Troy-Bumpas Inn featured in Greensboro’s News & Record

The Troy-Bumpas Inn bed and breakfast was featured in the Life section of the Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012 issue of the Greensboro News & Record.  Several of our wonderful guests agreed to be interviewed and photographed. (Thank you!!) Below are thumbnail snapshots of the article; the text of the article follows.

 

Back in Business

The historic Troy-Bumpas Inn reopens as a bed and breakfast

By Robert C. Lopez, Staff Writer

The house at 114 S. Mendenhall St. has hosted Civil War soldiers, housed college students and, these days, gives travelers a taste of the area’s history, along with place to bed down for the night with a hearty breakfast in the morning.

Judy and Larry Horn reopened the Troy-Bumpas Inn in November, taking it over from Andrea and John Wimmer who had operated it for seven years (but closed it in 2010).

“A lot of people have a dream that they’d like to have their own business or run their own company, and in a sense, that’s what we’re doing here,” said Larry Horn, a former sales director for an environmental lab. “That was definitely an attraction, being able to work for yourself.”

“We like living in older homes and all the little quirks you don’t get in modern buildings,” said Judy Horn, who used to work for a community college. “And this gives you an opportunity to live in a wonderful home and share it with other people. And of course, running it as a bed and breakfast helps defray a lot of the costs that come with living in an older home.”

The Horns, who moved to Greensboro from the Chicago suburbs last fall, live on the third floor of the Greek Revival house. The second floor serves as guest quarters and had three bedrooms, and the first floor includes a dining room, living room and office.

The Rev. Sidney Bumpass (the family later dropped the second ‘s’ in their name) built the house in 1847, shortly after arriving in Greensboro to become a presiding elder of the Methodist district.

He published a religious newsletter call The Weekly Message out of the home and was one of the original trustees of Greensboro College (then Methodist Female College) which sat adjacent to his property.

In 1851, he and his son contracted typhoid and died within a few days of each other. His wife, Frances, continued publishing the newsletter and ran an elementary school out of the house.

After the Civil War, Union troops set up their western Greensboro headquarters here, but at the insistence of Frances Bumpass, slept in an apple orchard behind the home.

Frances Bumpass’ daughters Eugenia and Duella inherited the home after she died in 1898. The house underwent at least two big renovations through the years, including one major expansion in 1911 with the intent of turning the place into a boarding house.

Duella’s daughters Ethel and Nina Troy were the last family members to live in the home. When Ethel died in 1975, she left the dwelling to Greensboro College, which turned it into student housing. The school sold the building in the early 1990s, and it was converted into a bed and breakfast-style inn.

The Horn’s used to travel quite a bit for work, and about 20 years ago, they started staying in bed and breakfasts.

“You get more personalized service at a B&B,” Larry Horn said. “You know the people who are running it. It’s more open, inviting.”

 “And I liked that they weren’t your standard cookie-cutter rooms,” Judy Horn said. “You definitely feel like you’re more in a home than you are in a hotel.”

The two long toyed with the notion or running a bed and breakfast themselves but decided to wait until they had put their kids through college and retired. They began searching in earnest for a place about a year ago and visited properties in Missouri and Kentucky before hearing about the Troy-Bumpas.

“We liked the fact that it looked like we could managed it ourselves, and we wouldn’t have to hire any additional staff,” Judy Horn said. “It was the right size for us. And we liked that we would be able to have our living quarters there on the third floor.”

“This is a beautiful area,” Larry Horn said. “And because we’re from a big city, we wanted to be in a city. Greensboro kind of fits the bill. And it was nice for use to be able to get downtown in a few minutes. We came in and just felt it was perfect and fell in love with it.”

They moved in during October. The couple said they hope to offer some murder-mystery weekends in the future and plan to plant some gardens in the spring. They’re repainted the living to make it lighter and upgraded the bathrooms, but other than that, they haven’t made any major changes.

The Horns are usually up by about 7:30 a.m. to make breakfast. On this day, French toast, sausages, and a fruit parfait are on the menu.

Pam and Allan Dorfman of Toronto are the guests. They are headed toward Savannah, Ga., and stopped in Greensboro to check out the area’s furniture stores.

