Originally Native American Wabash River dwelling lands, the meadows were farmed and grazed for many years.
Hidden Hollows Retreat “the gathering place” was the dream of a Fort Wayne couple, the current owners. She grew up on a farm and developed a deep reverence for nature. He liked to tinker.
The farm and lake at Hidden Hollows were a 20 year favorite camping place for the children growing up.
When the couple decided to build the retreat, the barn went up first and they lived in the apartment until moving into the house in 2000. They then began the years of preparing the land for guests. First, they sculpted a new less steep driveway up the bluff, bridged the creek, raised the level of the existing small lake, added a second pond and the frog bog. They converted the corn and bean fields into 12 acres of reforested hardwoods and pines, and 11 acres of prairie grasses under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).
They personally gathered 30 tons of stones and boulders with their tractor from a neighbor’s fields and formed them into rock gardens and borders for paths. Then it was time to propagate plants from friends and relatives all over the state and start seeds for the flower beds. Hundreds of ornamental and wildlife trees were ordered from the IN state tree nursery and hand planted. Holes were dug for over a thousand daffodils.
When the new double lane highway was built nearby, they purchased forested land that had been orphaned by construction. Ferns, marsh marigolds, and other wildflowers were transplanted from the construction zone.
He hammered, sawed, and mowed, built hardscape for the landscaping, fences, the firepit flagstone patio, and two vine covered arbors. She worked at beautification and interior decorations. Together they carved out a couple miles of trails through the meadows, forest, and hollows.
Chemical free vegetable and fruit gardens were created, chickens were housed, and Hidden Hollows Retreat was finally ready for retreat guests and celebrations. Being the only employees, business had to be limited by the couple’s time and energy… but the endeavor was not designed for revenue, just for sharing the healing value of nature. Many beautiful outdoor weddings were held, many had to be turned away to preserve the owner’s sanity! Many spiritual, organizational, personal, and family retreats were enjoyed.
But with age and the urge to be closer to grandchildren, the time has come for a new chapter in the history of Hidden Hollows Retreat to be written. Perhaps you will write it?