Sally Pete’s Farmhouse

Scott County’s newest vacation rental, Sally Pete’s Farmhouse, went live on Airbnb last week, and within a few days, already had six bookings. 

Located on the corner of Dean Hollow Road and Highway 71 in Nickelsville, Virginia, Sally Pete’s Farmhouse is the creation of Rachel and Wendel Burke.  They have taken this once dilapidated, eyesore, and transformed it into a home of simple elegance, reminiscent of French Country Chic. 

Rachel and Wendel ended up purchasing the property on a whim. Rachel has lived in the Nickelsville area for 28 years and has driven by the property numerous times. She and husband, Wendel, children, Carter, Cole and Ella live one road over from Dean Hollow on Little Duck. 

One day, she and Wendel were driving by when she noticed the porch. “I glanced over at the house and told Wendel ‘that porch is really cute.’ He then told me the house had been listed for sale recently.” Rachel got on social media and messaged the owner and met her the next day.  

Rachel bought the house that day. “She gave me a good deal. It had become too much for her to care for because she lived and worked in Kingsport. I believe she had some previous offers, but wanted someone to restore it, and not tear it down because she had grown up there.

“When I went home and told Wendel I bought the house, he said, ‘Rachel, you didn’t.’ When he and the kids all saw the house, they thought I had lost my mind.” 

Once the family got over the initial shock, they were extremely supportive of Rachel’s venture. “Wendel has always been really supportive of what I wanted to do.” 

With the family’s help, the Burkes completely gutted a lot of the interior and basically rebuilt it from the ground up. The children did a lot of the demolition and painting. An expert craftsman, Wendel did much of the carpentry work, including making the hand-hewn shutters and refinishing much of the interior. 

Built around 1918, the house lacked a lot of today’s basics like heat and air and only had one bathroom, all of which necessitated reconfiguration of the layout. She used all local contractors for the technical aspects of the retrofit. Daniel Dean with Boone’s Heating and Air added the heating and cooling. A father and son team, Harold and Rodney Lane, did the woodworking and added the shiplap and the plumbing. Local electrician Vannis Scalf provided the home’s electrical. 

While doing the renovation, Rachel learned a lot about the house and its original family – Sally and Pete Hartsock. A lady who had grown up across from the Hartsock’s house told Rachel that back when the Hartsock’s lived there, they added the husband’s first name to the wife’s to distinguish the Sallies in the community, so Sally Hartsock became Sally Pete. Thus the name of the property, Sally Pete’s Farmhouse. Pete Hartsock owned a convenient store, which was located where the old BB&T Bank building is located today. During the deconstruction, the Burkes found a lot of interesting items in the walls, such as old advertising signs, one of which, a Hershey’s Kisses sign, has been framed and placed in an upstairs bedroom. 

Even though Rachel had help with the demolition and renovation, the design and inspiration of Sally Pete’s Farmhouse is all her own. A nurse by training, she works full-time as a nurse practitioner at the Clinch River Health Clinic.  

Growing up, Rachel’s parents were antique collectors and instilled a love of antiques and old houses. And, she has always had an artistic bent. At the age of ten, she begged for a sewing machine and learned to sew. Then she taught herself how to paint. Prior to attending nursing school, she once painted residential murals around the area.  

Sally Pete’s Farmhouse has taken two years of hard work and dedication from the entire family. They spent most weekends working and Rachel even took vacation days to follow her dream. 

The Farmhouse itself is a work of art. No detail has been overlooked in this reconstruction. From the hand-painted floors to the upscale master bathroom, complete with a clawfoot tub in front of the fireplace to an additional shower for those who might have trouble maneuvering a clawfoot tub. Every inch of the house is perfect. 

The house has three bedrooms and sleeps nine comfortably. To make guests feel at home, Sally Pete’s Farmhouse is stocked with snacks, coffee and bottled water. No detail has been overlooked. 

While Rachel prefers visitors book an overnight or two rentals, she is also graciously renting the house for special occasions like baby or wedding showers and even photography sessions. To contact her for prices and one of these private events, please contact her at 423-502-5044. 

Rentals are currently available through Airbnb, but she will have a website up soon where patrons can book directly through her. Sally Pete’s Farmhouse is one of those places where you want to stay a week, a month or lifetime. Just charming. 


Sign up for e-news!

Get the latest news on upcoming events,
festivals, concerts and more!