When Brad and Bridget Peters moved to Central Kentucky from Central Illinois in 2021 with the intent of buying a bed-and-breakfast inn, they looked at some 40 properties before settling on the one they had had in mind when they first began their search.
“We had stayed with Gary and Rose (Burke) at The Meeting House the year before as secret shoppers,” says Brad, “and we both thought it was just what we were looking for.”
That secret shopping experience proved serendipitous for both couples. Brad, whose career had been in the liquor industry as a salesman and distributor, and who had owned a bar and grill in Illinois, was looking for a career change. For their part, the Burkes had been looking to sell their inn.
“It seemed perfect for us,” says Brad. “BNB’s (Brad’s and Bridget’s) BNB (bed and breakfast) at The Meeting House.
The couple purchased the property in May of 2022, and set about adding their own touches to the historic house on St. Ann Street.
Entering the front parlor, guests find an improvised bar running the length of one wall, with an impressive array of bourbons on shelves above the fireplace mantel. They are encouraged to pour themselves a bourbon, most of which come from the Frankfort area.
“We like to promote the local distilleries, especially the smaller ones,” says Brad.
Bourbon was actually the deciding factor in the couple’s move to Frankfort.
“Bridget and I had done the Bourbon Trail several times and we fell in love with Frankfort’s downtown and its real sense of community.
“And then there’s the fact that 95 percent of our guests stop at Buffalo Trace,” he continues. “They can be here for a wedding or a funeral, but they still end up there.”
Brad named three of the inn’s four rooms in homage to Frankfort’s role in the bourbon industry and his own background in the spirits business – Angel’s Share, Cooper’s Quarters and Guinness. The fourth, Bluegrass, pays tribute to the region.
The parlor may be bourbon-centric today, but during the Civil War it had an equine connection. It was here that the owner’s sister hid her prized racehorse so that the Confederate army wouldn’t confiscate it. FYI: Frankfort was the only state capital occupied by the Confederate army.
Moving from the parlor to the dining room, guests can admire the beautiful stained-glass window and the Victorian-style-chandeliers, believed to have been retrieved from storage at Liberty Hall Historic Site. The chandeliers are a perfect fit for the house which was built in 1837 at the height of the Victorian era.
But what guests are most likely to remember about the dining room are the bountiful breakfasts that Brad – who does all the cooking – serves every morning. A typical guest breakfast might include fruit and granola, fluffy scrambled eggs, bacon and a mixed berry crepe – whatever he concocts from his forays to the Farmer’s Market.
If guests are in the mood for exploring, The Meeting House is within walking distance of numerous local museums and historic sites, one-of-a-kind boutiques and locally owned restaurants.
If they prefer to relax, they can take the stairs, with their hand-carved wooden banister, glass of bourbon in hand, to the second-floor library, and select a book from the well-stocked shelves. Many settle into a chair in front of the working fireplace and sip and read to their heart’s content. In nicer weather, they may opt for the second-floor veranda or the shaded courtyard below it.
Brad marvels at how much things have changed in the year they have owned the bed-and-breakfast.
“For example, when we took it over, our reservation system was a land line and paper calendar; now, a computerized booking system on our website takes care of all that,” he says.
Does that mean he is through with upgrading and renovating? Not to hear him tell it. “Having a bed-and-breakfast is a bit like eating an elephant,” he says. “We take one bite at a time.”