expand arrow-rightsvg-balloonsvg-carsvg-dogsvg-fireplacesvg-flat-screensvg-heatersvg-laundry-washing-machinesvg-snowflakesvg-hot-tubsvg-swimming-poolsvg-wheelchairsvg-wifiarrow-right

Historic Bear House 1890, (Johnson Retreat) Perfect Location! Charming St Elmo!

St. Elmo Improvement League, Chattanooga, TN, USA
  • Apartment2200 sqft
  • Bedrooms4
  • Sleeps8
  • Bathrooms2
  • Half Baths0
  • Minimum Stay2 nights

4 BR, 2.5 BA, Close to Everything, First Class Property

We invite you to come stay with us in THE JOHNSON RETREAT at The Bear House, our lovingly restored circa 1890 home, for an unforgettable stay in the heart of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

We are located within 2 blocks of the St Elmo Business District with the Lookout Mountain Incline, 6 local restaurants, ice cream shop, coffee shop, coffee roaster, massage therapists, flower shops, grocery store and more.

We are within 4 miles or less from all the tourist attractions downtown and on Lookout Mountain, including the Chattanooga Convention Center, Riverfront, Aquarium, Chattanooga Choo Choo, Rock City, Ruby Falls, Point Park, Creative Discovery Museum, Hunter Museum of Art, North Chattanooga, Downtown, and Southside areas, and lots of great hiking, climbing and water activities.

Centrally located in the trendy St Elmo Historic District, our beautiful historical home provides the perfect accommodations to create a truly memorable experience. Pampered with on-site attention you’ll feel taken care of from your first inquiry until the end of your stay, whether it is a single night or a few months. With over 24 years experience in the rental property business, we specialize in a broad spectrum of lodging needs, from quick getaways, to out of town family and friends, to corporate rentals and short term housing needs.

The Johnson Retreat apartment, with 2 private entrances, offers historic charm with modern-day amenities. The individually appointed spaces boast luxurious bedding and bath, hand picked furnishings and artwork, a fully equipped kitchen and 2 hospitality centers, comfortable gathering spaces, free high speed Wifi, Smart HDTV’s, ceiling fans with remotes in all bedrooms, and many other special touches to make your stay comfortable. Refreshments, fruit and chocolates are always available for your enjoyment.

Our spacious property offers many opportunities for gathering spaces outdoors. The large old-fashioned front porch, courtyard garden and gazebo are wonderful spots for morning coffee, a special evening meal, or a place to relax in a comfortable chair with a good book. The special garden areas, fire pit, and larger outdoor seating areas provide additional space for your enjoyment. Be sure to explore the carved bears placed around the property and hear their story! In the spring and summer, help yourself to the blackberries and small vegetable garden bounty. And don’t miss the scavenger hunt; over 40 sculptured animals roam the property for you to find.

The spacious and bright Johnson Retreat is the perfect blend of atmosphere and accomodations:

• 2 Private entrances

• Fully equipped kitchen for your cooking and dining needs with gas stove, dishwasher, microwave, refrigerator and washer and dryer. Small appliances include toaster, mixer, crock-pot and electric tea kettle. The basics are kept stocked for your convenience: paper towels, garbage bags, cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, foils and plastic wrap, salt and pepper, spices, olive oil, canola oil, sugar and some breakfast items.

• Living room with ample seating, game table, games, smart HDTV with Amazon Prime and Netflix.

• Resource center with writing desk, office supplies and reading corner.

• 2 Hospitality Centers, each with Dining for 4 (includes microwave, Keurig, coffee, teas, hot chocolate, condiments, fruit tray, chocolates)

• Cozy seating areas

• 1 King bed, smart HDTV with Amazon Prime and Netflix, WiFi, ceiling fan with remote, luxury bedding and linens, full length mirror, luggage racks, water bottles, bedside radio/clock with 2 outlets and 2 ports for charging your devices.

• 3 Queen beds, each with smart HDTV with Amazon Prime and Netflix, high speed WiFi, ceiling fan with remote, luxury bedding and linens, full length mirror, luggage rack, water bottles, bedside radio/clock with 2 outlets and 2 ports for charging your devices.

• 2 Full size bathrooms with large original soaking tubs, custom tile work, luxury towels and amenities, hair dryer.

• Original shower room and dressing room, beautifully renovated with custom tile work, luxury towels and amenities.

• Numerous outdoor gathering spaces for your enjoyment, including large front porch, courtyard and gazebo, larger seating areas, fire pit, and gas grill.


