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 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.
“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 the symptoms he suffered in his youth.
So it did work, and they bought the two-story house and began the conversion.
The easiest part might have been naming it. What else would you call 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, all 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 of their Colorado home. Built in the late 1800s, the inn had problems including 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.
“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 are guaranteed fresh and she’s planted collards, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and other winter crops in her raised bed garden.
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 a wonderful one-night getaway and the Hutchesons have less to learn than they think.
“They only need to know 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 fish.