Before Miranda Lambert — the platinum blond country music superstar known for her rocking style and rebellious lyrics — waved her magic wand of entrepreneurialism over the tiny town of Tishomingo, the southern Oklahoma metropolis of 3,000 flew quietly under the radar.
“It just seems like she sprinkles her ‘Miranda dust’ around and everything goes hog wild.”
I’m talking to Staci Addison, the animated innkeeper of The Ladysmith, Lambert’s latest Tishomingo endeavor and currently the South’s most talked-about bed-and-breakfast. She’s giving me a tour and we’re standing outside the dining room on the second floor, where I just indulged in a three-course breakfast.
The historic two-story building, erected in 1901, sat mostly vacant for about 70 years before Lambert, 32 and a native of the East Texas town of Lindale, got her creative hands on it about a year ago, filling it with chic antiques (some gathered from her annual trips to Round Top) and salvaged materials she has collected over the years.
“She loves to buy and repurpose things. She had all this stuff and thought, ‘What am I going to do with it?’” says Addison, whose sparkly “I eat glitter for breakfast” sweatshirt fits right in with the B&B’s shabby chic-meets-roll-’n’-roll vibe.
Since its opening in September, The Ladysmith has drawn country music fans and curious travelers to the off-the-grid destination, where there’s not much by way of entertainment except for plenty of hunting and fishing. Now girlfriend groups and couples alike are booking stays in Tishomingo to experience The Ladysmith’s Southern hospitality — and maybe even catch a glimpse of Lambert or her also-famous husband, country crooner Blake Shelton, who grew up in nearby Ada, Okla.
“That’s Blake’s seat,” says Addison, who points at a black antique armchair inside the B&B’s on-site bar. Named The French Quarter, the well-stocked, cowhide rug-clad watering hole boasts a New Orleans-style balcony with wrought-iron railing and pink patio furniture. A lawyer named William D. French once had his office here, Addison tells me, and his name is still painted in black on the glass, wood-framed door.
Open late and exclusive to guests of The Ladysmith, this is the social hub of the venue, where inhabitants congregate for cocktails and conversation and to hear stories about Lambert and Shelton from the staff, including how they ended up in “Tish.”
“Blake lived here and, when they started dating, she bought property here, as well,” Addison says. “They really like living here. They’re not famous to any of us. They’re Blake and Miranda. You run into them at the grocery store or walking down the street.”
Across the hall is the edgy Losa Lounge, where guests frequently spill over from the bar or gather for chitchat and game-playing.
“Losa means ‘black’ in Chickasaw, and Tishomingo is the historical capital of the Chickasaw nation,” Addison says.
Some of Lambert’s most eclectic finds are here, including a 1952 Ford pickup truck hood and front bumper that’s been converted into a bench; a ceiling made from old draft horse barn beams from Missouri, and a statue of Marilyn Monroe in her famed, flowing white halter dress picked up at an antique store in Kansas.
“On Monday and Tuesday nights, if we do have guests, they are in here watching The Voice,” she added, reminding me that Blake Shelton is a star and voice coach on the reality-TV singing competition.
Next door is 4:02 Tea Time, a quaint, overflow dining room available for private gatherings and named for the street address of Aunt Lucy, a beloved Tishomingo resident who once lived in one of the town’s oldest homes.
“She wasn’t my aunt, but everybody referred to her as Aunt Lucy,” Addison says.
After Aunt Lucy’s passing, Lambert bought her condemned house to preserve its paint-chipped teardrop shingles, which cover one of the walls in the tea room as well as the ceiling of The Ladysmith’s largest guest room, The Judge. The tea room is also home to Lambert’s 10-point deer, whose head hangs above two pink velvet high-back antique chairs and a lamp made from a vintage perm machine. (Shelton’s own 10-point hangs in the bar.)
In the neighboring main dining room, dubbed 2nds Please, wooden tables painted white are set with antique china, orange juice glasses and pink, purple and turquoise bandannas, tied to serve as napkins. There’s a large wagon wheel on the wall above the coffee and tea counter, where guitar-shaped spoon holders help catch drips. Those horse barn beams reappear on the ceiling, this time painted white. Addison tells me the space was formerly a beauty parlor that hadn’t been active since 1946.
“I had the beautician up here before we opened,” she says. “I asked, ‘What do you think?’ She goes, ‘Well, you can’t do hair here anymore, can you?’ It was really hilarious.”
It’s here where all The Ladysmith guests assemble for breakfast at 9 a.m. daily. I am still full from the morning’s menu, which offered Greek yogurt with bananas, granola and honey, a main course of caramelized ham, garlic, peppers and cheddar baked with eggs and torn Hawaiian rolls in individual cast-iron skillets until fluffy and golden brown, and spiced apples topped with oats and house-made whipped cream.
At breakfast, some guests chose to dine in the comfy, floor-length robes (in hot pink and white) provided in each guest room. Others were dressed in boots and jeans, showing off shiny belt buckles and turquoise jewelry. The large dining area anchors the second floor, also home to three of the B&B’s eight guest rooms. Each is playfully themed with antiques and decor, and the kitschy room titles include Curtain Call, Knaughty Pine and Working Man Blues.
In The Judge, a spacious suite featuring shimmery wallpaper, high ceilings and his-and-her pedestal sinks, a chandelier hangs above not only the linen-duvet covered king-size bed but the bathroom’s claw-foot tub. Chandeliers, in fact, are everywhere in the B&B, including a large, fringed version that hangs above the staircase on the second level. This one is Lambert’s favorite.
