In the dead of night, locals say you can hear the galloping horses of the stagecoach as it thunders by the glistening waters of Lake Memphremagog. Puffing and frothing, their hooves clattering on the dirt road, the horses slow to a canter as they arrive at the livery stables. Stretched by lantern shadows, urgent hands bring fresh horses and the stagecoach turns back into the long night. “Fly like the wind” ripples through the night air and all is still, once again.
The stagecoach no longer passes this way but what remains is a thriving venue, The Farm, where people still come from far and wide to connect, talk and cultivate new ideas.
Imagine holding a board meeting in a setting that nurtures deep strategic thinking.
Imagine taking your design team to a facility where it is energized about growing ideas and getting them to market.
Imagine launching a product in a place that reinvigorates the senses with its defining architecture, its landscaping and the surrounding countryside.
Over one hundred and fifty years old, The Farm has been transformed from its humble beginnings as a stagecoach inn on the New England-Montréal route into a beautiful meeting place. It has been designed to facilitate teamwork, new ideas and new relationships.
Minds that think freely are decoupled from the daily pressure and stress of everyday life. The spark of creativity happens when opportunity and innovation collide, and ideas flow when they are nourished in the right environment. Give people the time to think and the time to breathe and they will bring a new perspective and new energy to their challenges.
The Farm is a venue like no other as it perfectly captures the stunning beauty and vibrant nature of the Eastern Townships blended with old world, modern and contemporary architecture. Events hosted in these exclusive surroundings offer local cuisine, art and hospitality.
For delegates staying overnight, the rooms offer a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of urban life and a return to shared values of care and service.
This is a property where executive teams can gather to re-imagine and grow their organizations.
This is a place where relationships are cultivated. This is a facility where thoughts are inspired. This is a setting where the creative spark of innovation is ignited. This is The Farm. Cultivating Creativity.
In 1861, when British novelist Anthony Trollope visited Quebec, he was urged “not to leave the colony” until he had seen Lake Memphremagog. He climbed a mountain on the western shore and later wrote a glowing account of the experience. “The view down upon the lake and the forests around, and on the wooded hills below, is wonderfully lovely…. I would advise all travellers in Lower Canada to go up the Owl’s Head.”
Lake Memphremagog, and indeed, the Eastern Townships as a whole, continues to draw rave reviews from visitors. It is not only the scenery that makes this region southeast of Montreal so distinctive. It is also its history. As its heritage architecture attests, the Townships still bears the imprint of the New Englanders and New Yorkers who established the first settlements here in the late 1700s and early 1800s.
The Farm’s location offers commanding views toward Ayers Cliff in the east, Vermont in the south and Owls Head and Jay Peak away to the west by Lake Memphremagog.
History of The Farm
About 175 years ago, a thriving stagecoach inn called Bodwell’s Hall stood on the grounds of The Farm. It gave travellers respite after long hours spent bumping along badly rutted roads on the stagecoach route from New England to Montreal. Bodwell’s Hall was a sixteen-roomed timber-framed building that included an upstairs dance hall with an unusual curved ceiling. A onetime livery stable on the grounds accommodated up to fifty horses.
The inn remained with the Bodwell family until the 1870s, when a neighbouring farmer named Moses Blount purchased the property. The Blounts ran a post office in the building from 1897 until 1905, when the Davises moved in. They used it as their full-time home for decades, making only minor changes to the building. Like most farmers of his era, Arthur Davis engaged in mixed farming: he kept dairy cattle, pigs, hens, a team of draft horses and a driving horse. He grew oats, wheat, and corn in his fields. He also tended a large vegetable garden, with everything from beets and carrots to squash and turnips.
By the early 1960s, the gambrel-roofed high-drive barn had been destroyed in a fire but Arthur stayed there until his death in 1972 when the home was taken over by his daughter, Louise Davis Kell and her family.
In 2006, the Kells decided to build a new, more expansive family home, Kell House, close to the 19th century Bodwell’s Hall and inspired by its architecture. The vision was to create an invigorating environment where ideas could be cultivated by bringing together creative, stimulating people in a relaxed atmosphere.
In 2007, work started on restoring Bodwell’s Hall to its former glory, with local Bromont architect, Alan Bellavance. Renamed Davis House it was re-imagined as an agricultural heritage interpretation centre, art gallery, and meeting hall for public and private events. The layout of the new building remained much the same as the original. A wall and a staircase to the second floor and the attic were removed to increase the size of what used to be the kitchen and the ceilings on the second floor were raised by taking a foot out of the attic.
The original Carriage House that was adjacent to Bodwell’s Hall was also reconstructed at this time with a skillful blend of traditional and contemporary architecture. It incorporates hewn posts and beams from the old building into a glass and steel structure. The front facade, which faces the road, is clad in 19th century-style wooden siding. The boards form panels that, at the push of a button, retract to reveal the 21st century design. The building, which boasts dramatic views of the surrounding landscape, is fully equipped with multimedia facilities.
From a thriving stagecoach inn to a thriving meeting space, The Farm continues to capture the hearts of its visitors.