For the friendly folks at Farmstead, a boutique hotel nestled between Round Top and Warrenton, every renovation project is an opportunity to carve out their own small place in history. Farmstead’s structures date back to the 1800s and, as Blake Neitzke notes, each tells the story all its own.
“You’ll go in to make a repair and see where there was a repair made 70 years ago, or where someone 50 years ago redecorated — and then someone else redecorated again 30 years after that,” said Blake, who co-owns Farmstead with his wife, Pierce Neitzke, and in-laws, Judy and Doug Stribling. “Your touch on it today is just a piece of the history of a building that’s been around for 150 years.”
Hotel ownership was never really part of the family’s plan. Instead, things fell into place in late 2018. During a trip to visit family staying at the property then known as Briarfield, Blake and Doug just happened to spot a “for sale” sign.
“We looked at each other — we’d never talked about buying a boutique hotel, but we thought it was something we should look into,” Blake said. “It’s just such a cool property. You kind of want to be part of the history.”
The sale took place in February of 2019 and, with just a bit of cleanup work, they found themselves operating a soft opening during that year’s Round Top Spring Antiques Show.
After the show? That’s when the real work began.
The family gutted the interiors of the old farmhouses, modernized the bathrooms and added their own touch with paint, flooring and design. A small cottage which served as the former owner’s quarters transitioned into rental space, as did the freestanding office. Outside, the landscaping received an overhaul, too.
Farmstead officially opened with its new look in fall of 2019. And as Judy noted, they were lucky enough to have something of a following from the start. Many guests already accustomed to staying on the property continued the relationship even after the new ownership took over. And now, they consider many of them friends.
The overall experience has been overwhelmingly positive.
“You really get to share a few days of people’s lives when they’re with you,” Judy explained. “It’s super fun.”
Of course, as the saying goes, the only thing constant is change — and that applies even to buildings that are more than 100 years old. Plans are in the works to renovate a structure that once sat on the property of antique show originator Emma Lee Turney.
Such undertakings are something the family enjoys taking on together.
“It’s just kind of fun,” Judy said of the “newest” building, which boasts a beautiful old fireplace. “It keeps us excited and motivated. We love what we’ve got, but there’s room for more.”
Blake agreed, noting the work brings them all together.
“I think a lot of it is because of the nature of Farmstead. It’s a fun business to run,” he explained. “There’s a level of contentment and excitement in knowing people get to enjoy a weekend here, and that they appreciate what you appreciate in the property. As a family, it’s great to share that together.”
Farmstead offers single rooms and larger lodging options, including the Cottage, Outpost, Round Pond House and Hall. The Hall can seat up to 40 people, and the property is available to rent for weddings, birthday parties, baby showers and the like. For more information, visit farmsteadatroundtop.com.