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Celebrating Mother

Dee and Evan 1

Though the celebration of Mother’s Day can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, this year marks the one hundredth anniversary of Mother’s Day in the United States.  In fact, it was President Woodrow Wilson, past lunch guest of The Hermitage Hotel, who declared Mother’s Day an annual holiday in America.  He believed that there should always be a day that honored the sacrifices that mothers made for their children.

Some early traditions on Mother’s Day include: spoiling Mom with bunches of white carnations, cooking large meals to celebrate mom, and giving her a break from her daily duties.  One of the more modern traditions includes our increasingly present mobile devices.  Throughout the world, more phone calls are made on Mother’s Day than any other day.  In fact, phone traffic has been known to rise as much as 37% on Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day is not only celebrated in the United States, but is a day of reverence world-wide. Here are just a few of the traditions celebrated around the world.

France: Children celebrate mom with presents and a cake that looks like a bouquet of flowers. Italians bake a cake in the shape of a heart.

Denmark: Mother’s day or Mors Dag is celebrated by children cooking breakfast for their mother and then celebrating with a fantastic lunch. Flowers are also the highlight of the day with spectacular arrangements delivered to moms throughout the country.

Ethiopia:  Celebrated in mid-Fall, Ethiopians travel home to their mothers for a three day celebration. Children bring ingredients (girls bring vegetables, butter, and spices while boys bring meat like bull or lamb) for a traditional hash that the mother prepares for the family. This is followed by three days of dancing and singing.

However you choose to celebrate, enjoy honor Mom this Mother’s Day!


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More Green Acres


ImageDear Friends,

Many of you have followed us as we embraced, for quite a few years now, a local, sustainable culture at The Hermitage Hotel by sourcing our food and products and other amenities either from Nashville, Tennessee, or regional vendors.  We incorporated Hatch Show Print into website and décor in parts of the hotel, we sourced local artisans such as Vincent Peach and Linda Twist to highlight in Rachel’s Boutique, and we even went so far as to start our own garden at the Land Trust for Tennessee’s Farm at Glen Leven.  Next year, we will be changing out all of the mattresses in the hotel to beds that are made right here in Nashville.

Today, we are thrilled to announce the purchase of a 245 acre farm in Dickson Co, TN.  Double H Farms, as it will be known, is part of a bigger plan to expand our focus on preservation and sustainability.  The farm will be used to create a sustainable brand of beef that is distributed beyond the Capitol Grille.  It will also grow corn for a future grist mill and will eventually help expand the gardening program.

“The goal is to focus the future of The Hermitage Hotel and Capitol Grille by helping to preserve land, continue sustainable farming practices, and make our product more available to the community,” said Greg Sligh, managing director of The Hermitage Hotel and now also president of Double H Farms, LLC.

Farm operations will be overseen by Greg Sligh in cooperation with Executive Chef Tyler Brown and the rest of The Hermitage Hotel and Capitol Grille team.  Mr. Sligh has a strong family history in farming.  For more than a century his family owned a 600 acre farm in Missouri.  Mr. Sligh spent his summers and school breaks playing and, when old enough, working on the farm with his grandparents.  Today, he and his relatives still own and manage the original farm where he vacations with his wife and sons.

The purchase of the farm has been a long time goal born out of the experimenting with raising cattle at the Land Trust for Tennessee’s Farm at Glen Leven in partnership with farmer Blair Myers.  That project was spearheaded by Executive Chef and Head Farmer, Tyler Brown who will be actively involved, working with Greg to develop an ideal plan for the new venture.  The initial goal for this farm is to develop and increase the herd of grass-fed cattle.  Diners at the Capitol Grille have also been enjoying some of the beef which has been grazing in the sunny pastures at the Farm at Glen Leven.  However, with the increasing demands of the restaurant the larger amount of acreage allows for the herd to be increased significantly.  We also plan to sell the Double H Farms brand of beef to other interested restaurants in Nashville and elsewhere.

“For the past few years we have embraced the culture of locally sourced and sustainably grown food with the Capitol Grille and locally produced items throughout The Hermitage Hotel, with more to come.  This move will enable us to impact a much larger number of people,” said Executive Chef Tyler Brown

Nestled in the hills of White Bluff, Tennessee and bordering Montgomery Bell State Park, Double H Farms is an ideal setting with creeks that are fed by natural springs from the park.  This setting will allow for the rotation of cattle from one pasture to another to allow them to graze on the sweet grasses in the fields through a relatively simple process because of the infrastructure that already exists on the land.  The Farm is protected with a conservation easement and will always be a continuation of the Duke family’s home and farm, founded in the 1930’s.

Visit our Facebook page at The Hermitage Hotel – Nashville for more photos and updates on the farm.


