Making a Way
It is the picture-perfect movie set and it would probably do well in that capacity--much better than it does in its authentic capacity. It's a horse ranch with a pre-Civil War era classical federal style home complete with four fireplaces and two sets of stairs. How could it possibly be defunct? I mean can't something be done with a house with two sets of stairs? And all those horse stalls? Surely, this property can be recycled. It should be more than just another new mall! We were getting excited. We set to work creating it. And, in the Spring of 2008, it was finally completed:
And in the Fall of 2008, so was our economy. The build-it and they will come model wasn't really working for us anyway. It turned out no one wanted to come to a bed and breakfast where the closest store within miles around was a suped up...well? Ummm. I guess you'd call it a Gas Station.
But we locals refer to it as "Rocky Top" because to us it is so much more. I mean, you can get stuff there--more than just fuel. This is a restaurant! A grocery store! Even a place to buy birthday gifts. You can also buy ....ummm, candy!
I bought a watch there the other day, too. It was for Kiefer, but still.... he thought it was cool. I think it is going to be all the rage....very soon.
Okay, maybe I'm not the best judge of fashion, or maybe it's that around here--this is as fashionable as it gets. The point is that Rocky Top did not find it's way into the heart of visitors in the way that it has the locals and we had a hard time filling the Ashley Inn with guests. But we were determined to make a way.
So we went to work on the horse side of the farm. And, the horses came!
It turns out that horses have a hard time paying for themselves, unfortunately. The cost to maintain these giant pets is astronomical. We needed to find another way.
Another way presented itself in the form of a fairy tale: A bride knocked on the door and asked if she could get married on the ranch and have her bridal party stay in the Inn. Great idea! Why didn't we think of that? Since that day, we've had 45 weddings at the Ashley Inn on Meadow Lake Equestrian Center. But there were several acres of land still soaking up the greenbacks at a ravenous rate. We needed still another something way.
Then we remembered them, the people who had found a way to make their own failing farming industry turn a new corner--quite literally.
We had these long-time friends from our first church in Washington. People who created the Washington State Corn Maze. For a year we met with them and they showed us the way. And....the Civil War Corn Maze, with all of the charm of Scarlet O'Hara's beloved South, was born.
And, finally, the people came....
Okay, so this is my son--but still, he's people! And, he likes it and he helped create it--so I'm giving him some credit here in the blog. What else are blogs for? Plus it keeps the grandparents coming back for more and I'm not sure anyone but the grandparents reads this blog yet, so I've got to please my audience of 3 most of all.
And, happy ending, the horses get to stay even with their mad-eating and out-of-control high maintenance issues.
If it seems crazy to you, imagine being the ones in the middle of it all--and this is not the
end of the story--there is more, so, so much more. All I can stay is: stay tuned....I'm
growing my blog-writing skills and learning the tools of photography as fast as I can.
And, if you want to see a funny video, we just made, paste this into your browser: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugeqKHuc2NY
October 13, 2011 | Share: