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Jennifer Green

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Where to Stay: Old Edwards Inn and Spa

Falls cottages

Photograph courtesy of Old Edwards Inn & Spa

“Come on in! I’ll get y’all some Champagne,” calls a bellman. My husband and I have arrived at Old Edwards Inn and Spa in downtown Highlands, North Carolina, for a quick getaway. After a busy week, this kind of welcome is just what we need. We settle into rocking chairs on the front porch of the lobby and sip our Champagne. Despite being on a plateau in the Appalachians, our surroundings—gently sloping lawns, lush trees, and winding walkways bordered by shrubs and flower gardens—remind us of the English countryside.

The original inn now known as Old Edwards dates back more than 130 years. It was once a boardinghouse, then a hotel. But a change of ownership in 2001 and a $150 million expansion in 2013 catapulted it to the upper echelons of American resorts. The property occupies several city blocks and includes numerous cottages, two restaurants, two cocktail lounges, a famed spa, a large fitness center, a boutique, two outdoor heated mineral pools and whirlpools, and a nearby golf course.

Heated whirlpool at Hickory

Photograph courtesy of Old Edwards Inn and Spa

Our cottage suite is a blend of historic and modern, with dark hardwood floors, an antique desk and chair, and a cozy sitting area with a touch-of-a-button fire in a stone fireplace. The private porch looks onto tall evergreens and is just steps from a pool and Jacuzzi. The bathroom beckons with a large soaking tub, a rainfall shower with multiple jets, heated floors, and a towel warmer. It’s an invitation to unwind.

For dinner, we head to Madison’s, the resort’s signature restaurant. Located just off the main lobby, it’s casual yet elegant. Our table overlooks the wine garden, complete with a footbridge, fountains, and wine-tasting area. After starting our meal with house-made pimento cheese, we enjoy a bacon-wrapped quail appetizer, followed by roasted halibut with broccolini and a seared ribeye so tender it’s served with a butter knife. After finishing our wine, we return to our cottage to find that turndown service has left little homemade cookies for a sweet ending to the evening.

Guests enjoy cocktails at the spa’s cafe

Photograph courtesy of Old Edwards Inn and Spa

In the morning, I head to ground zero for Old Edwards devotees: the spa. After checking in, an attendant escorts me to get robed, then shows me the waiting area with a fireplace, plush seating, and a selection of hot teas and infused waters. Off to the side, guests enjoy light fare and wine in the spa cafe. Even pre-treatment, it’s a sanctuary of relaxation.

Soon my massage therapist, Nalu, escorts me to a treatment room. My fifty-minute customized massage is deeply relaxing, featuring an essential oil blend with eucalyptus and rosemary that Nalu selects when I mention feeling an oncoming head cold. Afterward, I practically float out to the meditation area, which is essentially a sleeping porch with giant chaise lounges and a fountain. Nalu encourages me to stay as long as I like to enjoy the steam room, sauna, whirlpool, and fourteen-head rainfall showers. There’s no rush.

She’s right: There really isn’t any rush when you’re on “mountain time,” a phrase used often here. Sip a glass of Champagne at the Lodge. Indulge in a leisurely gourmet meal. Soak in the whirlpool. Fall asleep on the porch. No one is in a hurry. And really, isn’t that the greatest luxury of all?

445 Main Street, Highlands, North Carolina • (866) 526-8008 • oldedwardsinn.com

While You’re There

Natural Splendor
Close to downtown Highlands, Sunset Rock offers the perfect vantage point from which to watch a sunset or enjoy a panoramic view of fall leaves. Trailhead parking is across the street from the Highlands Nature Center, and the entire hike is 1.2 miles round-trip.

This article appears in the Fall/Winter 2019 issue of Southbound. 

Where to Stay: Spotlight on Gaylord Opryland Resort’s SoundWaves

Gaylord Opryland Resort
SoundWaves

Photograph courtesy of Gaylord Opryland Resort

Apprehension grips me as I watch my young daughter climb onto a boogie board amid the rushing waves. I’ve just witnessed full-grown adults wipe out on their surfboards in this same spot. But the up-tempo country tune playing in the background and the lifeguard standing by remind me that she’ll be fine. I cheer as she rides the powerful waves that don’t stop, eventually tumbling off with a big splash and coming up soaked and laughing. She gives a thumbs-up as her sister steps up for her turn on the Crowd Surfer, one of the rides here at SoundWaves, Gaylord Opryland Resort’s new $90 million water experience.

