Landscape architect opens farm retreat near New River Gorge

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Five Springs Farmstead
Cedar shingles sheath this farm retreat opened by botanist and landscape architect Pam Bailey.

A New England botanist and landscape architect has invested her knowledge in a farmhouse retreat near the New River Gorge in southern West Virginia, an ecosystem she values among the world’s most precious.

Accommodations at Five Springs Farm invite guests to immerse themselves in a peaceful environment in which light and fresh air are plentiful and the clutter of modern life has been abated.

Native woods featured throughout.

“My mission was to restore the house and open it to admit as much light and air as possible,” Pamela Bailey said of the farmhouse project, which is already welcoming clients.

“Integral to the design, it was decorated with simple practicality—calming as well as authentic, considering the time and place in which the farmhouse was built.”

Possibly built in the mid- to late 1800s, the two-bedroom house incorporates locally milled lumber, now brightly painted. Farm implements and period home furnishings are employed sparingly, evoking the practicality of the age.

Bailey was first introduced to the region in 1991 when she was employed by the National Park Service as a landscape architect for the New River Gorge National River. She fell in love with the land, which is more rugged than the Berkshires of western Massachusetts where she was raised.

Heirlooms complement bright interiors.

There, in Stockbridge, she was exposed to the ornate and high-style gardens for which the historic New England town was known, and those early experiences informed her ideas about the architecture of landscapes. Later, while with the park service, she learned to love the process of preservation and the restoration of gardens, buildings, and landscapes.

But the beauty and variety of the mountains of central Appalachia won her heart and led her to return to school to study botany, after which she worked as a research botanist in a federal laboratory in Mississippi before returning to the farm she’d purchased while working for the park service.

World’s richest temperate forest

“This is the richest temperate forest in the world,” Bailey said of the mountains she now calls home. “No other temperate forest is as diverse as that of central Appalachia.”

The guesthouse is the only Airbnb.com property located on a working farm in the Fayetteville area, she said.

Now retired, Bailey is working full time on the farm, which includes a small herd of beef cattle, chickens, and a high tunnel and gardens for herbs, flowers, and vegetables.

More information on Five Springs Farm Guesthouse and farmstay facilities are available at AirBnB.com.