This one is a trail rider’s dream come true.
Last week we brought you the story of a retiring couple who decided to give their farm away by way of an essay contest. Applicants were requested to explain in 1,000 words why they would like to win the farm and what they would do with the property, as well as submit a $200 entry fee. A gamble, for sure, but SOMEBODY out there is going to win the farm of their dreams for less than the cost of a month’s board and that’s pretty cool.
Now another couple is following suit: 300 or less dazzling words accompanied by 200 bucks could win you a working equestrian lodge with a backdoor key to the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area in East Tennessee. The property includes 14 acres, a seven-room lodge, two cabins, a six-car garage, 10 barns with 42 stalls, hay barn and stocked ponds.
A few photos of the rustic cabins and stables:
Perhaps its biggest asset, however, is its location on the border of a National Recreation Area. It offers direct access to over 200 miles of horse trails maintained by the National Park Service and, as someone who has spent many hours exploring the Park on horseback myself, I can attest to its beauty — a rugged patchwork quilt of dense forests, craggy bluffs and stunning river gorges. It’s particularly breathtaking in the autumn, when the leaves come alive in crayon-box hues of crimson, burnt orange and gold.
The lodge and stables offer a turnkey business opportunity for its new owner. Current owners Jim and Claudia Barker are retiring across the street and have offered to train the contest winner in how to keep things running.
The contest website includes a letter from Claudia outlining how she and Jim came to be involved with the property in 2002, and what the Lodge means to them personally.
“We have greatly enjoyed the guests at the lodge and a great many of them we have adopted as family. We have learned many, many things along the way and have a few regrets, but would do it all again in the wink of an eye — provided we could be 30 years younger,” Claudia explains. “So, we wish you all good luck, we look forward to reading your essays and since we will be helping select our new neighbors, we look forward to welcoming you to Big South Fork.”
Contest entrants essays are asked to explain “how owning this property would change your life and your expectations of owning your own business” and must be submitted online by Jan. 1, 2016. Claudia and Jim are hoping to receive a minimum of 3,000 entries and reserve the right to cancel the contest and refund entry fees if that quota is not met. In addition to the contest, the property is still available for purchase and the owners say they will consider all offers. Interested parties can contact Jim and Claudia to arrange a viewing appointment.