The Bristol, a newly opened boutique hotel that straddles the Virginia/Tennessee line, is a restored 1925 architectural landmark. Opened last October, the boutique hotel embraces both the musical and industrial roots of Appalachia. Visitors come to Bristol to explore the town known as the “Birthplace of Country Music.”

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Design elements in the 65-room property include exposed brick walls, a former hand-crank elevator on display and entryways resembling Roman arches. Visitors can join local herbalists for wildcrafting classes, or take a banjo lesson. Lumac, the hotel bar, offers panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Vivian’s Table, the hotel restaurant, features scratch-made regional cuisine made with local ingredients. Other historic/sustainable elements include a lobby front desk made of recycled glass and a hanging glass sculpture composed of vintage soda bottles.

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The Bristol’s Discarded Denim program celebrates the town’s rich denim history. Guests can leave their unwanted denim at checkout and the hotel will donate it to the local Valley Institute Elementary School for its annual recycled textiles fashion show. Any excess denim will be sent to Blue Jeans Go Green.

The town takes pride in its denim company, L.C. King Denim Manufacturing, the oldest cut and sew factory in the U.S. In the early 1900s, Landon Clayton King was raising champion bird dogs at his home in the Appalachian Mountains. He needed tougher clothes to withstand the demands of farming and hunting, which inspired the denim line in the factory he opened in 1913. Today, his great-grandson Jack King runs the company, which has partnered with the Bristol Hotel to provide many of the design elements. Hotel restaurant, Vivian’s Table, uses L.C. King’s striped cloth on its chair seats. Hotel guests can even book behind the scenes factory tours to learn about denim manufacturing.

The Bristol’s denim recycling program is part of a much bigger movement. Since real denim is made mostly from cotton, it can be broken down and recycled into something new. Blue Jeans Go Green collects denim to upcycle into insulation. If you want to recycle your denim without going all the way to Bristol, Blue Jeans Go Green’s website lists drop off sites and ways to host your own collection party.

+ Bristol

Images via Bristol Hotel