Thursday, September 7, 2006
Byhalia’s new bed and breakfast open
By SUE WATSON
A Victorian mansion in Byhalia has been saved and is now the home of a new bed and breakfast, thanks to Susan and Jay St. John, who bought Thistledome in 2002 and renovated it.
“We hope to bring the opportunity to host weddings, receptions and special events in the traditions of the grand ole South,” said Susan St. John.
Thistledome opened with its first wedding reception in October 2005.
The Town of Byhalia is glad that Thistledome is open again, according to Sarah Sawyer, executive director of the chamber of commerce.
“We are truly thrilled to have the historic property, Thistledome, revived again,” Sawyer said. “It is such a stately location and lends to an era once lived in Byhalia. Since opening, Thistledome Inn has been open to many who never had the chance to enjoy its splendor. We thank them for making this investment in the community and the chamber of commerce.”
Some notable guests to Thistledome include Walt and Jo Grayson (host of “Mississippi Roads” on Mississippi Public Broadcasting), native born Byhalians returning home for a visit, out-of-state businessmen in town for work, couples celebrating anniversaries from Northwest Tennessee and North Mississippi, a Rhodes College student film crew and couples spending their honeymoon.
Five bedrooms - one king, two queen and two double beds - are available for bed and breakfast. No reservations are required and drop-ins are welcome.
Breakfast is provided by PattyCakes diner on Church Street. Guests may choose to dine in at the cafe at a private table and enjoy a Southern breakfast of homemade biscuits, sausage, breads, rolls, pancakes, fruits, eggs and other foods. Breakfast is included in the price of the room as well as wine, chocolates and roses.
A sampling of customer surveys shows what guests like best after a stay at Thistledome:
“Everything and or anything I wanted was at my fingertips. Everything was absolutely gorgeous”
“I could live here like this forever! One night is just not enough.”
“I came, stayed and left elated.”
“Wonderful, peaceful, restful.”
“Awesome - wonderful breakfast.”
Located in the Historic District of downtown Byhalia, Thistledome takes its name from the McCauley couple who viewed the home for sale in 1938 and commented, “This’ll Do Me.”
The mansion began as a small home built in 1840 for A.L. Chalmers, who later became a Civil War general. The home was purchased in 1890 by E.B. Horn, a Byhalia merchant and businessman. The Horn family remodeled and it has remained unaltered to the present day.
McCauley was a senator and postmaster and during his ownership rooms were rented out to school teachers and young couples.
Faye St. John, a young school teacher and the mother of Jay St. John, rented one of the rooms and courted Jay’s father, T.P. St John, at the mansion.
T.P. would throw pebbles at Faye’s upstairs window and climbed up the balcony for visits.
Thistledome has not changed much since the additions made by the Horn family, according to Susan St. John. No major changes to the architecture or floor plan were made by the St. Johns during renovations. The home is as it was at the turn of the 19th century.
Jay St. John grew up in Byhalia and his wife, Susan, is from Fayette County, Tenn. The couple were living in Atlanta, Ga, when they saw the home for sale and decided to buy it and move home.
This is no first for Susan St. John, who holds a fondness for historic homes and renovated her great-grandmother’s home, Galloway House, in Macon, Tenn.
The St. Johns envision more than a bed and breakfast, and will host weddings, receptions, parties, fashion shows, retirement parties, family reunions and much more. One day they may offer antiques for sale.
The St. Johns have four children, Brittany, 15, Savanna, 5, Justin, 4, and Josh, 2.
The children like to play in the rose garden and fountain and to have birthday parties, hay rides and weenie roasts at Thistledome.
By request, Thistledome offers professional luxury packages - candlelight dinners catered in home, massage packages, manicures/spa pedicures, and private music. Facials, luxury skin care, GloMineral makeup and permanent makeup applications are also available on request. Free consultation on makeup is available.
To visit the website go to www.thistledomeinn.com. For more information call 1-901-412-4481. Thistledome is shown by appointment only.
(662) 252-4261 or email@example.com
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