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Legends of the Fall

The Madcap Cottage gents know the days get shorter but the fun doesn’t

By Jason Oliver Nixon and John Loecke


Think of England!

The layered, timeless English country house style is top of mind and not just because we spent a few weeks in August bopping from one National Trust property to another in Norfolk and Hampshire. Or that we savored a long weekend at English-inspired Highlander Mountain House in Highlands, North Carolina. Think antiques married with the contemporary, heaps of portraits, a raging fire, muddy wellies by the front door, and floral prints paired with tartans and Indian hand-block fabrics. Bring the look home, and capture a relaxed, easy-breezy vibe.


Mad for Martinis 

A recent Wall Street Journal article proclaimed that millennials are eschewing wines for marvelous martinis. And why not? Says Pinehurst resident and the force behind Instagram phenomenon “Meet Me on McCaskill” Cara Mathis, “What could be more glamorous than a martini? Our favorite spot to tipple these classic confections is the North & South Bar at The Manor. Not only does this historic haunt dish out some of the best drinks in town, but you get to enjoy them surrounded by the Art Deco elegance of a bygone era. It really makes you feel like you’ve gone back in time.” Named for the historic amateur golf championship that’s been played at Pinehurst since 1901, the North & South Bar features nearly 70 styles of bourbons, whiskeys, ryes and Scotch, as well as new-age stylings on all the classics. Perfection.


Grand Millennial Gorgeous 

More of more is absolutely more. After years of beige and linen hues taking center stage, we have finally broken through the fog into a tantalizing world packed with prints, patterns, and color. Hurrah! And layering is back. Embellishment. And trim. So bye-bye, minimalism. It was mediocre knowing you. Bust out and bring on the wallpaper. After all, if you want to live in a museum, well, good luck.


Why Don’t You? 

Paint your front door a bright color. Wallpaper a powder room. Open a bottle of champagne — just because. Run a bath and add two extra helpings of bubble bath. Turn up the stereo and do a spontaneous dance. Color your hair. And install a disco ball in your living room.


Tip, Top, Throwback

Throwback restaurants are having a big resurgence, possibly because we could all use a spirited dash of nostalgia in these crazy days. In Manhattan, there’s Donohue’s Steak House on Lexington. In Palm Beach, the locals flock to Ta-boo. In Atlanta you will find us at The Colonnade. And London celebrates Maggie Jones’s.

More locally, you will find us happily ensconced at the Pinehurst Track Restaurant eating blueberry pancakes, diving into Fletcher’s BLT with mayo and a banana split at the Ice Cream Parlor in Southern Pines, and savoring spaghetti with meatballs at Kitchen Roselli Red Sauce Joint in Winston-Salem-adjacent East Bend (well worth the field trip). The shock of the new is truly so overrated. We prefer places where they know our name and the menu rarely changes. And, yes, that was us on the porch at the Pine Crest Inn with martinis and the port wine cheese and crackers appetizer.


Love and Other Outdoor Sports 

During the pandemic, so many outdoor sports had a resurgence — from golf to pickleball and bocce. But we have fallen under the spell of a favorite lawn game that we hadn’t played in years, croquet. Croquet is the new black and orange. So hit the court. Just be forewarned: We play the game like the gals in the classic ’80s movie Heathers. Says John, “We love that you can sip a little rosé between strikes.”


Deco Drama 

John and I are having a big Art Deco “moment” whether in architecture or furnishings. Yes, that was us drooling in front of the Deco-dramatic apartment building around the corner from Weymouth in Southern Pines (aka, Mayfair Apartments) and us stocking up on groovy chairs last weekend at Design Market. Timeless, yet forward thinking. Bring the adventure home.  PS

Jason Oliver Nixon and John Loecke are the duo behind Thomasville-based Madcap Cottage.

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