The dream house of Hamilton and Florence Yancey was well worth the three years of construction it required. This imposing home, a stellar example of Gothic Second Empire Victorian architecture, has been extending hospitality to guests since it was completed in 1882. Present innkeepers Chris and Holly McHaggee do a remarkable job of providing a topnotch experience to overnight guests, as well as to those visiting Claremont House Bed and Breakfast for weddings, holiday dinners, or business and social occasions of every kind. This is the perfect place to stay on your visit to Rome, Georgia.
Hamilton Yancey, Claremont’s original owner, was too young to serve in the Civil War – being only 12 to 16 in 1860-1864. But his family dubbed him “Colonel” as a young boy. He and Florence had 8 children, although their daughter Julia died at the age of 4. The other 7 had a grand time romping around the 8000 square feet of space, but their rooms were in the attic with the servants. The family lived in the cottage out back during the construction, so they had a close vantage point for every phase. The cottage now contains two of the inn’s guestrooms with a small kitchen and a bathroom. Hamilton Yancey is buried in Myrtle Hill Cemetery, which sits atop one of Rome’s seven hills.
Claremont was named for Mrs. Yancey’s beloved cousin, Clare de Graffenried, and their youngest daughter was also named Clare.The mansard roof, slate tiles and 14-foot ceilings are typical of the style of architecture, but the ornate gingerbread trim was very unusual in the South at that time. It was said to have been brought down by northern builders who were familiar with it in other parts of the country.
Claremont remained in the family for three generations until it was sold at auction. It finally became a Bed and Breakfast in 1993. Chris and Holly bought it in 2003, when they were right out of college. Chris is the event coordinator and handyman. Holly is the primary cook. They are great sources of information about the Rome area and its many attractions.
Four large guestrooms (Elizabeth, Magnolia, Yancey, and Claremont) are available in the main house. Each is tastefully furnished with pieces true to the original late 1800’s time period. They all have fireplaces, private bathrooms, cable television, luxurious linens, and Wi-Fi. As the home has been updated, a sprinkler system was installed, and the fire escape is located in a former servants’ staircase. Claremont House also provides signature toiletries for guests.
Breakfast in the dining room
Chef Holly McHaggee prepares a hot delicious breakfast for her guests. Entrees might be stuffed French toast or a spinach-egg scramble with bacon, fruit, and a biscuit. Diners will be treated to friendly conversation and more examples of the ornate construction at Claremont, particularly the built-in sideboards. Don’t forget to look for the large antique safe in the foyer. “Colonel” Hamilton Yancey must have had an impressive number of valuables to protect.
Perfect location for a visit to northwest Georgia
Rome, GA is an hour’s drive from Atlanta or from Chattanooga. And Claremont House is prominently located on Second Avenue, just a few blocks from bustling Broad Street. Rome has become a tennis mecca for the southeast, so many tournament participants flock to the city beginning in February every year. Visitors also come for events at Berry College, Shorter University, and Darlington School, not to mention for games of the Rome Braves minor league baseball team. Be sure to plan your visit in time to book a room at Claremont House. You are certain to have a pleasurable stay.
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