“We used to do the hotel circuit but then decided to try a B&B,” Allan Dorfman said. “They tend to have a lot more personality and are able to give you a bit of history on where you’re staying. And it’s nice to have somebody welcome you.”

Guests are encouraged to explore the house and mingle with the other occupants.

“A lot of people who come here are B&B regulars,” Judy Horn said. “One thing that they thoroughly enjoy is the opportunity to interact with the innkeepers. And if other guests are also in the house at the same time, you get to interact, certainly a breakfast and perhaps at other times of the day. Most people who stay at bed and breakfasts see that as an attraction.”

(Contact Robert C. Lopez at 336-691-5091 or robert.lopez@news-record.com)

Photos by Nelson Kepley, News & Record. Captions on the photos:
1) The Troy-Bumpas Inn on South Mendenhall Street in Greensboro started as a family home, then became student housing, then a bed and breakfast. It was building in 1847.

2) Judy and Larry Horn reopened the inn in November. It had been closed since 2010.

3) The Nina Suite is one of three guest rooms in the Troy-Bumpas Inn.

4) Judy Horn (left) talks with Janice and Chris Toshach of Memphis, Tenn., during their stay at the Troy-Bumpas Inn.

5) Guests are encouraged to mingle with each other and explore the inn, which includes a living room with plenty of seating and a fireplace.

6) The Allah Room features floral motifs in its furnishings and paintings.

 

Boxwood House: Amalgam of Architectural Styles, Near Troy-Bumpas Inn

One of the things I enjoy about being innkeeper at the Troy-Bumpas Inn is our neighborhood. The inn is located in Greensboro’s historic College Hill district. Part of the Greensboro College campus is directly behind the inn, and the campus of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) is two blocks west.

Boxwood House

Boxwood House on Mendenhall Street, Greensboro

The Troy-Bumpas Inn is the second oldest home in the neighborhood; another home just two doors to the north on Mendenhall Street comes in as No. 3. This stately home was built in 1859, two years after the Bumpas House was built and just before the Civil War. The home was originally the residence of Rev. Nathan Hunt Daniel Wilson, Presiding Elder of the Raleigh District of the North Carolina Methodist Conference and a leader of the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Rev. Wilson was a trustee of Greensboro College and was also involved in the early formation of Trinity College (which became Duke University), 

Rev. Wilson might not recognize his home if he walked by it today. Originally the home had simple lines appropriate for a member of the clergy. However, in the 1950s, then owner Julian Johnston, who operated a nursing home in the house that he called Boxwood, added a great deal of ornate trim and architectural detail salvaged from Greensboro residences that were being destroyed. Bay windows, eve brackets, finials, and interior features were pulled from the Bellemeade Mansion a short distance away. Gable ornaments were salvaged from the home of W. C. Boren, who had co-owned and operated Pomona Terra Cotta, one of the largest manufacturers of clay pipes and sewer lines in the nation. Windows and doors were recycled from other Greensboro sites. All of these additions remain, and so does the Boxwood name.

Nowadays, Boxwood is a true “painted lady,” a term used for Victorian and Edwardian houses and buildings painted in three or more colors that embellish or enhance their architectural details. Boxwood was designated a Guilford County Landmark in 1990, two years earlier than when the Troy-Bumpas Inn became a Guildford County Landmark.

In the coming months, we’ll post more information about the wonderful homes in the College Hill Historic District, a place the Troy-Bumpas Inn is proud to call home.

Pumpkin Pancakes with Honeyed-Cranberry Sauce

Pancake on the griddleToday a guest who had stayed at the Troy-Bumpas Inn this past fall sent me an email requesting the recipe for pumpkin pancakes that I served while she was staying with us. These pancakes are especially delicious in the fall and winter, when both pumpkin and cranberries are popular and plentiful. The cranberry syrup is a great accompaniment and very attractive. You’ll find the recipe for the pancakes and cranberry syrup below.

This recipe calls for egg whites beaten to stiff peaks. Did you know that whole eggs separate most easily when cold, but the whites beat most easily when the egg whites are at room temperature? If you’ve never folded beaten egg whites into batter, check out this video for an excellent demonstration.

