Tennessee

04.22.2011 | by: Meghan
Inns & Hotels

Victorian Home Base: Top O’Woodland

Nashville, Tennessee

This is where we’re staying in Nashville, and it could not be more charming. The owner of the Top O’Woodland, Belinda, who’s also an investment advisor, Opera singer and triathlon competitor, bought the 1898 Victorian 11 years ago (“before the neighborhood was this cool”) and filled it with a mix of salvage and inherited family belongings. Her mom’s lace wedding dress from the ’50s hangs on the wall above one of the guest beds, and her great grandmother’s leather lace-up boots sit next to a Stetson fedora that belonged to her great-great-grandfather, who put himself through dentistry school by secretly playing the piano at a speakeasy. There’s a story behind everything. The huge, mahogany four-poster bed in the master bedroom came from a thrift store. “I get deals or I don’t buy,” she says. “I was there when a divorce truck rolled in.”

Our kids love it here, partly because they’re not confined to a hotel room, but mostly because of the magical outdoor area with wrought-iron tables and chairs, strung-up lights and a winding path through the lush landscaping that leads to a little koi pond (with fish food tucked behind a wooden mushroom in the flowers). Another kid bonus: there’s an old, fantastic pizzeria across the street, located in the original storefront location of the H.G. Hills grocery chain. Located on a picturesque street in the East Nashville neighborhood, the Top O’Woodland is also within stroller-pushing distance to an ice cream shop, organic market, amazing vintage clothing shop (Fanny’s House of Music, owned by a former fashion columnist and editor for the New York Post) and Wonders on Woodland (an another old Victorian filled to the brim with vintage furniture).

The Details
Prices start at $160 a night. We’re staying in Mr. Greene’s cottage, which has a kitchenette and two bedrooms. Sleeps six. Make reservations at topofwoodland.com.

For more photos from the road, go to the Lincoln-Designtripper site!

[Disclaimer: Ford Motor Company is the paying sponsor of designtripper's road trip to New Orleans, which also included a Lincoln MKX for the duration of the trip.]
04.22.2011 | by: Meghan

Made in Nashville

Nashville, Tennessee

I knew Nashville would be my kind of town. We’d only been here a half hour when I spotted some guy (not a farmer) walking down the street in overalls. And in less than 15 hours (10 of which were spent sleeping), my obsession with the no-frills, down-home countrified aesthetic I’ve always romanticized from afar has been intensified by two particular stops: Imogene + Willie and Hatch Show Print.

They’re incredibly different. One sells denim, the other posters. But at both places, they still make things–and their honest, hard-working, old-school process is on display right in the shop. And for anyone who’s interested in the design and craft behind the eventual product, it’s like being a sugar-deprived kid in a candy factory. And the interiors! The buzzing sewing machines and colorful thread spools at Imogene + Willie and old wood blocks stacked from floor to ceiling at Hatch Show–it all becomes part of the story. Some of the people who run the sewing machines are also Imogene + Willie denim models, and the wood blocks sitting on shelves made from even older wood blocks that were discarded more than 100 years ago are the same blocks responsible for the greatest concert posters of all time. Hatch Show Print has been making posters for 132 years for musicians like Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Tammy Wynette, Luna, The White Stripes and every other band that lives in or comes through the Music City these days.

I bought a poster for my kitchen at Hatch (“a dash equals 1/4 teaspoon”) and I couldn’t resist a custom pair of jeans at Imogene + Willie (“the Imogene stretch”). I’ve admired photos all over the internet, but in person, this place exceeded my already pre-hyped expectations. Our kids explored every little nook and cranny, and the staff–who were all disarmingly friendly–made instant buddies with them, which made it so much easier to walk around the store, try on jeans and get fitted. (I was horrified, but they laughed and hustled to try to take a photo when my two-year-old picked up an errant power tool). And in the time we walked down the street for a hand-crushed raspberry and lime popsicle at Las Paletes, my jeans had been hemmed, wrapped in brown butcher paper and tied up with a scrap denim ribbon.

For more photos from the road, go to the Lincoln-Designtripper site!

[Disclaimer: Ford Motor Company is the paying sponsor of designtripper's road trip to New Orleans, which also included a Lincoln MKX for the duration of the trip.]