This quaint Airbnb in Lewisburg is a product of love and boundless creativity.
written by Karin FUller
The tale sounds like something from a storybook. She—an artist—meets him—a musician—in a town so cool and quaint it gets recognized nationally for its charms. Together they have a son and buy an art-filled, fairytale cottage which they make available for others to enjoy via the magical world of Airbnb.
The characters in this story are Mary Hurst, a talented oil painter, and her husband, Russell Hurst, a classically trained violinist who toured internationally before settling down in Lewisburg, where he teaches violin to students of all ages.
The Hursts say their work and life have always been nicely intertwined, and their Downtown Artist Cottage grew from a mutual love for art, nature, healthy living, and each other. When the home went up for sale in 2013, they booked a viewing out of curiosity and immediately fell in love.
“There were artistic surprises everywhere,” Mary Hurst says. “The house was filled with hidden clay sculptures, and there were amazing mosaics on the walls and floors that were made by the previous owner, Jessica Levine.” An accomplished multi-media artist, Levine had also turned the yard into “a veritable nature center” by transplanting greenery native to West Virginia around her sculptures.
The couple added many of their own touches—a gas fireplace, modern appliances, additional tile work, and structural upgrades. Several of Hurst’s paintings are displayed at the cottage along with pieces from other artists, the majority from West Virginia. “It’s been a labor of love,” Hurst says. “We approached it as a big art project.”
Comments guests have posted on their Airbnb page show how special the place is. “This charmingly eclectic, one-of-a-kind cottage made our brief stay a special occasion,” wrote Airbnb guest Barbara of her July 2022 stay at the Hurst house. “Just when we thought we’d discovered all its quirky treasures, there was something new just around the next asymmetrical corner. Nice touches like fresh flowers on the table, troublefree Wi-Fi, and a well-supplied kitchen added to the pleasure. If there were a National Register of Memorable Places, this would have our vote.”
Amenities at the cottage include a covered porch, a firepit, and an infrared sauna. One thing the cottage does not have is a television, since they wanted to provide a relaxing retreat where guests can step out of their normal routines. For those who want to work or watch a favorite TV show, the cottage does have high-speed Wi-Fi as well as a Sonos music system.
The couple didn’t originally intend to rent their cottage to vacationers, but when allowing family friends to stay there went well, they decided to make their home available on Airbnb seasonally. “It took off so quickly that, before we knew it, we were buying another house down the street so we could offer our cottage year-round,” Hurst says.
The Airbnb helps the members of this family sustain their artistic life-paths. “It’s a perfect fit for our non-traditional lifestyles,” Hurst says. “It allows me the flexibility to do my art and astrology—and parent our son, Marten, who will soon turn seven—all within a stone’s throw of our current home.”
Mary Hurst’s art—oil paintings and colored pencil works—can be seen online at maryhurstartist.com as well as at art fairs. Russell Hurst continues to develop his music business and, along with in-person classes, offers remote lessons to children across the country at heartstrings.com. His music videos can be found at @theduelingfiddlers on YouTube.
Interested in staying at this unique locale? Find information on availability and booking on airbnb.com.