Place to Relax
Guests arrive at Rock Eddy Bluff
frazzled but leave refreshed
by Jim McCarty
and Kathy try to make their guest's stay as personal as possible.
This group lingers at the breakfast table sharing stories with Kathy.
Tom and Kathy
Corey have seen it happen time after time. Guests arrive at their Rock
Eddy Bluff retreat exhausted, nerves frazzled, and tempers on edge from
the stress of this high-tech age. A few days later they leave different
people, soothed by relaxing in their cottages near Dixon.
"It's almost a
universal thing," says Tom. "They just want away from it. They are completely
different people when they leave, more relaxed, more personable."
Adds Kathy, "They
find time to reinvent their relationships. The best part of doing this
is seeing how they open up."
Tom and Kathy
know the feeling. When they moved to this patch of timber they were feeling
a lot like some of their guests.
"We were in the
middle of our mid-life crisis," Tom recalls. "We didn't have a plan but
we had faith we wouldn't starve to death."
Tom grew up on
the land they call Rock Eddy Bluff. Kathy was from nearby Vienna, so the
move back to the area was a homecoming of sorts for both of them.
of the places to stay at Rock Eddy Bluff feature breathtaking views
of the Gasconade River valley. The retreat is built on several bluffs
overlooking the river.
land one day, Kathy paused on a rocky bluff and took in a view that included
the Gasconade River and parts of three counties. Then she asked Tom to
build her a house there.
"I told her that
was the craziest idea I had ever heard," Tom says. And then he did it
anyway. The result is the Bluff House, one of four places to stay at Rock
Eddy Bluff, which is served by Gascosage Electric Co-op.
Bluff House is
the Corey's home and the bed and breakfast part of their operation. A
suite of rooms furnished in country antiques, a spacious deck that looks
down into a bald eagle nest and a hot-tub are all part of the experience,
not to mention Kathy's huge breakfasts.
For those wanting
more privacy Rock Eddy offers two cottages and a rustic cabin. The Turkey
Ridge Cabin also has a spectacular view, a wood stove and three bedrooms.
It's fully outfitted with everything needed for a visit with one exception
Across the ridge
is the Indian House Bluff Cottage, believed to be built on the site of
an Indian camp. More secluded, this cottage also has an incredible view
plus more creature comforts. There's a corral for guests with horses plus
a trail that leads to the river.
For the truly
intrepid the Coreys offer Line Camp Cabin. Line Camp isn't for the faint-hearted
there's no modern conveniences like running water, electricity
or flush toilets to interfere with getting back to basics. The place sports
one of the fanciest privies in Missouri, which includes a journal where
visitors can reflect on life.
"Line camp is
real popular," says Tom. "We don't recommend it in July and August but
people come then anyway."
of the attraction at Rock Eddy Bluff are the carriage rides provided
by Tom and his draft horse. Sometimes Tom takes guests on a tour of
the Maries County back roads that includes stopping for a picnic lunch.
The Coreys never
set out to build the therapeutic retreat that Rock Eddy Bluff has become.
Their inspiration came from a visit to something similar in north Missouri
when they too felt the need to get away from life's distractions.
"We can do that
too, " Kathy says she told Tom after their vacation. "I thought, we've
got things here people would like."
They started renting
rooms in their Bluff House and the Turkey Ridge Cabin, more as a hobby
than a full-time business.
"We didn't have
a lot of people, " Tom recalls. "But the big thing that changed for us
was the Internet. "There's a certain group that just wants to go to the
country. But how do you reach them?"
The couple tried
the usual route, printing brochures and advertising where they thought
it would do the most good. Then they discovered the Internet and now people
find them at their rockeddy.com web site.
and Kathy Corey never planned on building a country retreat when they
returned to the land where Tom grew up.
guests to them, the site lets those interested see where they will stay
and read comments left by guests. "When someone stays in the country they
could end up staying in an old car," Tom says. "Then they just have to
suffer through the weekend. The Internet provides some reassurance."
Tom says people
are drawn to their retreat because most have lost their ties to the land.
Years ago urban dwellers still had grandparents with land in the country.
They could count on spending some time away from the city.
"That's not true
anymore," Tom says. "They want to go stay in the hills but they don't
know where to go."
Rock Eddy Bluff
earns a lot of repeat business because the Coreys try to make every experience
a good one. "We are not just someone taking their money but we are interested
in them having a good time," Kathy says. "We know the places to hike,
fish and that sort of thing. It's a whole lot more personal experience."
She says they
try to make people feel comfortable, letting them know it's OK to prop
their feet up or touch the antique furnishings.
|The Turkey Ridge
cottage is typical of the places to stay at Rock Eddy Bluff. It is
fully furnished, private and has everything except a TV set which
isnÕt important to most guests.
They also let
people bring their pets, unusual for getaways like this. Those who don't
have their own enjoy the Corey's dogs, their five horses or the hundreds
of birds that flock to their feeders.
with animals, we find that is important," Tom says.
All of the guest
houses have fire rings so that guests can sit outside and enjoy the evening
no matter what the temperature. Of all the attractions that Rock Eddy
Bluff offers, relaxation and reflection seem to be the most popular.
As one guest commented,
"Living like this teaches us how much we have in lifethat is just fluff."
For more information
about Rock Eddy Bluff write to 10245 Maries Road 511, Dixon, MO 65459,
call 1-800-335-5921 or visit their Web site at www.rockeddy.com.