This is the second time we’ve made our way to a farmstay in the dark. And unlike most Airbnb arrivals, farms are usually tucked far away from street lamps, which meant that as we approached the Cottage at Oak & Hare Farms in Cannon County, Tennessee, our headlights were slicing through pitch black forest as we bumbled down a shoulderless road the same width as our car. In the name of full disclosure, these are the moments when doubts about our booking decisions bubble up. We were heading towards a brand new Airbnb that was just five reviews old. But the online photos were enticing, those five reviews were all raves, we needed a Tennessee Airbnb, and the last minute nightly rates in nearby Nashville were staggering. So here we were, winding through pitch black backroads waiting for Google to say “You have arrived.”
A mailbox box with the correct street number came into view, the app piped up, and we slipped through an open gate and into a pasture. As we veered left on the gravel driveway, our headlights illuminated two deer nonchalantly munching on some grass. To their left, we saw the cottage. More adorable than the pictures and decorated for fall, the porch light was on and, just as promised, the key was in the front door. We let ourselves in, saw our names written in chalk on a welcome sign, and soaked in the waves of relief and excitement. We’d stumbled upon another Airbnb gem.
Erica and Dustin are the thoughtful owners of Oak & Hare Farms. So much of our host’s story is wrapped up in that name. They met at a West Virginia mountain resort called Snowshoe, which led to the snowshoe hare reference, and their daughter’s name, Eila, means ‘Oak Tree’ in Hebrew. Now settled in Tennessee, the farm’s residents also include a dog, a puppy, a cat, some chickens, and eight babydoll southdown lambs. (If you’re wondering what those are, just picture the cutest, tiny lambs your imagination can muster, and you now have a sense of what they look like. And, as Erica notes, they double as excellent lawn mowers.) The farm is situated just outside the town of Woodbury, about a half an hour from the larger town of Murfreesboro, and less than an hour to the epicenter of Nashville. In other words, Oak & Hare Farms has a picked a perfect spot to call home.
In the morning, we saw our surroundings in color. Wide green pastures dotted with ponds. The deer who had greeted us the night before were now curled up in a little cluster near the water. Shallow mountains coated with trees encircled the property, with wispy grey clouds draped through their valleys. Our hosts’ distinguished farmhouse stood across the way, painted in a deep, almost dusty, red. Behind their home, a steep field jutted upwards peppered with the eight babydoll sheep meandering from grass tuft to grass tuft. The fuzzy puppy sat in the middle of the herd, a protector in training. Everything felt serenely quiet. From the outside, these surroundings dwarfed the cottage. But just inside the door, like an optical illusion, this modern home unfolded to reveal an abundance of space.
One Big Room
With an open floor plan and lofted bedroom, the cottage was fundamentally one big room with a bathroom tucked in the back. But with its hexagonal dining room, fully featured kitchen, soaring ceilings, and lofted bedroom, the cottage offered seemingly endless nooks and crannies to explore. The vertical ladder led to a queen size bed with two night stands. (And just a note as you look at the pictures: Erica and Dustin have just gotten their materials to add a railing along the bedroom’s edge.) Windows looped around the dining room table. And inside each closet or drawer, Erica and Dustin had tucked endless amenities. There wasn’t a thing in the cottage that hadn’t been intentionally put there for guests. This clutter-free approach made the whole cottage feel light and airy.
Count ‘Em… One, Two, Three Porches
For a home that couldn’t have been more than 600 square feet, this cottage had three, yep that’s right, count ‘em one, two, three separate porches. Each faced a different direction and was decked out (pun intended) with benches, chairs, and end tables for guests to enjoy. The doors leading to the porches were mostly glass, which made the cottage breathe with even more space. Between all the doors and the windows, the natural surroundings were continuously knit into the time we spent inside.
Personal Touches We Loved
In an Airbnb so meticulously assembled, we were surrounded by B.E.A.utiful personal touches. As always, if something catches your eye, you can support bnbNomad by using our pink affiliate links below.
Chalkboard StandOn the entryway table, Erica and Dustin welcomed us to their home by name with a little upright chalkboard peeking out over the guestbook. We noticed this personalized detail immediately, and throughout our stay it puttered along as a happy reminder that our hosts were glad we were here. It’s such a simple gesture, but oh what a good first impression it makes.
Be Our Guest Pillow
This little detail actually jumped out when we were swiping through listings looking for a Tennessee Airbnb. One of the couch’s throw pillows had “Be Our Guest” printed on the front. It’s funny how a detail as small as a throw pillow can set such a positive overall tone for an Airbnb. That subtle nod towards hospitality peaked our interest the moment it came across our screen.
Turkish TowelsUnlike the typical fluffy renditions, the Turkish hand and bath towels in the cottage were made out of a thinner, woven fabric with knotted tassels along the edges. As guests, towels are something we always interact with, but we’d be hard pressed to actually recall a specific set from another Airbnb. But these, on the other hand, were delightfully memorable. Soft when we were using them, visually striking when we weren’t.
William Roam Toiletry Collection
The mini bottle of lotion from the William Roam collection Erica and Dustin set out for us is currently upside down on my nightstand in hopes of squeezing out one more dollop of this delicious stuff. Just like the towels, we always interact with the soap hosts provide, and these hotel amenities were luxurious. Plus, a new set for each new stay makes the amenity feel even more special.
