Serving Kenly, Selma, Smithfield, Princeton & Pine Level since 1973

It’s the ‘inn’ of an era in Clayton

Grannises to retire, but hope to find buyers for Morning Glory Inn

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CLAYTON — A former editor of Bon Appétit magazine. A world-famous ukulele player. A model who appeared on album covers, most notably “Whipped Cream & Other Delights” by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass.

All are among guests who have stayed at Clayton’s Morning Glory.

But while running the inn has been a joy, owners Betsy and Michael Grannis are ready to retire, the couple said last week.

Michael Grannis called the decision bitter-sweet. “But time goes on,” he said in an interview on May 7.

“We formally put it on the market yesterday,” he said of the inn, which is at 507 E. Second St. near downtown Clayton. “We currently have a ‘Coming Soon’ out in the front yard, and what that means is that we’ll be ready to show it in about 10 days.”

Grannis said his wife was the driving force behind the bed and breakfast. “Betsy’s done an incredible job of building the business through the years, and it’s been a real pleasure to work together as a team,” he said. “This was her business because I was (operating) the Clayton Steakhouse.”

After selling the steakhouse, Grannis was around the inn more often, but he downplayed his role, calling himself “the best toilet bowl cleaner in Johnston County.”

Grannis said he and his wife have many fond memories of the inn, and the couple hope to find new owners who want to create memories of their own. “We would love for someone to purchase it and continue the legacy,” he said.

“That will remain to be seen,” Grannis added, an acknowledgment that selling an inn during a nationwide lockdown on travel might be hard.

In retirement, the couple plan to travel, though where they will head is a matter of debate. The East Coast is a given, but after that, Grannis isn’t sure.

“I don’t know that we’ll do international,” he said. “ I’ve really never had much of an ambition to do that with the possible exception of Ireland. Betsy is a little more interested in that than I am. We’ll kind of see where that goes.”

The Grannises moved to North Carolina from California, so they’s seen national parks on the West Coast. “We would like to do the same thing now since we are on the East Coast because we’ve not taken much of an opportunity to do that,” he said.

Outside of the inn, the Grannises have been active in the Clayton community. He is a longtime member of the Clayton Town Council, and she is currently president of the Woman’s Club of Clayton.

Grannis said he and his wife are grateful to their Clayton neighbors friendship and patronage. “Without the citizens in our community reaching out and wanting to have functions here, this business would’ve never been successful,” he said. “We will certainly miss it, and we’ve had phenomenal success with it.”