SoundWaves comprises more than four acres of water attractions. Its year-round indoor experience opened last winter, while the outdoor section debuts this May. Only resort guests may access SoundWaves, so the crowd is manageable.

There’s something for every age, including rapid and lazy rivers; an activity pool with an obstacle course and basketball hoops; a wide rock wall behind a waterfall; a water tower (decorated with 4,000 live plants!) that leads up to multiple slides; kids’ splash areas with play structures; a wave pool; and an adults-only indoor pool, bar, and lounging area. Even in winter, guests may sunbathe indoors, thanks to the balmy, 84-degree temperature and a special roof that allows UV rays (bring your sunscreen).

Gaylord Opryland Resort's SoundWaves
Delta Atrium

Photograph courtesy of Gaylord Opryland Resort

Gaylord Opryland opened in 1977 as a 600-room property for small meetings and leisure traffic from the old Opryland theme park (now Opry Mills shopping area), but has since grown to become the largest non-gaming resort in the United States with more than 2,800 rooms. Upon arrival, guests are given a map to find their way around the massive property. Just exploring the complex is entertainment enough. The Garden Conservatory is gorgeous, with a stunning atrium that houses more than 10,000 plants and flowers. The Cascades Atrium, where we’re staying, has twin four-story waterfalls that lull us to sleep each night. The Delta Atrium—where the convention facilities are located—even has an indoor river with a boat tour and a nightly fountain show. Gift and clothing shops, the largest spa in Tennessee, and nineteen restaurants and bars make it unnecessary to leave the hotel, but if you want to explore Nashville’s hotspots, just catch the hotel shuttle downtown.

SoundWaves plays on the hometown vibe with music- or concert-themed names for each ride or attraction. Case in point: the Crowd Surfer. After my girls are through riding the waves, we grab large tubes and float along Down Tempo, the lazy river with a cave and waterfalls. When my husband takes the girls to ride the Stage Dive body slides, I head up to Status Cymbal, the bar at the adults-only area on the third level. I order a Standing Ovation—the signature cocktail with rum and pineapple—and find the perfect spot in an oversized lounger. I put my feet up and listen to Keith Urban’s “Never Comin Down” while watching the fun below.

Gaylord Opryland Resort, 2800 Opryland Drive, Nashville, Tennessee • 615-889-1000 • gaylordopryland.com

While You’re There

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum still shines from its $100 million expansion five years ago. Hear interviews with Emmylou Harris, see glitzy costumes worn by Taylor Swift or The Judds, and marvel over the massive wall of gold and platinum records by country’s biggest stars. Don’t miss touring Hatch Show Print, one of America’s oldest letterpress shops that created concert posters and handbills for Elvis Presley and countless Grand Ole Opry greats. 

This article appears in the Spring/Summer 2019 issue of Southbound.

Where to Stay: Spotlight on The Greystone Inn

The Greystone Inn
Miss Lucy on Lake Toxaway

Courtesy of The Greystone Inn

As we descend the narrow, stone-lined path down the hillside leading to the boathouse, raindrops begin to fall. Our group continues on, climbing aboard the polished mahogany Hacker-Craft called Miss Lucy for a sunset cruise. But less than three minutes into our trip, heavy rain pelts down and we return, resigned to wait until tomorrow. An inn employee rushes down the path with umbrellas, and we clamber up the hill for cocktails in the mansion instead.

Making the best of life’s storms is something Lucy Camp Armstrong, for whom the boat is named, knew well. The Greystone Inn, situated on North Carolina’s stunning Lake Toxaway, was once a private vacation home she shared with her shipping tycoon husband, George. Lucy had fallen in love with the area, petitioned George to build a home, and in 1915, Hillmont mansion was complete. It was a glittering time for Lake Toxaway, with the Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, and other industry titans also summering at the privately owned lake. But the good times didn’t last: After a dam break and flood in 1916, the lake dried up and along with it, the local economy. Lucy continued to come every year and moved here permanently after George died in 1924. (She later married lumber magnate Carl Moltz.) In the early 1960s, developers rebuilt the dam and restored the waters, returning the lake to its original grandeur. After Lucy’s death in 1970 and some years of disrepair, Hillmont was purchased and became The Greystone Inn in 1985. It recently reopened after changing ownership and undergoing extensive renovations.

