The Farm on Red Oak
This wild and beautiful 132 acre farm, just below the very top of Red Oak Mountain, is steeped in history. Its story and the history of Red Oak Mountain is an allegory for Rappahannock County.
Red Oak Mountain, with its cleared top and white fire tower, is the iconic landmark in the southern part of Rappahannock County. Descendants of the Johnson and Wood families owned much of Red Oak Mountain for centuries. Indeed, the farm itself was owned by the Johnson family for years and the community of Woodville is the namesake of the Wood family.
The old home has seen better days but it is still a remarkable example of vernacular Virginia architecture, worthy of restoration. There is a stone basement with huge log beams supporting the first floor. Old wainscoting surrounds every room and the original mantels, millwork and flooring are intact. The home features four fieldstone fireplaces, four rooms (the typical 2 over 2) and a large measure of historic ambiance. You must use your imagination when you view the pictures!
The main home is surrounded by a number of old outbuildings, many beyond repair. However there is an old log summer kitchen that may have been the original structure on Red Oak Mountain. It features exposed, hand-hewn logs, a large cooking fireplace, and a good-sized loft and it is still worthy of restoration.
The farm has two strong streams with a number of good pond sites. There is a broad saddle below the house that was originally farmed. It has grown up in the past 30 years but could easily be reclaimed for grazing, gardening or for an orchard. As the property rises toward the top of Red Oak it becomes more rugged and rocky. On this portion of the farm, there are several outstanding building sites that have fabulous views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The aforementioned Johnson and Wood families were farmers and orchardists and Red Oak was home to some of the finest apple and peach orchards from the early 1900s until the mid 1970s. During this time Rappahannock County was one of the top apple-producing counties in all of the eastern United States. Now much of the orchard land has grown up or been converted to pasture but one can still see vestiges of old orchards on Red Oak Mountain and throughout the farm.
Because of its central location and 360-degree views, in the 1930s the top of Red Oak was cleared and a low wood frame fire tower was built. Every day during fire season, the fire lookout walked from the vicinity of Laurel Mills to the top of Red Oak to watch for wild fires.
In the mid 1970s many young people looking for a simpler, less frenetic life gravitated to Rappahannock County in what is sometimes referred to as the “hippie invasion.” The farm on Red Oak became home to a few of these folks who were happy to live without many of the modern conveniences like indoor plumbing and central heat. On summer evenings sometimes there was a procession of VW vans and old pickups chugging past the farm on the way to an impromptu sunset celebration at the fire tower. From those days until fairly recently, folks who paid little, if any, rent have occasionally inhabited the farm.
Now Red Oak is a hidden treasure. The cleared top of the mountain provides some of the most awesome views in the eastern United States. Local folks sometimes are married at the base of the fire tower and every year there is an interdenominational Easter Sunrise Service on the top of the mountain. Although the top of the mountain and the fire tower are located on private property, the owners are generous with their permission for special events.
Located just below the top of the mountain, the Farm on Red Oak witnessed all these changes, events and “happenings.”
This property is unique in its outstanding location and its place in time. It has many possibilities for sportsmen, farmers, history buffs and people who just want a very special place in the country with amazing views.
- Address: Red Oak Mountain Road
- Price: $999,000
- MLS: RP9583000
- Acres: 132.81
- Price/Acre: $7,522
- View/Exposure: Scenic Vista
- Water: N
- HOA: N