A historic jewel in Downtown Greensboro
Though our lives have changed drastically in the past year, Southern hospitality lives on. When I initially approached Chef Jared Hugg at Double Oaks Bed and Breakfast, I asked about his availability for a virtual or phone interview. He agreed to an interview with me, and then proposed I visit the bed and breakfast — a tour guided by the owners and a meal prepared by Jared and his brother, Dane, was offered. I readily accepted his invitation.
Built in 1906 for Harden Thomas Martin, a cotton supplier for Cone Denim, the once-named Harden Thomas Martin House is now a bed and breakfast. This Colonial Revival style home is located in Greensboro’s historic Westerwood neighborhood. Since 1985, Double Oaks has been registered as a historic landmark. For the past 6 years, the home has been lovingly cared for by James and Amanda Keith.
Upon entry, it feels as though you’ve been transported back to the early 20th century. The main entrance opens up into the foyer with drawing rooms on each side. The room on the left draws you in with stocked bookshelves, and the room on the right has a piano and a seating area by the large front window. The tasseled lampshades, original cabinetry, and vintage touches like the black typewriter in the front hall afford a grounded sense of place. A carpeted staircase leads to a spacious landing, as well as the second and third floors. During the tour with James, I asked if any ghost sightings had occurred during his time in the home. He laughed and said, “Believe it or not, on three separate occasions with three different people, a woman has been sighted in one of the bathrooms doing her hair and singing.”
There are six guest rooms in the bed and breakfast, three of which are suites. All of the rooms are named after notable people who have contributed to the home’s history. Each room has its own unique decor — from the rich green fabrics in the Armfield to the exposed brick in the Chandler Suite, there is something different to delight in no matter which room you choose. Whether you’re in the Westerwood Suite (named after the neighborhood in which Double Oaks is located) or the Armfield (named after the architect of Double Oaks), you will discover pieces of history while creating memories of your own.
Brothers Dane and Jared Hugg are the culinary geniuses behind the menu at the bed and breakfast. Hailing from New York, Jared and Dane grew up in the restaurant industry. Their mother worked at a restaurant, so they were able to experience a variety of cuisine from a young age. Dane and Jared started as dishwashers and busboys when they came of working age. Though they both majored in non-related culinary fields, they both came back to their first love: cooking. When they’re cooking together, the brothers have a silent understanding of what the other is doing. “You’ll notice we don’t do a whole lot of talking when we’re cooking. He [Dane] doesn’t have to ask me what I’m doing. He knows I’m making a salad, so he’ll start on the soup.”
During my visit, Jared and Dane prepared some of their favorite items on the menu. Starting with the smoked cajun chicken spring rolls, I was instantly pulled in by the aromas and flavors: tender chicken, well-cooked vegetables, and a tangy mushroom vinaigrette on the side. Next came the Grande Porto sandwich with grilled portobello mushroom, arugula, maple-balsamic glaze, and goat cheese on toasted focaccia. This is the kind of sandwich where you don’t miss a meaty protein while eating it — the mushroom is so flavorful and tender, and the goat cheese smooths out the peppery arugula. On separate occasions, I’ve ordered the crispy chicken wings covered in Bee Sting sauce (the chefs’ sweet and tangy signature sauce) and the pickle pizza (one bite, and I was convinced that pickles do have a place in the pizza topping lineup).
There’s no shortage of love for the community at Double Oaks. “We love the food scene here in Greensboro,” Jared said. “It’s so diverse and continually growing, so it’s exciting to be a part of that.” In non-pandemic times, the house is abuzz with live music, enticing aromas from the kitchen, and the sound of neighbors meeting neighbors for the first time. “The house misses people,” James said. “The community has supported us during this difficult time by ordering takeout and staycationing with us.” James and Amanda are extremely conscientious when it comes to the health and safety of their staff and guests: the house is thoroughly and regularly cleaned, and staff frequently undergo routine COVID-19 tests. So, if you want to escape the world for a weekend, Double Oaks is a great place to get away.