All pancakes taste best when served immediately and I only serve freshly made pancakes to guests. That said, I have found that these pancakes are remarkably good when stored and reheated. Cool any leftover pancakes completely on a wire cooling rack. When cool, stack the pancakes, using a piece of wax paper to separate each pancake. Place in an airtight, zipper sealed plastic bag. Refrigerate. To reheat, heat the oven to 250 degrees F. Remove the wax paper separators. Place pancakes in a single layer on ungreased cookie sheet and heat for approximately 10 minutes or until desired temperature.

Pumpkin Pancakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
4 eggs, separated
¼ cup canola or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups skim milk

In large bowl, combine flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine pumpkin, egg yolks, oil, vanilla extract and milk. Stir until smooth; set aside.

In a medium bowl with straight sides, beat egg whites until stiff.

Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture.  Mix just until moistened and ingredients are combined. Gently fold in beaten egg whites, mixing just until all ingredients are blended.

Spoon batter onto hot, oiled griddle using a ladle. Cook until golden brown on first side. (Batter is thick so bubbles may not rise to the surface.) Flip and cook pancake on second side. Serve immediately on a warm plate with Honeyed Cranberry Syrup. 

Honeyed Cranberry Syrup
1-1/2 cups honey
½ cup cranberry, orange, or grape juice (I like to use orange juice.)
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, divided (do not bother to thaw if using frozen cranberries)

In medium saucepan, combine honey and juice. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir in 1-1/2 cups of the cranberries and cook until cranberries pop, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining ½ cup cranberries and let sit 5 minutes before serving. This sauce reheats nicely. Makes 2 cups.

Troy-Bumpas Inn Living Room Gets a Facelift

Innkeepers are always busy, but Larry and I have been especially busy these first few days of 2012. We took advantage of a short lull in bookings to give our living room a facelift.

We liked much about the “old” living room, but it was always dark, even on a sunny day. We wanted to keep the walls red, but the red color that was there reminded us of cream of tomato soup. We wanted a livelier red! We also thought long and hard about painting the pine wainscoting. I scoured the Internet for “inspiration” photos of painted wainscoting before we decided to move ahead.

The renovation took us three days to complete. Because we were covering red walls with more red, the walls only required one coat of paint. The dark wainscoting took most of our time. It needed a coat of oil-based primer followed by three (yes, three) coats of semi-gloss latex paint.

A picture does say a thousand words, so I’ve included several shots that will quickly walk you through the project. We couldn’t be more pleased with the results. The room is now bright and welcoming. As an added benefit, it looks much larger. Let us know what you think! Better yet, come visit us at the Troy-Bumpas Inn in Greensboro, NC, and see for yourself.

Chocolate Crinkles, a Favorite Cookie at the Troy-Bumpas Inn

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

One of our recent guests requested a copy of my recipe for Chocolate Crinkle cookies. Many of the recipes I prepare for guests are ones that I developed myself, but this one is an old recipe that came from a Betty Crocker cookie cookbook. It’s fun to watch these cookies bake because as the dough softens in the heat of the oven, a crinkled appearance forms. Besides being tasty, the cookies are dairy free and contain no lactose.

Chocolate Crinkles

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate

½ cup vegetable oil

2 cups granulated sugar

4 eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

Melt chocolate by placing squares in small microwaveable dish. Heat in microwave oven at high for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes. Squares may retain their original shape. Stir completely until melted.

In large bowl, mix melted chocolate, oil, and granulated sugar until well blended. Stir in eggs, one at a time, blending well. Add vanilla extract. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt to form a soft dough. Chill several hours or overnight until firm.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Shape teaspoonfuls of dough into balls. Drop into confectioner’s sugar and roll until well coated with sugar. Place balls 2 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until set. Remove from cookie sheets and cool on wire racks. Enjoy!

Makes about 72 cookies

Greensboro Neighborhood has Magical Holiday Light Display

One of the “must-do” things to experience while in Greensboro for the holidays is to drive through the Sunset Hills neighborhood to see the magical display of lighted Christmas balls. A good place to start viewing is the corner of Madison Avenue and Ridgeway Drive. Most of the homes in the neighborhood participate. The homeowners make Christmas balls by wrapping strings of holiday lights around a chicken-wire base. The first Sunday after Thanksgiving, hundreds of light balls are thrown over branches of trees and then they are all plugged in. The effect of muti-colored balls of light dangling over the streets and yards is magical and wonderful. Thousands of cars drive by during the holiday to view the lights. Everyone is encouraged to leave behind donations of non-perishable food for the local food pantry at several collection sites throughout the neighborhood.

