We had the honor of visiting the AMAZING Frieden Farms in Mt. Crawford, VA this week. When we got there, the clouds were out, but as the morning went along, the sun came out and the skies got blue in time for us to highlight the venue with the drone. At promptly 10AM, the precious owner of the farm, Gerald Beam (shown above), arrived at the barn on this side by side grinning from ear to ear with the response, "You may or may not be good photographers, but you are on time."
As you pull into the driveway, the first thing you see is the hunter green and white restored farmhouse, and then the star cladded barn directly after. Both are surrounded by incredible mountain views, fields of newly planted crops, ponds, etc. And the only thing you hear is the whistle of the wind blowing, and the sound of silence. Mr. Beam and all of his family reside on "the farm" and live along the road, each with their own home and farm. As we rode around with Mr. Beam, he explained who lived in which house, what they did for their jobs, and their personalities. It is evident that this family is close-knit, and builds their foundations on love for each other.
We started our tour with exploring the barn that they have converted into a MASSIVE wedding and event barn. No stone has been un-turned, and they have actually thought of EVERYTHING. Gerald claimed that this barn was built on the ideas of the women of the family, and the men just followed orders. He claimed that the women knew what was necessary for an amazing wedding venue, and he just took the orders. SMART MAN!
The barn contains a HUGE event area with soaring ceilings lined with white insulation (yay for bouncing flashes!), tables, chairs, handmade bar (from wood on the farm), reclaimed wooden tables for the cake cutting areas and the DJ table, and gorgeous string lights strung throughout. After seeing the event space, Gerald showed us the bride and groom "getting ready" areas. The groom's room is the epitome of a classic tavern room with hunter green ceiling, oversized leather chairs, and plenty of the space for the men to get ready and hang out. The bride's room is enough to make you sigh! Bright white with soft chairs, and a light rug for comfiness on your feet, tons of overhead light and multiple windows to let light in, two counters with barstools and multiple mirrors for plenty of space to get ready. Also in the bride's room is places to plug in your phone and play music, and hangers over the windows for the famous dress-hangup pictures. . They have honestly thought of everything!!
Keep scrolling to read more about the venue and what is included...
After exploring the barn, Mr. Beam took us to the restored farmhouse, outhouse, and attached building that they have turned into places that can be rented during your wedding weekend or a place to stay through Airbnb.
The outhouse has been converted into a storage for outdoor equipment. The attached building has been turned into a suite with its very own bathroom and two bedrooms (one converts into a couch for the living room space). It includes a galvanized metal shower, restored doors and hardware, etc.
My favorite was the farmhouse. Being an architectural photographer, I was drooling. This home has been restored down to every last detail and kept it how it should be! Instead of removing everything and starting over, they kept the charm and character...hardwood floors, walnut woodwork and trim, original mantles and door hardware (just wait until you see these doorknobs!), and brought in new updates like heat and air, updated bathrooms, and a GORGEOUS kitchen. We absolutely loved this home!
Mr. Beam continued the tour to show us all the places that were considered their land so we would know the boundaries. He showed us the little cabin in the woods named "Tarabithia" that his granddaughter named that JMU students made a movie around. We kept on driving through the land to see his children's properties, and all the cool places to take pictures. Our absolute FAVORITE place was the Old General Store that is part of their land. We have driven by this store so many times in our travels and I have ALWAYS wondered who owned it and the story. We finally met the owner!
After telling Mr. Beam that I wanted to see this place, he got out his keys and took us inside! This place is COOL! It is no longer open for business, but they still use it for meetings with the "old guys" weekly where they "sit around and tell lies"...let me tell you, this guy is a catbird! But quite the storyteller... The wall when you first go in is signed by many people that have visited and even some famous people and previous presidents.
Mr. Beam showed us pictures he had from when he was in the Air Force after he got drafted during the Vietnam War. Unbeknownst to us, he was recruited to be a PHOTOGRAPHER during the war! We wanted him to join us and be in business but he sadly declined. He showed us his uniform which is still in there and explained the different parts of it. We walked around the general store which still has the post office in it where it was originally used as a general store and post office drop-off. It also had the wooden bar top with compartments underneath for storage of general store products (I was imagining candy!), the original cash register, and scale. We loved the Coke bottle drop off, and all the antique product containers that lined the walls. This place just had amazing character! We thought that the general store was the coolest place of all!
Overall, this farm is incredible. It is built on the foundation of family and love, and has character galore. Our December bride is lucky to get married here, and we can't wait to be alongside capturing every minute of it!