Hale Springs Inn: A Stay Fit for a President
Updated: Jul 8
When we drove into Rogersville, Tennessee that beautiful Saturday morning, we were immediately taken aback by the beauty of the small, historic town. It was not very long before we laid eyes on the federal-style, three story inn. I am pretty sure we both gasped as we realized this was where we would lay our head for two nights. After parking at the back of the property, we walked into the building and found the desk directly in front of McKinney’s Restaurant and Tavern. We were instantly greeted and directed to our rooms.
We had the privilege of staying in two of the rooms, one a single room and the other a double room suite. The first night we were in the Rogers Room and second night in the Jackson Suite. Both were absolutely impeccable and offered some of the most restful sleep we have ever had on the road.
The inn itself was built in 1824 by John McKinney and was the oldest continuously operated inn in Tennessee until 1998. McKinney was a local lawyer and businessman and the tavern in the inn was operated by the town’s founder, Joseph Rogers. Originally located on the Great Stage Road that ran from Knoxville toward the Cumberland Gap, it was just a matter of time before the inn hosted notable guests. Three such famous guests in the inn were Andrew Jackson, James Polk, and Andrew Johnson.
During the Civil War, the citizens of Rogersville were divided on the issues at hand. The Union captured the town early in the war and claimed the inn as its headquarters because it faced north. When the Confederacy retook the town during the Battle of Big Creek, they placed their headquarters in the Kyle House because it faced south.
Sadly, the inn closed in 1998 but it did not stay that way long. In 2003, the Rogersville Heritage Association purchased the property and along with the City of Rogersville, embarked on a $2.1 million renovation and the inn was reopened in 2009 with nine amazing guest rooms and McKinney’s Restaurant and Tavern.
The nine guest rooms are simply spectacular when it comes to comfort and décor. Guests feel as though they have stepped back in time and staying in Rogersville in the 17th century. The Suites are two bedrooms with a great deal of space and all the amenities of home. They are the President Andrew Jackson Suite, President Andrew Johnson Suite, and the President James K. Polk Suite. Additionally, the Carl and Janet Netherland-Brown Room offers a king sized bed, while all the other single bedrooms have queens. The Winfield Hale Room has two queen beds, while the Regan Room, Molly Gray Room, Joseph and Mary Rogers Room, and the Jacob Miller Room are all single queen beds. The Molly Gray Room is the handicap accessible room, located on the second floor. During the renovations, an elevator was also put in that will take guests to the second floor.
There are also plenty of rumors about ghosts in the inn. If you look at reviews, many guests will mention that odd things took place in their rooms. This seems to mostly happen in the Andrew Jackson Suite and the Molly Gray Room. While we were there, a Knights of Columbus meeting was taking place on the second floor. As we were on the third floor the first night, we had an opportunity to tell them what we did and several of the ladies in the party quickly offered up their experiences, including things being moved in their rooms, strange perfume smells that did not belong to them, and even hearing a disembodied voice. I am not sure whether we were too tired to entertain such a being or what but we had absolutely no disturbances during our stay.
Our first afternoon in Rogersville, we walked the streets and found locations that we would be visiting in the town throughout the weekend. We returned in time for dinner at McKinney’s Restaurant on the bottom floor of the inn. Our meal was just as amazing as the inn itself. Dori had the filet mignon with mashed potatoes and vegetables while Brandi enjoyed the chicken parmesan. Dessert consisted of apple pie ala mode and one of the best cheesecakes we have ever tried.
The rates at Hale Springs Inn may be more reasonable than you think, with the largest of suites only setting you back $125 plus tax. This is an experience like no other and somewhere everyone in east Tennessee needs to stay at least once. With a downtown that offers something for everyone from morning to late night, Rogersville would be a perfect location for a romantic weekend to a girl’s weekend away and everything in between.
Give them a call at (423) 272-5171 or reach out to them by email at info@HaleSpringsInn. Their website, halespringsinn.com also offers a plethora of information and tells you how to book your next stay. Make sure you take the self-guided walking tour while you are in Rogersville too!