Originally published in The Big Blue, Vol 1 Issue 2. 2007. The Frey’s no longer operate their B&B.
By Mitone L. Griffith
In 1999 after years of entrepreneurship in Charlotte and tired of the big city life, William and Candace Frey sought refuge in the healing hills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Lacking any farming experience and endowed with only a love for animals and a simpler way of life, they embarked on a seven year journey to the completion of their dream, a beautiful Bed and Breakfast and 30 (soon to be 41) walking, chewing, sweet little goldmines.
“Hope springs eternal” must have been a driving force behind their huge undertaking, for when it was all said and done, they named their 100 acre Alpaca farm, bed and breakfast, and retreat “Inn at Hope Springs Farm.”
The Frey’s bed and breakfast is an upscale romantic inn created to look like an antebellum plantation and filled with many beautiful antiques. Its style is a reproduction of a Louisiana Plantation with three stories of porches and balconies that look at the crest of the mountain, Indian Ridge. The back of the manor overlooks the upper pond. There are six elegantly appointed bedrooms, three queens, and three kings, all with full baths: two have whirlpool tubs in bath suites, 2 have private balconies and one is an entire third floor suite with a private balcony, living area, kitchenette, bath and large bedroom with king size bed. All have beautiful views and access to an array of amenities to pamper and enhance the pleasure of anyone’s stay.
The elegance, luxury and sublime surrounds are like gifts to each person who comes for a stay or a visit to the farm. William and Candace worked seven long years just to be able to give this gift of themselves. Hope Springs Farm may have been their dream come true, but their dream inspires dreaming, starting at the beginning of their long driveway to their manor home and alpacas hidden far from the road’s view.
The Freys started carving out a farm from overgrown vegetation on their 100 acre property located in Willis, Virginia, in Floyd County, on State Route 221, halfway between Floyd and Hillsville, VA. Their land had sat vacant for about 15 years. The Freys were still living in Charlotte at the time, and driving up on weekends to work the land.
The original house had burned down years before. The only remaining evidence of former habitation was an old chimney, barn, former slave dwelling, chicken coop, sheds, lots of old apple, plum and pear trees, and a pond. They first built a guest house, a second pond and roads, while they stayed in a trailer there on the weekends.
After that, they lived in the guest house while building the manor, after which came two barns, and pastures. They purchased their first five alpacas in January 2002, and five more in June 2002. Their herd agisted at a farm in West Virginia until they brought them to Hope Springs Farm in December of 2005. The herd has now grown to 30 alpacas and 2 guard llamas. William and Candace expect eleven baby alpacas (crias) due this year, eight of them having been born May of this year.
Many people come to Hope Springs Farm just to see and touch alpacas and to learn about Incan Gold—the alpaca fiber that once only royalty could afford. Guests are allowed supervised handling of these beautiful animals. It’s a great photo opportunity, and all come away with an unforgettable experience. Some are inspired to seek out more information for investment or to start their own alpaca farm, or to learn to spin, or to take back pictures and fiber samples to classrooms of children eagerly learning about farm animals.
You may be stuck in the grind in a big city in your everyday life just as William and Candace were. Because of their dreams fulfilled, you can come out and dream a little yourself, hike trails in their 100 acre woods looking for Indian relics, feed chickens that free range on their farm, run with the border collies, kiss a baby alpaca on the nose, catch and release a catfish using a bamboo pole, fall asleep to a serenade of frogs, and awaken to a choir of singing birds. It’s a little bit of heaven on Earth, a “golden palace” at which to renew and refresh.
Good dates to come out and stay with the Freys would be Floyd County Homecoming & Harvest Festival – Sept. 15, 2007. They plan to have some special fun that day with the Alpacas. And make sure to get a room at the Inn during the Blue Ridge Wine Trail; find out more about that in this issue! Reserve a room at Hope Springs Farm by calling 540-789-3276 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You can learn more about them at www.innathopespringsfarm.com. Inn at Hope Springs Farm is located at 6847 Floyd Highway South, Willis, VA 24380.