Hose Stamp Inn - October 15, 2012 - Florida/Georgia Times-Union
October 15, 2012
WAVERLY | At most hotels, you’d get turned away if you try to sneak in a toy poodle.
A Camden County bed and breakfast says you can bring your horses. At least that’s the goal.
When Tom and Chris Hutcheson bought a big house a few miles off Interstate 95 and moved there from Denver earlier this year, they had plans to convert it to a bed and breakfast. But the house came with some extras: a barn, a pasture and a pond fed by a flowing well.
Then came the other surprise: Tom Hutcheson, now 60, had apparently outgrown his horse allergy and never noticed.
“I didn’t know it was a working ranch,’’ he said of his tour of the house and 16 acres. It had cattle, horses, a vegetable garden and beehives. When he stepped into the barn, Hutcheson said, “Oh, no. I’m allergic to horses. This probably isn’t going to work.’’
But then to his surprise there was no sneezing, wheezing, no swollen eyes, none of he symptoms he suffered in his youth.
So it did work, and they bought the big, two-story house from the man whose wife had home-schooled their five young children there and began the conversion.
They had the interior painted, which took good ladder work inside the two-story living room, slept on an air mattress and used the screened back porch for a living room for weeks.
The easiest part may have been naming it. What else would you name an inn that will cater to horse owners at its Horse Stamp Road location besides Horse Stamp Inn?
They can sleep 10 people in four upstairs rooms and one suite — suitable for honeymooners — that are each named after famous horses. They promise astonishingly comfortable beds.
When they first visited, they stayed at The Lodge at Sea Island on St. Simons and were amazed at the comfort.
“These beds just enveloped you in comfort,’’ Tom Hutcheson said. “So we took the bed apart. We got the name and put it back together.”
They tracked down the supplier and bought them for their inn. Then Chris Hutcheson decorated the rest including artwork that they love. They have sofas and chairs on both sides of the enormous two-sided stone fireplace.
Tom Hutcheson had been in the “wet hose” fueling business in Colorado. He and a partner owned a business that went in at night and topped off the fuel tanks in company fleets and also did roadside maintenance and repairs on their trucks.
He sold the business, bought it back and then sold it for a second profit giving him enough money to buy the house and land.
They had looked at other places including an inn in Tryon, N.C., a wealthy city south of Asheville closer to the mile-high plus elevation from their former Colorado home. Built in the late 1800s, the inn had its own problems including some very old wiring that needed replacement.
So they landed near sea level and dug in to southern life.
They’ve had some corporate retreats, a couples retreat and some wedding parties. They’ve already had some bookings for next year and want to expand their offerings.
“Christmas parties,’’ Chris Hutcheson said. “Perhaps a great chef cooking for a weekend.”
As for the everyday cooking, Tom Hutcheson is “the bacon master’’ and Chris does the rest.
“She makes unbelievable peach French toast,’’ he said.
The eggs from the chicken house out back are guaranteed fresh and she’s planted collards, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and other winter crops in her raised bed garden out back.
She admits, however, that’s a new experience because the coastal Georgia climate calls for different vegetables than those she grew in Colorado.
Once they mature, she’ll cook them in big pots and pans, something she’s done a long time.
“We raised five kids,’’ she said. “We’re used to having a lot of teenagers in our home and cooking mass quantities. Now you have to have some presentation.”
They both claim to be still learning and not just about gardening.
“Our goal is to get it where people can come bring their horses,’’ she said.
A couple already did for a weekend and even brought their own hay. That weekend went well, but the Hutchesons say they have a lot to learn.
The horse owner, Sissy McGraw of Brunswick, said it was wonderful one-night getaway and the Hutchesons have less to learn than they think.
"They only need to know the basics,'' and provide the basics because horse owners like to take care of their own animals, she said.
"The barn was wonderful. The food was wonderful. They were wonderful,'' McGraw said. "I'd definitely go back."
They hear that people with really expensive horses like to keep them apart from others.
For those who don't, their horses can spend time with Belle, their resident horse, the one on the inn's billboards.
They also have Kylie, a friendly lab mix that has the run of the place, and a pond stocked with nameless fish.
by Terry Dickson: (912) 264-0405