WARREN COUNTY, Ind. — Nestled in the peaceful surroundings of rural Indiana, Hunter Hill Farm is a quiet and secluded place to host a variety of events.
The wedding, performance and event venue is owned by siblings Rochelle Anno and Rod Garland.
“My parents actually bought this property in 1952, not long after they were married,” Rochelle said. “They just wanted a place out in the country. We have a house in Attica and that’s where I live now, also. My father passed away about 20 years ago. It became mine and my brother’s. We co-own it. We co-own the property and we co-own the business together.
“It’s always been kind of a weekend place for us, although even back when my mom and dad bought it, we’ve always had horses here. We’ve always been kind of a horse farm. We’ve had everything from a retired race horse to a wild mustang at one time — years ago, quarter horses, just various equine. Right now we’ve got miniature horses and miniature donkeys. So we’re kind of taking a different turn from the big horses to the little horses, which is interesting. They are interesting pets.
There are 28 acres to the property, part of which is farmed for hay also.
“My dad built the log cabins in 1980. That was his vision to have a weekend place. Since then, we just kept it that way, but we’ve always wanted to do something else with it. We’ve had so many people that love the area and we wanted to do something where the public could enjoy what we enjoy. “We kicked around some ideas and a few years ago we hosted a rehearsal dinner for a relative,” she said.
At that time, she said, there were suggestions about doing more than the rehearsal dinner and actually hosting the wedding there. At that time, she said, they felt like that was something that could be done if there was interest.
“I must say, back in 1989 my own wedding reception was here,” she smiled. “It didn’t quite look like this. We’ve done a lot of work and there was a different barn here, but yes, my own reception was here.”
Since then she said there has been a lot of interest in that kind of venue. “We checked around and there wasn’t another venue that looked like us,” she said.
About the time they got the venue ready to open in March of 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic hit, which set the opening date back several months.
The venue is seasonal, running from May to October. They were able to host a few events in the fall of 2020. “We ended up knocking out four weddings right at the end,” she said. “A couple of them were from Illinois.”
Since then, they had several weddings in 2021 and have some scheduled for 2022.
They built a barn, a 100 foot long wooden bridge which spans a park-like ravine, an open air chapel and benches for the chapel, which were made by Amish craftsmen. “Everyone has loved it,” she said.
The gazebo is one of the newest features of the venue. “It was just done a few months ago,” she said, noting that some people have used it as a dance floor.
One of the log cabins built by her father is used by the bride and bridesmaids to get ready. Another log cabin is used by the groom and groomsmen.
Anno said the family used the first log cabin when she was younger. “There was a bed up there,” she said, “and a pullout couch. It was our weekend. I loved growing up here.”
There are plans to do some more upgrades to the second log cabin the groom and groomsmen use. Two other cabins are being used for storage but there are plans to renovate them and use them in other capacities.
“We have a bench and some other little seating areas,” she said. From the cabin area the walk across the bridge takes people to the open air chapel area.
“We wanted this to have kind of a state park type feel to it, and I think we’ve captured that,” she said.
Of the bridge and chapel area, she said, “The brides make their entrance through here. Our bridge lights up at night. It’s so pretty.
“We wanted it to be very tall, very impressive looking,” she said of the chapel. “We’ve got white drapes that hang in each section,” she said. “It’s completely secluded from the road. No one’s going to drive by and see your ceremony. It’s beautiful in the fall when all the leaves turn colors. It’s a fantastic back drop.”
“We have such a natural beauty to us — back to nature. Simplicity. Some places are beautiful but complicated looking. We wanted to just go for the more simple, natural look. We don’t have an interstate in the background somewhere. There’s no highway noise. We don’t have a lot of traffic here.”
The ceremony site is secluded, which is something the family wanted. “We felt that was the most important part of the wedding. Your ceremony is the bringing together of the couple. The reception is the celebration of that ceremony. We wanted that to be secluded and intimate.
“I love wedding days. I get so emotional with the bride and her mother. You can just feel the love of the family that surrounds them. They are just such happy occasions. Every one of them has been different so far. I think I’ve learned something at each one. What we can do better and how people react at each one. It’s just such a happy thing to be involved with. It’s the first day of the rest of your life.
“I didn’t know it’s going to feel that special. I thought it was going to feel like a job, but it doesn’t. It really doesn’t.”
“We’re very hands on,” she said. “We want their wedding to be successful. Yes, we’re renting you the space, but we’re really here to make it a successful day. We have lots of decorations for people to use. Of course, they are welcome to bring in whatever they like. But we will help in anyway we can to make that wedding a success.”
There are plans for expansion, including adding on to the main barn and other upgrades.
Currently the capacity seating for the venue is 150 people, though Anno said there is quite a bit of lawn and if someone wanted to have a bigger event with tents and additional tables and chairs they could accommodate that.
“We’d also like to expand beyond weddings at some point,” she said. “We’d like to have a little festival one day of some sort. Something a little different than what you normally see. Maybe more of an organic festival. Maybe something around Earth Day, something like that.”
While there has been a lot of work put into the venue, “it’s very rewarding,” she said.
Anno can be contacted at 765-762-2855. People can call or text or message them through the venue’s Facebook page.