RENSSELAER — What began as space to play basketball indoors has turned into much more for Highland Barn owners Janice and Joe Deno and Corey and Jody Wilson.
Known officially as the Highland Barn at Pumpkin Vine Trail, the building is a “class country venue for life’s celebrations,” particularly weddings, parties and family gatherings.
The barn, which is nestled on 10 acres at 51185 South 1000 West in Rensselaer — it sits adjacent to Wilson Industrial Sales, Inc. on 1000 West — has room for 150 people and features a full kitchen. There is also a large upstairs loft at the south end of the barn.
“It was supposed to be a very simple pole barn with a couple of basketball hoops,” Janice said. “We had people in the community ask if we were ever going to rent it out and decided not to build a pole barn but a stick-built barn.”
The barn was built by Joe, a carpenter, with help from Janice, Corey and Jody Wilson and grandsons Dalton, Cale and Cutler. The barn got its name from Corey, who raises cattle with hopes of raising Highland cattle, a Scottish breed of rustic cattle, in the future.
There is a pumpkin patch on the property as well as four bee hives that produce honey. There is also a quarter-mile trail that takes visitors into the woods that surround the barn.
“Three years ago, I started small pumpkin patch,” said Janice of her Pumpkin Vine Trail business. “I grew them for my grandkids and maybe some neighbors who wanted to purchase pumpkins from us and it just grew. So we planted pumpkins and gourds. And we raise bees and sell honey.”
The venue is family-friendly and the Denos hope to see kids as well as adults enjoy the property.
“We wanted to provide a venue that kids have the opportunity to come and enjoy, too. Not only basketball. We can do yard games, we can do birthday parties,” Janice said.
In fact, the Highland Barn will be open to baby showers, birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, bridal showers, post-wedding celebrations, corporate meetings and retreats, reunions, retirement parties and family gatherings. It has booked a 3-on-3 basketball tournament for June with fourth- through seventh-grade basketball players to visit this month.
Members of the high school girls’ basketball team will visit in July, Janice said.
“We have shudders on the windows that we will close so that they can play in here,” Janice said.
The expanse of the property also allows families to play volleyball, whiffle ball and other lawn games.
Janice expects her family to make improvements to the barn and property as time goes on.
“We’re a work in progress,” she said. “We still have some landscaping we want to do. We’ll always be working out here.”