Southern Grace Bed and Breakfast in Brandenburg
She moved quickly, pushing past her companions and taking up the center position on the fence. The first two handfuls of sweet feed were hers alone, and a contented bleat let the others know she was savoring the moment. “This one usually gets here first and always gets her head stuck in the fence,” says David Padgett, co-owner of Southern Grace Bed and Breakfast in Brandenburg. True to form, the eager young goat soon had her head caught between the wires and needed some delicate twisting and a forceful shove by David to be freed.
Scenes like this are common at Southern Grace. David and his wife, Theresa, have carved out a bucolic niche in the rolling hills of west-central Kentucky that offers guests a peaceful retreat, outstanding food and an opportunity to experience a bit of farm living. “We have guests who want to feed the animals and gather the eggs, and others who don’t. Here, it is all about what you want to do,” says Theresa. “We offer much more personal service than a hotel. You get a luxurious getaway that you are positive is going to be clean, and you don’t have to worry about the garbage trucks waking you up in the morning!”
She was right. I had the distinct pleasure of spending the night there recently and not only avoided the usual street noise but found myself “forgetting” to check my email, flip on the television or mentally calculate the calorie content of anything I was eating. How could I? I was otherwise engaged in sipping fresh ground coffee and watching dozens of birds swoop onto the patio for their noon meal. I was busy.
Theresa and David started their journey toward the hospitality industry several years ago while managing apartment complexes. With units in Elizabethtown and Claysville, they developed a friendly and efficient management system that yielded happy residents and zero evictions. “We thoroughly enjoyed it. Our son built the complexes, and our residents—I never called them tenants—loved us, and we never had any problems,” says Theresa.
Their kindness was not limited to business interests but expanded to include those in need. “In the past, I would take in homeless kids and unwed mothers. I have 14 brothers and sisters, so cooking and caring for a crowd is nothing to me,” she says. “One girl I literally found on the side of the road. She was 13. She was hitchhiking, and I took her in, brought her to church and showed her another way of life. I told her she could either conquer her circumstances or let her circumstances conquer her. Today, she is a successful plastic surgeon in Spokane, Washington, and it is—well, it is amazing!”
Theresa and David joke that all of this helped them “stumble” into the bed and breakfast business, but spending even a few minutes with them makes it clear that they have been headed here all their lives. After a second cup of coffee and a melt-in-your-mouth slice of homemade strawberry cake, David and I headed to the barn to visit the hens. Along the way, we were greeted by several alpacas looking for a treat and a variety of barnyard fowl clamoring for attention. A lone white duck had the run of the small pond and plunged its head into the water again and again. We entered the barn to discover several of the hens were still snug in their nests and didn’t seem to mind our intrusion. I am quite aware of where eggs come from but found myself captivated by the whole business. I wouldn’t be so bold as to suggest the hens felt the same way, but I was utterly delighted.
Theresa was waiting when we returned to the house with my menu order sheet for the following morning. At Southern Grace, guests choose the breakfast they like and the time they would like to be served. “Some places have a set time and menu,” says Theresa. “Here, you decide what you want and when, and we make it to fit your needs.” I selected the sweet potato waffles with homemade whipped cream and pecans, green eggs (yes, green!) and the bacon one guest from New York described as “the best he’s ever had.”
A tour of the beautiful grounds served as a living amenities and activities list. The pond out front offers paddleboat rides and a crack at the 8- to 10-pound bass and 25- to 30-pound catfish that call it home. Around back, one can lounge alongside the in-ground pool, linger on the screened-in porch or stretch out on the patio for a dose of fresh air and sunshine.
The house, built by the Padgetts’ son, offers five guest rooms, each with a private bath, and four-poster beds with possibly the most comfortable mattresses on Earth. “We did a lot of research,” Theresa says, “on which mattresses were the best, the most comfortable, and these had the highest ratings. Our guests love them.” The addition of 600-thread-count linens makes a great night’s sleep inevitable. The rooms also are equipped with flat-screen TVs, free Netflix movies, WiFi, small refrigerators and coffee service.
The main floor features gleaming hardwood floors, cozy lounging areas, a formal dining room and an enormous eat-in kitchen that affords views of the pool and seemingly endless green, rolling hills. A 17th century cabinet that had belonged to Theresa’s grandmother is in one corner, and a Civil War-era mantel frames the fireplace. Magazines and books abound, and a community computer is available to all, free of charge. “We do not charge our guests for any of the amenities,” Theresa says. “There are no ‘hidden’ fees.”
If an excursion off-property is your desire, the list of possibilities is extensive. Southern Indiana’s Turtle Run Winery, Huber’s Orchard and Winery and Squire Boone Caverns are easy commutes, as are several stops on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Local shopping venues such as Jason & Krissy’s Unique Findings offer shoppers one-of-a-kind, often locally made items, and historical attractions such as Abraham Lincoln’s Boyhood Home at Knob Creek Park is within easy driving distance.
David and Theresa offer individual-room or whole-inn rental and can accommodate up to 12 people at a time. Weddings are one of their specialties, and they often handle six to eight per month. “We take care of everything—the chairs, tables, flowers, cake, photographer and even the officiant if the guest requests it,” David says. “We do it all.” In the two years it has been open, Southern Grace Bed and Breakfast has received more five-star guest reviews on TripAdvisor than any other hotel or motel in the state.
“We have guests from all over the world who love to come here and relax and be pampered, and we love doing it,” says Theresa. “We plan to go on indefinitely.”
If you go ...
Southern Grace Bed and Breakfast
Brandenburg, (855) 589-7829, southerngracebb.com