If you're interested in history, this is a little gem. The building was originally a way station on the Great Stage Road and dates from 1785 (with a cut stone addition added in about 1821). It's served as an inn, a tavern, a general store and even a post office over the years, as well as a private home. I took a tour here in late October, complete with great ghost tales about the inn's mistress Seraphina (described as the town's Paris Hilton of her day), a pair of quarreling wayfarers who murdered each other over a horse, and a young girl known as the firestarter (you can still see the scorch marks from her contribution to the inn's history on the doorframe of the room upstairs where she stayed).
The tour here is quite interesting--be sure to inspect the great old map of India on the wall downstairs. Part of the inn's claim to fame is that three presidents have stayed here--Andrew Jackson, James Polk and Andrew Johnson--as well as the Marquis de Lafayette and even Louis Phillipe Orleans the king of France. Pretty impressive for a small town in rural northeastern Tennessee! A quaint custom here is for the most prominent visitors (Jimmy Carter and several Tennessee governors among them) to sign one of the doors, so hunt for several of these signatures throughout the downstairs.
The guides also share Civil War stories about the inn. Local lore holds that the inn's owners during this time bribed both the federal and confederate commanders not to shell the building during the four-hour Battle of Blountville in the fall of 1863. The rest of the town wasn't nearly as lucky, though!
Out back is a brick kitchen, slaves quarters, and several other historic structures you can tour. And out front is a pair of the most beautiful ornate iron gates originally installed in front of the Arts and Industries arm of the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. The inn's last owners (before the county took the property over) purchased the gates for their estate and later had them moved here.
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