Middle-aged_Madman on Trip Advisor
13 years ago
07/03/2009, 01:12 AM
New ownership - lots of changes, not all for the better
We were surprised when we visited at New Years to see that the Varneys had sold the Herb Farm. It was a mess then, but the web site said improvements were coming. So, on our way back from vacation, we decided to stop by to see what changes time had wrought. Lots, but the character of the Herb Farm has been totally changed and the result is just another tourist trap that has lost what made the Herb Farm a charming, unique place to visit.
The first change pretty much says it all: the wonderful and extensive herb garden located on the front of the property is no more. It has been bulldozed and replaced by a parking lot. The few herbs on sale carried stakes which said they were grown in a San Antonio nursery. The number of products made using herbs has plummeted, and they've been moved to a small section of a single outbuilding. One wonders whether there is any intent to continue making herbal products at all, or if the current ownership will simply sell the old stock out and replace it with something more profitable. There is a small plot where sickly-looking herbs are being grown (or at least the attempt made), probably for use in the restaurant. It's obvious that the former owner's expertise in growing herbs did not transfer when the property was sold.
The former wonderful spa facility was apparently sold to someone else and is no longer part of the property. Spa services are available in the old "Quiet Haus" and the former B&B property located next to the "Farm".
The web site is still incomplete, but notes that the restaurant is to be expanded, and no fewer than 14 B&B units are to be built, whereabouts unknown. Perhaps this is why the herb garden has been turned into a parking lot.
Fredericksburg already has plenty of B&Bs; 14 more won't add anything to the experience. It had one Herb Farm, but the new owners seem determined to turn the property into another "me too" attraction. In the process, they have unfortunately ruined one of the unique experiences that made the town so much fun to visit. There are other things to do, but Frederickburg has been sadly diminished by what is being done to the Herb Farm. It's not all bad - the restaurant is still good, and they are using herbs in creative ways - but, again, F'burg already has plenty of good places to eat.