Finding Home On An Adventure: Daisy Hill Bed And Breakfast In Nashville
Turning onto Blair Boulevard in Nashville’s Hillsboro West End neighborhood, a beautiful brick home tastefully adorned with Christmas lights emerges from the street behind a row of stone stairs. After a long drive from St. Louis in mid-December—my boyfriend did most of the driving while I fell asleep on his shoulder—Highway 24 led us right to Music City, after passing through Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, and finally the prairies of Tennessee. We were surprised at the booming metropolis of character we found instead of what we had envisioned. Yet upon seeing it come together with the reality of what it is, I wasn’t exactly sure what I thought I’d find in the first place.
Linda and Darrell Bengson bought the home in 1999 and transformed it into the quaint Daisy Hill Bed and Breakfast after having spent years in the hospitality industry. While their journey took them on a variety of paths, it had always been their dream to open up a bed and breakfast. “We’ve wanted to do this since we were in our 20s. We’ve been married for 45 years,” said Darrell, with a slight Southern twang.
While Linda was upstairs preparing for a night out to dinner with her husband, Darrell welcomed us in with a booming “Hello!” like he’d already known us for ten years, even though we had just met. He led us into the French Room, which was just as gorgeous and impeccably decorated as the photographs on the Bed and Breakfast website: the clawfoot bathtub beckoned almost as much as the soft and comfortable antique brass feather bed, which we discovered that night after dinner at 404 Kitchen and a drive through East Nashville. Clean and quaint, it somehow felt as though we’d had it with our lives and made an escape to the French countryside. Daisy Hill also has the luxurious Scandinavian room, with a rich mahogany-colored sleigh bed and lace curtains over the windows, as well as the castle-inspired Scottish room.
“The whole bed and breakfast thing—it’s a lifestyle,” said Linda. “We’re both social people. We like having people around.”
“It’s not a job. If it were a job, we wouldn’t do it. You have to love it,” Darrell agreed.
Linda recounted a story about how even their 14-year-old granddaughter attempted to convince them to take a break on their anniversary.
“She asked me, ‘So what are you going to do for your anniversary?’ And I said, ‘I don’t know—probably the same old same old: cook breakfast for guests and clean rooms.’
She said, ‘No, Grandma, you need to do something really romantic with Papa! I think you and Papa should go have some coffee together and maybe go to a movie. Movies are great Grandma, you’d love the movies!” she laughed. “Our granddaughter was really trying to sell us on getting out of here and doing something else.”
The next morning, breakfast was a most luxurious treat. I can’t remember the last time I drank coffee out of a china cup and had orange juice from a champagne flute during breakfast—or if I have, ever. My vegetarianism and gluten allergy combined are admittedly difficult to accommodate, but Darrell asked me about it the night before and planned it out: breakfast would be eggs benedict, and mine would be two poached eggs with gluten-free bread and fresh fruit. My partner had the traditional eggs benedict with ham and hollandaise, which judging by his clean plate was nothing short of scrumptious—as was mine.
After breakfast, the Bengsons talked to us as though we were old friends while we prepared for our journey back home. They told us about their history in the hospitality industry, their children and grandchildren, and a book they’d like to write eventually that will chronicle their adventures as a bed and breakfast, which they plan to title “The Other Side Of The Door.”
“We have all these stories, you know. But we don’t want to write while we’re still in business,” she said, and Darrell laughed. He loaded us up with a copy of almost every pamphlet they have on hand for tours, exhibits, and upcoming concerts as we gathered our bags. They planned to decorate the Christmas tree, and perhaps have an undisturbed moment to themselves on this special day. Waving us goodbye, we left Daisy Hill with full stomachs and spirits even fuller.
Daisy Hill Bed and Breakfast
2816 Blair Boulevard
Nashville, TN 37212