Lincolnton celebrated the grand opening of its first bed and breakfast in April.
Located off of South Aspen Street, White Rose Manor is under the ownership of Allison Gahrmann and her husband, John.
For Gahrmann, opening a bed and breakfast has been one of dreams since she was a child. It was on a trip to England with her mother in 1972 that she became familiar with the concept of a traditional bed and breakfast.
“To give you an idea of a traditional bed and breakfast, mom and dad would have a room leftover because Junior would go off to college or get married, and they’d hang a shingle out,” she explained. “Travelers would stop by, have dinner, spend the night, have breakfast and be on their way. Typically, a bed and breakfast was just for sleeping, feed them breakfast and then send them on their way. And that’s kind of what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to do the whole inn, with all the extra stuff. I wanted it to be more personable and not just running people in and out the door.”
Growing up in Texas, Gahrmann pursued a career in the hospitality industry, relocating to South Carolina in 1991 with her husband and children for work.
“I worked in the hospitality company for a number of years, and the company that I worked for got called by a bunch of doctors and lawyers who decided they wanted to buy a hotel, and they needed someone to run it,” Gahrmann said. “I had traveled up and down the Gulf Coast, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, that area. Then, all of a sudden, I found myself in the heart of the Carolinas.”
Three years later, the family relocated to Boone, where Gahrmann began working for Appalachian State University’s Vice Chancellor’s office.
“Ultimately, we ended up moving down to Gastonia because it was more central to everything happening in our children’s lives,” she said.
It was not until Gahrmann’s work brought her to Lincolnton in 2009 that she realized her dream of owning a bed and breakfast could become a reality.
“Some of my background is that I used to do wedding shows for the hospitality industry,” she explained. “I would go in to hotels and generate events that people would come to, which would give us a chance to spotlight the hotels. Well, I brought that business up here in 2009, and I came to Lincolnton to look for people to be in a show. When I arrived in Lincolnton, I have to tell you, the people of Lincolnton are some of the most delightful people I think I have ever met. When my mother started talking about moving up this way, we had talked about all of us moving in together if we could find the right place. She was originally looking in the Gastonia area where we were, and when we extended our search, this house came up on the radar…so I asked my mother, who was sort of familiar with the idea that I wanted to run a B&B at some point in my life, and she and my husband were both, ‘Well, why not?’”
However, it was not until May 2013 that Gahrmann and her family found the South Aspen Street home.
“On June 7, 2013, we closed on the house and moved in the next day,” she said. “We have gone through painting and structural repairs, fireplaces, roofs. Originally, when we got here, the meadows were chin-high, easily.”
Now, almost a year later, the bed and breakfast is ready for business. The White Rose Manor hosts seven bedrooms, with a guest sitting room and three bedrooms on the upstairs level available for rent. Molly’s Room and The Middleton Room both have a double bed and run $125 a night, while the Grandstaff Room offers a queen bed and runs $135 a night. Guests share a remodeled hallway bathroom during their stay.
“There are lots of birds that you can listen to their singing each morning,” Gahrmann said. “It’s a place to relax, read and bird watch. We’re big on board games and puzzles too. Our house does have Wi-Fi, which is good for business travelers.”
Unlike some hotels that offer continental breakfasts, the White Rose Manor offers a full breakfast for their guests each morning from 7:30-9:30 a.m., offering items such as Belgian waffles, fruit crepes, eggs, breakfast meats and cheeses.
“One thing people need to know if they’re staying at a bed and breakfast in North Carolina is that breakfast is not available for the general public,” she said. “It’s not a separate a la carte price; it’s included with the room.”
According to Gahrmann, the bed and breakfast’s name comes from a flower native to her mother’s hometown in York.
“If you’re familiar with English history, you’ll understand that there was the War of the Roses,” she said. “There were the white rose and the red roses, where the white rose represents the Rose of York or the Yorkshire Rose. And when the house of Lancaster married the two families, they took the red rose and imposed the white rose on top of it….so they blended the two roses together so it would not be a house divided.”
With her strong interest in history, it was only a short matter of time that Gahrmann began inquiring about the house’s background.
“We started by looking at the Lincoln County records, because we wanted to know more about the house,” she explained. “Well, the land goes back, but you don’t hear much about the house. One day after our many speculations, we were standing outside and this gentleman and his wife pulled up and asked ‘Are you the owners?’ When we said yes, he said, ‘Well, I’m the old owner’s son!’
“So, we’ve actually met the original family who built this house,” Gahrmann continued. “Their father and grandfather built the main portion of the house in 1943. In 1955, they added the great room and the whole upper floor. So, we get little bits and pieces from them about what happened here. They came to our Christmas celebration and brought pictures of their mother and father, which are hanging in our dining room. They talked about how Richard Nixon came here and had coffee, because the David Mauney Jr. family built this house, and the Mauneys, along with many other prominent families, were the families that hosted people when they came in. They were the central cores of the social life. We hope to keep their history alive too.”
“You go and buy a house, and you wonder all about who lived here and why was this this way and why was that that way…it’s just wonderful, getting to keep those memories open,” Gahrmann’s mother, Anne Hackley, said.
While the Gahrmann couple has put almost a year’s worth of renovations into their bed and breakfast endeavor, they still have projects underway, including John’s current endeavor — constructing a small outdoor venue for weddings, which they expect to be available for booking this fall.
“We’re not competing with any of the larger venues,” Gahrmann said. “It’s very much a quaint arrangement.”
Currently, the White Rose Manor requires advance reservations for their guests, with a five-day cancellation policy in place. Those interested in learning more about the White Rose Manor can visit the manor’s Facebook page or email Gahrmann at firstname.lastname@example.org.