Christine said she was excited. They resided for a period of time in Leland when Debbie Clark told them the Inn was for sale.

Christine said she has a teaching diploma and has experience as an accountant but the Inn was something she really wanted to do.

“It’s nice. I like it,” said Christine Marais.

To learn more about the Elizabethtown Inn and to book your stay, go to https://www.theelizabethtowninn.com/ or call 910-991-3081.