Ward's love of horses manifested itself in this showplace for fine horses. Truman began the horse venture by building a twenty-stall stable measuring 44 by 155 feet with an interior of wormy chestnut with knotty pine ceilings. The twenty-by-twenty-foot stalls were finished in oak. Both American saddle horses and Tennessee walking horses were stabled there for training. Other white barns and pastures enclosed within the farm's five-mile white fence were home to 50 brood mares. In 1958, a three-eights mile covered training track was moved from the Tennessee State fairgrounds to Maryland Farms. There was also a five-eights mile open track. During its prime, there were over 100 horses in training at Maryland Farms.
Mere Bulles’ rich and influential history begins with its muse, Mother Bubbles, who was the grandmother of the original owner, after whom the restaurant was named. She was born Michele Bouvier around 1840 in Deauville, grew to become the belle of New York, and later opened one of the most popular restaurants in Charleston, South Carolina. One thing Michele loved throughout her life was champagne. She was known to have as many as a dozen toasts during an evening at her restaurant, and the bubbly was never far from her stove when she was cooking. Her love of champagne earned her the nickname “Mother Bubbles,” which in French is translated as Mere Bulles.
Turn the clock forward to 1985, when Rodney Wise opened the restaurant called Mere Bulles, on Second Avenue in a then-struggling area of downtown Nashville. The atmosphere of Mere Bulles was truly inspired by Mother Bubbles herself: lively, welcoming, and entertaining. Mere Bulles’ downtown success was instrumental in the revitalization of the now-vibrant Second Avenue & Broadway district of Nashville.
In June of 2000, Mere Bulles moved a few miles south of downtown Nashville to Maryland Manor, a historic plantation-style farmhouse and former estate home in Brentwood. Named after Mary Ward, the wife of the original owner, the Mansion itself was built in 1942 with bricks salvaged from a previous historic building that was torn down near the present site, thus giving Maryland Manor its authentic Old South appearance. The Maryland Farms business district and neighborhood where the current location thrives derive its name from the once grand 400-acre estate.
Today, Mere Bulles is an active participant in the community and continues to be a beloved local tradition. With a rich, long history, the word has spread to out-of-town visitors who enjoy the stories and are always greeted with a new Old Southern Dining experience.