Travelers, writers and musicians are among those who have discovered the quiet, rural charm of Country Road House and Berries near Clendenin.
Angela and John Born have turned an old farm property about 10 minutes from the Clendenin exit of Interstate 79 into an inviting bed and breakfast/farm, where guests can see nature close up, and, in the springtime, pick fresh strawberries.
Located off Gabe Road, at 7 Kitty Hawk Drive, the 93 acres that encompass Country Road House and Berries include a farmhouse for guests to stay in and also a cellar house that has been turned into a cozy abode.
There’s even a comfy loft in the barn for guests to sleep in, but it is available only through Airbnb.com — it’s not an official part of the bed and breakfast. When nature calls, barn guests must use the nearby outhouse.
Angela Born, a St. Albans native, returned to the Mountain State with her husband and six children after living in St. Louis and working as pharmaceutical sales rep.
“We opened our bed and breakfast in May of 2016,” Angela said, as she led a visitor on a tour of the property.
The path that led them to opening Country Road House and Berries started while the Borns were living in St. Louis. While there, Angela and her husband took a farming course at the University of Illinois.
“We learned about how to do different specialty crops, and when we moved back (to West Virginia), we looked for a property that would allow us to do that,” she said.
When she and John found the old farm near Clendenin, they knew they had found the right property.
“When we found this farm, we thought, ‘Wow, this is perfect for strawberries,’” she said.
The 130-year-old farmhouse came with the property, and the Borns quickly realized that with some repairs and renovations, it could become a nice bed-and-breakfast living quarters.
“The bed and breakfast was kind of a bonus — we weren’t expecting to do that.”
The main farmhouse has two bedrooms and one bathroom.
“If you book the farmhouse, you get the whole house,” she said.
The Borns opened their barn loft living quarters to Airbnb clients last spring.
“It was busy — we had a lot of people stay here. We had an oboist stay here who was traveling through to do a program last summer up north. He spent a whole evening tuning his reeds. He was playing gorgeous music,” Angela said.
Highlighting the country atmosphere, there are chickens and other farm animals at Country Road House and Berries.
“We try to have farm animals for the kids to interact with — kind of like a petting zoo — when they come up and pick strawberries.”
Another living quarters on the property is the Cellar House. The area under the Cellar House is used as a temporary holding area for the fresh strawberries that the Borns grow.
“We sell our berries the same day,” she said
The Cellar House is nicely furnished and has a gas fireplace.
“I like this room a lot, and it has air conditioning, too.”
Spring into late summer are busy times at Country Road House and Berries. Fall, too, is a nice time for a stay.
However, during the winter months, the main farmhouse is the only living quarters available to guests.
The farmhouse is nicely furnished, and, as a whimsical touch, old newspaper ads from the 1950s are framed and hanging on a wall.
“They came from some old newspapers I found when I pulled up the carpet,” Angela said.
Angela said guests have come from far and wide to stay at Country Road House and Berries.
“The first year we were open, it seemed like we had more people from New York City staying here.”
Since opening, they’ve had guests from as far away as Scotland and Canada.
Guests get to know each other when they sit down to breakfast at a large kitchen table in the farmhouse.
Angela, who is a dietician, does the cooking.
Strawberries are the focus at Country Road House and Berries. There are two large fields set aside for them, where guests and non-guests alike can pick their own strawberries.
“We get a really heavy crop around the 10th of May through the 17th. It peaks the week before Mother’s Day and the week after Mother’s Day.”
Last year, a crew of high school students helped the Borns pick strawberries to sell at Capitol Market and other places in Charleston.
Country Road House and Berries has also welcomed school field trips and Scout troops for pick-your-own strawberry outings.
“We’ve provided berries for several chefs in Charleston,” Angela said.
She also makes and sells strawberry jam and syrup.
The pick-your-own strawberries attraction at Country Road House and Berries is an excellent activity for families, Angela said.
“We really wanted to bring something to the community for families,” she said.
John said the change of scenery from their previous home in Missouri suits him well.
“We lived in a subdivision in St. Louis, Missouri, and moved to a hollow in Clendenin, and I love it. I don’t want to ever go back,” John said.
Country Road House and Berries is scheduling spring strawberry tours, summer “dig and takes” and fall strawberry planting tours.
Walking tours of the farm are also offered. The tour includes the farmhouse, the outhouse, which was built as part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Public Works Administration, cellar house and old post office building.
For more information about Country Road House and Berries, call or text 304-553-5761, or visit www.countryroadhouseandberries.com.