I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
June 5, 2017
It’s hard to believe this lovely home has been standing for nearly 140 years, but it’s true. Back in 1880, a Confederate soldier named Thomas Marion Sanders built this sturdy farmhouse on a large plot of fertile land in Smyrna, Tennessee. Here, he and his wife farmed the land and raised five children together.
By 1936, the children were grown and both Thomas and his wife had died. A son, Thomas Gregory Sanders inherited the home and lived there for most of the rest of his life.
He bears a striking resemblance to Tobey Maguire, don’t you think? The Sanders House was sold in 1980 upon Sanders’ death at the age of 102. For many years, it was used as a photography studio until 10 years ago, when Mary Mensch bought the home and with the help of her family, turned it into a bed and breakfast she dubbed ‘Grandma’s House.’
The home’s high ceilings, original hardwood floors, and cozy antique and vintage furnishings immediately made us feel right at home. Even better, we had the entire place to ourselves. Dennis and I took the large master bedroom downstairs, which had a supremely comfortable king-sized bed, a fireplace, and its own clawfoot tub.
My kids took the room across the hall, an equally large room with two twin beds and a sleeper sofa and fireplace. They loved their room so much, they didn’t want to leave all weekend long!
The two downstairs rooms share a hallway bathroom, so Mary only assigns these two rooms to people who are in the same party and don’t mind sharing a bathroom. Upstairs are two more bedrooms, each with its own self-contained bathroom.
I loved the ‘Gold Room’ upstairs. The other bedroom has a more masculine feel, but it’s equally attractive. Outside these two bedroom is a small seating area with television, a small refrigerator stocked with drinks and snacks, and access to the upstairs balcony, which I happen to know from experience is a great spot to read a book on a rainy afternoon.
All guests also have access to this common room downstairs, where you’ll find another television and more copies of Guideposts than I’ve ever seen in my life. Since my own grandmother always made sure I had a current subscription to Guideposts when I was growing up, this seemed particularly appropriate for a place called Grandma’s House! Beyond the common room is a side porch that has been converted into a dining room with enough small tables to accommodate everyone who might be staying here.
When we arrived, fresh-baked cookies were set out on a table in the breakfast room, along with a basketful of snacks, a coffee station, and a small refrigerator filled with soft drinks and waters. Snacks available around the clock? The kids thought this was the height of luxury! Mary’s granddaughter, Meagan showed us around the house and then left us to ourselves. Meagan spends the night in a small house out back when guests are in town and makes breakfast the next morning.
And what a breakfast it was! Each morning, breakfast started with fresh fruit (the strawberries were from nearby Batey Farms) in yogurt, followed by a main course.
The second morning, it was eggs, toast, Batey Farms bacon, and Grandma Mary’s homemade apple cake, which was absolutely incredible. Fortunately, Mary will share her recipe upon request. I can’t wait to make it myself!
The breakfast room has a nice view of the fenced-in back yard at Grandma’s House, another nice place to have a drink or read a book on a nice day.
Grandma’s House also has high-speed Internet and televisions in the two bedrooms on the lower floor, as well as in the common room. Rates are very reasonable and the innkeepers rarely accept more than two roomfuls of guests at a time. There’s a good chance you’ll even have the place to yourself, like we did. Not only is Grandma’s House just a few minutes from Nashville, it’s close to dozens of great restaurants, shopping venues and fun things to do in Rutherford County. Check out my two recent posts on our favorite Rutherford County activities here:
Each of these posts has enough to keep you busy for weeks!