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Our History

In the heart of northern Kentucky surrounded by softly rolling hills sits Burlington, Kentucky.  Founded in 1816, Burlington has always been the county seat of historic Boone County, named for famous explorer and Kentuckian, Daniel Boone. The city has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1979.

The population around Burlington was growing fast by the 1830s when a local young man named Willis Graves became active in local religion and politics. He built his family a stately Federal-style home with lovely Flemish bond brickwork, where he likely planned to live the rest of his life. Sadly, Mr. Graves died in his 40’s, but his legacy lives on in the centerpiece of Willis Graves Bed & Breakfast.

Willis Graves was born on October 12, 1790 in Madison County, VA, and moved to Boone County in the spring of 1797 with his parents. He was appointed as a deputy circuit clerk in 1807, where he served under his father — the first circuit clerk in Boone County. He went on to become an attorney, and the first president of Petersburg Bank. In 1811, he joined the Bullitsburg Baptist Church, and went on to become clerk of the church, and also clerk of the Northbend Association of Baptist Churches in 1826– positions he held until his death. 

How Willis Graves Bed & Breakfast Came To Be

When Cincinnatian Jennifer Goodman discovered the iconic Willis Graves Bed & Breakfast in November of 2016, she fell head over heels in love. Jennifer had always dreamed of owning a bed and breakfast, and Willis Graves had everything she envisioned: with the setting, the architecture, the history, and the location. She put an offer on it, on the spot.

Thus began a new era in the life of this historic property. Jennifer’s background as an accomplished gourmet chef and avid collector is evident everywhere you look. Period furnishings, distinctive artwork, and luxurious amenities, and her scrumptious breakfasts, make this second iteration of Willis Graves Bed & Breakfast a must-stay.

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