Away from the crowded streets, the smog and the big-city lights, where impatient drivers fade out as soon as the watercolor horizon opens up, there’s that Blue Ridge-encompassed, history-infused town called Harpers Ferry that really makes West Virginia feel wild and wonderful.
And what makes it this way? It could be the mountainous river views, the lush, bountiful greenery, the quaint stores or the downtown that’s preserved in time. Or, maybe it’s the picturesque and historical, two-acre Magnolia Pond Farm-turned-Airbnb that resides in this gem of a town.
Really. if John Denver were singing those famous, soul-swaying “West Virginia, mountain mama … take me home” state-anthem lyrics today, it would surely be a serenading ode to Harpers Ferry and this restored farmhouse owned by Baltimoreans Leigh and Corey Profit.
It’s picturesque, delightful and, best of all, can be rented out for a much-needed escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The Profits first discovered this cherished home, which they purchased a year ago, through a Facebook group called “For the Love of Old Houses,” which posts active real estate listings of historic homes. One Friday, they came across this farmhouse and felt compelled to check it out. They called that night, went to a packed showing the following day and then decided immediately to make it their own.
“It’s pretty crazy. We literally drove there the next day, saw it, fell in love with it and made the offer,” Leigh says. “I do feel like it was meant to be.”
While not familiar with Harpers Ferry, they instantly fell in love with the town. Their other rental property, a cozy cabin in Berkley Springs, West Virginia, has been very successful, so they were “casually looking” for a larger property around the state and fortunately, serendipitously came across this perfect home.
Built in 1805 with Victorian-style updates added in the 1880s, the home needed a little TLC and renovation to turn it into what they had envisioned — a pastoral, modern farmhouse that still kept its history. They started the renovation in December, working vigorously through the winter months in hopes of renting it out by the summer.
Punctual as can be, Leigh says they finished the “first phase” by May, which included new paint throughout, a septic expansion and updated bedrooms, bathrooms and light fixtures. An old home, they also spent a “bulk of the budget” on redoing the chimneys, which proved fruitful, Leigh notes. Being able to cozy up to one of the bedroom’s vintage fireplaces is one of the farmhouse’s most special features.
The second phase, which they’re working on now, is the property’s barn. The previous homeowners, one an artist and the other a winemaker, both had their own personalized spaces on the property. The artist had turned the barn into her art studio, and the winemaker had designed an awe-worthy wine cellar in the basement of the farmhouse, which, Leigh says, barely needed any updates. “It was almost in perfect condition.”
Leigh became attached to one of the previous artist-homeowner’s paintings on their initial visit and asked to have it included in the sale. The piece, an intricate horse painting, now hangs in the dining room as a beautiful and lasting memento.
The couple’s general love of artwork played a major factor in the home’s design. Along with purchasing many vintage posters, Leigh had her mother, also an artist, create a few abstract pieces.
“It’s great because my mom lives in Baltimore City so I can be like, ‘Hey mom, can you throw this painting together?’ And she is kind enough to do it based on the designs and colors I’m looking for,” Leigh says.
Having a keen artistic eye is something that clearly runs in the family. Leigh designed at least “85 percent” of the home decor herself. The additional reassurance and help, particularly the last two weeks before the big reveal, came from her interior designer cousin, who owns Design Dwellings in Chicago.
The home’s overall look is as charming and pleasant as ever — with every space thought out and detailed to perfection. Vintage furniture mixes effortlessly with modernized touches, and unique elements such as floral-patterned wallpaper cutouts nd faded, bohemian-centric rugs from a local business, District Loom, really amp up the charm level.
It oozes rustic-chic from every angle with many unique pieces perfectly chosen from nearby small businesses such as The Old Luckett’s Store in Leesburg, Virginia and Hip and Humble in Berryville, Virginia. And walking through the home feels like stepping into an Anthropologie catalog. So it’s no surprise to hear that Leigh did, in fact, take some inspiration from the store’s home department. Leigh says she also decided to combine this design aesthetic with untouched floors to give the home a lived-in feel. “All of the floors are original, and we really love that. Some of them are showing their age and maybe a little uneven, but we like the rustic feel mixed with all of the other kind of modern extras we chose.”
One of the particularly unique design elements is Leigh’s DIY artwork placed in one of the bedrooms. “I collected a bunch of vintage patches from eBay and Etsy, and I threw them into some cranes to make an art piece,” Leigh says. “It’s actually one of my favorite parts of the house now.”
Having been open only since May, Magnolia Pond Farm’s design, location and backyard pond view have already gained quite a following. It’s housed a multitude of visitors and has even been a destination spot for birthday parties and bachelorette parties, which makes sense considering its close proximity to a variety of wineries.
Leigh believes the biggest charm endorsement of all came from South Moon Under, the Baltimore clothing and accessory store that recently chose their property for a photoshoot for its upcoming fashion issue.
While farmhouse visitors can easily and happily spend their days cozied up in the home, reading books by the vintage fireplaces, sitting out on the wraparound porch or basking in nature’s glory with a hot coffee in hand, there’s also a lot to explore nearby.
Only seven minutes from Harpers Ferry’s shopping and good eats, 10 minutes from over a dozen local wineries and just two minutes from the Appalachian Trail, there’s something for everyone. Located where Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia come together, there are many nearby small towns that have unique stores and restaurants worth exploring.
But what really brings on the allure is that this oasis — this escape from the everyday — is only a little more than an hour from the Baltimore area.
“As soon as you drive over that [Shenandoah River] bridge and see the historic town over to the right, it really does feel like you are getting away from the city — and all of a sudden, you’re relaxed.” Which, for many, is a necessary change of pace.
So yes, country roads: Take us home … to Magnolia Pond Farm, please.
Photography by Jennifer Hughes