With the recent opening of The Barn at Stoney Creek Farm, Dwight and Susan Quillin have realized a life-long dream.
“We always dreamed, even when we were dating, of having four kids and raising them on a farm,” Dwight says. Susan adds, it took a lot of “blood, sweat and tears” to bring their dream to fruition.
The Barn at Stoney Creek Farm is the second wedding venue to open in Scott County this year. The other, Crooked River Farms, is located on the A.P. Carter Highway in Hiltons. The Barn at Stoney Creek sits in the picturesque Hunters Valley of Scott County, close to the Devil’s Bathtub, the Georgia Grace Bed and Breakfast and Mann’s Farm.
David and Susan have owned the 200 plus-acre farm for about ten years and lived there for the last eight. Dwights’ parents, RF and June Quillin, were born in the area and lived on RF’s home place, located on Hunters Valley East until their health forced them to move closer to town.
One day, he and Susan were driving down Big Stoney Creek road and saw the property that is now their home. The property is part of the original 1800-acre land grant deeded to the Boatwright family.
“I actually stopped the car right in the middle of the road and prayed,” Dwight says. “This was the perfect spot for our family and asked the Lord’s will be done.”
Dwight wrote a letter to the property owners, an elderly couple who were living in Florida at the time. “I asked them if they ever wanted to sell, to give me a call.”
Six months went by and nothing. Then one day, the owners called and said they were interested in selling to the Quillins. “They actually had an offer from another man, but the owner said he felt pressed to sell to us.” Dwight and Susan never stepped foot on the property until it was closed.
The Quillins dream had come true—they had four children and now a family farm. They didn’t get the early start of raising four children on a farm as once planned. Providence would soon put new dreams in action.
A builder by trade, Dwight built a lovely home on the hill overlooking the valley below. He started farming, raising Angus and Simmental cattle and some hay. “Farming is hard work and not an easy way to make a living,” Dwight said.
“We wanted to create a living, working farm here that we could hand down to the children,” Susan adds. The Quillin children are all in their 20s, married and the oldest three have children of their own.
Dwight had always dreamed of building a big timber-frame barn. At first, it was going to be a cattle barn.
“The idea for a wedding barn came to us when our three boys got married last year,” Susan says. Two of the boys got married on the family farm at Stoney Creek. “We then talked about making the barn a place for weddings.”
“We prayed for months and discussed it with our family and friends,” Dwight adds. “We got so much encouragement and support from them, and then the Lord gave us peace about moving forward.”
The day after Christmas last year, Dwight called his cousin Garrick Hillman, who owns a local sawmill, with the first order of lumber. “Our family helped us weekend after weekend stacking lumber. When construction started in April, all of our children and their spouses lent a helping hand.
“When the first wedding arrived, we had so much help and support, not just from our family, but our neighbors too,” Susan says. “Dwight actually got sick the week before the first wedding, and we still had a lot to do. It seemed from everywhere, people started coming to help. We would have never finished had it not been for that.”
Susan and her oldest daughter, Ashley Briggs, own a photography company called “Mash,” which stands for Mom and Ashley. Son Aaron came up with the idea to use rebar in the creation of the hand rails that lead to the second and third stories of the barn.
The Barn at Stoney Creek Farm is 7500 square feet and is 70’ x 75 ‘, with a ceiling height of 19’ inside. From the floorings to the top, the barn is 36’ tall. The facility can comfortably accommodate 200 and an additional 50 if the outside space is needed.
Dwight used poplar and hemlock in construction of The Barn. “I wanted the wood in the barn to have a circular, old time look and I knew Garrick could do that for me,” Dwight says. Susan adds there is probably not a spot in The Barn where Dwight has not laid his hand.
The three-story venue has a large main seating area downstairs, plus an open walk-around second floor that can be used for extra seating. The large third floor is ideal for staging the wedding Photo Booth.
With three weddings under their belt, the Quillins have had a soft opening for The Barn at Stoney Creek. “There are still a lot of things we want to finish before we are fully-functioning wedding venue,” Susan says. The plan is to have an official open date of April 2016. Brides, however, may still schedule and hold weddings now.
The current rental fee is $3250 for 100 people and $3750 for 200 people. The barn does not have central heating and cooling. “The space is just so big that it would cost a fortune to heat and cool,” Susan says.
The rental fee includes use of the barn for Friday and Saturday, plus seating and parking. Brides pick their own caterer and band. The facility has a nice area for the caterers and spacious rooms for the bride and groom to get dressed. It has two public restrooms, both of which are handicap accessible. Parking attendants are also part of the rental package.
“I wanted to make the Barn affordable so people around here could use it and have a nice place to get married,” Susan says. Alcohol and consumption of alcohol is not permitted at the facility.
“That is our conviction,” Dwight says. “The Lord blessed us with this place, and we do not want alcohol served here.” Nails, screws and thumbtacks also cannot be used for decorating.
Eventually, Dwight plans to add either windows or barn doors to both sides of the second floor. He also wants to add more cabinet space in the kitchen for the caterers. The Barn has both cell and internet service.
The Quillins will also do a little landscaping before next season. Given the scenic location of The Barn at Stoney Creek Farm, landscaping is not that crucial. Dwight reminds renters this is a working farm and that it will look different every season.
“The hay might not be cut or there may be hay bales in the farm. This is still a working farm so sometimes it will be prettier than others,” he laughs.