Using the land
The trend of repurposing farmland does seem to be picking up steam in this region. As many as 75 weddings were held on working farms in Page County last year, estimates
Gina Hilliard, president of that county’s Chamber of Commerce, and two more farm venues will soon be available. In Madison County, Bald Top Brewing Company opened a taproom last year in a renovated barn on the historic WoodBourne Estate farm, which dates back to 1810. The brewery currently grows five varieties of hops.
Just a few weeks ago, the sixth annual Doah Fest, a weekend of music and camping, was held on a private farm on the Shenandoah River in Luray. Earlier in July, the same farm was the site of Shensara, a yoga and meditation festival. And, this October, a new event called the Peak Leaf Music and Brewers Festival will be held on a farm near Middletown, Va., in Frederick County. It’s the creation of Tyler and Angel Wakeman, who, in 2016, moved from Charlotte, N.C., back to the farm that’s been in his family for more than 100 years.
The couple is running cattle on 50 of the 150 acres, and also raising chickens, hogs and produce. But they plan to explore other ways to use the land, starting with the music and beer festival. “Other businesses here seem to be all for it,” said Tyler. “We’re trying to bring money into the community.”
Angel said they also want to look at doing weddings and day camps for kids on the property. “It’s all about how fast you can jump on the train,” she said.
“If it’s a success, I want people to look at it and say, ‘This can be done. We can make these events. We can bring people to Rappahannock and show them what we have to offer.’”