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The Old Farmhouse at Willet Ponds Horse Farm in Todd offers... More than a place to stay: an Appalachian farm experience.
It's all about the farm, and the peaceful, enriching experience your family will have here. Interact with our farm animal favorites: Lucy the pot-bellied pig, Solomon the long-eared donkey, several horses and our very friendly dogs. Watch our delightful Farmhouse VIDEO to see the whole menagerie in action and to better understand what a visit could mean to your family (scroll down to 'Links to More Information').
A week in the country is worth a month in town. Treat yourself to the simple joys of life and discover why we have an extremely high guest return rate. Join us in feeding our flock of 30 chickens, gathering eggs, and waking to the rooster’s crow--it's therapeutic!
“This was the best week of my life,” said one 4-year-old guest, speaking for most of the children who have experienced our farm and fallen in love with the “Little House on the Prarie” style Old Farmhouse. Indeed, what we hear time and time again is that Willet Ponds Farm is the perfect vacation spot for any animal lover or country romantic who needs a break from the suburbs.
This quaint, century-old farmhouse offers an excellent venue for experiencing the Appalachian countryside: fresh mountain air, babbling brooks, nature at your doorstep. Tucked away on a dead-end road with extensive hiking trails right on the property, the Old Farmhouse takes one back to a slower day, a simpler time. Generous decking wraps around three sides, ending in a covered porch from which unfolds the brilliant green valley and a pastoral scene that will keep you dreaming wistfully from the porch swing.
The house has been well lived in and well loved for generations. It’s authentic—not a log cabin kit popped up on a hillside. There is spirit and character here. The Old Farmhouse is picture perfect in every way your imagination tells you a quaint Appalachian farmhouse should be. Antique furniture, rustic wormy chestnut cabinetry, knotty pine and hardwood floors, handmade quilts, and vintage photographs will convince you of its Appalachian heritage.
A spacious, well-equipped kitchen, comfortable family room, and attractive sunroom with double French doors give you plenty of space to relax inside. The farmhouse has two charming bedrooms on the ground level, each with a double bed, plus two upstairs “attic” bedrooms (two single beds each) that will enchant your children—they absolutely love it here.
Willet Ponds, our 100-acre farm, is 5 minutes from historic Todd (the famous General Store and Mercantile bakery), and the scenic New River (tubing, canoeing/kayaking/rafting, fishing, & swimming, not to mention easy bike riding along the river), 15 minutes to Elk Knob State Park, and only 20 minutes to either Boone or West Jefferson. From Boone you’ll have easy access to the ski slopes, Tweetsie, shopping in Blowing Rock, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and Grandfather Mountain. But be sure to schedule in some down time to just enjoy the profound serenity of the property, to watch the horses graze.
The adventurous can work up an appetite hiking the 3-mile loop trail over our private mountainside, taking in awesome views of a 100-ft. waterfall cascade and of the valley below, then enjoy the thrill of fishing in the trout pond to put dinner on the table (fishing poles provided). You can explore two mountain streams on the property that are just the right size to play in, then roast marshmallows at the convenient bonfire pit. As dusk falls, the spring peepers begin to sing a chorus while countless fireflies rise from the pasture, performing a natural light show rivaled only by the brilliant night sky that’s so full of stars, it can only be imagined from the city.
Cozy in Winter: While the house does not have a usable fireplace, the Toyostove heater features the glow of a fire and keeps the house cozy on the coldest nights.
No A/C: The Old Farmhouse does not have, or, in most cases, need, air conditioning. Keep the windows open and enjoy the babbling brook and the breeze. One recent guest from Florida admitted she was a bit worried about staying at a place without A/C in July, but afterwards said, 'The house was very pleasant. It's got God's central air. I wouldn't change a thing. Please don't change a thing!'
In addition to our horses, friendly dogs, chickens, peacocks, pot-bellied pig, rabbits, donkey (and whatever else the cat drug home), we also live on this, our dream farm, in a house across the way (not too close). We personally manage the Old Farmhouse, making it clean and comfortable, in hopes that you’ll feel that you’re staying in a home, not a generic rental cabin. We make sure to take care that you have everything you need, be it a cup of flour or freshly lain free-range eggs.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ve made room for you here, too.
