The tale of Moonshine Hill Inn is one of Cinderella stuff. Mix ugly duckling to swan transformation with sweat, passion and some of the prettiest land in the middle of Leiper’s Fork, and you have the charming saga of Moonshine Hill Inn.

“It was a dump, and I turned it into a shack. Then a cabin. Then it became paradise,” says owner Ann Johnson, who bought the house in 2000 after a divorce left her credit in shambles, and the dilapidated house was all she could afford.

Moonshine Hill Inn

Cuddle up by the fire at Moonshine Hill Inn. Image courtesy: Debbie Smartt, Smartt Images

Johnson bought “the worst house in the best, most beautiful place on earth” and began the process of creating what is now Moonshine Hill Inn. It was a journey that had her living in the house with no heat, tearing out rotted flooring and dreaming about what the place could become.

Today, the dream is realized in a magical house and grounds, complete with walking trails around the 20-acre property, an outdoor fireplace, a tree house folly, a log cabin and a covered, open-air tree branch pavilion called Moonshine Hill that overlooks the water.

Moonshine Hill with truck

Moonshine Hill Inn | Image courtesy Debbie Smartt, Smartt Images

Decorated with antiques and whimsy, Johnson says the property style is “hillbilly chic.” The centerpiece of the inn is a fireplace that is so large it holds a quarter of a rick of wood.

Voted by Great American Country as one of the top 10 places to stay in Nashville, and best inn by the Nashville Scene, Moonshine Hill Inn has seen its share of celebrities, including Kevin Bacon, Hank Williams Jr. and daughter Holly Williams, Dierks Bentley, Keb’ Mo’ and others.

Moonshine Hill Inn outdoors

Moonshine Hill Inn at night is rich with ambience, complete with string lighting and a fire pit. Image courtesy Moonshine Hill Inn

The inn is filled with comfortable chairs, perfect for snuggling up with a good book; trails for hiking and is minutes away from what locals call “the village,” a charming shopping area in Leiper’s Fork. Moonshine Hill hosts not just area visitors, but tourists from all over the world.

“One of the nicest compliments we ever got was from a couple who came to visit from China. The man wrote a lengthy note in our guest book, but it was all in Chinese. I finally found someone to interpret it, and he said that Moonshine Hill Inn was more beautiful than heaven,” says Johnson.

Moonshine Hill Inn guest book

The guest book for Moonshine Hill Inn | Image courtesy Moonshine Hill Inn

The inn is not a bed and breakfast — Johnson doesn’t cook for guests — but a country breakfast of eggs, biscuits and all the fixings is included from local eatery Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant,  just a few minutes away in the village.  The granite- and stainless-bedecked kitchen is fully stocked, as well.

With two bedrooms, Johnson says the inn works for family getaways or romantic weekends.

“The sheets are over-the-top, 1,000 thread count, we have locally made bath salts for the Jacuzzi tub and locally made chocolates on each bed waiting for you,” says Johnson, who also has big, fluffy dog beds, if you want to bring your fur babies.

Moonshine Hill tree house

The tree house at Moonshine Hill Inn | Image courtesy Moonshine Hill Inn

If you can tear yourself away from the large porch swing and stunning view, you are just a few minutes away from the Natchez Trace Parkway, shopping at Serenite Maison or any of the other charming shops in the village.  You can head a bit farther afield to Franklin, about 8 miles away, for more shopping and history or travel about 20 miles to Nashville for music and nightlife.

“Folks come here with all sorts of lists of things they want to do and see. But they often end up never leaving the property,” laughs Johnson, who says the inn casts a magical spell on its guests.

Magical or not, Moonshine Hill Inn is a respite of luxury with a touch of country charm. Johnson welcomes and invites you to sit a spell and experience a place more beautiful than heaven.