VintageVacations

by Marimar McNaughton
Thursday, April 12, 2007

Staff photos by Allison Breiner
Friendships formed on the front porch of Carolina Temple Apartments last a lifetime. From left, innkeepers Mary and Steve Wright with their guests, Barry and Janis Dellinger-Holton and Sheppard and Fairley Monroe.

Historic inns and beach cottages lure repeat guests with personal connections to Wrightsville Beach. Cherished family vacations, good times, romance and life-altering experiences echo from the past while new memories are minted fresh each season often against the patina of worn hardwood floors and mermaid green walls.

Guests migrate back to Carolina Temple Apartments on South Lumina Avenue each year, like clockwork. Barry and Janis Dellinger-Holton are birds of a feather, nesting in suite T6, in the southwest corner of the first floor for the better part of 10 years.

“It’s a little find on the island,” Janis said. “I like quaint places to stay.” She is the principal of Socrates Academy in Charlotte.

“It’s been like a friendship, like coming home to family. That’s how it feels,” Janis said. “People gather. You just come on the porch in the afternoon and you talk. This just invites
conversation.”

Steve Wright and his wife, Mary, innkeepers, come by their gifts naturally. Steve’s grandparents founded Carolina Temple Apartments in the late 1930s.

“Steve kind of acts as a master of ceremonies,” Barry said.

While vacationing over spring break last week, public school educator Sheppard Monroe and her son Fairley, 5, were upholding a tradition that began with Sheppard’s family almost 30 years ago.

“I’ve stayed in every single unit in this building,” she said, adding that “family and history” bring her back to the old familiar place. She has experienced all eras of her life at this vacation place, first as a child with her own mother. She courted her husband, honeymooned and carried her son here.

“My little boy is best friends with Steve’s granddaughter, Molly.”

Fairley added, “I love the ocean, the beach and Molly, my girlfriend. I like to play ‘tag-you’re-it,’ with my lobster and a boogie board.”

“This vacation trip, I have run into four people in the building that were my childhood friends in Chapel Hill,” Sheppard said.

“It’s weird-karma-spiritual, every time I’m down here, I think, ‘this is the place for me to be,’” she added. “This is probably the safest place in our whole world.”

••••

Sonda and Ira Jaffe and their daughter Lea live in Pacific Palisades, Calif.

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