A storybook Inn

How A Storybook Inn came to be as told by the innkeeper:

Meet your hostess, C. Elise Buckley

I was minding my own business one bright November day in 2003, previewing a property for an out-of-town client in my occupation as a Realtor. I was sent out to look over a lovely old historic property in the historic district of Versailles and to report back. I did report back to the client via voice mail twice but did not get a reply. That was quite unusual. But then, some things are just meant to be.

What quickly followed completely took me by complete surprise. Without warning, I fell head-over-heels in love with this dear old place that is now A Storybook Inn. It was a whirlwind love affair, though having no previous plans to move from the farm, plans developed, financing came together quite miraculously, and arrangements were made to purchase the property at 277 Rose Hill Avenue with the idea in mind to convert it to an upscale Bed and Breakfast. You might say it was a “divine appointment.”

Immediately with the disorganization and unsettling of moving, I found myself up to my neck in massive renovations. There were tremendous discouragements and setbacks and discoveries of unknown, but long-term leaks resulting in ripping out ceilings, plumbing pipes, etc, and other difficulties, but after a very full, and quite eventful, albeit stressful year, the dear old place that I lovingly call “The Fortress” for its sturdy, thick walls, is looking more grand than ever. As of April 8, 2005, we officially opened our doors as “A Storybook Inn.”

In June 2009, we closed our doors for nearly 15 months as I met with architects, structural engineers, contractors, and began the arduous process of restoring an old home. Of course, surprises abounded as we tore off the rotting siding and discovered even more decay underneath. We had to nearly rebuild the upper floor from the outside. We tore off the old box gutters, and had to rebuild the eaves and shore up the structure. We gutted or built new a total of 12 bathrooms. We put air whirlpool bathtubs in all but Gone With the Wind. That suite’s bathroom has a large walk-in shower with dual shower heads. We put in a jaw-dropping state-of-the- art kitchen that we love to show our guests. We constructed a 50 ft long glass conservatory that is absolutely stunning where our guests love to have breakfasts or brunches or receptions or just relax.

After all the long hot months of work and the dust and do-overs and going way over budget, we opened our doors September 25, 2010 in time for the World Equestrian Games. The contractor remarked, “Elise, you have saved this house!” After, it was all said and done, I am glad I chose to do it. The results are incredible, but I felt nothing like a hero; a bit more like a survivor at first.

As the innkeeper, I have been told on numerous occasions by my guests something that delights me. It is along this line. "It is very hard to design a home to look both tastefully elegant and invitingly comfortable, but you have succeeded." That was indeed the goal. As I have told many, I "decorate, design or cook from the inner flow..." in other words, I pray a lot and ask the greatest Creator of all how to achieve synergy and beauty in what I put my hand to do.

The outdoors are very important too! They were certainly so to the original owners of this dear old place. I have kept most of the large old trees and have gotten rid of the old unkempt shrubs and dead trees that had been let go far too long. I have had
many more trees than I have removed professionally planned and planted, replacing them with multiple Magnolias and blooming varieties of Cherry, Dogwood, Cyprus, Spruce, Pine, Redbud, Boxwood, Roses (both formal and informal) and large Maple trees for fall color. A garden should look beautiful at least 3 seasons of the year, and even 4 when the snow is on.

With the new renovation, the stonework was reworked or replaced. The new stone walks, lined with brick is simply lovely. It turned out even better than imagined.

The 100 year old+ large stone pond has been restored, and a new stair-step waterfalls added to it. Our manager feeds the Koi fish in the pond to “tame them.” The old stone steps leading to the elevated stone patio behind the pond make a lovely setting for breakfast, evening refreshments under a romantic full moon, or lends itself well to a picturesque “Storybook” wedding. (It has now been the site for numerous weddings, and a very pretty place it has become!)

I was the chef at A Storybook Inn for the first 5 years. All my consummate experiences heretofore have prepared me for what I do now. I have a love for interior design, hospitality, conversation, as well as cooking up wonderful dishes using fresh “real” ingredients. Tamara is now the main cook/caterer for breakfasts, brunches and reception.