A 2009 YouTube video does a great job of giving you an idea of how cool the neighborhood looks at night. (My photos just don’t do it justice!) The video also tells the story of how this all got started. You can also visit their blog for more information and instructions on how to make Christmas Light ball.

The Christmas Light Balls in the Sunset Hills neighborhood are part of what makes Greensboro special. Come and visit to see for yourself! And, of course, we invite you to stay at the Troy-Bumpas Inn whenever you are in Greensboro, NC.

 

Why are North Carolinians Tar Heels?

December is the month for parties, so if you’re looking for some ice-breaker trivia, look no further. When the conversation need a little pick-me-up, you can pose the question: ‘Ever wonder why North Carolinians are called Tar Heels? Then, be a smarty pants and tell ‘em the story:

The origin of the nickname comes from the fact that North Carolina has an abundance of pine forests that for centuries were our country’s chief source of tar, pitch and turpentine used for painting, caulking and preserving the wood and ropes used in navel and merchant vessels. By 1768, North Carolina produced 60 percent of the colonies’ supply of these three products. Production involved heating pine lumber in charcoal beds to extract and collect a black ooze. This was a messy process that often caused the soles of the workers’ shoes to be coated with tar. Popular legend says that after a Civil War battle in Virginia in which the Virginia troops fled while the North Carolinians stuck to their positions, as if held fast by tar, Confederate General Robert E. Lee is said to have exclaimed, “God bless the Tar Heel boys.”  The story goes on to say that Confederate President Jefferson Davis asked jokingly if there was a surplus of tar available from North Carolina for other commanders to use to smear it on the shoes of their soldiers’ heels to help them hold steadfast against the Union attacks.

While it is unproven that Robert E. Lee actually coined the Tar Heel nickname, he certainly popularized the term and gave it a positive meaning. North Carolinians have been proud to be called Tar Heels ever since.

It’s no surprise that the pine is the state tree of North Carolina. There is a spectacularly tall long needle pine tree in the front corner of the yard at the Troy-Bumpas Inn in Greensboro. While the age of the tree is unknown, it towers over the inn, which is three stories tall. This tree has no doubt been witness to a lot of history. Greensboro is a great city for history buffs. Come see for yourself, and we welcome you to stay at the Troy-Bumpas Inn, 114 S. Mendenhall St., Greensboro, NC.
The tall Troy-Bumpas Inn pine tree

This long needle pine tree
has towered over the Troy-Bumpas Inn
for many years.

Greensboro’s Troy-Bumpas Inn Decorated for the Holidays

The Troy-Bumpas Inn is decorated for the holidays! Here are a few shots, but we invite you to visit and see for yourself. We welcome holiday travelers, whether you’re seeking a get-a-way from the holiday hustle and bustle, a home base for exploring all that Greensboro has to offer for the holidays, or visiting family or college students living nearby.

Greensboro Museum Tells How Sit-Ins Were Catalyst for Civil Rights Movement

If you ever doubted that a small group of people can spark significant and meaningful change in the world, be sure to visit the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro, NC. The museum, located at 134 S. Elm St. in the historic 1929 F.W. Woolworth building in downtown Greensboro, tells the story of how four college students at NC State A&T began the nonviolent protests of the 1960 Greensboro sit-ins. Their actions served as a catalyst in the U.S. civil rights movement.

