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No place like home

House in family for three generations
converted to an inn

Colonial Inn has ties to the American Civil War

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

NEW CASTLE, Ky. (December 2007) – Colonial Hill Inn Bed and Breakfast sits on a quiet back street in New Castle, Ky. Surrounded by formal gardens full of vibrant pink crape myrtle, the home has been in Tina Stambaugh’s family for three generations.
Her grandparents, James and Emmabelle Stambaugh, purchased the home in 1933. Stambaugh in May 2006 converted two rooms of the house into bed and breakfast suites. Stambaugh said that after she and her husband, Steve Whitmer, had traveled and stayed in several bed and breakfasts, the couple thought they “would give it a try.

Colonial Hill Inn Bed & Breakfast

Photo by Helen McKinney

The Colonial Hill Inn Bed and
Breakfast is located in New Castle, Ky.
The house has been in the Stambaugh
family for three generations.

“I enjoy meeting new people and I love to cook,” said Stambaugh, who acquired the home in 1993. Her two children, Ballard and Rachel Metcalfe, pitch in to help also in the home, located three blocks east of Hwy. 421 at 316 E. Cross Main St. in New Castle.
Colonial Hill Inn dates to circa 1830 and was built by New Orleans resident Daniel P. Brannin when he moved to New Castle. Brannin had left New Orleans to escape a yellow fever epidemic.
The 5,000-square-foot brick house sits on a relatively small tract of land of only 28 acres. “It is similar in style to My Old Kentucky Home,” said Stambaugh.
It was constructed in the Greek Revival style, with the doorways and hallways reminiscent of Greek architecture. All 10 rooms of the home measure 20x20 feet and contain fireplaces. The poplar floors are the original floors.
The No. 13 is used often in the architectural theme, she said. It was a popular way to commemorate the 13 original colonies when the home was built. All of the ceilings are 13 feet tall, the front hallway is 13 feet wide, and the walls and window panes are 13 inches wide.
The most notable owner was Edmond Kirby Smith, a Confederate general who fought at the Battle of Perryville in 1862. A good friend of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, he operated a military academy on the grounds for a few years, beginning in 1868.
After the Civil War, cholera spread through New Castle, and all of the outbuildings had to be burned. Smith moved to Sewanee, Tenn., where he later died.
Although there are no furnishings original to the home, it is filled with antiques collected by Stambaugh’s grandparents over a 60-year period. Her grandparents frequented estate auctions and antique stores to furnish the two guest rooms, The Rose Room and The Ivy Room. Her grandmother painted the artwork that lines the walls of the home and stitched the needlepoint seat coverings.
Immediately upon entering the main hallway, guests will notice that the walls are adorned with a beautiful scenic wallpaper. The paper was imported by the Harvey Ellis family, who once owned the home. Stambaugh had it restored in 2004 by professional historic wallpaper conservator Jim Yates of Tennessee. He has restored wallpaper at the White House.

Tina Stambaugh

Photo by Helen McKinney

Owner Tina Stambaugh
cooks in the inn’s kitchen.

It is an original wooden block printed mural manufactured by the Zuber wallpaper company of Paris. The design, known as “Eldorado,” was hand printed using more than 1,500 wooden blocks.
Stambaugh’s goal in operating her bed and breakfast is to “provide more of a retreat.” She places a welcome basket in each room, and a gourmet breakfast that can be eaten in the formal dining room or on the back porch of the home.
Her first guests were Denise and Dan Shaw of Floyd’s Knob, Ind. “Tina invited us, and we thought it was a great opportunity,” said Denise. The two women had been colleagues at Ivy Technical College.
“It was lovely and our stay was very relaxing,” Shaw said. The antique bed in her room contained “the softest sheets I ever slept on in my life.” Another plus was Stambaugh’s southern hospitality that makes guests feel right at home.
“Everything is home baked,” she said. “I try to use local products from the Farmer’s Market.” One of her gourmet breakfasts might consist of fresh fruit, blueberry muffins, raspberry scones and chocolate zucchini bread, topped with the guest’s choice of beverages.
The grounds can also be rented for weddings. “We had a summer outdoor wedding with over 200 guests,” Stambaugh said. Dining room facilities can be rented for receptions, rehearsal dinners or for special events.
Stambaugh said she tries to coordinate local events for guests, providing them with information on the Smith-Berry Winery and the Highlands Renaissance Festival and its facilities. She will even go so far as to provide a shuttle to nearby attractions for guests.
Cost for renting a room at Colonial Hill Inn Bed & Breakfast is $125 for Friday and Saturday, or $100 for Sunday through Thursday. Pricing includes breakfast, and complimentary snacks and beverages.

• For reservations contact Stambaugh at (502) 558-4504 or ColonialHillInn@aol.com or check out the B & B’s website at http://colonialhillinn.zoomshare.com.

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