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I Can’t Stand the Heat So I Am Getting Out of the Kitchen – And Going to the Bar

I learned recently that this summer has broken all of the previously set heat and humidity records.  Though I appreciate the over-achieving spunk of Summer 2010, I am a little tired of it by now.  I mean, let’s face it, sitting around in a constant state of “glow” (that’s sweat for all our non-Southern readers) is beyond uncomfortable.  And, more importantly, my awesome hair loses a good part of its awesomeness in all of this humidity.  All in all, this weather has increased crankiness and general malaise in Nashville and the mid-South.

So, what’s a girl to do to beat the heat and return to a state of calm? Well, visit the bar of course. Not just any bar, mind you, but the Oak Bar at The Hermitage Hotel.   There one will find (in addition to air-conditioning that is set one notch above arctic blast) that we have put a new spin on an old Southern favorite, one that is steeped in tradition.  Booze, naturally.  Not just any, run-of-the-mill inebriant; specifically Jack Daniels whiskey.

So what’s the story?  This summer, Tyler Brown, Executive Chef of the Capitol Grille reached out to his good friend Noel Glasgow of Bravo Gelato with an idea.  In April, Tyler made the pilgrimage to Jack Daniels distillery to choose the perfect barrel of Jack Daniels Whiskey, which would be bottled to commemorate the 100th anniversary of The Hermitage Hotel. Tyler worked with the team to create some great drinks in the bar as well as used the whiskey in some of his menus.  But the question still dogged him on what to do during the dog days of summer.  Soooo, Noel seemed to have the perfect solution.  Make Gelato out of it.

And boy did he ever.  This gelato strikes the perfect balance between an after-work ice cream snack and adult beverage.   It is perfect with our chocolate cobbler but sturdy enough to stand on it’s own two legs. So, with another week predicted to have a heat index of 100-105 degrees, Tyler decided to offer a special to our loyal blog fans and readers.  Starting now through the end of August, Tyler is offering one free scoop of The Hermitage Hotel Jack Daniels Single Barrel Gelato during happy hour, Monday – Friday with the purchase of one of our delicious appetizers.  Please mention code: JDGEL9083 (Only available for guests 21 years and older). So come in and try our Jack Daniels Single Barrel Gelato.  Disclaimer: no refunds allowed for those who try to shoot the gelato and end up with ice cream headaches.

Warm Regards,
Janet Kurtz Director of Sales & Marketing

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Hotel Gift Shops Are More Than Just Tylenol & Magazines

On a recent trip to South Beach, I stayed in a boutique hotel on Ocean Drive.  As soon as I walked in, I noticed a dress on a mannequin just beside the elevator.  The attentive bellman noticed me noticing the dress and quickly came to help direct me to the gift shop. 

Well, for what must have been an historic moment in my life, I was not interested in shopping at that time. I was much more interested in getting down to the serious business of lying by the pool.  But I had to admit that another reason kept me out of the gift shop that day: Even though I was at one time counted as a top customer of Rachel’s Gifts at The Hermitage Hotel’s gift shop – because they carry so many cute clothes – I still harbored a bit of a stigma toward gift shops at other hotels.  I mean, these are the places that are tucked away in small rooms because the hotel could not think of anything else to do with the space, right?  They sell Rolaids, toothpaste, and stuffed animals for frazzled business travelers to take home to the kids.  (The stuffed animals, not the Rolaids and toothpaste).  Needless to say, I was not very sold.

That said, the next day, after soaking up all of the sun I could take, I wandered to the hotel gift shop – where my mind was changed about hotel gift shops! I was thrilled to find not just one dress, but two entire walls South Beach dining and club scene worthy clothes.  A couple hours later, I emerged from this shop with the dress I wanted, plus shoes and jewelry to complement the outfit. 

If I had been watching closely during the tours of The Hermitage Hotel I give regularly, I would have realized that gift shops in luxury hotels hold great appeal to many people.  So many times, my tour of our hotel is ultimately delayed by a “peak” in Rachel’s Gifts. 

As downtown residents and employees have come to love The Hermitage Hotel, so have they found a love for Rachel’s Gifts.  Our clothing can add a fun, flirty look to any wardrobe.  The jewelry comes from local boutiques and it often accessorizes wonderfully with something already in your wardrobe.  We also offer the luxurious products that guests enjoy in our rooms, such as Molton Brown beauty products, high thread count bedding and even our extremely popular makeup and shaving mirror.  Also, no need to “help” our luxurious Frette bath sheets escape from the hotel. We have plenty available in Rachel’s Gifts.

Finally, for our guests in August,  in honor of shopping and refreshing your wardrobe, we are offering all of our in-house guests a 15% discount on all clothing, home items, and jewelry select items from Rachel’s Gifts. Basically, this discount applies to anything but the sundries, such as Tylenol, Rolaids, toothpaste, etc.

