In 2017, we raised $392k through our non-profit to purchase land near the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia to create the Wild + Free Farm Village.
After two years of searching, we've finally acquired a 177-acre retreat center in Highland County, Virginia, also known as "Little Switzerland."
The grounds include a main lodge, ropes course, barn, several cabins, mountain streams, and acres of forested trails. We'll take possession of the property this fall and begin preparing it for our own purposes.
The Wild + Free Farm Village will be a place where the stars shine a bit brighter, the trails lead you to another place in time, and the mountain views take your breath away. We can't wait to experience it with you!
After our initial attempt to purchase land for the Farm Village fell through last year, we took some time to regroup and fine-tune our search criteria.
In May 2018, we were sitting in bed on a Saturday morning, drinking coffee, talking about the Farm Village, when we decided to scan properties on Zillow. We refreshed the webpage and suddenly a new listing appeared.
It was a fully-operational retreat center near the Blue Ridge Mountains, complete with a lodge, ropes course, multiple cabins, a dorm with 90 bunks, and access to thousands of acres in the adjoining George Washington National Forest. In other words, the perfect place.
The trouble was - it was listed at $3.4 million dollars, and we had raised only $392k. Still, out of curiosity, we called the listing agent to schedule a tour. As it turned out, we had discovered it the minute she had posted it.
It was a remarkable place with 375 acres, mountain streams, a zip-line and ropes course, a commercial kitchen and dining hall. There was an ideal spot for an event barn and a lake where two springs come together.
We spent several weekends exploring the land and months getting to know the current owner, a wonderful man who loved what we were doing. But in the end, we both had to accept the truth - we just couldn't afford it. We knew it was time to release it and move on, if only in action and not heart.
Well, nearly one year later, in a miraculous turn of events, the camp offered to sell us 177 acres (including the lodge, a few cabins, the ropes course, and mountain stream, among other things) for $425k. We signed the contract in May 2019 and took possession of the property in August.
The Wild + Free Farm Village will become a place where families can make unforgettable memories; mamas can come to be nourished; teens can spread their wings with time away; and children can learn about nature:
This fall 2019, we're hosting several retreats at the property (as it is) for the Wild + Free community. But our long-term plans include refurbishing the existing buildings and adding a lake, an outpost, and an event barn.
Here are the next few projects we plan to undertake, as we're able:
We're hosting a grand opening celebration in September and vision gatherings in various places. We're looking for friends who have the gift of giving to help us bring this vision to life. You can make a donation here.
Where is the property located?
The property is located in Head Waters, Virginia in Highland County (also known as "little Switzerland"), which boasts the lowest population in the state and the highest average elevation east of the Mississippi. It's an hour and a half west of Charlottesville and four hours from Washington, DC.
Can I come and visit the property?
This August, we'll schedule a work-weekend to clean-up the place, and this fall, we'll host a vision gathering for interested donors. But because of liability issues, operational costs, and facility needs, we won't be able to host other gatherings or guests until we can raise funds, complete much-needed repairs, and make the property useful for our own purposes.
Will you be moving to the property full-time?
A wonderful family in the Wild + Free community, Brit and Heath Chambers, will be moving to the property this fall to look after the place. The Arments will continue to live in Virginia Beach and travel to host events at the farm.
How can we help?
This is a huge vision, and we can't do it on our own. We're looking for friends who have the gift of giving, the gift of serving, or both, to help us bring this vision to life. Here are several ways you can help:
+ To make a tax-deductible donation or recurring gift, click here.
+ If you have the gift of giving and would like to be invited to attend a gathering for prospective donors at the property this fall, email us.
How to contact us:
If you would like to mail a donation, ask other questions, send notes, or offer help in any other way, please email us. We'd love to hear from you.