There’s always something special about historic barns tucked within a rural landscape. Upon passing these iconic structures you can’t help but imagine the stories they must tell. Could be a story about the labor that went into raising its walls or a farmer utilizing it for the production that fueled his family’s way of life. Most involve true stories of pioneers that helped shape the American way of life.

One such example of these cultural icons can be found within the scenic rolling terrain of Greensboro, GA. Known as “The Sandy Creek Barn,” this beautiful event venue is an unknown gem to many members and provides a very unique option for special occasions, concerts or dinner parties. The original barn dates back to the early 19th century, when Quaker farmer and lumberman, Gideon Widemire, constructed it in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania between 1820 and 1840. For years the structure served to aid Widemire as a resource for his trade.

In July 2005, nearly 200 years after its construction, Widemire’s barn captured the attention of timber-frame homebuilder and antique barn enthusiast Charles Howell. Howell was specifically on assignment to find an ideal structure, filled with history of early American life, to bring back to Reynolds Lake Oconee. With its detailed architecture, timber structure, and unique traits, this storied facility was without a doubt Howell’s top choice. At 52 ft. by 64 ft. Sandy Creek Barn is made of large Eastern hemlock timbers, straight and hand-hewed, exhibiting unusual features such as an English-style canted purlin roof and a single large timber, crafted to support the entire system of rafters.

Howell was taken with the technique and craftsmanship Widemire had used in constructing this distinguished structure. “When you walk about the barn, you are looking through a window into a time when true craftsmen fashioned buildings using very primitive tools,” Howell said. “Still the tenets of timber framing were as absolute and modern as they are today.” Restored wooden beams and antique fixtures accent the barn from top to bottom. A beautiful stacked stone fireplace, gourmet kitchen and antique saloon bar serve as the main floor focal points.

After the purchase, the dismantled barn frame was moved to Howell’s workshop in Kentucky in December 2005 for initial repairs. By February the following year, the barn was ready to make its move to Georgia, but was welcomed with long days of rain, prolonging the process. Howell and his crew remained optimistic and pushed forward to reassemble the barn, focusing on keeping its historic foundation intact while also making modern upgrades throughout to accommodate guests for the future. Howell provided the community with a unique hidden treasure and classic structure fit for any occasion.

Today, Reynolds Lake Oconee welcomes members who discover the charm and sophistication of The Sandy Creek Barn on a regular basis, as the venue is open for reservations for members of the Club at Reynolds Lake Oconee and guests of The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee. The structure is also a popular venue for hosting intimate concerts as part of Reynolds Lake Oconee’s Linger Longer Living cultural arts series. Along with its spacious interior, the rear porch overlooks a 40-acre pond, and an open field adjacent to the barn that can serve as extra space for any outside event. The location is ideal for both small and large parties ranging from 20 to 250 people. Members of the Club at Reynolds Lake Oconee can reserve The Sandy Creek Barn for personal functions, and members may use either Reynolds Lake Oconee or The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee for their catering needs.

“The Sandy Creek Barn is a great new venue for members and guests,” says Gray Ferguson, senior vice president of operations at Reynolds Lake Oconee. “The refined country appeal of the barn makes it perfect for a small retreat with friends and family, a wedding, or even a barn dance.”

Perhaps when Gideon Widemire set out to build his barn in the 1800’s, he didn’t think too much about the impact it would have on the residents of a community over 750 miles south of his small town in western Pennsylvania. He probably didn’t predict that two centuries later his barn would host events that made lifetime memories for guests dining and dancing within its hallowed walls. For the hard working Quaker and lumberman from Clearfield County, it was most likely just “a barn.” But for the members who enjoy the fruits of his labor – it has become a whole lot more than that. And that is probably something that would have put a smile on Mr. Widemire’s face.

Discover why The Sandy Creek Barn is quickly becoming a top venue choice for members and guests. To book your next experience, please contact Reynolds Lake Oconee or The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee catering departments to reserve The Sandy Creek Barn.


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