Starkville couple Lee and Jennifer Carson invite guests to step into history by staying in their recently opened bed and breakfast, The Montgomery. Located at 607 Old West Point Rd., the beautiful antebellum home has been in Starkville since 1837. The Carsons are both graduates from Mississippi State University's Department of Architecture and have had their eye on the house since it first went on sale over 20 years ago.
Jennifer Carson said the bed and breakfast’s antebellum setting promotes the appreciation of historic architecture in Starkville.
“We’ve always loved the history of the house and the location,” Jennifer Carson said. “Being graduates of MSU architecture, we love anything historic we can get our hands on. There's not much around, and we want to help preserve any historic architecture here. When people stay at the bed and breakfast, they can experience the house and it can be part of their world too. Rather than just driving by and seeing it, they can now enjoy it.”
When the house went back on the market, the Carsons knew it was time to call it their own. They bought the house in April and began working on it in late May. Lynn Berch, The Montgomery’s house manager and hostess, described the restoration process.
“This house was really put together from the middle of May until our first guest arrived August 17,” Berch said. “A lot of hard work went into the house in a very short amount of time.”
Jennifer Carson said the house just needed a few renovations for the comfort of patrons.
“The house had great bones, and all we had to do was update it to accommodate more people. We took out the staircase to build a new one, added bathrooms, and upgraded hot water heaters to accommodate more people,” Jennifer Carson said.
The house has four bedrooms available for booking, and each room sleeps four people. The Montgomery features several spacious parlors and a ballroom area perfect for hosting showers or dinners. The home rests on ten acres of land and is perfect for a wedding venue. The Montgomery will host its first wedding Oct. 26. The majority of the furniture and decor for the house was purchased at Steven’s Auction Company in Aberdeen.
Jennifer Carson elaborated on the method behind decorating the house.
“We wanted to find the same furniture as the house so that you would feel like you are walking into a time capsule for the house,” Jennifer Carson said.
Berch and the Carsons have been friends for years, as they attended Starkville First United Methodist where Berch worked as an administrator. Since then, Berch lived in Cozumel where she worked in the tourism industry. When she decided to come back to the United States, she messaged Jennifer Carson to begin the job search process. The timing fell into place beautifully, as the Carsons were looking for someone to manage the house.
“All of us get tears in our eyes when we talk about it, because the timing was just so perfect,” Berch said. “It all happened for the good of me, for the good of them and for the good of the house.”
Berch said she has greatly enjoyed working with the Carsons and being around the guests. She especially appreciates the family feel The Montgomery has.
“This is so different from a hotel. It’s a different environment. I try to spend a lot of time with my guests—they want to visit and so do I. You don’t get that at a hotel. People want the comfort of a home environment,” Berch said.
Jennifer Carson also emphasized the family feel the bed and breakfast has. She desires for The Montgomery to be a welcoming and homey environment.
“I hope it attracts anyone and everyone. We aren’t catering to any type of person. Staying at the bed and breakfast will be like staying at your grandmother’s house. It isn’t like a hotel room where you check in and don’t see anyone—it is like staying with family,” Jennifer Carson said.
Mayor Lynn Spruill said she is grateful to the Carsons that the home is open for the public to enjoy and appreciate.
“The Montgomery B&B is a wonderful adaptation of a lovely older home that is part of Starkville’s history. I am very pleased that it was able to receive the attention and loving care that it deserved from the Carson family. This allows the home to continue to be a viable part of our architectural landscape and be available for us to enjoy it as a bed and breakfast,” Spruill said.
Guests may book a room at The Montgomery by calling them at 662-617-8068 or visiting their website https://themontgomerybb.com/. The house is also listed on Airbnb.