Since I love to travel and experience other cultures, I love meeting those of other cultures and it is my pleasure to pamper and make them feel at ease and meet special requests for my quests. My friends have all commented that all of those traits point to the fact that Inn keeping is the perfect venue for me.

I have a background in the medical field as well as Real Estate. I have also cared for, and raised horses on a small picturesque horse farm in Woodford County as well as raising 3 wonderful children. The areas of writing, natural health, and travel are also special loves of mine.

My oldest daughter Kate, who recently moved to Nashville, TN after more than a decade in Southern California, had a dream about the name, "A Storybook Inn." She thought that because of my love of literature and because I kept describing the property to her as very "storybook,” it seemed the perfect fit to name the bed and breakfast, "A Storybook Inn." And...I do believe that time has proved her right. Besides I am a storyteller, with LOTS of stories about the inn and about life.

The classic movie themes for the suites evolved and decorating each one of them down to the last detail took on a life of its own. (But relax gentleman, the suites are not overly fussy or fru fru at all! You will like them as much as "your fair lady.")

There is even a beautiful original oil painting of Vivian Leigh by a professional artist, Steve Sawyer, in the Gone With the Wind suite. Steve has completed 7 paintings for the inn. Oil paintings are a special decorating accessory of mine.

Each suite has a different “flavor.” "Casablanca" with its thick wall-to-wall sisal carpet and massive sleigh bed and golden walls and exotic "desert flavor" is totally different from Southern luxurious "Gone With the Wind" suite or the refreshingly lovely flavor of "My Fair Lady” with its garden view and the pond lit up at night. “Somewhere In Time” is our largest and most luxurious suite. It was once the original owners suite, as well as mine for the first 6 years. Guests from around the world have told us that it is the most luxurious suite that they have ever experienced.

All the suites are very tasteful, upscale and fun. Everyone has their favorites. I would be very hard pressed to choose.

I am excited about welcoming guests from all over the world or from across town. I have had the wonderful privilege of traveling much of the world over the past 25 years, and it is still my opinion that Central Kentucky horse country is some of the most beautiful countryside of all. Most visitors who come here are taken aback by the beauty of the world class horse farms and their 4-legged "royalty." The verdant green hills lined with stone fences are reminiscent of the English countryside to many of our well-traveled guests. Truth to tell, there is no place quite like the rolling green hills of Central Kentucky horse country.

I love pampering my guests, going the second mile to make them feel truly cared for with upscale service and attention to detail. I genuinely want my guests to have a "storybook" experience at beautiful A Storybook Inn; so much so that they will want to come back to experience it again and again.

- C. Elise Buckley, Proprietor and Innkeeper

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Property Features

Noted For:

  • High Speed Internet, Privacy, Very Clean!
  • Near Keeneland Race Course; Hour from Louisville
  • Off-Street parking
  • Restored Antebellum Mansion/Grounds
  • Walking to antiquing/downtown Versailles
  • Wonderful luxury mattresses and amenities
  • Antiques/decor
  • Business travel
  • Christian Travel
  • Excellent views
  • Family Travel
  • Fitness
  • Gourmet food
  • Group events
  • Honeymoons
  • Luxury
  • Nature
  • Peaceful getaway
  • Romantic escape
  • Weddings


  • Wedding Venue
  • Bed and Breakfast
  • Classic Movie Themed Spacious Suites; elegantly appointed
  • 2000+ sq ft newly built, professionally decorated guesthouse with equestrian theme.
  • Exquisitely designed and appointed Historic Inn


  • Architectural style is Classic Colonial completely restored
  • Built in 1838
  • Opened for business in 2005
  • Restored / Remodeled in  2004 and extensively in 2010
  • Access for the disabled is limited but available
  • Parking available (Office in back. Off street private Parking lot in back, drop off in front)
  • Cruising Motorcycles welcomed. Off street parking.
A Storybook Inn | 277 Rose Hill Avenue Versailles, KY 40383 USA | 1-859-879-9993