The Greystone Inn

It’s no wonder Lucy was enchanted by this place. Often called “the Switzerland of America,” 640-acre Lake Toxaway is surrounded by breathtaking mountains. The inn is situated on a peninsula and offers spectacular views best enjoyed from the Adirondack chairs dotting the sloping lawns and lush gardens.

The main house, called Moltz Mansion, includes an intimate restaurant and bar, a library with books and games, and antique-filled sitting areas. In an adjacent building, the Lakeside Dining Room offers floor-to-ceiling water views and deliciously prepared specialties, such as North Carolina trout and beef filet with wild mushrooms.

The Greystone Inn
Fisher Suite

Courtesy of The Greystone Inn

Guest rooms marry comfort and luxury, with soft bedding, spacious bathrooms with deep tubs, and nightly turndown service. Mine has a private porch with wicker furniture, where I sip my coffee each morning and watch the mist rise over the Blue Ridge Mountains.

After a morning massage in the cozy spa, lunch in the mansion bar, and an afternoon of canoeing and paddle boarding, we embark on the Miss Lucy once again. With late afternoon sunshine filtering through the trees and sparkling on the water, the boat glides out on the lake. It’s breezy and peaceful. For all the hardship and change this area endured over the course of the last century, the calm waters are restored, and it seems blue skies are ahead.

220 Greystone Lane, Lake Toxaway, North Carolina • (828) 966-4700 • greystoneinn.com

While You’re There

Fall leaves and waterfalls
Transylvania County boasts 250 waterfalls. In Panthertown Valley, School House Falls descends into a pool that’s safe for swimming and wading. Nearby Whitewater Falls can be accessed via a family-friendly hike; the trailhead has a parking area with picnic tables and restrooms. wncwaterfalls.info

Book early
December 16 through February 28, Greystone guests may purchase a snowboarding package that includes a private snowboarding lesson and two full-day lift tickets for two at nearby Sapphire Valley ski resort. During Christmas, request a live, decorated Christmas tree for your room (additional fee), and treat the tots to an Elf Tuck-In with milk, cookies, and a bedtime story. greystoneinn.com/experience-enhancements

This article appears in our Fall/Winter 2018 issue of Southbound.

Where to Stay: Spotlight on Union Station Hotel Nashville

In the early twentieth century, Nashville’s Union Station was a bustling terminal, serving passengers traveling on eight railroads. It was also an architectural marvel, with Romanesque Revival–style towers and turrets that made it a stunning downtown landmark. But by mid-century, the station—along with the popularity of rail travel—had begun to decline, and in 1979, it was abandoned. Nearly a decade later, with the help of some preservation-minded investors, Union Station Hotel was born. A $15.5 million renovation last year restored its polish and added modern touches, including marble bathrooms, ergonomic work spaces, and striking commissioned art pieces.

My husband and I decided to bring our young daughters—who adore staying in even pedestrian hotels—to experience the property, but I admit I had reservations about bringing children to a boutique hotel without a pool. Turns out, I needn’t have fretted.

Their jaws dropped as soon as we passed through the massive lobby doors. Warm light poured in through the original stained glass of the barrel-vaulted ceiling, which holds three massive crystal chandeliers. Gold-accented “angels of commerce” figures graced the atrium walls; below them, giant limestone fireplaces anchored the ends of the marble-floored sitting area.

Union Station Hotel Nashville room
Union Station Hotel Nashville room

Photograph courtesy of Union Station Hotel Nashville

Upon entering our suite, we discovered that our room with a king bed, white oak accent wall, and custom cowhide headboard gave way to an adorable second room with bunk beds, bean bags, and a magnetic dartboard. My worries about child-friendliness flew out the window.

Before heading out for dinner, we opted for a drink in the lobby at Carter’s Bar, situated at the terminal’s former ticket counter. I knew we made the right decision as I sipped the “Gladys,” made with local Pickers Vodka and named after Gladys “Happy” Carter, a beloved terminal worker from the station’s heyday. Seated in front of one of the fireplaces, we listened to live music (a frequent happening here) by a country duo called the Young Fables; my music-loving younger daughter was smitten with their Patsy Cline covers and original songs.

As I finished my drink, I looked around the lobby at guests wheeling suitcases and people pointing at the stained-glass ceiling. In many ways, Union Station is experiencing another heyday, with travelers filling its terminal once again.

