Stylish sports retreat

Stylish sports retreat

It’s so ironic that years ago when my husband and I first bought our lake house in northern Alabama, we were exploring the area and came upon a sophisticated small, white brick southern living-looking house and we were intrigued. It just stood out from the other houses perched on the bluffs on that part of Lake Wilson.


We were curious about the house, and then as fate would have it,  we ended up meeting the owners several years later and became great friends. Little did we know this “house,” was really a University of Tennessee alum’s football watching retreat like no other I’ve ever seen besides former U-T coach Phil Fulmer’s!!!!!  Yes, I really did see Fulmer’s many years ago as a reporter here in Nashville doing a feature on his wife at their home in Knoxville when the Vols were in the playoffs.  But I have a feeling Phil would be very proud of this nod to the Vols as well!

There’s even a football signed by then player and captain of the Vols in 1969, Phil Fulmer!

But that’s just the start!

Welcome to the unique retreat created by Milton and Mary Lynn Ellis. It didn’t start out this way. They’d purchased a big piece of land and built a pier first.

Next came a small two bedroom house, and then this party place with a great wide porch and an even bigger brick courtyard and fireplace with gorgeous views of the lake.

They figured it would be their retirement home one day, but they come here from Nashville on weekends regularly. I’ve featured the main house on the blog which you need to look up.  Louisiana Style is the title. It’s spectacular.

But back to the U-T inspired kitchen and football watching space!  There just can’t be a more loyal fan than Milton. But he was a cheerleader when he attended U-T so I guess that makes sense. Once a cheerleader, always a cheerleader.

That’s him with the big grin in the middle of this picture. Of course his sweater and countless articles from U-T’s winning days are framed and cover the walls. But what really catches your eye are the orange countertops in the kitchen.

And even a custom made U-T Vols pot rack.

This was crafted by Muscle Shoals based metal artist Odwin McGee and his wife Sandy, featured several years back on the cover of Garden and Gun.

A signed picture of legendary Vol Network broadcaster John Ward is part of the decor along with just about every kind of towel or platter you can imagine.

One thing that seems out of place is a LSU tiger light. Hmmmmm.  Did I mention Mary Lynn went to LSU? Yes ma’am, and she’ll jump up and sing their fight song passionately at the drop of a hat.  But she supports the Vols when they play any other team!

The main living room also features giant Nike shoes worn by a Vols’ wide receiver.

There’s a piece of turf  from a 1993 game that fans could buy.  If this turf could talk?!?


And these signed balls.  From both women’s basketball coach Holly Warlick and former men’s football coach Butch Jones. Thanks for the ride???

Did I forget to mention Milton and his family and friends get to the games in U-T style as well?!?  You betcha.  And we’ve been lucky enough to tag along several times.

I can’t begin to tell you how much fun and what a treat it’s been to go to a game in the comfort of a beautiful plane like this one.  My nephew and stepson rode with us last fall for a game, a weekend I  know I’ll never forget.

Whether you’re a Vols fan or not, you’ve got to admit this is a winner of a football fan’s game day retreat.  And you won’t find more loyal fans than Milton and Mary Lynn.  U-T nation is lucky to have their support.  And we’re lucky to have such generous friends who share their love of U-T football both at home, in the stadium, and in the air.


My thanks to Milton and Mary Lynn for sharing their U-T house with Stylish Retreats!!! Go Vols!!!









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