BY RYLEE BAILEY // July/August 2017
After abandoning the hustle and bustle of the mortgage industry, Michelle Smith retreated to Pittsburg, Texas, deep in the piney woods, to put all she learned from years of traveling into running a bed-and-breakfast inn.
“I always loved to cook and socialize with friends and family,” Smith says. “Being in the city (Dallas), traveling across the country for work and staying at some of the best hotels and eating at the best restaurants allowed me to visualize the perfect getaway.”
Smith became friends with one of the owners of nearby Los Pinos Winery who suggested she pursue her dream. While driving to Los Pinos one day, she saw a house with 30 acres of land for sale and bought it.
She updated the house, planted pine trees and drew up plans to add guest cottages.
Her dream became Lavender Mermaid Farm, which consists of five guest cottages and a gift shop.
The cottages face into the woods for privacy. In the back of the cottages is a common courtyard that has gas grills, a fire pit, a covered pavilion and a fountain.
“Our farm is a stargazer’s dream,” Smith says “Most nights are lit up with stars that seem close enough to touch.”
Smith came up with the name Lavender Mermaid from her collection of mermaid memorabilia and a love of lavender.
“We love lavender — the fragrance, healing qualities and beauty,” she says. “We planted lavender all around the cottages and the house.”
The cottages are stocked with Lavender Mermaid’s lotions, soaps and linen/body spray made from custom blends of lavender, patchouli, grapefruit and clary sage oils.
“We spray our linen spray on the pillows before each guest arrives,” Smith says. “We also leave our signature homemade chocolate lavender truffles so that our guests have sweet dreams.”
Fresh scones, homemade jams, quiches, dishes using local eggs and fresh fruit tossed with lavender syrup are delivered to each cottage every morning.
Guests say they love the food.
“Michelle’s breakfasts coaxed us out of the wonderful bed,” shares a couple from Fort Worth on the inn’s website. “Hash-brown crusted quiche is especially yummy.”
Smith encourages guests to spend time in Pittsburg.
“Pittsburg has many excellent restaurants and don’t miss our famous peaches, blueberries and strawberries in the spring,” she says.
In the historic downtown, stores sell antiques, gifts and crafts and there’s even a 1950s’-style soda fountain.
The city park has a chapel, 75-foot tall prayer tower with four bells from France and a life-size bronze statue of Jesus washing the disciple Peter’s feet.
Pittsburg is surrounded by two state parks and five lakes, which provide outdoor recreation and opportunities for fishing, boating and skiing.
Located along the Piney Woods Wine Trail, Pittsburg also is within a 30-minute drive of several wineries.
‘I AM CALM’
After years of traveling from coast to coast and being on call 24-7, Smith loves running Lavender Mermaid Farm.
“There is no comparison to my life now,” Smith says. “I am calm, enjoy all aspects of living and working out here in the country. I get to meet so many wonderful people and love what I do now. Pittsburg is my home.”