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New Chapel on the Hill highlight of upcoming event venue open house

A fall open house is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 21 at Blackberry Farm Lane, a rural guest house and venue for weddings, reunions, corporate retreats and other getaways — overnight or longer respites — a short drive from downtown Charleston.

Along with tours of the site, the open house will include appetizers, beverages, door prizes and an opportunity to visit the newly constructed Chapel on the Hill.

Attorney Mark Atkinson and his wife, Dawn, opened Blackberry Farm Lane in 2015, on more than 50 acres of rustic property they own near Mink Shoals. Dawn chose the name as an homage to her grandmother, Momma Nellie, with whom Dawn would pick blackberries when she was a little girl.

The site includes a 2,000-square-foot-plus rental cottage with four bedrooms that can sleep as many as a dozen guests, along with three baths, a full kitchen, living room and a family room, well appointed with antique decor. The sweeping outdoor views can be beheld from the guest house’s screened and covered porch, courtyard or deck, or guests can hike through Blackberry Farm Lane’s copiously wooded surroundings.

The property also features a functional tree house for younger guests’ enjoyment, as well as a former barn that has been repurposed as The Red Building, a 55-foot-by-30-foot industrial structure that can be rented for receptions, exhibits, workshops, parties and other social functions.

The Chapel on the Hill is the latest addition to the Blackberry Farm Lane natural and homespun accoutrements. The 16-foot-by-24-foot chapel features stained glass windows and other old-fashioned touches, Dawn Atkinson said.

“It’s got a very sweet appeal. It’s cute and quaint. The view is what’s amazing — it overlooks the airport and the mountains,” she said.

The Chapel on the Hill stands approximately 150 yards from the guest house and will complement a potential reception site and honeymoon location all on the Blackberry Farm Lane property.

“My reasoning behind the chapel is that I have five children,” Atkinson said, “and four of them are married. They got married out of state, and when we’d go to their weddings, we’d have to try to find a place for all of us to stay together. I wanted to have a place where families could stay together. Most of our overnight stays come from Indiana, Virginia, Ohio — where people sort of meet in the middle. We’ve actually had people from all over the world here, but that’s sort of the history behind why I wanted to do this.”

She consulted a friend who joined her in onsite research for a chapel design. “We found one online that fit the same vision we had, of a little white church.”

Prior to the completion of the chapel, Elizabeth Barnes married her husband, Alex, in June in the outdoor environs of Blackberry Farm Lane, and they held their reception at The Red Building.

“Every guest commented on how beautiful the venue was,” Elizabeth Barnes said in an email. “Dawn was extremely helpful. She even met one of our vendor deliveries while we were at work. The guest house is beautiful and there was plenty of room for the entire wedding party. The view was breathtaking and a perfect backdrop for our wedding.”

The guest house, chapel and other facilities are located 10 minutes from downtown Charleston at 22 Blackberry Farm Lane. For additional information about the venue, rates or the open house, call 304-610-5070 or visit the website,, or Blackberry Farm Lane’s Facebook page.

Metro reporter Clint Thomas can be reached at or by calling 304-348-1232.

Funerals for Sunday, September 22, 2019

Browning, Thelma - 1 p.m., Koontz Funeral Home, Hamlin.

Cooper, Corey- 2 p.m., Henson & Kitchen Funeral Mortuary, Huntington.

Pennington, Connie- 2 p.m., White Cemetery, Danese. 

Waybright, Gerald- 3:30 p.m., Pickens Cemetery, Pickens. 

Young, Susan- 3 p.m., Chapman Funeral Home, Winfield.