In our Airbnb travels, we’ve seen our fair share of waxy fake flowers coated in dust. But the faux flowers Erica and Dustin had chosen were anything but tacky. The high-quality faux succulents in the geometric terrariums brightened up the room and the dining room’s long-stemmed yellow centerpiece accentuated the tall ceilings. They had even used wine corks to fill the vase around the stems, which added a hidden playful touch.
Clever Tricks for Hosts
If you’re an Airbnb host, you’re in for a treat! Erica and Dustin are setting a new record here for the number of clever hosting tricks we noted during a single stay. From top-notch branding to savvy interior design, here are ten tactics to consider borrowing from this Tennessee Airbnb.
1) Create a Logo
We’ve written here about giving your Airbnb a unique name. Oak & Hare Farms isn’t just easy to recall, it reconnects us with our host’s personal story. From there, Erica and Dustin have taken it a step further and created a beautiful logo from their name. This memorable image knits together their brand through a variety of tactile accents and digital platforms. If that sounds interesting, keep reading!
2) Order Branded Stickers
Go another step further with this brilliantly simple trick: order branded stickers with your Airbnb’s logo and incorporate them in your space. We found a sticker on the sheep grain (more on that in a minute), and another one on the end of the toilet paper so neatly folded into a triangle. It’s not just the logo that’s eye-catching here, it’s the attention to detail. It’s such an inexpensive and speedy strategy, but it will blow your guests away.
3) Make Your Guest Book IrresistibleAnd where else did we find the logo? Yep, on this irresistible guest book. Never before have I been so excited to add our entry to an Airbnb guest book. Not only was the book itself charming, with its wooden cover and rave reviews, but even the presentation of the guestbook was polished. Propped up on an iron picture frame stand with a yarn wrapped pen balancing on top, who could leave without adding a note?
4) Rock It On Instagram
On to the digital branding. A place this photogenic is begging for an Instagram profile. And a social media presence like this doesn’t just help bring in new guests. It also keeps previous guests engaged with your Airbnb. After our fabulous stay, you better believe we hopped on Instagram, started following @oakandharefarms, and spent a little too much time soaking up the photos of the painfully cute babydoll sheep.
5) Post a Video of Your Airbnb
Now, we’re not saying that every host should have drone footage of their Airbnb (although if you’re curious, yes, it does look incredible and yes, you should watch the video embedded above!) But the fundamental concept makes so much sense. Guests are always looking for ways to better understand the Airbnbs they’re considering online, and video is such a direct medium to give them a portal into your world. Between the ever-improving smartphone cameras and free video hosting on platforms like YouTube, it’s easier than ever to go that extra mile. (Quick tip: Airbnb loves to hide URLs. Instead of pasting your link, just give potential guests instructions: Just search “The Cottage at Oak & Hare Farms” on YouTube to see a video of our Airbnb!)
6) Provide Sheep Grain
Ok, so maybe you don’t have sheep. But we promise this hosting trick transfers outside the realm of agritourism! As guests, it’s often an Airbnb’s most unique aspects that lead us to book a stay. But once we’ve actually arrived, we’re not always sure how best to interact with the qualities that caught our eye online. By setting out the sheep grain and providing the instructions, we knew exactly how to dive into the farmstay experience without disrespecting our host’s home. Offering a little instructional activity like this will make sure your guests get the most out of your Airbnb.
7) Decorate for the Season
Alright, on to the home decor tips! Even in the soft glow of the porch light, Erica and Dustin’s fall decorations were the first details we noticed when we arrived at the cottage. White pumpkins lined the steps to the front door, inviting us to come on in. Seasonal touches like this keep Airbnbs feeling fresh and welcoming. Just be sensitive around religious holidays. Different guests will have different traditions, and you want everyone to feel welcome in your home.
8) Swap Out The Couch for a Daybed
How smart is this! Swap out the couch for a daybed, and boom. Your Airbnb now sleeps three. This additional bed can open the door to all sorts of new combinations of guests, especially when your typical setup includes just one bed ideal for a solo traveler or couples. With this twin-sized mattress waiting in the wings, platonic traveling buddies or parents with a kid in tow can now book your place too.
9) Frame the Most Important Information
The cottage had two different frames filled with information instead of art. The first was the emergency information hung on the wall at eye-level by the vertical ladder. (Well placed.) The second was a little reminder not to smoke. By framing the most important information, you can rest assured that your guests will see the safety information and the house rules that matter most, even if they don’t end up diving into your house manual.
10) Set Out A Light Breakfast
And lastly, there were the decadent cinnamon muffins. By providing your guests with a light breakfast, you transform the pace of their morning. Instead of feeling pressured to go out and hunt down food, our morning at the Oak & Hare Farms involved coffee in our pjs, muffins in the dining room nook, and attempts to convince the tiny puppy dog so diligently protecting the sheep to herd them our way. After all, we had the grain! Appease appetites and give your guests the leisurely morning that will make their last impression of your Airbnb as good as their first.
Book Your Stay
Between the loft’s height and the properties’ many ponds, we agree with Erica and Dustin that this is not the ideal place for little kids. And if crawling up that vertical ladder (we’re talking straight up!) doesn’t sound like fun, this might not be the place for you. But for everyone else, come on down! We’d especially recommend the cottage at Oak & Hare Farms for these travelers.
Romantic, secluded, and beautiful, this is a wonderful place to be with the one you love.
Nashville By Day
Enjoy Nashville by day and reasonable Airbnb rates by night with this five-star value.
Between the spa touches and the babydoll sheep, it doesn’t get much more relaxing than this.