In September, some of our team had the great privilege of experiencing life on Mount Gilead farm in Leicester, North Carolina. Only an hour and a half away from our native Greenville, South Carolina, the hillside goat dairy and cheesemaking business (as well as Airbnb experience) was almost otherworldly in its beauty and tranquility. But one should not confuse the slower pace of life with a boring and uneventful one! We soon learned just how much labor is required to maintain such an enchanting place.
We were greeted by Robert Russell, aka "Farmer Bob," Kathleen, and their son Zach. It wasn’t long before we were introduced to the farm’s three dogs (Finn, Remus, and Max), two cows, two horses, one donkey (“Thunder Donkey” and the farm were a package deal), three rabbits, and numerous goats, sheep, and chickens.
Maybe one of the most surprising things about the Russell family is that farming is a “second career” for them, and they only purchased the land just over three years ago. Before becoming a farmer later in life, Bob was an academic who specialized in historic preservation. For a number of reasons, he chose to leave behind the world of academia and take up an age-old occupation. He feels much more at ease getting his hands dirty milking goats or making cheese.
Robert and Kathleen’s kids live close by and lend helping hands on the farm when they can. Some of them were kind enough to show us around the property while sharing about the memories being made there. At the time of our visit, they had just celebrated a myriad of family birthdays!
Mount Gilead, in our view, is a gem of a destination, tucked away in our beloved Blue Ridge Mountains. The family served as gracious hosts and patient models to our team, treating us to a wine and cheese spread picnic and friendly conversation around a campfire. This is not a paid advertisement, we swear, but we wholeheartedly endorse the experience that the wonderful people at Mount Gilead offer.