We just stayed at the Inn at River Oaks for 4 nights. I was swayed by all the positive comments on the Inn on Tripadvisor, and I can certainly echo most of them.
The Inn is close to the shops in the "downtown" or central business district of Southport. We chose to drive our car to them, but one could easily walk, as the interesting tourist-aimed shops start almost immediately out of the parking lot, and the farthest isn't more than 1/4 mile away (I wanted the car close by however for storage-my wife will have me acting as a pack mule otherwise!)
Further, I recall reading a review that suggested getting a room at the back for solitude from the road noise on Howe Street/NC 211, and I concur. I'm glad to say that we did have a room in the back. The only "negative" regarding quality of sleep was that we couldn't get the room dark due to a night light bleeding through even with blinds and a shade pulled.)
Also, I can agree that the room was very clean, including the bathroom. The very pleasant "clean" smell (not bleach per se though, which would be too overpowering) was obvious from first entry.
You can tell from the two staff members/owners I dealt with that customer service is a major priority. They are there and ready with an accommodating “oh yeah” or “sure, absolutely” if you need them without being overbearing or TOO involved in your stay-just right in my opinion.
As far as nit-picks-and I mention these areas only as a service to other readers/Tripadvisor members and not so much as "major gripes" against the Inn-most are likely related to the age of the Inn and the period in which it was originally built.
First, the room and bathroom are SMALL. I've stayed comfortably in Microtels before by myself and with my wife and my room here (#16) is smaller than those. I'm guilty of being a heavy packer (prepared for anything) and I bring valuables inside at night so nothing is left in the car (I travel with a full-frame DSLR camera and camera gear, and being birders we both travel with expensive binoculars and guidebooks). By that time, the room is choked with luggage and duffels, and walking/maneuvering/sitting is limited.
Second, I would mention that there is only one electrical receptacle (not "outlet" which might convey TWO plug-in receptacles) in the bathroom. Women-you'll have to decide between the curler and the blow dryer! My wife decided to move the blow-dryer to the plugs near the bed but this wasn't at a mirror (NEAR ONE, but not at one). Also (and I know this just illustrates how SPOILED we are in our electronic device world!) this meant we were constantly shifting plugs around, even with the provided adapter in one of the receptacles. Laptop, blow-dryer, camera battery charger, two cell phone chargers, CPAP machine, etc. all were shifted constantly while we were here. A paragraph here might make it look like a bigger deal than it is-I just wanted to mention it to other travelers.
Finally, I would mention that the arrangement for hanging clothes was only a small projecting arm which was just enough for my wife’s clothes for four days-I had to leave mine in a garment bag lying flat on a small piece of furniture-with luggage stacked on top of them. I wished there had been more accommodations for hanging clothes.
As stated at the outset though, most of these are likely related to the age of the property, and the owners still get kudos for doing such a great job with what they have.
Overall? The cleanliness, value for the price charged in such a nice coastal town, and customer service given by the staff/owners make this a GREAT VALUE.