Chattooga Belle Farm

We are always traveling the back roads of our area looking for new adventures. One day in nearby Long Creek, SC we stumbled upon Chattooga Belle Farm. The view from this location is simply put – stunning.  Unobstructed layered views of mountains and valleys from Black Rock to Rabun Bald to Whiteside. As we drove down Damascus Church Road we saw someone cleaning up the old orchard debris and a new building was going up.
What emerged is Chattooga Belle Farm, the vision of Ed Land. In 1958 it was known as Horseshoe Lake Farm.  It was purchased by three men including Groucho Marx.  During the 50’s and 60’s the farm was over 2,000 acres with over 1,600 acres in apple production.  Groucho sold his portion to Robert Horton, who starred in the old TV shows “Wagon Train” and “A man Called Shenandoah.”  The property continued to change hands and finally the farm went into demise in the early 1980’s and was sold off in pieces.
Several years ago Construction Contractor Ed Land was able to acquire 138 acres, the largest in-tact tract of the old operation. Since the acquisition he has cut and cleared old apple orchards and created a stunning new farm and events facility.  His vision is to put the old farm back into agriculture and to help promote tourism in the upstate region.
What sits on the property now is a portion of Ed’s agri-tourism vision.  He built a beautiful yet functional events venue that also facilitates his mission of restoring farm operations.  But the location is what provides such a stunning backdrop.  From the farm one has about 270 degrees of mountains to view.  I don’t want to get carried away but it is probably the most dramatic long-range view in the upstate. Long before Ed acquired this land Gayle and I envied the view and the undulation of the mountains.
To take full advantage of the view the building faces north and its immense doors fold out of the way.  Covered space is available to seat up to 100, but the outdoor patios will allow seating for over 250.  There is a catering kitchen, bride’s room and full service restrooms.  For weddings and events Chattooga Belle Farm can be rented by the full or ½ day.   They hosted their first wedding in April 2010 and already have 17 scheduled for 2011.
But farming is Ed’s true love and passion.  He saved a number of the original apple trees, principally Galas and Fujis.  He has added blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, scuppernongs, muscadines, table grapes, wine grapes, peaches, persimmons, plum, figs and quince.  As fruit becomes available during the season Chattooga Belle Farms offers u-pick or we’ll pick fresh fruit. Just give them a call and they will have a basket ready for you. There is also a farm store that offers some of the best apple butter I have tasted. They also sell jams, jellies and fresh fruit juice from their estate grown products.  Ed offers educational farm tours for schools and groups.  Soon Ed plans to add a canning and commercial restaurant kitchen to facilitate an expansion of both farm and events activities.
We walked the property with Ed and it feels vital and productive.  The events are important to support the increase in farm operations, but they also allow attendees to learn about the beauty and bounty of our region.  It remains the perfect place to view the stars. In fact, the Clemson University Astronomy Department uses Chattooga Belle Farm to bring telescopes to view our heavens.  It is dark there at night, very dark.
Chattooga Bell Farm is perfect for any gathering, large or small. For family reunions you have the backdrop of the great outdoors and there is over 100 acres of 18 hole Frisbee golf to entertain the kids. For weddings it offers the most dramatic photographic backdrop any bride could wish for. But no matter the reason for your gathering, this earth will make everyone feel at home.
Chattooga Belle Farm, 454 Damascus Church Road, Long Creek, SC 29658 for more information on scheduling events contact Tracy Waldrop at (864) 647-9768.
by David and Gayle Darugh Innkeepers at Beechwood Inn, Clayton GA
For more information view Beechwood Inn’s Blog

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