1001 Broadway, Nashville, Tennessee • 615-726-1001 • unionstationhotelnashville.com

While You’re There

Enlighten
One of Nashville’s most beautiful historic landmarks—the 1934 old main post office—houses Frist Center for the Visual Arts. See both regional and international exhibitions, including this fall’s Nick Cave: Feat., showcasing the Chicago-based artist’s eye-catching “soundsuits,” elaborate human-shaped sculptural forms made from repurposed and found materials. Opening November 10. fristcenter.org

Indulge
Born of buildings that housed Marathon Motor Works in the early 1900s, Marathon Village is a unique enclave of Nashville artisans and craftspeople. Snag a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry at Island Cowgirl or a premium leather handbag at Ceri Hoover. Don’t miss Mike Wolfe’s store, Antique Archeology, made famous on the TV show American Pickers. Finally, toast your shopping luck at Grinders Switch Winery or Corsair Artisan Brewery and Taproom. marathonvillage.com

Spend the day stopping into shops along Savannah’s Broughton Street

Once the commercial heart of the city, Savannah’s Broughton Street has experienced its fair share of ups and downs. But in recent years, the street has reemerged as a thriving, pedestrian-friendly destination. There’s no doubting the influence of Savannah College of Art and Design in Broughton’s revival: Students fill the coffee shops and sidewalk cafes, and the presence of design studios, art supply stores, and SCAD’s Gutstein Gallery speaks to the vital role the school plays here. But it’s not just the SCAD community that infuses the street with life. Local professionals and visitors also flock to Broughton, home to a melange of longstanding establishments (the landmark Trustees Theater and family-owned Globe Shoes, for example) and newer, big-name retailers (Kendra Scott, Lululemon, Kate Spade). Ongoing streetscape and redevelopment projects have prioritized historic preservation, and because the old has graciously welcomed the new, the best of Savannah still shines through.

Savannah Bee Company
Beekeeper and honey aficionado Ted Dennard opened this buzzing flagship store in 2008. Sample more than ten varieties of honey at the tasting bar, then treat yourself to honey-based body products like lip balms and body butters. Beeswax candles and bottled honeys make perfect host gifts, as do chocolate-honey truffles made by Broughton Street chocolatier Adam Turoni. savannahbee.com


Chive Sea Bar & Lounge

Sip a glass of crisp sauvignon blanc and share a bowl of fragrant mussels at this tony, dimly lit seafood restaurant. The decor evokes 1920s decadence, with plush velvet banquettes, glamorous lighting, and a jazzy bar. Smart signature cocktails (try the Sidecar or the Bohemian) and specials like crab-stuffed sea bass over risotto make this intimate spot truly special. chivelounge.com


24E Design Co.
Owner Ruel

Joyner has curated an eclectic collection of contemporary and quirky home fashions at his furniture store, which has been in his family for generations. Shoppers might well find a giant lamp made from an old ship lantern alongside a vintage foosball table. The inventory extends to letterpress stamps, Low Country Luxe candles, and jewelry by local designer Keri Dylan.  24estyle.com

The Marshall House
The rocking chairs on the balcony of Savannah’s oldest hotel overlook Broughton Street, offering the perfect vantage point from which to plan your itinerary. You’ll also delight in genteel service, rooms with claw-foot tubs and antique furnishings, breakfast in the sunlit atrium, and nightly wine and cheese in the lounge. marshallhouse.com

Leopold’s Ice Cream
Brave the line to indulge in a scoop—or three—of Butter Pecan or Tutti Frutti ice cream at this nearly 100-year-old institution. Owned by Savannah native and Hollywood producer Stratton Leopold, the shop features pedestal tables, curved-back wooden chairs, vintage tile flooring, and autographed movie posters. Bonus for travelers with dogs: With an ice cream purchase, get a free doggie sundae containing locally made Ollie B. Biscuits. leopoldsicecream.com

Zia Boutique
Former SCAD student and Kenya-born owner Zia Sachedina imports jewelry from around the world, including gold cuffs from Brazil and beautiful amber pieces from Poland. Bold, heavy designs are balanced out by delicate, intricate pieces made by Zia himself, such as his Raindrop earrings and spectacular Waterfall necklace. ziaboutique.com

The Paris Market and Brocante
This giant French flea market is a gift-giver’s dream. On the main level, you’ll find luxe papers and cards, candles, chic baby items, even a vintage candy counter. Descend the creaky wooden stairs to the lower level and check out elaborate table settings featuring vintage china, as well as jams and jellies, full-leaf teas and silver tea strainers, and antique furniture and prints. theparismarket.com