So, stay with us in August for a last trip before Summer ends and enjoy a discount that allows you to take the memories of your trip home with you.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Warm Regards,

Janet Kurtz

Director of Sales & Marketing

P.S. Attention Facebook Fans, remember, by making your reservation on our Facebook Page you receive an additional 15% off of our rates*.  So book today for August and take advantage of this extra special through Rachel’s Gifts. 

*(Restrictions apply)

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The Hermitage Hotel and Land Trust for Tennessee Team Up to Grow Farm Fresh Produce for Hotel’s 4-Star Capitol Grille


Tyler, Cole and I picked these and photographed them before sending them to the Capitol Grille

Dear Friends of The Hermitage Hotel and Capitol Grille,

Today we had an amazing press event to announce a new venture for The Hermitage Hotel and Capitol Grille.  We will be talking about this a lot this week but I wanted to give you the basics first.  Of course, if you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at jkurtz@thehermitagehotel.com.  Enjoy!

NASHVILLE, Tenn., June 23, 2010 The Hermitage Hotel announced today a unique relationship with the Land Trust for Tennessee that will preserve historic farmland in Nashville’s urban district and provide diners in the hotel’s 4-star Capitol Grille with fresh heirloom vegetables during the growing season.

 In April, the hotel  planted heirloom vegetables on one-acre of the historic farm at Glen Leven.  The property is located on Franklin Road near Father Ryan High School.  Since Glen Leven is only five miles from the hotel’s front door, diners can be assured that the heirloom vegetables they enjoy with their meal were picked the same day they were served. 

 “As a historic landmark now celebrating our 100th year, The Hermitage Hotel has a particular interest in protecting and preserving what is irreplaceable in our state,” said Janet Kurtz, director of sales and marketing for the hotel. “It was natural for us to work with The Land Trust for Tennessee to fund efforts to protect Tennessee’s beauty.”

 Guests of The Hermitage Hotel – who are given the opportunity to donate $2 per night of their stay – have donated over $100,000.00 to the Land Trust for Tennessee since the hotel established the fund-raising program in July 2008. Thanks to guests’ generosity, The Land Trust has been able to preserve, forever, 1,000 acres of scenic and historic land in Tennessee – an area larger than New York City’s Central Park which is 843 acres.

 The hotel is committed to gardening naturally and promoting sustainability.  “We believe in the use of natural cultivation techniques such as the use of homeopathic pest control remedies verses the over-use of chemical treatments and pesticides,” Kurtz said.  “The extra care and time these methods take are worth it because they will both enhance the land’s natural production and ensure its health as well as the health of our patrons at the Capitol Grille.” 

 In addition to more organic growing methods, the crops grown at Glen Leven will be as historic as the site itself. Chef Tyler Brown of the Capitol Grille has researched seed records to identify and plant heirloom vegetables from the 19th Century.   Such crops include: butterstick zucchini, zephyr squash, French breakfast radishes, and Cherokee purple tomatoes.  Chef Brown will then create menus specific to the crops that he will harvest each day.

 Glen Leven is no stranger to the hospitality industry.  For years, the farm at Glen Leven provided the produce to the historic Maxwell House Hotel which was located in downtown Nashville before it burned on Christmas night in 1961. 

 “The Hermitage Hotel has provided outstanding support to us in our effort to preserve what we cannot replace – land,” said Jeanne Nelson, president and executive director of The Land Trust of Tennessee. “The hotel’s plans to nurture and use the land at Glen Leven to produce four-star fare are exceptional, and we look forward to witnessing its progress.”

 The Glen Leven Estate is comprised of 66 acres that include the Glen Leven mansion, a smokehouse, carriage house, springhouse and farm office.  Susan M. West bequeathed the property to The Land Trust for Tennessee in 2006. The mansion on the property was built in 1857 and its old brick walls show chips made by bullets fired on the home during the Battle of Nashville.  During battle, the home was used as a hospital by Federal troops. 

 About The Hermitage Hotel

 Opened in 1910, The Hermitage Hotel is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In 2000, it was purchased by its current owner, Historic Hotels Nashville Inc., which invested $20 million in restoring the property. When the restored hotel was re-opened on Valentine’s Day 2003, its grand public spaces had been completely restored, 122 luxurious guest rooms and suites had been created and many luxury guest services and amenities new to Nashville were introduced. Today, The Hermitage Hotel is the only Forbes (formerly Mobil) Five-Star and AAA Five-Diamond hotel in Tennessee and five contiguous states – Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, Missouri and Arkansas. The Hermitage Hotel is also a member of Historic Hotels of America and Preferred Hotel Group. More information is available online at http://www.thehermitagehotel.com.

