Is there a fire hazard living with candlelight?
YES! We’ll be trusting you (and your kids) to manage candles, oil lamps, as well as fires in two stoves. The fire danger is constant and life threatening, and will require your constant oversight.
Is it safe to drink the spring water?
Maybe. Drink at your own risk. Generations of folks in this community have lived on untreated mountain spring water. It has been tested and found not to have common impurities, but naturally has the bacteria in it that might be found in any untreated spring. We drink from the spring. But that is no guarantee that it won’t affect you adversely.
Does the house need air conditioning in summer?
Maybe. While folks flock to us for our cool summers, we typically have short hot spells during which one might want A/C in the Pioneer House, or at least ceiling fans. Living through them will deepen your appreciation of what your forefathers experienced, as well as the modern amenities we enjoy. You may think of it like camping in hot summer, only the house does provide lovely shade and plenty of windows open to refreshing mountain breezes.
Will the wood stove keep it warm in winter?
Maybe. You should be comfortable throughout the house during much of winter, but during the coldest spells, you’ll want to huddle near the fire and will need lots of blankets to keep warm in the back bedrooms. This was the original meaning of “central heat,” and through practical means brings the family together. Don’t be surprised if you find snow blowing through the cracks of this uninsulated house.
Was there really a movie filmed there?
Yes! The Mountain Minor movie was filmed extensively at Willet Ponds Farm in 2017, and the Pioneer House was used as the main set. It proved to be the perfect depression era farmhouse for the movie, in part because the house had never been altered or updated over the years. The old farmstead provided a backdrop that is increasingly difficult to find these days—a stunning viewshed without any signs of modernity. Watch the movie to deepen your understanding of what it might have been like to live in Appalachia, in the Pioneer House, back then. Then come live in the movie set yourself!
How do we make coffee in the morning?
Ah yes, the vital question… The house does have an antique coffee maker that works quite well. Put in your favorite coffee grounds, and if you can figure out how to get water boiling, pour it in and you’ll be able to enjoy a memorable cup of joe.
Should we bring flashlights?
Imagine waking up on a moonless night and needing to go to the outhouse. You could feel about to find the matches and light a candle lantern to carry with you. But a flashlight might come in handy, too.
Are we allowed to bring and/or use only tools and devices available in the 1930s?
While that may be a fun, educational standard to hold, we’ll allow you to make such rules. You might try to observe that one on your second visit.
Is it true that many people in the developing world still live without electricity?
Indeed it is. A few nights in the Pioneer House might deepen your appreciation of their experience. In vast stretches of the world people read at night by kerosene lantern light. To be honest, it’s not too hard to find people around here who live this way today, mostly by choice.
Who lived in the Pioneer House?
Brother’s Noah and Roby Greer built side by side in the our valley back in the 1930s or 40’s. Roby’s house is now our Old Farmhouse, and Noah’s is this Pioneer House. The Greers lived in the house for 2 generations, the last of them dying in 2004. They did add electricity when that became available circa 1960, but never added plumbing or a bathroom. The house lay abandoned and decaying for a decade, during which the wiring got stripped, stolen, and presumably sold for scrap metal. It came into our hands in 2013, at which point we began the long, slow process of restoration as a historic farm structure.