We invite you to explore the history of this charming inn on the Virginia coast. The story of our Chincoteague manor begins in the 19th Century at a time when two young gentlemen, a doctor and a postmaster, pooled their resources to build a grand house on a beautiful barrier island along Virginia’s Eastern Shore.
In the Beginning, Before Serving as a Chincoteague Inn
Although this house did not begin as B&B accommodations, southern hospitality was part of its very foundation. The gentlemen selected a home site right on Main Street of Chincoteague Island, so they could not only enjoy living in a thriving town, but also be in the midst of the growing work of the local watermen. The busy routines of planting, harvesting and shipping the local abundance of oysters and clams led to continued development of the island economy. The tremendous fishing only added to the growth of business in the region.
The young professionals demonstrated their current and future success with the design of this mid-nineteenth century home. Adapting from the heavy influence of the Southern Colonial architectural style dominating much of the mid-Atlantic, the gentlemen opted to build a home in the popular Maryland “T” House style, which also draws from Federalist and Georgian architecture. It was from this residence that Mr. Joseph Kenny walked to the island’s only post office, where he served as the Postmaster, and Dr. Nathaniel Smith treated Union soldiers during the Civil War.
Some time later Sarah, a young lady from Baltimore, Maryland, came to visit the island. Joseph fell in love and they were soon married. Would you believe that the young lady had a sister, Juliet, who came to visit and won the heart of the doctor? Dr. Nathaniel Smith and Juliet also married in due course, and the two couples soon lived together in this grand manor. However, Sarah and Juliet did not like living under the same roof. As you might imagine, life became quite difficult for the Postmaster and the Doctor. So an agreement was made that would split the grand Maryland “T” house into two equal parts. Nathaniel agreed to make his home in the north portion, and Joseph the south portion.
Workers began building a new foundation next to the existing structure. When it was ready ,the house was split in two. The Smith’s portion was disconnected and slowly rolled next door onto a new foundation. If you look closely at the Island Manor today, you will see that one portion of the house sits lower than the other, since the new foundation was not built to the original height. These houses would be used as separate residences for many decades.
The Transformation into a Premier Chincoteague Inn
In the 1980s, the southern portion that once served as the Kenny home was purchased with the intent of converting it into a bed and breakfast. Within a short period of time, the neighboring Smith House was also purchased from the descendants of Dr. Nathaniel Smith. It was decided that the two structures would once again be connected, and plans where drawn to build a beautiful courtyard and sunroom that would adjoin the two homes. Upon completion, the home opened as “Little Traveler’s Inn” and was one of the very first bed and breakfasts in Chincoteague.
Our Chincoteague Inn Today
In the early 1990s, the inn was purchased by a new set of innkeepers. The name was changed to the 1848 Island Manor House, a homage to the year in which the home was built. A complete restoration of the inn was done, expanding the number of guest rooms to eight and adding a grand suite with sunroom in the northern portion of the property. Just outside the gorgeous garden room, the spectacular red brick courtyard was built and surrounded with beautiful roses, seasonal flowers and a bubbling three-tier fountain. The owners’ love of the property is on full display in every elegant detail inside and outside of the home.
Come stay with us and enjoy our delightful oasis and the coastal charm of our historic downtown. We welcome you to join us and be a part of the inn’s exciting future as we carry on the rich legacy of The Island Manor of Chincoteague.
|The Island Manor Reviews|