What happens when a restauranteur and a photographer with an unsatiable creative side come together?
For Steve Carpenter and Colleen Duffley, it was a marriage and partnership resulting in Andiamo Lodge—a destination on Lookout Mountain that is as experiential as it is exceptional in both service and detail. “Andiamo means let’s go in Italian,” says Colleen. “It seemed like the perfect name for our vision. Our goal was to create a place to curate memories for folks. Let’s go cook, let’s go hike, let’s go bike, let’s go relax, let’s go create.”
“If ever I run away from home, it will be to the Andiamo Lodge in Mentone, Alabama. It’s a refuge and a retreat, but mostly it’s a stylishly comfortable place to recharge.”Sandra Allen, guest
Colleen and Steve, both based on Florida’s 30-A, discovered Mentone while looking for a weekend getaway. “We wanted something less crowded, and we fell in love with this place from day one,” Colleen says. “The trails, scenery, and nature are incredible.” The couple bought a cottage on Little River, and when Colleen began posting photographs on Instagram, it drew attention from family and friends hoping to visit. “We wanted to share what we had, but we didn’t have room in our home,” Colleen says. “One day, we rode our bikes into Mentone and discovered a ‘for sale’ sign in front of a rundown lodge that was once a church camp. Steve and I looked at each other, and the rest is history.”
Opened in January 2022 after a 9-month renovation, the main lodge offers six rooms, each well-appointed with crisp linens, a fireplace, a private bath, and curated décor—antiques, collections, and art finds. A separate two-bedroom cottage with full kitchen is also available. Both cottages enjoy the lodge’s indoor and outdoor dining spaces, as well as the common living room appointed with comfy seating areas surrounding a stacked stone fireplace.
Guests may find themselves in the chef-style kitchen, the spot where Colleen and Steve (Steve is chef and owner of Crabby Steve’s and two other restaurants in and around Seacrest, Florida) whip up morning spreads of muffins, bacon- cheddar scones, banana bread, fruit and yogurt, and breakfast burritos. Afternoons are met with homemade ice cream in flavors such as lemon lavender, cherry, peanut butter cup, mint chocolate chip, and lemon basil. “I’m obsessed with ice cream,” Colleen says. And at five o’clock, guests are treated to delectable nibbles and artisanal libations from the fully-stocked bar housed in an antique wardrobe (culled from an auction during Colleen’s days as a photographer for Southern Living).
Colleen says no day or menu is exactly the same. “Most guests allow us to curate their vacation with meals and experiences,” she says. Those experiences range from yoga to mountain biking, kayaking, and hiking, as well as weekend events and classes with special guests and instructors.
“Steve and I call it Magical Mentone,” says Colleen. “We both enjoy taking care of people and sharing this special place that we love.”