Falcon Rest Mansion & Gardens
2645 Faulkner Springs Road • McMinnville, TN 37110
931-668-4444 • falconrest.com
Located nearly halfway between Nashville and Chattanooga, McMinnville, Tennessee, is home to two tourist spots: Cumberland Caverns and Falcon Rest Mansion. The latter offers a trip back in time for history buffs and curious travelers who visit the circa 1896, 10,000-square-foot Victorian home. The house was built by entrepreneur Clay Faulkner as a promise to his wife to build her “the grandest mansion in Tennessee.” In the 1940s, it was converted into a hospital and nursing home, which shuttered its doors in 1968. The house was purchased at auction in 1989 by current owner George McGlothin, and over the next few years, he and his wife Charlien restored the beautiful home to the historical attraction it is today.
The mansion, which celebrated 25 years of business in September, is known for interactive entertainment shows for tour groups, where George appears as Buffalo Bill to solve a murder mystery. Individual visitors can dine in a tearoom located in Falcon Rest’s eclectic gift shop, which sells all manner of 1800s-era–style treasures. Formal Victorian tea, at $15 per person, consists of homemade cinnamon cream scones, fresh fruit, an assortment of petite tea sandwiches, and a variety of sweets, served with a pot of the tea of your choice.
“We are Victorian in everything that we do,” owner Charlien McGlothin comments, “so offering afternoon tea for visitors just makes sense.” Reservations for afternoon tea are required at least 24 hours in advance, she adds. For those looking for a full meal, the tearoom also offers different lunch options, which do not require advance reservations.
“People do enjoy the tearoom, but the main reason we do the tours and everything is because of the mansion. It’s what makes us unique,” Charlien says. “So many people grew up thinking that history is boring, but here at Falcon Rest, we want history to be fun.”
Guided tours, which last approximately 1 hour, of the house and gardens are separate, with tickets available for $13 per adult and $7 per child. Falcon Rest is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.