Museum docents lead visitors through the chronologically arranged exhibits, explaining the conditions under which blacks lived in this country from its founding to the 1960s. The exhibits help build an understanding of the Injustices experienced by African Americans in times when segregation and “Jim Crow” laws permeated society. Through a variety of videos, interactive exhibits, and displays of artifacts, visitors are transported back to a dorm room at the nearby NC State A&T campus so see what went through the minds of four black college students — Ezell Blair, Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil and David Richmond – as they planned to sit at the “whites only” lunch counter of their local Woolworths. They intended to ask to be served food seated at the counter rather than having to pick it up as carryout at the end of the counter. This original lunch counter and stools where the four students began their protest on Feb. 1, 1960, are preserved at the museum. In the six months following the initial Greensboro sit-in, the non-violent sit-in movement expanded to other college campuses elsewhere in North Carolina and in Virginia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, Maryland, Alabama, Arkansas, Texas, GeWoolworth Building (1929), 132 South Elm Street (corner of Elm Street & February One Place), Greensboro, North Carolinaorgia and Mississippi. As a result of the movement, Woolworth stores as well as others took down their “whites only” signs and and permitted all customers to eat at the counter.

At our recent visit to the museum, docent Anita Johnson did a fantastic job of leading our group through the exhibits. Her compassion for teaching about civil rights was evident, and she truly brought history to life.

Greensboro is filled with history from the Revolutionary War to modern times. I highly recommend a visit to the International Civil Rights Center and Museum. (It’s less than a mile from the Troy-Bumpas Inn.) The high-tech displays are especially well done and the docents are enthralling. I found the hour-long visit very moving, educational and extremely worthwhile. The museum is appropriate for all ages although more sensitive visitors should be aware that there are a few graphic images that help tell the story of some of the violence inflicted upon African Americans. For hours and admission fees, visit http://www.sitinmovement.org/index.asp.  

Desegregated

If you’ve already been to the International Civil Rights Center and Museum, share with me your thoughts about the museum! This museum is just one reason why Life in Greensboro is good!

Greensboro’s Troy-Bumpas Inn Opens its (New and Improved) Door

Keeping a B&B in ship shape means there’s always maintenance work. I had recently just begun to repair and paint the interior side of the Troy-Bumpas Inn’s front door, when news came over NPR that Andy Rooney, of CBS’ 60 Minutes fame, had died. Highlights of his obituary included Rooney describing how he had convinced folks at 60 Minutes to allow him to write and read an essay each week. “What would you write about?” he was asked. Looking around the room, he said something like, “Well, anything. I could write about doors.” And indeed doors were the subject of his first essay.

Rooney probably started that essay with, “Did you ever notice that doors…” I thought about that as I studied the door I was sanding. I noticed that it was put together with wooden pegs, making it very likely the original door to the house. If so, the door is now 164 years old. The Rev. Sidney M. Bumpass, who had the house built, must have proudly walked through this door back in 1847.

I thought about all the other people who must have passed through this door in the ensuing years. The Rev. Bumpass only lived in the house a few years before typhoid killed him. His young wife Frances must have rushed out that door to be at her dying husband’s bedside. After his death, Frances Bumpass taught elementary school at the house to make ends meet. Countless children must have come and gone to school through this portal. The house also served as the Western Greensboro Union Headquarters at the end of the Civil War. Did General Jacob D. Cox come and go through this door as he commanded Union forces that occupied post-Civil War Greensboro? Ah, such scope for the imagination!

Would any of the past residents have resented the fact that I was refinishing this original door? I hoped not, but I had little alternative.  Flaking paint (as you can see in the photo) had come to the attention of the health inspector who said we had to fix it. I thought of all those Antiques Road Show episodes where they tell you you’ve cut the value of an antique in half by refinishing it, even if the old item looks worn and weathered. But when the health inspector tells you to do something to your facility, you do it.

Front door in need of repair
The door prior to repairs

As I sanded away the old finish, I realized the door had at one time been a tan color and originally was green. At least I wasn’t the first to repaint the door. I realized the original green echoed the tones in the tiles around the fireplace and decided it would be a perfect color to bring back to the door. Before I could apply the paint, I used wood putty fill in dozens of tiny holes that appeared to be from thumb tacks. Did Frances post notes to the students on the door?  It’s probably more likely those holes dated back to the 1980s when the house was divided into student apartments. Maybe the front door doubled as a bulletin board with “rent due” notices.

Yes. There’s a lot you can notice about a door. We invite you to visit the Troy-Bumpas Inn and see for yourself how nice the front door now looks. (To be honest, my photos don’t do it justice!) And the front door is only the beginning. We’re pretty proud of the whole inn and love sharing it and our historic city with others.

Interior front door, now repainted

A fresh coat of paint on the door