Planet Fun
This shop is fully stocked with nostalgia in the form of old-school toys and games. Score an original Barbie Dream Pool set for $145; search for Power Rangers and Transformers action figures; or peruse the comic book cases for Archie and Jughead, Spidey, or Thor. In the gaming section, try your hand at vintage favorites such as Pac-Man and Donkey Kong. facebook.com/planetfuntoys

Street Smart: Downtown Collierville, Tennessee

Just east of Memphis lies a town seemingly right out of midcentury America. The shady park, community bandstand, and fifties classics wafting from storefront speakers evoke nostalgia, but downtown Collierville is anything but dated. Well-known Memphis restaurateur Mac Edwards is opening a new eatery, Brooks Pharm 2 Fork, in the old Brooks Pharmacy on Mulberry Street. And the former post office will soon be home to 148 North, an upscale French-Southern eatery. Strolling past the plentiful shops, boutiques, and restaurants, it’s easy to see why Parade magazine recently recognized the town as home to “America’s Best Main Street,” selecting it from more than 2,000 nominees. Get a taste of local history at the Morton Museum, just a couple of blocks north of the square. Situated in a historical church, the museum presents exhibitions on a range of subjects, from the city’s once-booming dairy industry to its connections to  that all-American pastime, baseball. After your visit, spend the day exploring the special spots that make this downtown a winner indeed.

The Brooks Collection
This garden and gift shop stocks great Southern-made items, including Peter’s Pottery out of Mound Bayou, Mississippi; patterned Spartina 449 handbags and wallets made on Daufuskie Island; and Charleston-based Rewined candles, poured in repurposed wine bottles. brookscollection.com

H&D-Boots
Hewlett & Dunn Jean & Boot Barn

Patricia’s Boutique
Pick out a handmade necklace or pair of earrings from Collierville-based Kitzi Jewelry on the shop’s clothing and accessories side. Then cross over to the home goods section for T. Puterbaugh Gill and Fingerprint pottery, both made in Mississippi, and paintings by various Southeastern artists. patriciasonthesquare.com

Hewlett & Dunn Jean & Boot Barn
Get fitted for handmade, custom boots, or choose from high-end brands such as Lucchese and Rod Patrick. Peruse the different rooms—featuring displays of vintage radios and antique tools—to score denim, Western apparel, hats, belts, and buckles for the entire family. hewlettdunn.com

DP-5
Dixie Pickers

Dixie Pickers
Dawn and Damon Waxler stock new and vintage items in their expertly curated “mantique” situated in the town’s former hardware store. Pick up Steiner sports memorabilia, socks from Nashville’s Odd Fellow Sock Co., preppy bowties, and university gear. Selling everything from Aftco fishing apparel to Yeti coolers, this is a mecca for sports-loving, outdoorsy, Southern gentlemen. dixiepickersstore.com

Cafe Piazza
Indulge in fettuccine with crawfish etouffe—a local favorite—at this Italian restaurant run by husband-and-wife team Pat and MaryBeth Lucchesi. In addition to pastas, pizzas, sandwiches, and salads, Mary Beth’s homemade cakes, cannoli, and tiramisu are worth the caloric splurge. cafepiazzaonline.com

baazar-oils
Bazaar

Bazaar
Impress your next dinner-party host with a bottle of blood orange olive oil or cranberry-pear balsamic vinegar from this self-proclaimed “crazy little food shop.” Proprietors John and Sandy Barrios offer a variety of infused oils and vinegars, as well as spices, salts, gourmet wares, and racks of recipe cards offering culinary inspiration. bazaaroliveoil.com

Dyer’s
More than a century ago, Elmer “Doc” Dyer opened a cafe and began serving his secret-recipe skillet-grilled burgers. Go for “Doc’s Original” served the old-fashioned way—two patties, cheese, mustard, pickle, and onion. Wash it down with a chocolate shake or Coke float, and soak up the red-checkered-tablecloth nostalgia. dyerscollierville.com

Dyer's
Dyer’s

Natural Creations
Visit designer Tim Miller’s shop for new, reproduction, and antique furniture, as well as luxury bedding, scented candles, and other home decor items. Miller also designs custom florals for weddings (his resume includes the nuptials of George Jones and Tammy Wynette’s daughter, Georgette) and elaborate Christmas displays. timsnaturalcreations.com

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