June marked the one year anniversary of working with the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of their National Treasures. We are indebted to Nancy Tinker, who led our project team, Rob Nieweg, Susan Berning and Stephen Crochet for the time they spent working with us. Under their experienced guidance, we developed a strategic plan for Happy Retreat, created a fundraising strategy and established valuable connections with other successful National Trust sites around the country that will continue to serve as models for what we do. Happy Retreat was featured prominently twice on the Trust’s web page and social media, which gave us national exposure. It was a great honor for Happy Retreat to be the first site in West Virginia to be selected for the National Treasures program.
Our first Wine & Jazz Festival in June attracted many more people than we expected. It was a delightful day and we have received many compliments. It was also financially successful. Planning and staging the event was more complicated than we anticipated. We found out there are many more moving parts to a wine festival than to a beer festival. We learned what worked and what didn’t work.
We now have run two successful major festivals – the Craft Beer & Music Festival and the Wine & Jazz Festival – which will become two of our signature fundraising events of the year. They both bring people to Happy Retreat who might not otherwise visit. Most importantly, they create a sense of excitement about what Happy Retreat can be.
Restoration moves forward. Repair and replacement of the roof will begin the Monday after the Craft Beer & Music Festival. The two main parlors are being repainted. The faux marble baseboards in those rooms that were removed to accommodate built-in bookshelves in the 1950s will be replaced now that the bookshelves are gone. Preliminary work on the events kitchen is underway. We are reviewing a proposal for a new HVAC system. We are ready to begin planning the restoration of the smokehouse and stone kitchen. We are confident the sun is rising at Happy Retreat.
We hope to see you all at the Craft Beer & Music Festival on September 9!