A story that perhaps best exemplifies the vibe of Newberry Manor comes from a guest's accidental stay - literally, accidental - in March 2017.
A Michigan couple in their late 80s, the Roses had stopped in Newberry when the wife broke her hip and had to be hospitalized. Doctors worried the husband, Larry, would be lonely and uneasy staying in a hotel while his wife underwent surgery, so they called Joy and Warren Sheppard, owners of the bed-and-breakfast on College Street.
"He stayed three days with us, and one day he said, ‘I love apples,'" Joy Sheppard says. "I made him French toast with apples, and he told other guests that was ‘the special of the house.' I said, ‘Well, I guess I'll have to make them again.'"
By the time the Roses were able to fly home, a bond had been forged. "He cried when he left, and so did we," Joy says. "We want it to have the atmosphere of, not just homey, but as if you're visiting family."
The Sheppard family includes the couple, who live on the first floor, plus a son, daughter and granddaughter who occupy the 1895 house's third floor. Guests stay in four bedrooms on the second floor, and it does feel like home - assuming your home is filled with antique furniture to fit a Victorian-era house.
Joy and Warren, whose passions are antiques and family ancestry, purchased the current Newberry Manor in September 2015 and opened for business that December. They bought the home from Newberry College, which had purchased it as a home for its new president. Before that, it had been a B&B for 16 years, until 2010.
"We love old homes, and when the last of our six kids moved out (from their Lexington home), we decided the next step was (opening) a B&B," Joy says. "We found ourselves going to small towns, and we kept coming back to Newberry," where Warren had family ties dating to 1767.
When the Sheppards learned their current home's B&B history, "we knew it had happened for a reason," Warren said.
Newberry Manor exudes Victorian-era splendor with its 11-foot ceilings, period suites, beautifully appointed dining room, sitting room and study (which includes a baby grand piano, found via a local antique dealer for a bargain price). Wrapped around the house's original pebble-dash stucco exterior walls is a wide porch with chairs and a comfy swing that completes the B&B's elegant but laid-back air.
Breakfast is served in the dining room, with its antique table, chairs and other pieces. Joy, who says "I love to cook," serves up fresh fruit, homemade sweet breads or rolls, coffee and juice, plus signature main dishes she designs for individual guests' tastes - apple French toast, for instance. Warren obtains sausage from a local vendor, a retired police officer.
Upstairs, guests can choose from the Royal Suite, the house's largest with a king-size bed, French oak armoire and en-suite bath; the Rose Kathyrn Suite, named for Warren's mother and featuring an adjoining bathroom with claw-foot tub; the Victoria Suite with its lavender theme and mahogany canopy double bed; and the President's Suite, with a maple double bed and modern bathroom featuring walk-in shower.
The President's Suite honors John Bachman, a Lutheran pastor who founded Newberry College and was its first president. Joy says the room, decorated in Newberry's school colors (scarlet and gray), is their most popular, in part because of its rounded wall and windows.
A few short blocks away is the town's Main Street area, featuring such dining spots as Steven W.'s, The Grille on Main, Figaro, The Flying Pie and The Corner Scoop (ice cream and sorbet) as well the famed Newberry Opera House, which stages nationally known musical acts. There's also C.T. Summer Hardware Store (featured on the TV show "American Pickers"), a coffee and wine bar (Half Full) and - what else? - several antique shops (Leslie, Ltd., and J&J Antiques).
It's a relaxed, small-town atmosphere into which Newberry Manor fits comfortably. "We love to sit with guests and have conversations," Joy Sheppard says. "And we love to meet new people." Just ask the Roses from Michigan about that.
1710 College Street