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BUSINESS

Boyds open The Pepperberry Inn as Airbnb

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The home of Rick and Kelly Boyd at 313 West Main Street, now also an Airbnb accommodation known as the PepperBerry Inn.

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By William F. West
Staff Writer

Monday, January 1, 2018

An Elizabeth City couple's charming home is now a lodging establishment for those wanting to stay for short or extended periods of time in the Harbor of Hospitality.

Rick and Kelly Boyd are operating The Pepperberry Inn at their residence in the 300 block of West Main Street.

Kelly Boyd, 58, who's originally from New York, has prior experience in the hospitality business, both in the Empire State and in Elizabeth City. More recently, she worked for businessman Bill Taylor as executive director of what was The Pines bistro and golf course off North Road Street.

She’s been thinking about having a lodging business ever since she and her husband acquired their current residence some 16 years ago. In fact, she said, her great-grandmother back in England ran what was called "a tourist home." She said this was in effect a place for a traveler to put his or her head down for the night.

More specifically, she said she and her husband's goal has been to be part of the Internet-based Airbnb network.

Airbnb was founded in 2008 and is based in San Francisco. The company is an online community marketplace for people to list, discover and book unique accommodations throughout the world. Airbnb proclaims hosts and guests can get to know each other via detailed profiles, personal reviews and confirmed vacations. Airbnb also proclaims hosts and guests can communicate privately via a smart messaging system and says payments can be transferred securely.

"They take a very tiny, tiny fee for you using their site," Boyd said of Airbnb. "And then you get to be a part of currently 162,000 listings around the world."

She said she and her husband hope to attract travelers seeking to stop over before heading to the Outer Banks and seeking to stay in the Harbor of Hospitality for a longer period of time. She also said she and her husband hope to attract 30-day vacationers from overseas.

She said The Pepperberry Inn will be low-key, even to the point there won't be a sign advertising the business at street-side.

Although the local Board of Adjustment has granted a special use permit to the Boyds to operate as a bed and breakfast home, the couple doesn't plan to serve breakfasts to guests, at least not for now. Kelly Boyd said municipal regulations don't have descriptive classifications between Airbnb locations, which aren't required to serve breakfasts, and traditional bed-and-breakfast locations.

Although she said guests can bring their own food to eat at The Pepperberry Inn, their kitchen isn't yet approved by health officials to cook and prepare food for them.

Asked whether they plan to serve breakfasts if they can get official approval, she said, "Well, I love to cook, so, yes, I would love to."

"Maybe in the future, I'll squish out my counter tops – and then we'll be good for go," she said.

Boyd said the beauty of  having such an establishment is they'll be able to come and go as they please, but she said, "Yes, Rick and I will both be here" to run the business.

Rick Boyd, 62, repairs and renovates historic homes.

The Pepperberry Inn name is a reference to the words on a sign Rick Boyd's sister gave him to put in the couple's kitchen.

Two rooms on the second floor of the couple's house will serve as lodging. One is called the Pepperberry and can accommodate two adults; the other is called the Roosevelt and can accommodate one adult. The Roosevelt room takes its name for the marbled bedroom suit furniture, which comes from Rick Boyd's family.

According to the couple, Rick Boyd's family knew President Franklin Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. "Our grandparents were connected," Rick Boyd said.

Kelly said that bedroom suit was the original suit in the gatehouse of the Roosevelt family Hyde Park, New York, property prior to the construction of the world-famous mansion at the site.

The Pepperberry room has an antique dresser inside, along with a cedar chest once belonging to Kelly Boyd's mother.

Rick Boyd, who is originally from Florida, sold cars in the Sunshine State and later in New York. The couple met in New York where Kelly Boyd worked at an Olive Garden restaurant as a server trainer.

Kelly said when the time came for her and her husband to choose a place to retire, she didn't want to stay up north and he didn't want to go too far south. She said she started looking at real estate along the water's edge and came upon Edenton, which eventually led her to Elizabeth City.

Those interested in contacting the Boyds and booking a room at The Pepperberry Inn can do so by navigating the Airbnb website at www.airbnb.com and typing in Elizabeth City's 27909 zip code in the search box.

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