By W. Derek Russell
The storied past of Taylor Inn can still be felt by the guests who enter its halls.
“It’s a unique spot and people that have lived here their whole lives don’t know what all is back here,” said Paige Evans, owner of the inn. “It’s just tucked back in here and you don’t notice it, but it is charming. Your blood pressure goes down when you step on the property. It’s just a slow-down kind of place and all of Taylor is, really.”
Erected in the late 19th century, the structure began as the home and office of a local physician. Two rooms on the east side were used for inpatient care and the doctor’s family occupied the west side of the home, with the center acting as an in-house office. After changing hands in the mid-1950s and again at the turn of the century, the inn represents the culture of hospitality in Taylor, Evans said.
“We see it as coming full circle in its use as Taylor Inn,” she said.
Currently, the inn consists of two buildings, the farmhouse and the newer small cottage called the Chicken House – both of which are available for rental.
“The Chicken House started out as just that: a chicken coop,” Evans said. “It just got too cute so the previous owners moved in. The Chicken House sits in a chicken run in the garden. It’s tin inside and out with a loft and full kitchen and everyone sort of melts when they see it. It’s an adult fort or playhouse. It’s a cute little spot.”
The main portion of the inn features 2,200 square feet of nostalgia.
“It’s a mix of your grandmother’s house, your mother’s house and a lot of whimsical pieces,” Evans said. “We wanted to recreate nostalgia and I think it does. People walk in the house and point to something or see something that reminds them of their own childhood. It’s got a little piece of magic in it.”
There’s also a portion of the grounds with an upstairs loft apartment that sleeps four and the Big Truck Theater venue.
“(It’s) not your average barn in the area of Taylor,” Evans said.
The barn, constructed of pine lumber, is the perfect setting for any event from weddings to receptions, offering a curtained stage that features a flatbed truck as an extension. Evans said she and her husband Glen had visited the venue many times before, which is one decision that led them to buying Taylor Inn.
“That made us feel a lot more comfortable with buying the place because we loved the Big Truck Theatre,” Evans said. “The owner at the time called me because he had heard form a banker friend that I loved to redo old houses.”
The purchase led the old farmhouse to be revitalized for the inn.
“It was a prime piece of real estate to redo,” Evans said. “We just sort of fell into this and didn’t know what to do with the property when we got it. It was well suited for a bed and breakfast and came with a fabulous entertainment venue. So that’s what we did.”
Evans said being off the grid is ideal.
“We loved the location and loved being across the street from two very fine restaurants and thought it was a great spot and something the community could use,” she said. “Taylor is a very unique little spot with unique individuals and everyone has been very supportive of us.”
Getting to meet people has become a bit of a hobby for the couple in their new venture, which makes owning an inn an ideal endeavor.
“I have been in the hospitality industry since I graduated college,” Evans said. “I’m very comfortable having people around me and carrying on conversations. I love hearing people’s stories. I like that. It’s a Southern thing – that whole feeling part of people’s lives and hearing their stories and creating an environment where they feel comfortable letting you into their lives when they’re relaxed … it’s a nice business to be in.”
With football season looming, the Taylor Inn’s main house can be used as an abode for fans, offering full-home rental for travelers.
“We started out renting rooms only during the games and it sort of evolved into people trying to get their friends and family into the house, so just this year we started advertising it on Airbnb and VRBO as a whole-house rental,” Evans said. “It just seems to work better that way. It’s better suited for big groups during game time. Especially when they’re all rooting for the same team.”
Whether you’re seeking Ole Miss football, the Oxford experience or the Taylor getaway, the Taylor Inn offers a little something for everyone.
“We want everyone who walks through our doors to feel thankful to be in this place,” Evans said. “and leave with the feeling that they have a new home in Taylor.”