If I’m going on a trip, I have nothing against a clean, faceless hotel — when you’re traveling, especially to a town you don’t know well, there’s comfort in knowing what to expect. But if I have the option, I’d rather stay somewhere inspiring — someplace with interesting architecture, historic charm, really great decor, or a setting that offers more than a row of doors outside a parking lot.
Relate? Then I think you’ll appreciate this roundup. For those of you who could use a little escape from Nashville — maybe a long weekend, somewhere peaceful but not too long a drive away — I’ve cobbled together some of the nearby lodging options I keep in my back pocket, all within a couple hours of home.
Historic farmhouses, cool cabins — that’s the kind of stuff that catches my attention. I think these might catch yours, too.
A long lakeside cabin weekend can be Walden-esque, or it can be a little more swank, as with this rentable, reconstructed log home near Bear Lake in Cookeville. It isn’t huge, with 2 bedrooms and 1 bath, but every inch is stylish and well-appointed, from the rough-hewn log beams to the bright and modern kitchen and the panoramic lake views from the sunroom. My favorite thing about this place, though, is easily that big fire pit — cool spring nights, roasting marshmallows, raising glasses… sounds like a pretty OK long weekend to me. Check out more at Airbnb. (Above photo by Justin Rearden on Instagram.)
Fox Country Farmhouse, run by White’s Room & Board, is an 1862 home on eight acres with spectacular double porches (including hanging bed swings), beadboard ceilings, period-perfect clawfoot tub and high-back bath sink, impeccable tile and wallpaper choices… this place is the kind of getaway that’ll make you return home with a long list of redecorating ideas. Lots more at whitesroomandboard.com.
Leiper’s Fork, Tenn.
The name isn’t over-selling it: This 2-bedroom cottage in Leiper’s Fork is a fairytale come to life, on eight acres of secluded, scenic property. The design details fire up so much inspiration — the painted poplar floors are a definite favorite, and if you’re drawn in by rugged/glamorous mash-ups, the sunroom’s gonna grab you. More at Airbnb.
A chance to be a kid again, and play in a treehouse — just, a more fancy kid who appreciates high ceilings and modern finishes and five balconies. This Smithville treehouse is a modern marvel with tons of space (sleeps up to 14), close to Hurricane Marina on Center Hill Lake and views that are seriously awe-inspiring. The catwalk balcony is a particular wow. Lots more at Airbnb.
Santa Fe, Tenn.
Looking for more of an adventure? Forest Gully Farms in Santa Fe (about an hour from Nashville) will let you rent out three Gully huts on their food-forest property, and they’re about as close to the hobbit houses from Lord of the Rings as you’re going to find outside of your flat screen. This is more of a “glamping” situation — the huts are sparsely but sweetly outfitted, and the 15 acres of property are your playground. Depending on the season, you can go fill baskets with wild berries, grab eggs from the chickens, pick from the veggie garden, kick it by the fire pit and lots more. It’s not a cheap way to camp (starting at $325 a night), but what with getting to immerse yourself in The Shire for a few days, it seems more than worth it. Lots more at forestgullyfarms.com.
Need something a little smaller near Center Hill Lake? This cool, mod-styled gothic arch cabin in Smithville mixes cozy-cabin vibes (stone fireplace, wood-cladded walls) with midcentury design touches. Added plus: the massive, 25’x25’ deck is pure communion with nature (while grilling grass-fed Porter Road Butcher steaks and stuff). Lots more at Airbnb.
On board with my favorites? Know about any other cool places to stay within an hour or two of Nashville? I’d love to add to my list.
If you’re looking for a more permanent place to stay in or near Nashville, I’d love to help there too. Call or email TJ Anderson Homes, and tell us about your Nashville-area dream home.