While most of these posts have been about the house sits we’ve done, The Places We Live now includes a farm in Sherwood, Tennessee. Over the years, the farm has been transformed to include a horse camp and campground called The Bolo Club, which hosts RVs and tent campers alike. We booked our stay on HipCamp for $20/night and spent five days enjoying a quiet spot overlooking a field, stream, and wooded hills. We also took some time to explore the nearby towns and the University of the South, a small, private university about twenty minutes away. Hold onto your hats as we take you on our adventure through the rural South!
The state of Tennessee is bordered by eight(!) different states: Missouri, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas. It was the 16th state to join the union and fought on the side of the Confederacy in the Civil War. Tennessee is called “The Volunteer State” due to its regular recruitment of soldiers in America’s early history. The state is now home to 6 million people and growing, quickly, thanks to an influx of industry and the relatively low cost of living.
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Sherwood is located just North of the Alabama border; as a matter of fact, I could’ve easily walked to Alabama from our parking spot behind the barn. At one time, Sherwood lay at the intersection of several local Native American trails and hosted a stagecoach stop. Later in its history, a mining company moved in and dug out a lime quarry, boosting the population to just over two thousand people. Since then, the quarry has closed down and the town has shrunk to a permanent population of just five-hundred and fifty. It was quite a transition from the cramped and busy streets we had become used to, but a welcome one, as it reminded us a lot of home.
The Bolo Club, our home for this stretch of the journey, is actually several miles outside of town, with the nearest neighbors living out of sight. The farm and its lands have belonged to the Stubblefield family since the late 1920s. The campground (technically an addition to the farm) is now home to several cabins, community areas, horse trails, stabling for sixty horses, and fifty camp sites. We chose to park in the South lot, near the public areas, under the shade of some trees.
Our $20 accommodation included free standard speed wifi, clean showers, flush toilets, and pretty much free run of the property, since we were the only guests at the time of our visit. There was also a community kitchen, lodge, family museum, multiple covered sitting areas, and walking trails. As a result, our stay was incredibly comfortable and quiet; we really enjoyed ourselves here.
Our hosts live on the property in a house about 100 yards away from where we camped. Every day they were hard at work on various projects around the farm, but they made time to stop and ask us about our day. They are very kind, welcoming, and seemed to genuinely care about our visit. There are also three dogs on the property who greeted us each morning, who took time out of their busy chicken chasing schedules to see if we wanted to share our food with them. Seeing as it is a farm, it only made sense that there would be plenty of animals, like chickens, roosters, ducks, guinea hens, and horses. The roosters took a particular liking to us and went out of their way each morning to make sure we woke up on time.
For the first couple of days, it was a challenge to get into a new routine. However, everything quickly fell into place and we found that we really enjoyed it. The mosquito net worked wonders on the van and we were able to sleep very well. Meals were easy thanks to the fully-stocked kitchen. After a morning of work, we’d head out for a drive, a hike, or just sit and read for a while. It was nice to have the option to relax for a while, an option we definitely took advantage of.
Some recent work successes include:
We really enjoyed our time at The Bolo Club and were surprised at how easy it was to live out of the van for the week. There were a few issues, like needing to take multiple cool showers due to the heat and humidity, or waking up in the middle of the night to take down the net when it started raining, but overall it went pretty great. As far as places to live go, you could do a lot worse.
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