Favorite Things to Do
On the Property: 1) Roast marshmallows at the fire ring. 2) Walk the hiking trail up to the seldom-seen falls. 3) Feed the chickens and gather eggs. 4) Search for treasures hidden around the farm. 5) Fish in the trout pond. 6) Help with barn chores.
Horse Rides: many guests ask about riding our horses. While we’re not a riding stable open to the public, we do offer guided trail rides and/or riding lessons to our guests. We charge $50 per horse per ride (kids can share one horse). Because we need to arrange our schedules for horse activity, please let us know your interests in advance, whenever possible.
Rates are firm & non-negotiable. We offer a 2.5% discount for payment by check. You will find no better value for your vacation dollar. We are fair, friendly & easy to work with.
Policy available by contacting owner when booking.
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Petting Zoo (Donkey, pig, horses, dogs), Fishing Pond, Hiking Trails to Waterfall on Property, Marshmallow Roasting, Firefly Catching, Bird Watching, Camping, plus everything else you could possibly want to do in the high country, very close to New River outfitters for tubing and boating.
Year Purchased: 2003
About the owner: Walton and Betty Conway are hosts and caretakers of the farm. While Walton grew up in the city dreaming of life in the country and desperately wanting a horse, Betty grew up in the High Country on a small family farm, where her dad kept horses, chickens, rabbits, beagles, goats, and whatever else he took a fancy to. She can't remember not having a horse to ride, or a bored moment. Though she sold her horse when she was 16 to buy a car, and drove off to Florida, Texas, then Canada, the mountains and country living always had a pull on her. Finally, she gave in and returned to the place that was dearest to her heart, and is now delighted to give her children the mountain roots and country upbringing that have meant so much to her. Living in the beautiful, peaceful mountains, surrounded by farm critters great and small, has been a dream come true for Walton and Betty. We are thrilled to be able to share the dream with vacationers who would like to sample this lifestyle, if only for a week.
Why the Owner Chose Boone: Years ago, back in the 1940’s, the farm got started by brothers Robey and Noah Greer, who together owned pretty much the whole valley. The Old Farmhouse belonged to Betty’s great uncle Robey, while Noah built the Pioneer House just a little bit further up the hollow. They made a living raising sheep and cattle, running a saw mill, trapping, bee keeping, wild crafting, and doing whatever else they could to live off their land, as was typical on any such Appalachian family farm. Though it left the family and changed hands a number of times, and got divided up over the years, the heart of the farm was still intact and up for sale when we found ourselves looking for the perfect place to settle down, pasture our horses, and raise our children. It was a wonderful feeling to be able to bring the place back into the family, and continue on a tradition and lifestyle that Betty’s family has known for many generations. In 2003 we bought what portion we could of Robey’s half of the farm, and over the course of a couple years were able to build a new farmhouse, then turn the Old Farmhouse into a guest house/vacation rental. There is a wonderful spirit to the place; I suppose that is why everyone falls in love with it and is so eager to return at the next opportunity.
The farm history took a surprising turn in 2013. Noah’s son, Barton, had lived in the run-down Pioneer House up until his death in 2004, at which time Noah’s half of the farm, still intact, fell to Barton’s daughter, Della. Her husband saw big dollar signs in this windfall, and began to turn the farm into—gasp!!--a housing development. During the development process, the economy went bust and he went bankrupt. Our prayers were answered when the large portion of Noah’s farm adjoining our tract was offered for sale in 2013; we jumped at the opportunity to save the old farm and bring the Greer brothers’ farm back together. Ever since we have been steeped in a farm-restoration project.
The Unique Benefits at this Farmhouse: To leave the sounds of the city behind, and soak up the peaceful serenity of the country seasons, is a balm for the soul. The hard work of never-ending farm chores is so very much offset by the beauty of the quiet valley that the chores become a pleasure. They are the antidote to sitting in front of a computer monitor from 9 to 5. We do have full-time jobs that take us to Boone, which serves as our daily reminder that we live in heaven. We look forward to and count as precious the days we don't have to go anywhere, the days we can spend all day working, playing, and relaxing at our year-round vacation home here at Willet Ponds Horse Farm.