As we look around the Outer Banks this week on “Everything Outer Banks” we thought it would be appropriate to pass along to our readers the big news in Rodanthe this past week was the moving of the star of the movie “Nights in Rodanthe.” The iconic house known to locals as “Seredipity,” but to movie goers as “The Inn at Rodanthe” was moved last week.
For years the first house that you come to as you arrive in the village of Rodanthe was notable. The large oceanfront home (an amazing 45 feet tall) with the weathered siding, distinctive roof lines and blue shutters was always the focus of attention as drivers slowed from highway speeds to the local 35 Mile per hour zone. With its pilings never more than a few feet from the high tide line in the best weather conditions folks always would wonder how the property fared after any given storm. Over the past few years it seemed countless times the ocean would breach the dune line just to the north of the old cottage, and her driveway would disappear under inches of sand only to be dug out again.
The cottage always weathered the storms with its pilings sunk deep into the sand in concrete sleeves, but there was always the thought in the back of local’s minds that the Ocean is a force that can’t be held back, even by an epic movie star like “Serendipity,” and one day she would exit like so many before her.
The fall storms inexorably moved the ocean farther west, and one particular Nor’easter combined with the remnants of Hurricane Ida (Local weather folks named the storm “Nore-ida”) finally did “Serendipity” in. The owners were hit with a nuisance declaration by Dare County and told the house had to be moved or destroyed because after the storm the pilings on the east side of the house were officially standing IN the Atlantic ocean. The county officials were concerned about the safety of visitors who were constantly stopping at the house to take pictures and see for themselves the house that was the Hollywood star.
As everyone was speculating about what the owners of the property would do the names Ben and Debbie Huss of Newton, North Carolina emerged as the saviors of the property. They translated their love for the movie into the purchase of the home from the former owners on January 4th. The Husses vowed not only to move the house from its location “in” the Ocean to another location in Rodanthe but also restore the home to its glory of the movie “Nights in Rodanthe.”
The Huss family hired Expert House Movers (who was the company that moved the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse), and the infamous Matyiko brothers that own Expert House Movers moved on the job quickly. The house, which weighed in at a whopping 83,000 pounds, was jacked up, shored up with cribbing underneath, loaded up on beams and four pairs of huge wheels, and readied for its move in a matter of just two days. Permits were pulled, electric crews stood by to move power lines, as did the police to stop traffic while the behemoth was to take the approximate 30 minute journey down highway 12 to its new location.
The original move was scheduled for Friday, January 15th, and as the pilings were cut away and the massive truck pulled into position to move the big girl everyone gathered in anticipation. The house jostled to the left as she started moving and everyone cheered as she was pulled away from the Atlantic. Unfortunately the excitement was short lived as the house evidently wanted to stay in its long time location for one more weekend. The massive truck got its wheels stuck in the sand as it was trying to pull the house out of its birthplace, and with nightfall coming fast the move had to be rescheduled for the following Monday.
On Monday, January 18th with the truck unstuck, its wheels secure, all police, electrical, cable television and telephone company crews ready to take down their lines again, water department folks standing by, department of transportation officials there to supervise and a village of onlookers in position the house was moved at 10:30 AM. The move was uneventful if you don’t count the news helicopters, and hundreds of onlookers gawking at a once in a lifetime sight.
It took less than 20 minutes for her to find her new location on Beacon Road and by the next day the site that once hosted the grand old house had been cleaned up and the Atlantic Ocean had made it look like nothing had ever been there.
Now “Serendipity” will be restored to its former glory, and available to rent through Vacation Traditions.