Built in 1917, the Grady House has been a staple of High Springs for over a century. From the outside, it boasts a spacious porch with seats and wind chimes. Stepping inside, the historical details immediately jump out: claw-foot bathtubs and antique bed frames furnish the rooms, while historic newspaper clippings and photos of old mayors line the hallways.
After undergoing renovations for the past year, the Grady House Bed and Breakfast officially reopened on Oct. 1. New owner Sara Miller moved from Missouri to Florida to buy and run the historic property.
“I hope I can make the lives of the guests I serve better,” Miller said, a former rehab director and occupational therapist.
When it was first built, the house was a bakery. It then transitioned into a boarding house, and soon after became a bed-and-breakfast. In addition to the rooms at the bed-and-breakfast is the Easterlin House. The cottage is named after Skeet Easterlin, former High Springs mayor. Both properties are registered with the local historical society.
Inspections and renovations were needed since the home announced its closing in a Facebook post on July 22, 2020. Miller bought the house as a foreclosure for $670,000.
Miller said she was inspired to buy the B&B by her mother, who fostered a love for baking and emphasized the importance of neat presentation. Miller gravitated towards buying the Grady House because of these qualities.
“It started out as a pipe dream,” she said. “But, as soon as I flew down here to take a look at the property, it was an easy sell for me.”
The Grady House’s revival excites Shannon Decker, president of the High Springs Chamber of Commerce, who says the house is an important fixture of the High Springs community.
“We have people that have lived here for four to five generations and just have wonderful things to say about the Grady House,” she said.
Decker said she believes Miller has already done a great job of maintaining the B&B’s history, while making necessary improvements. She adds that preserving this historical focus is extremely important for this town.
“We want to keep the greatness and the history of this town,” she said. “We don’t want it to be like Ocala or Gainesville that have grown so much.”
Miller is adamant about connecting with community members and ensuring she is meeting their needs in this sense. One of her biggest wishes for the future of Grady House is to continue one of its historical traditions — Sunday brunch.
“There aren’t a lot of places to eat breakfast in High Springs, so the community has asked for me to do a brunch here,” she said. “Some previous owners did Sunday brunches here, and that was very well-received.”
Miller is hopeful that with time, the bed-and-breakfast will continue to get more reservations.
“There’s a little piece of home that anyone can associate with,” she said.