‘We loved what we did’: Columbiana Inn, Bed and Breakfast closes after 15 years

Published 8:11 am Thursday, May 26, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By SCOTT MIMS | Special to the Reporter

COLUMBIANA – The Columbiana Inn, Bed and Breakfast at 306 E. College St. has sheltered travelers from 14 countries and across the U.S. over the past 15 years. Now, owners Andrew and Diane Moore are starting a new chapter in their lives, and they bid a bittersweet farewell to the inn on May 24.

“Thank you to all our guests in the Bed and Breakfast over the last 15 years,” the couple said on May 20. “You all have brightened our day and lives with all the smiles and wonderful breakfast conversations over the years, we have enjoyed every minute.”

The Moores explained that in 2021, they were approached by a family that wanted to purchase the inn for their home. The family had searched throughout Columbiana but had been unable to find a suitable home; however, the inn seemed to perfectly meet their needs. After some consideration, the Moores agreed to the move in January 2022.

Diane Moore explained that the decision was not taken lightly, but it came down to the fact that she and her husband were ready to start a new adventure.

“We loved what we did,” she said. “It’s really bittersweet leaving the Bed and Breakfast, but we’re ready to retire.”

The Moores first purchased the Clarence DuBose home in 2002, and spent five years restoring the historic structure, which dates back to 1889. Modifications included enclosing the stairwell and incorporating stained glass into the new wall surrounding the stairs.

The home—which had previously housed apartments—officially became the Columbiana Inn, Bed and Breakfast in 2007. It also contained the Hearts Desire Tea Room, where the Moores would serve afternoon English tea and would host gatherings of friends, family and the community.

“A lot of people have started out housekeeping in this house,” Diane said. “We were surprised when we learned how many people had actually lived there.”

Several guests of the bed and breakfast were memorable, including a man traveling from California who attended the same high school as Andrew in Virginia, and a woman from Utah who turned out to be related to Andrew’s mother.

The home in 2002. (Contributed)

The Moores even took some of their guests to the emergency room. They stayed with one such family and had fried chicken with them right there in Shelby Baptist Medical Center, as the family had not eaten in hours.

“You can’t make that type stuff up,” Andrew said.

Sasha Johns, a tenant of the Moores, shared her memories from the inn and tea room. She said when the company her husband worked for went out of business three years ago, the Moores offered them a place to rent.

“That tea room, I have had multiple memorable get-togethers with friends, just memories that can’t be replaced,” Johns said. “When you went to the tea house all dressed up and put on one of Diane’s fancy hats, you sat down with your best friends for two hours, you could forget about everything else except enjoying your friends, because Diane took care of everything else.”

Even during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, many guests felt comfortable enough to stay at the bed and breakfast, when business would have otherwise slowed down to a trickle.

In yet another testament to the inn’s reputation of Southern hospitality, the Columbiana Inn, Bed and Breakfast won an award in Shelby Living’s Best of the Best shortly before closing its doors.

Now, the Moores will reside in the John E. Densler home in Wilsonville, which is the original site of the Hearts Desire Tea Room. But Diane said that while they loved the inn, they plan to be “completely retired.”

“We have loved having guests from all over the country and the world under this roof, but it is time for a new adventure as we retire and see what the rest of the world has been up to for the past 15 (years),” they said. “We thank you all for enriching our lives by getting to know each one of you!”