Elizabeth Hutchison

Bucket-List Trip: The Top of Tennessee

By Elizabeth HutchisonBelow the LineSeptember 24, 2015

At LeConte Lodge—perched near the summit of Mount LeConte with panoramic views of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park—there’s no electricity, no Internet, no running water, and the only way to get here is to hike in. In fact, not a whole lot has changed since Tennessee mountaineer Jack Huff began building the backcountry retreat in 1926. But for the 12,000-plus guests who keep the lodge booked solid from March through November, that’s the whole appeal.

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A Secret Global Supper Club Heads South

By Elizabeth HutchisonGood EatsSeptember 4, 2015

In 1966, Truman Capote hosted his legendary black-and-white ball—inspired by the famous Ascot scene in My Fair Lady—for some five hundred guests in the Plaza’s Grand Ballroom. In the 1990s, Sean “Diddy” Combs threw his first white party in the Hamptons on the 4th of July. And, each August since 1994, art lovers in New Orleans have hosted the inaugural White Linen Night as a fundraiser for the city’s Contemporary Art Center.

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First Look: Reviving a Lost Bourbon Landmark

By Elizabeth HutchisonBelow the LineSeptember 2, 2015

Like a scene from a Southern gothic novel sprung to life, the Old Taylor Distillery—complete with a kudzu-covered turreted limestone castle, overgrown gardens, and a crumbling Roman-style springhouse—languished in beautiful disrepair for nearly forty years. Then in May 2014, Kentucky natives Will Arvin and Wes Murry bought the sprawling property in Woodford County and set about reviving this piece of bourbon history.

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My Town: Susan Hable's Athens, Georgia

By Elizabeth HutchisonBelow the LineAugust 18, 2015

Susan Hable Smith, the Texas-born artist and designer behind textile company Hable Construction, and her husband, Pete, and their two children swapped a Big Apple apartment for a Victorian cottage in an historic Athens, Georgia, neighborhood in 2009, and they haven’t looked back since. “We have no real reason for being in Athens,” Hable says. “We were just trying to find a great place to raise our children.” The couple considered various cities in Texas, but Athens’ college-town brand of Southern hospitality proved too appealing.

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Secret Smokies: An Insider's Guide to Quiet, Back-Road Spots

By Elizabeth HutchisonBelow the LineJuly 31, 2015

It used to be said that a squirrel could go from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River without ever touching the ground. Today, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the few places in the country left with forests that dense. Chartered in 1934, the park, which straddles the North Carolina-Tennessee border, covers roughly 522,419 acres and attracts nearly ten million visitors each year. That’s two times as many as the Grand Canyon. So it can get plenty crowded, as anyone who’s ever sat in a 20-car-deep traffic jam on the Cades Cove Loop can attest. But even in the high-summer months, there are still places where you can enjoy the scenery in relative solitude. We talked to the folks at the National Park Service to point us in the right direction—away from where everyone else is.

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A Music Festival Like No Other

By Elizabeth HutchisonSouthern SoundsJuly 24, 2015

More of an old-fashioned backyard barbecue or laid-back house party than a sprawling, sweaty Coachella-style rager, Wildwood Revival (August 29-30), offers a boutique music festival experience. “It’s a festival for people who don’t like festivals,” says founder Libby Rose. “It’s an anti-festival.”

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Five Southern Tree House Getaways

By Elizabeth HutchisonBelow the LineJuly 17, 2015

There’s something magical about spending the night high up in the treetops. This summer tap into your inner twelve-year-old and indulge latent Swiss Family Robinson fantasies at one of these five arboreal retreats that range from rustic riverside hideouts to refined mountain top escapes.

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Inside Look: Lexington's Chic New Entertaining Space

By Elizabeth HutchisonBelow the LineJuly 10, 2015

In the South there are few things we like better than a party—any kind, any reason, any place. But in truth, having a stylish space to host it doesn’t hurt. Which is something Kentucky native Cooper Vaughan and his wife Mandy, both of whom trained at Blackberry Farm, understood when they began assembling a crack design team to help them transform a burned-out industrial warehouse on the edge of Jefferson Street—Lexington’s emerging restaurant district—into the Apiary, a sophisticated home base for their popular catering company and a first-class event venue.

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Hitting the Sweet Spot: Vintage Southern Summer Treats

By Elizabeth HutchisonGood EatsJuly 2, 2015

Even when you’re well past the days of three-month-long school breaks, there’s something about summer that makes you want to indulge like a kid. And while endless hours by the swimming pool may have given way to nine-to-five careers, you can still relish the simple joy of a red-white-and-blue firecracker pop on a hot July afternoon. Across the South, there are those timeless family-run institutions that make you forget you ever learned what a calorie was. If you’re traveling this summer, check out five of our favorite nostalgic sweet spots:

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Back-Road Trip: The Mississippi Delta's Blues Highway

By Elizabeth HutchisonBelow the LineJune 12, 2015

Blues greats Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Son House, and B. B. King all grew up within whistling distance of U.S. Highway 61, the storied stretch of blacktop that cuts through the heart of the Mississippi Delta and decades ago delivered the musicians north—onto the national stage and into music history. There are miles of flat, fertile farmland, and stick-to-your-ribs soul food, some of the best music in the country, and an innate hospitality and friendliness, but also poverty and the painful legacy of the Jim Crow South. Above all, though, there’s an authenticity and soulfulness here that must be experienced firsthand. There’s nowhere else quite like it.

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