Downstairs in the lobby, where incoming guests are greeted with chocolate chip cookies, more fascinating finds abound, including a vintage wooden confessional, an antique suit of shining armor painted pink and a 1940s tilt-a-whirl carnival ride bench.
Addison tells me that Oklahoma-based interior designer Phara Queen worked with Lambert on merging her antiques and wares with modern touches. It was Queen who presented Lambert with the wide-ranging curtain and wallpaper patterns on display throughout the B&B. Prints range from pink lipstick kisses and dripping candles to paisleys and, of course, chandeliers.
Two years before launching The Ladysmith, Lambert single-handedly spurred economic development into Tishomingo’s main drag by opening The Pink Pistol, her colorful boutique brimming with all things Miranda, like fringed boots, sequined miniskirts, dangly revolver earrings, a ’50s-style ice cream float and sundae bar, and even an events lounge open for drinks and snacks, called The Ponderosa, located in the back.
“It was kind of a dying town before she opened The Pink Pistol two years ago,” Addison says. “Once that was open, other little boutiques and shops started opening up on Main Street.”
I had visited the shop the day before (apparently missing Lambert, who visited a few hours earlier) and scooped up souvenir T-shirts and bejeweled ball caps for my Lambert-loving friends back home. Shopping was followed by an evening visit to The French Quarter bar, where everyone was sipping Randaritas, Lambert’s signature cocktail made of vodka, raspberry-lemonade (Crystal Light is her sponsor, so the brand’s version is used) and diet lemon-lime soda. The bartender told me the folks from Southern Living magazine had been there a few weeks earlier.
A Stevie Ray Vaughan cover could be heard from the band playing next door in the Platinum Ballroom, The Ladysmith’s newly opened live music venue and event space. On the weekends, it’s where most B&B guests eventually migrate. (Those who don’t will still hear the happenings of the ballroom from their sleeping quarters, if a band is on the schedule.) The space has already hosted numerous birthday parties, class reunions and even weddings. Diehard fans, Addison says, are excited to be married under the space’s archway of antlers, the same used for Lambert and Shelton’s own nuptials.
With the amount of building history and Lambert’s storied knickknacks, the tales seem endless here. A bootlegger once ran liquor out of the first floor during Prohibition — only for those who knew the lobby phone number. The mirrors in the men’s restroom upstairs, which is named “White Liar” after a Lambert song, are made from old ship windows. And the ballroom used to be a dry goods store. Addison says folks stop by all the time asking for tours, but non-guests are only allowed in the lobby and only if they’re cordial.
“It ruins the experience for our guests if you’ve got a bunch of people traipsing through here.”
Addison admits with all of the B&B-opening hubbub, she’s a bit of a local celebrity by osmosis, becoming known as “the lady who runs The Ladysmith.” But she is quick to note it’s Lambert who makes everyone shine.
“The woman’s brain never shuts off. She never quits thinking,” Addison says. “She’s just a simple girl with a lot of big ideas. I can’t imagine she’s done.”
Lambert’s also recently opened Redemption Ranch in Tishomingo, a five-acre safe haven for abandoned dogs funded by MuttNation Foundation, Lambert’s nonprofit that aims to end animal cruelty, neglect and homelessness. A renovated Airstream serves as the office.
In an email interview, Lambert wrote that her love of repurposing vintage finds came from her mother.
“I grew up in old houses, and she made them very homey and used a lot of antiques,” she wrote.
Regarding the inspiration for her entrepreneurial spirit, she wrote, “I love to see places come to life. And I love finding great people to work with and seeing their creativity make the business eclectic and fun. Good people are the key to making anything work.”
Bed & Breakfast
221 W. Main St.
Getting there: Tishomingo is a two-hour drive from Fort Worth. Travel north on Interstate 35 and then briefly head east on U.S. 82 in Gainesville before going north on U.S. 377 straight into town.
Rates: $200-$320 per night. Rooms accommodate up to two people.
Good to know: The Ladysmith is open to guests 21 and older. Pets are not permitted but the staff will provide local boarding options. Three of the B&B’s eight rooms share a common bath area. The Ladysmith is also home to a live music ballroom next door. Bands can be heard in guest rooms, so visit during an off-night if looking for a quiet stay.
Local dining: Options are minimal, but standouts include The Rockin’ Rib and Grill, a home-cooking dive serving stuffed pork chops, mushroom-topped rib-eye steaks and hefty shrimp and grits, and Gonzalez Mexican Restaurant, where the tortilla soup is made with rich, savory broth and topped with freshly diced avocado. Many guests like to order delivery from the local pizza joint and eat in the B&B’s on-site bar.
Tishomingo attractions: A lengthy visit to The Pink Pistol, Lambert’s expansive boutique across the street from The Ladysmith, is a must. Plan for drinks at the vintage soda fountain or in The Ponderosa lounge, which is in the back of the store. Outdoorsy types will love hiking alongside the picturesque, spring-fed waters of the Blue River, about 10 miles from the B&B and known for fantastic fishing. The Tishomingo Wildlife Refuge, five miles south, is a popular destination for photographers, bird watchers and hunters. There’s also Tishomingo’s nine-hole public golf course and the Chickasaw Council House Museum, which features one of the largest collections of Chickasaw art, artifacts and archive materials in the United States.