By Connie Nimmo Thorn
Dennis and Joyce Orwin have a history together just as fascinating as the historic bed and breakfast they operate, Ruddick-Nugent House. Dennis and Joyce met in the Peace Corps as part of the third and fourth classes of volunteers to be deployed in 1964. While in Ethiopia, they fell in love and got married. They eventually moved back to the United States and settled down in Columbus, Indiana. Dennis was an English teacher and Joyce worked in finance until Dennis retired. However, they weren’t quite ready to slow down. The couple began working at Columbus Area Visitors Center; Dennis as a volunteer guide on the Architectural and Miller House Tours and Joyce as the Volunteer and Tour Coordinator. Then, they purchased a local bed and breakfast, and turned it into Columbus’ hidden gem.
The Ruddick-Nugent House is a historic home, built in 1884 by William Ruddick, fully restored by the Orwins, with all of today’s modern conveniences. The B&B includes four guestrooms with private baths, air conditioning, cable TV and wifi. The home and gardens occupy an entire city block. Stroll among the trees, watch the bubbling fountains and relax in the whimsical gardens. But, the most intriguing features of the bed and breakfast are its furnishings and décor. Each piece is from various periods in the house’s history and the Orwins’ travels.
Each of the guestrooms holds interesting details. The bed in Martha’s Room has an interesting backstory: the headboard is made from the original front doors of the house. The coal fireplace, boasting faux painted marble and cast iron, is still in working condition. If you look closely in William’s Room, you see the birthdays and heights of William’s children penciled into the wall. The centerpiece of the room is the gasolier, a chandelier that uses both gas and electric light. Inez’s Room is bright and cheery with an antique wardrobe and a queen-size four poster bed. Lizzie’s Room is decked out in flocked patterned blue and silver wallpaper and matching blue carpeting, complemented with another gasolier and a balcony.
Every room, furniture and item in the house has a story. While enjoying a delicious, hearty breakfast, you just have to ask Joyce and Dennis about the little details you notice. They’ll have a story to tell and you’ll discover their little-known tidbits of Columbus history.