Sharman Sherfey

Member Since 2017
Premier Partner
This VRBO partner has demonstrated and is committed to fast response times, the best rates, and a great guest experience.
Response rate:
Response time:
within one hour
Calendar last updated:
Apr 18, 2018
About Sharman Sherfey

The Bear House is a beautifully restored 6,900 square foot house built in 1890. We have lived here for 25 years, raising our four children and enjoying this small community (St Elmo) within the city. Our long-term plan has been to share this special property as a B&B/Short Term Rental when we retired. We opened as The Bear House in March of 2017. It has been a truly special year and brought great joy sharing The Bear House and meeting so many wonderful guests. Steve and I live on the 1st floor of the house, which is completely separate from the 2nd story listings as well as the basement/lower level listing. In addition, we have the Carriage House with 2 listings. We are proud of The Bear House and think you will have a wonderful stay!

Sharman Sherfey purchased this Apartment in 1992


    • Internet
    • Air Conditioning
    • Heater
    • Satellite or Cable
    • Kids Welcome
    • Washer & Dryer
    • Parking
    • TV
    • No Smoking


      • 4 Bedrooms, Sleeps 8
      • Bedroom 1
        1 king, Space for a pack and play for baby which we can provide.
      • Bedroom 2
        1 queen
      • Bedroom 3
        1 queen, Space for a pack and play for baby which we can provide.
      • Bedroom 4
        1 queen
      • Each bedroom has large Smart HDTV with Amazon and Netflix, ceiling fan with remote, high end furnishings, luxury bedding and linens, radio/clock with 2 outlets and 2 ports.


      • 2 Bathrooms
      • Bathroom 1
        toilet, tub, Renovated, custom tile work, original large soaking tub.
      • Bathroom 2
        shower, Renovated, original walk-in shower and dressing room.
      • Bathroom 3
        toilet, combination tub/shower, Renovated, custom tile work, original large soaking tub.
      • All the bathrooms are renovated with high end fixtures and stocked with amenities. The bear art work tile was custom made by an artist in California.

      Location Type

        • Downtown
          We are located at the foot of Lookout Mountain at the juncture of downtown and Lookout Mtn. We are less than 10 minutes to downtown shopping, restaurants, museums, the Aquarium and the riverfront.
        • Mountain View
          We have beautiful views of Lookout Mountain from The Bear House.
        • Village
          The St Elmo Business District is a fun, quaint village type area located less than 2 blocks from The Bear House.


            • Adventure
            • Away From It All
            • Family
            • Historic
            • Romantic
            • Spa
            • Sports & Activities
            • Tourist Attractions


                • Guests provide their own meals


                    • Iron & Board
                    • Air Conditioning
                      Central air, thermostat in apartment.
                    • Hair Dryer
                    • Heating
                      Central heat, thermostat in apartment.
                    • Internet
                      Free high speed WiFi.
                    • Clothes Dryer
                    • Linens Provided
                      High end bedding and linens are provided for your comfort.
                    • Living Room
                      Large Smart HDTV with Amazon Prime and Netflix. Small game table, games, magazines, books.
                    • Parking
                      Off street parking is provided in the large driveway. There is ample parking for 4 cars.
                    • Towels Provided
                      Luxurious towels and make-up remover cloths.
                    • Washing Machine


                        • Coffee Maker
                          Keurig coffee maker located in each of the 2 hospitality centers. The hospitality centers are stocked with various coffees, teas, and hot chocolates. Condiments are stocked as well.
                        • Dishes & Utensils
                        • Dishwasher
                        • Kitchen
                          The kitchen is fully equipped for all your cooking and baking needs. We cater to the needs of people with dietary restrictions, including gluten free, vegan, allergies.
                        • Microwave
                        • Oven
                          Gas oven
                        • Pantry Items
                          The basics are stocked: paper towels, garbage bags, cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, foils and plastic wrap, salt and pepper, spices, olive oil, canola oil, sugar, snacks, fruit and chocolate.
                        • Refrigerator
                        • Stove
                          Gas stove
                        • Toaster


                            • Child's Highchair
                            • Dining
                              We have 2 dining areas, each with a table seating for 4. We also have 2 high chairs. There are multiple dining areas outdoors as well.
                            • Dining Area
                            • comfy seating for 8 people


                                • Games
                                • Satellite / Cable
                                  EPB cable with Amazon Prime and Netflix.
                                • Television
                                  Large Smart HDTV's with Amazon Prime and Netflix in all bedrooms and living room.


                                    • Deck / Patio
                                      Large, fully furnished front porch. Very enjoyable place to relax.
                                    • Lanai / Gazebo
                                      Gazebo located in courtyard with dining for 4 and comfortable chairs to relax. Bluetooth speakers, built-in lights.
                                    • Lawn / Garden
                                      Spacious grounds, room to play, raised vegetable garden bed and blackberries for your enjoyment.
                                    • Outdoor Grill
                                      Gas grill available.