 The Hermitage Hotel is also home to the historic Capitol Grille and Oak Bar, Nashville’s only Forbes Four-Star and AAA Four-Diamond restaurant. The Hermitage Hotel’s sister properties include The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Va., The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in Charleston, S.C., and Sea Pines Resort on Hilton Head Island, S.C.

 About the Land Trust for Tennessee

 The Land Trust for Tennessee is a private, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization, founded in 1999.  Its mission is to preserve the unique character of Tennessee’s natural and historic landscapes for future generations. The Land Trust works with willing landowners to find ways to preserve forever the historic, scenic and natural values of their land. The organization is supported primarily by financial contributions from individuals. The Land Trust has offices in Nashville, Sewanee/Monteagle, Hickman County and Chattanooga. More information is available at www.landtrusttn.org.

For photos of this amazing spot, visit our Facebook pages at:



Or go directly to the album on our Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=186867&id=56132912580&l=8c58fbc243

For more information please don’t hesitate to email me at jkurtz@thehermitagehotel.com

Warm Regards,

Janet Kurtz

Director of Sales & Marketing

The Hermitage Hotel

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Flood Updates from The Hermitage Hotel

Hello from Nashville! I am sure many of you have seen the devastating images of Nashville after the flooding this weekend. It is heartbreaking to hear the stories of our team members, friends, and neighbors throughout the city who have lost so much through this event. Fortunately, help and rescue efforts began immediately and relief is pouring in from all over the state. (Which is why we are called the Volunteer State.)

That said, we do want to reassure you that Nashville, and The Hermitage Hotel, are ready to welcome you to the city. The airport is open, flights are landing, and the roads leading to downtown Nashville are clear. Of course The Hermitage Hotel is open and fully operational, as is the award winning Capitol Grille. To date we have had no damage to any part of the hotel.  Finally, our entertainment venues are still making the music that has made Nashville what it is today.  In fact, venues that were booked with entertainment but have been affected by the flooding have relocated those shows to other venues in the city. Many of them are right across the street from The Hermitage Hotel.

Please let us know how we can make your stay more special. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Warm Regards,

Janet Kurtz
Director of Sales & Marketing
The Hermitage Hotel
231 Sixth Avenue North
Nashville, TN 37219
Direct: 615-345-7120
Fax: 615-242-8715
Tennessee’s only AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five Star award winning hotel.

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Book Launch Party Attracts “A List” Nashvillians and TV News

Ridley Wills II probably has writer’s cramp today. A steady stream of over 100 people lined up last night to have Ridley sign their copies of “The Hermitage at 100—Nashville’s First Million Dollar Hotel

Held on the hotel’s famous veranda, the launch party for the new book on the history of The Hermitage Hotel attracted an “A List” of Nashvillians – many of whom were the grandchildren of the original investors in the hotel. It was a great party. I heard many wonderful stories about the hotel.

Our event also attracted television cameras. Both Channel 4 and Channel 5 showed up to capture the launch of Ridley’s spectacular new book. Maybe you saw it if you were watching the 10 o’clock news last night. Channel 5 did a particularly long story about the hotel, with absolutely stunning photography of the hotel. Click here to see it.

Beautifully illustrated throughout, the 258-page coffeetable-style book traces the significant role The Hermitage Hotel has played in shaping the history of the city, the state and the nation. It will be available for purchase in the hotel’s gift shop and local bookstores for $59.99. Wills will also be at two book-signing events on Saturday, Nov. 21: at Davis Kidd Bookstore in The Mall at Green Hills at 2:00 p.m. and at Borders in Brentwood at 330 Franklin Rd.

Among the things readers will learn:

  • Nashville’s first gold record has connections to The Hermitage Hotel. The song, “Near You,” was written by Francis Craig, whose orchestra played in The Hermitage Hotel’s Grille Room and Ballroom from 1925-1945.
  • Edward Hull “Boss” Crump, the notorious Memphis powerbroker who heavily influenced Tennessee politics in the early and middle decades of the 20th Century, ran his Nashville operations from The Hermitage Hotel.
  • The Hermitage was one of three sites for WSM radio’s opening night broadcast on Oct. 25, 1925.
  • American Airlines first Nashville ticket office was located in The Hermitage Hotel – and it was a replica of the airline’s Hollywood ticket office.
  • The first office of The Nashville Symphony was at The Hermitage Hotel.
  • Two of Nashville’s leading civic clubs were founded at The Hermitage: The Rotary Club in 1914 and The Exchange Club in 1920.
  • The Country Music Association (CMA) was formed in connection with a convention at The Hermitage Hotel.
  • Tennessee was the final state to ratify women’s right to vote n 1920, and both sides of the issue had their headquarters at the hotel.

If you want to know about the ‘real’ history of Nashville, pick up a copy of this incredible book.

Janet Kurtz
Director of Sales & Marketing
The Hermitage Hotel

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