STRASBOURG – The team working to establish a nature and wellness resort in the Star Tannery area of Shenandoah County said they are also committed to bringing economic and community growth to the area.
Jennifer Marburg, co-owner of Wellmore Partners, said the 550-acre Simply Shenandoah resort will have many opportunities to employ local workers, partner with area farmers, collaborate with local artisans and establish relationships with local businesses.
“There is so much talent here; it’s amazing,” said Marburg, owner of Wellmore Partners with her husband Mike.
Jennifer Marburg said only about 20 of the more than 500 acres will be developed. Of these 20 acres, not all will be used for building spaces. Some of them will include outdoor recreation and other wellness activities.
Simply Shenandoah is intended to be an adults-only resort with a three-night minimum stay. The installation will appeal to people with daily stress and those who want to connect with nature while disconnecting from everyday life.
Building spaces will include 120 guest rooms as well as spa and dining areas. The plan is to design and construct the buildings in a way that fuels the connection with nature.
“Our main goal is to encourage people to disconnect in order to reconnect,” said Jennifer Marburg. “We all have our phones and screens, but when we put them down and are present in a thoughtful community that offers many nature-based experiences, we become more balanced.”
Marburg said she experienced it firsthand after she and her husband took more wellness and nature-focused trips.
To achieve the station’s goals, she said respect for nature must be a priority.
“We have wonderful plans for how we are going to appreciate and respect this property,” she said. “We want to work with farmers, growers, local producers and others in the region to become truly sustainable in a truly thoughtful way that respects the environment. We must work with nature, not against it.
The couple’s travels sparked the idea of opening their own resort in the Shenandoah Valley, Jennifer Marburg said.
“Instead of coming back from vacations exhausted, we found there were places you could go and have a more holistic experience,” she said. “For example, if you really wanted to spend time exercising, meditating, or working with your hands, you come out of that experience feeling more fulfilled. We couldn’t find anything in our area that offered that.
The Marburgs live in Aldie, northern Virginia, but fell in love with the valley after a few trips to the area, Jennifer said.
“We appreciate the beauty of nature and the beauty of the community,” she said. “That’s what I discovered while getting to know the Shenandoah Valley.”
Jennifer said she’s visited 16 cities over the past four months to meet craftsmen who could possibly help focus on the resort’s “regionally authentic” interior design in a bid to keep that beauty on display.
Meanwhile, Greg McCarley, who focuses on key community partnerships for Wellmore Partners, is working to connect with local farmers to ensure the resort will be stocked with clean, organic food.
“This could be a great opportunity for farmers who were considering switching to organic farming but weren’t sure if there was a market here for it,” McCarley said.
McCarley said the station will do its part to create a better environment. For example, the resort will offer clean, organic food and won’t use single-use plastic, he said.
McCarley also strives to connect with small businesses for partnerships so they can work to ensure tourists who come to the retreat center then visit other local businesses.
Serving as a community liaison for McCarley is a welcome change from his usual tech jobs.
Although he grew up in Illinois, McCarley said his mother drove through the area many times, which usually included a stop at a natural spring along State Route 55. He said his mother had always said she was going to move to the area one day. They have now been in the area with their local business, New Star Market, for about 15 years.
Recently, McCarley said he decided to pursue his passion for working outdoors while connecting with nature and people.
He said Wellmore Partners and the Simply Shenandoah project were a perfect fit.
“I’ve worked in a fast-paced city, but what I love about Shenandoah County is that you come here and the pace is slow. I like the fact that I know my neighbors, that I can go out and not worry about traffic,” McCarley said. “What a great opportunity (the retreat is) for a small community that knows and supports each other. We look forward to connecting with local small businesses and farmers, and want to show off the beauty of Shenandoah County. »
McCarley said he hopes others will share the same passion for “making the world a better place”.
In addition to working with local farmers, artisans and businesses, the station is expected to hire at least 250 people when it opens around 2024.
Contact McCarley at [email protected] or 540-409-7060 if you are interested in partnering with Simply Shenandoah.
Visit thenatureretreat.com for more information.