Two years ago, Wellmore Partners put 552 acres under contract in Star Tannery, Virginia. Located on the edge of the Shenandoah Valley and Allegheny Mountains, the land has been a tree farm for generations. Once home to an amazing American Chestnut-Oak-Hickory forest complex, it has effectively been clear cut 7-8 times over the past 250 years, while suffering through the tragic American Chestnut blight in the early 1900’s. While less than its former self, the forest is still healthy and filled with potential.
Our vision is to embed a wellness and nature resort into this forest in a way that restores its former glory by increasing the capacity for all living systems to grow. Known as Regenerative Development, we wanted to not only create an environment that results in a beautiful guest experience, but use the effort to catalyze broader benefits related to forest restoration, carbon sequestration, regional economic opportunity, and local food production.
Then, COVID crippled the hospitality industry, and our funding dried up. Fortunately, the previous owners gave us the time to regain our footing through the harshest part of the pandemic storm. While the entire project’s funding is still incomplete, we closed on the land today! We are so thrilled to begin this next chapter as new neighbors in the Shenandoah Valley.
Despite the economic impact, one thing the COVID experience highlighted is that drive-to wellness resorts are needed now more than ever. Common sense AND science are clearly supporting the use of regular, immersive wellness and nature experiences to “course correct” unhealthy lifestyles. During these experiences, people want to laugh, learn, release, and recharge while cleansing physically, mentally, and spiritually in an environment that is safe and inclusive.
Ironically, the pandemic has brought the hospitality market more towards our vision. In fact, we believe the “new normal” will create a tremendous opportunity to enable conscious living and transformative experience as more people need to disconnect. The potential for such a nature-based sanctuary that guests use to progressively self-actualize throughout their life is amazing.
While we are still figuring out exactly how this vision will play out, we plan to announce further details over the next 6 months. At the same time, we are committed to being outstanding neighbors, and preserving the rural heritage and natural environment that typifies the Shenandoah Valley lifestyle. Our door is always open, so please reach out to say hello (firstname.lastname@example.org).