Michelle Williams slept herePublished 4:53pm Friday, September 20, 2013
Pamlico House owner Virginia Finnerty named each bedroom of the bed and breakfast after a prominent figure in Washington’s history, but it appears the Washington Room may have some competition.
Actress Michelle Williams spent the night in the room Labor Day.
“They’re both W’s,” Finnerty said, pondering the new name.
Williams got her break as Jen Lindley on the TV show “Dawson’s Creek” and has since starred as Marilyn Monroe in “My Week with Marilyn,” done comedies like “Dick” and “The Baxter” and tackled serious roles in “Blue Valentine” and “Brokeback Mountain.”
From the moment Williams’ assistant telephoned the East Main Street bed and breakfast and made reservations, Finnerty was a bundle of nerves. She scrutinized every room and fussed over rooms that were already at their best.
“I don’t know why. She’s just a person. But it’s nerve-racking. I was also telling myself that I should treat these people the same as any guests,” she said.
Williams arrived at the inn with her daughter, Matilda Ledger.
“She looks just like her father,” Finnerty said of Matilda.
She is the daughter of the late Heath Ledger, who starred in “Brokeback Mountain” and won a posthumous Oscar and Golden Globe for his role as The Joker in “The Dark Knight.”
Williams was shorter and more petite than Finnerty expected.
“She pulled up in a nondescript tiny little car, a silver Prius. It was a rental,” Finnerty said. “If you saw her walking up, you would never know she was a famous movie star. She just looked like a nice young woman with her daughter.”
Four of the Pamlico House’s five rooms were available. Williams chose the only room on the first floor, the Washington.
“I think she chose it for the tub,” Finnerty said.
Williams and her daughter were early risers, up at 8:30 a.m. Matilda came out of the room while her mother was getting ready.
“While I was checking on the coffee I heard a sweet, little voice. I turned around and there was this adorable little girl in Hello Kitty footed pjs, asking if she could take a cup to her mom,” Finnerty wrote in her blog.
Williams takes her coffee with milk and Splenda. Matilda stopped Finnerty from fetching milk, saying her mother would be fine with the cream that was readily available. She fixed the cup and brought it back to the room. When Matilda returned, she looked at the breakfast table and complimented Finnerty’s table setting.
Finnerty said Matilda sounded mature for her 7 years, saying “the table is so beautifully set” instead of a simple, “Ooh, pretty.”
“You could tell she must be around a lot of adults,” Finnerty said. “And the child was delightful. She could’ve been a brat, but wasn’t at all.”
Williams dressed casually with her hair pulled up.
“With no makeup, just squeaky clean and simple. She was beautiful,” Finnerty said.
Finnerty had a time keeping the actress’ secret at the breakfast table. The other guests at the table had the same last name as Williams, and Finnerty was dying to point that out.
Instead, the conversation focused on Williams’ plans to go to Corolla and see the wild horses there. The other guests gave her tips on other things to see along the way.
Finnerty always asks what her guests want for breakfast when they make their reservations. She was told Williams and her daughter really enjoyed bacon and scrambled eggs. Both had hearty appetites, Finnerty said.
Finnerty said Williams was an attentive mother and it was sweet to watch her with her daughter.
Once they left, Finnerty realized she had not asked if she could blog about the visit or have a photograph.
The only other famous person to have a room at the Pamlico House named after him was CBS journalist Charles Kuralt. That was before Finnerty owned Pamlico House. There have been racecar drivers, jazz musicians and a famous talk-show host from Holland. For Finnerty, none compares to Williams.
“As I watched them leave, suddenly it hit me! And I panicked! Here I had had the closest encounter with a famous movie star I probably will ever have in my lifetime, and I had no proof, nothing to show my friends,” Finnerty wrote in her blog.
She realized she had Williams’ cellphone number and texted her, asking if she could blog about her stay and asking for an autographed photo.
Williams texted back saying, “Honestly, it is so kind of you to ask in the first place before writing about it and not to ask while I was with my daughter. We had such a lovely stay with you. Wish we had spent another day there. Your home is so warm and welcoming and we talked about breakfast for miles after we left. Thank you for your sweet words about Matilda. Nothing could mean more to me. I’ll send you a picture soon. Feel free to write on your blog that we stayed with you and loved it.”
Finnerty said she would never erase that message. She has since placed a photo of Williams on the room’s mantel.
It sits in front of a portrait of Washington. As for the name on the door, it is still the Washington Room, for now.
Read more about the star’s stay at pamlicohousebb.com.