                                        • Long-term Renters Welcome
                                        • wheelchair inaccessible

                                          Onsite Services

                                            • Concierge
                                            • Staff


                                                • marina
                                                • churches
                                                • festivals
                                                • health/beauty spa
                                                • library
                                                • live theater
                                                • cinemas
                                                • museums
                                                • playground
                                                • restaurants
                                                • synagogues
                                                • zoo

                                                  Leisure Activities

                                                    • antiquing
                                                    • bird watching
                                                    • boating
                                                    • miniature golf
                                                    • photography
                                                    • scenic drives
                                                    • shopping
                                                    • sight seeing
                                                    • walking

                                                      Local Services & Businesses

                                                        • ATM/bank
                                                        • fitness center
                                                        • groceries
                                                        • hospital
                                                        • laundromat
                                                        • massage therapist
                                                        • medical services

                                                          Sports & Adventure Activities

                                                            • mountain biking
                                                            • cycling
                                                            • freshwater fishing
                                                            • golf
                                                            • hiking
                                                            • jet skiing
                                                            • kayaking
                                                            • fishing
                                                            • pier fishing
                                                            • rock climbing
                                                            • roller blading
                                                            • sailing
                                                            • swimming
                                                            • tennis
                                                            • water skiing

                                                              House Rules

                                                              Check-in: 3:00 PM

                                                              Check-out: 11:00 AM

                                                              Cancellation Policy

                                                              100% refund if canceled at least 60 days before arrival date. 50% refund if canceled at least 30 days before arrival date. You must contact the owner directly to request cancellation.

                                                              23 Reviews


                                                              Latest reviews

                                                              Great house, great hosts, great location.

                                                              Laura S.

                                                              We stayed at Bear House for 2 nights over spring break. The house and grounds are beautiful - 8 of us (4 adults, 4 kids) easily fit. To say this house is charming is an understatement - it's got a ton of character. It's well-equipped with everything you need, down to toiletries from a local shop - and it is clean and extremely well-kept. There are several outdoor seating areas in the yard for hanging out. Sharman and Steve are gracious hosts and can fill you in on the history of the house and the area. This house is in the St Elmo neighborhood of Chattanooga, right at the base of Lookout Mountain - it's close to everything in town (every place we went to was within a 10-min drive - driving and parking in Chattanooga is really easy) and within walking distance of some great restaurants in the St Elmo business district and the south end of the riverside bike path (the bike path is fabulous and not to be missed). We hope to make it back to Chattanooga one day and will definitely stay here if we do!

                                                              Very historic and well maintained!

                                                              Joseph E.

                                                              Perfectly located and the owners and manager were super nice! My five children and four grandchildren met us here. The last time that I was in Chattanooga was 57 years ago. This property is just minutes from Rock City, Ruby Falls and the Incline Railway as well as a short commute to downtown. Great restaurants also within a short walk or 10 minute drive. My wife and I highly recommend this place!

                                                              Great house in a great location!

                                                              Lynn V.

                                                              The owners were expert hosts, they gave us the history of the property and made sure all of our needs were met. The beds are comfortable and there’s plenty of space to hang out (we rented both apartments and it was nice to have so much space for the 8 of us!). The outdoor area looked like a good spot to hang out too but unfortunately it was a little too cold for that during our trip. The apartments are well stocked with toiletries and they even provided snacks! The neighborhood was convenient to everything we wanted to do. If we are back in Chattanooga we will stay here again!

                                                              We enjoyed our stay at The Bear House more than anywhere else we have ever stayed. Was perfect!

                                                              Jennie B.

                                                              We hope to visit The Bear House again very soon! We had a wonderful time! Great area of town too.

                                                              Beautiful apartment!

                                                              Marylynn S.

                                                              We loved the apartment! It was beautifully decorated with all sorts of nice touches. Nice soap and lotion in the bathroom, chocolate candies in dishes everywhere, beautiful dishes to eat off

                                                              of...... and more! The owners were very friendly and took care to make sure we were settled. There is a lot of space here.

                                                              Overall a great space and we would come back any time.

                                                              Kathy and David Cooper

                                                              Kind and hospitable folks! The property was perfect!

                                                              Adam W.

                                                              My wife and I took our two children and joined her sister’s family (two additional adults and children) for Thanksgiving. The accommodations were perfect. Essentially, there are two units in one divided by a long wall. Each have two bedrooms and a bathroom with a shared kitchen and living room.

                                                              Location is perfect and close to downtown Chattanooga and a great park for kids.

                                                              The hosts were friendly and even scored us passes to the children’s museum downtown. There were Hershey’s candies readily available, as well as coffee and tea.

                                                              Would highly recommend!


                                                              St. Elmo Improvement League, Chattanooga, TN, USA

                                                              Rates & Availability

                                                              Additional information about rental rates

                                                              Cleaning Fee
                                                              Tax Rate
                                                              23 Reviews
                                                              Exceptional 5/5
                                                              Premier Partner
                                                              Enter dates for accurate pricing
                                                              Instant Confirmation
                                                              For booking assistance, call 888-640-7927

                                                              Property # 1021232