The Last Word

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John Marrs is one of the premier interior designers of the South and is known for an elegant, fresh and inviting style that many call “The New Southern Style.” His interiors reflect his southern roots and combine a sense of the past with comfort and convenience.

I don’t know if I was hungry for affection, needing a good Southern “howdy do” or a slap on the back, but my recent visit to Lynchburg was better than a good soothing balm of buttermilk on a hot summer’s day. I think I forgot what nice was—not that people in Texas aren’t nice. They are, but Texas nice is a different kind: “in-a-hurry-nice,” or “because-they-need-something-nice.” I like nice just for the sake of being nice; that’s my kind of “nice.”

TEXAS GUY GETS A GOOD DOSE OF SOUTHERN COMFORT AT THE GREATER LYNCHBURG HOME & GARDEN SHOW

After my last talk at the Greater Lynchburg Home and Garden Show, two nice folks heard me mention that I would love to visit Poplar Forest. Before I knew it, they had tucked me into their SUV and whisked me off to Mr. Jefferson’s as if they had nothing else in the world to do, even though I’m sure they had visited there many times. That is nice.

I loved every minute of my Lynchburg weekend. Seeing Jefferson’s home was such a treat for my architecture-loving side, as was the history and beauty of the setting. I was blown away by folks being so generous in sharing with me their pride in their city and its treasures. I loved staying at the newly restored Virginian Hotel; the old gal has her dignity back and is lovely again, in a chic but comfortable way. The stunningly restored Academy of Music once again sparkles—the gem of the city, ready for another hundred years of productions to delight one and all. A stop for the perfect southern breakfast at Market & Main just about put me over the top—I can still taste those spiced apples.

Newly found friends warmed my soul, sharing their heartfelt love, not only for the local landscape but also for the monuments and old buildings of Lynchburg, the history and love of the south. Dinner and drinks became more than a meal; it was a sharing of ideas, thoughts and dreams.

It reminded me of growing up in a family of strong personalities that could sit around the dinner table, talking, laughing and telling stories for hours, where I quickly figured out how to get a word in edgewise; I’ve never shut up since.

Anyway, thanks for listening, Lynchburg; I can’t wait to come back soon and sit a spell when I need another nip of that Sweet, Lynchburg “nice.”

John Phifer Marrs

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