Nestled within the woods of the Oak Bowery community is the oh-so-charming Auburn Bed and Breakfast at Shoofly Farm. Owner and caretaker since 2009, Louise Cardoza has created a wonderful place to unwind from the stresses of life.
As you pass the sign and reach the gated entrance, the picturesque view of the property will cause your worries and daily stress to melt away. The large main house and cottages are rich in history, preserving remnants of a bygone era. A mixture of modern and traditional art is scattered throughout the main house, including musical instruments in every room, providing character and some insight into Cardoza’s taste “I met my husband on a cruise ship,” Cardoza said. “We are both musicians, so that’s why I make sure there are instruments in each room.”
Creatively displayed, you’ll see a guitar leaning against a wall, a banjo hung above a bed and a piano in the corner. There are three suites on the first floor of the main home and a large penthouse loft upstairs.
The suites and cottages each have names that coincide with either their history or their view. The cottages are the Apple House, Sugar Shack and the Legacy Cottage. Hidden from any view of the main property, the Sugar Shack features a bidet, soft fluffy robes to don while relaxing in the large room and an oversized tub surrounded by windows to show you a beautiful view of nature.
Each building is unique and pays homage to the history of the farm. The Apple House reminisces the farm’s days as an apple orchard. This converted apple shed is the centerpiece of the farm with herbs all around.
“The Farmhouse” was the original caretakers’ house. It used to house the picked apples from the orchard but is now a rustic, efficiency cabin. This transformed space offers four large, en-suite bedrooms — each with its own bath and climate control. There is the Samford, the Groom and the Pasture, which boasts an exterior entrance and a soaking tub.
The Jail, not remodeled into a cottage yet, sheds light on the property’s use as a poor farm. Historically, poor farms employeed disadvantaged persons, usually the elderly or disabled, where they would tend to the farm, the house and other residents.
Shoofly incorporates gardens of fresh herbs like rosemary, mint and parsley (growing next to the Apple House) to use in its meals.
“We are 80% organic now,” Cardoza said.
Everything on the property has a purposeful use, including the 35 chickens that provide fresh eggs. Cardoza’s own family has restrictive diets, so she is aware of the many dietary needs of individuals. Being able to accommodate these diets, including gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free, is something Cardoza and her staff pride themselves on.
Cardoza makes sure to ask guests before their arrival about any of their dietary restrictions and allergies. Bob Leverett, the chef, is amazing in the kitchen and will whip up something off the newly constructed menu, or off the cuff, provided ingredients are available. The house-made almond crackers are worth a try.
It is the conversation with Cardoza, and her personality, that make guests never want to leave. Cardoza’s focus on her guests’ well-being is evident in her accommodations and warmth.
“I love seeing people feel better leaving than when they got here,” Cardoza said. “Day two is the best. The guests are my favorite part of what I do.”
Having purchased the property while living in New Jersey, Cardoza’s initial goal was not a bed and breakfast.
“I just wanted goats and horses and for my kids to grow up in the south,” Cardoza said.
She purchased the property after striking a deal with the owners in one day. Cardoza has painstakingly remodeled and decorated each structure in a luxurious way. When remodeling and repairing buildings, you naturally cannot do it all at once. Unfortunately, the last structure to be completed was found to be beyond repair. Plans are in the works to replace the structure with a new, tiny home.
By the time Cardoza completed the extensive remodel of the property, her children had grown up and begun lives of their own. While the children didn’t get to grow up on the farm, the success of that original goal was achieved.
Shoofly Farm is now home to 10 goats, two rabbits, two horses, 35 chickens, seven cats and one dog, Opie. Opie greets as warmly as Cardoza, although a bit louder, and while one of the cats looks rather grumpy, rest assured, he is, in fact, a sweetie.
The farm seems to have its own heartbeat and voice.
“I feel like the farm is screaming at me to do retreats,” Cardoza said.
And that is exactly what she has done. Shoofly hosted its first wellness retreat in May, featuring outdoor yoga, hiking and three healthy meals.
There are plans for another in September, with entertainment, like comedians and guest speakers.
“I hope all the guests enjoy the camaraderie, the entertainment, good food and good wine,” Cardoza said.
With their focus on health in the kitchen and the comfort of the cottages, everyone will leave not only happier, but healthier.