In 2004, Lynette and her husband Jerry were looking for a historic house with a few acres of ground and came across a gem. A Christmas tree farm with a house on the National Historic register. The property was originally a 302 acre dairy farm that was subdivided in the early 1980’s into 10 – 13 acre lots. The circa 1760 house on the property had been restored but the property needed a lot of work as the previous owner had fallen sick.
We spent many years, nurturing the Christmas Trees already planted, clearing out the overgrown areas (so many stickers and barbed wire), cutting down the Christmas Trees that were too large to sell and replanting a new crop year after year. We didn’t know much about planting and nurturing the trees in our early years and lost most of what we planted, but we learned and were able to be open each Christmas season welcoming guests to our farm. We added several things over the first 5 years, such as wearing vintage clothing to match the age of the house, partnering with the local boy scout troop, a working blacksmith shoppe (Willis, best story teller ever!), campfire, handmade gifts and greens made on-site to create an experience for our guests that would be remembered for years and passed on to their children as a family tradition.
As the Christmas Tree farm grew in popularity, our Christmas season guests starting asking if they could get married on the farm. So about 11 years ago, we turned our attention on restoring the rest of the property including the barns that were destroyed before purchasing the farm, while still maintaining the Christmas Tree operation. We started with outdoor events while collecting restored and historical materials and working on restoring the barn into a beautiful wedding and event venue.
Our event tours start with a walk through the Christmas Tree farm to the wedding pavilion that has views of the C&D Canal. We promote the history of the farm during those tours bringing the couple closer to the farm. We also let the couple know that they and their guests have exclusive use of the farm on their wedding day making it ‘theirs to use for the day’.
The wedding venue has been a labor of love. We have collected and used many repurposed materials from local sites that date back 100+ years. Our wood floors in the Ballroom and Pub were milled from reclaimed 100+ year old beams from a local mill, the custom bar in the Pub is made from flooring of that same mill, and our large windows throughout the building are from the early 1800’s , still have the original wavy glass and are from a building in Delaware City that was one of the two hotels in that city during that time frame. We even have a painting of that building in the Ballroom to connect the two. The entrance to the Pub also has a large wrought iron gate that was in the original Bank in Lewes as the gate you had to enter before getting to the vault. There are many more reclaimed items in the building including a claw foot tub, handmade doors, lighting, wall treatments and furniture. We even unearthed an old hitching post (metal horses head) and ‘Cattle Crossing Sign’ and reinstalled them on the property. It’s exciting to hear our couples talk about the history and repurposed items during their actual wedding with their guests. We have even been pulled into the conversation to have us tell their guest more! It shows the connection the couple has made to the farm and its place in their heart.
The Ballroom at Windsor (named after the historic house) officially opened as the state of Delaware was closed down for the pandemic. It broke our heart as we were ready to share the building with couples and the community. We never lost hope and knew things would open up again and couples would once again be able to celebrate their love. Also, by creating that connection between one of their biggest days of their life and our farm those couples would return to the farm with their families to continue or create a new family tradition.