Spain

He realized at that moment that he had much to live for.” Ah, to fall in love at first sight… Carol, the original proprietress of 7F Lodge, wrote this tantalizing short story in honor of our Spanish hacienda. We refer to this cabin simply as SPAIN. Imagine yourself staying in this lovely place for a romantic getaway, and being transported to Pamplona.

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​She saw him first at the running of the bulls in Pamplona. Not as one of the furiously drunk on Madera and trying to prove to the watching world their bravery and stupidity , but rather at the arena, the bull-fighting ring where the enormous animals departed and where they eventually were herded back following their slippery, twisting gallop over uneven cobblestone streets and cheering crowds. He was in a noble position near the maquillador of his childhood carefully watching the entry of each bull into the ring as they trotted the border, slung the stringing mucus from their huge, snorting nostrils over their dense shoulders and paused in a ascillating discovery that there was no way out of this circle. Each magnificent animal had a unique response to this moment and Antonio knew how to read their minds. The manquillador watched with him, but didn’t dare gaze directly into Antonio’s eyes for longer than five seconds. To hold the gaze longer during this analysis was too distracting for the serious work of observation. These animals were all speaking their great truth, and Antonio needed to know as much as possible before the fight that would take place this Sunday afternoon. Any of these animals could be the one to square off against him in the ring, and any of these could win by chance. After all, in the art of bullfighting, there is but one winner: either it is the matador or it is the bull. And there is death.

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​Esperanza had been invited to the ring by her father. It was his glorious harvest of olives and capers that had put him in such a fabulous mood. Thousands and thousands of acres of trees had once again surrendered their abundance in record tonnage, and this he had turned to gold. Ships were departing daily for ports around the world, and virtually every hold was filled with his briny crop.

Courts and palaces demanded his name be placed on every stone jar in order to insure its contents were of the finest available. Yes, this harvest was greater than ever recorded in the 300 years of family propriety. “Magnificent,” she heard him say softly. “Magnificent.”

Straining to hear his near whisper words, she leaned forward offering a startling view of her cleavage that had been modestly covered by a lace shawl. As if carefully nudged by the universe itself, Antonio turned at the exact moment Esperanza bent forward, only to be hypnotized by her astonishing beauty and ample femininity. He turned back to the ring. He couldn’t pay attention. He returned his gaze to her, and pivoted his body in her direction. Arms by his side in straight attention, he stared straight at her, hoping for a return glance at which point her father slapped his knee and declared that it was time to go to the bodega.. They would return on Sunday to watch the great fight. And with that, they both rose and eased out of sight in under the cover of their many servants. It was only as they descended the first of many stairs that Esperanza glanced back over her shoulder to see Antonio frozen in complete stupor. It was her shy smile and tilted chin that seared him. She turned back to descend the stairs and arrange her skirt, ever careful not to catch a heel in her ruffled hem. She smiled with amusement at the thought of that glance. Her maid had taught her early the importance of an unspoken farewell. She would see him again. She could tell by the way her legs trembled. The matador was trembling as well. He realized at that moment that he had much to live for. Much, much more to live for now.

 

Sunday morning came quickly for him and slowly for her. There was much to do to prepare for the bullfight. Antonio must carefully arrange for the correct foods and exercise, the right mental focus and the appropriate rituals in dressing, prayer and traveling to the arena. He was not a superstitious man, but he was a superstitious man. If a ritual was imperfect, then he felt imperfect, and for this reason he continued to focus only on the event at hand. Of course, he was taken by this exchange of a few days ago and it haunted him from moment to moment, but he did have a dangerous and theatrical engagement before him. The closer the time trotted to his bullfight the more he fretted. This was unusual and the constant unraveling he was fighting to ignore began to became too much. He had to find the priest.
Storming the cathedral on such a morning was unheard of, but exceptions had often been made for handsome matadors. He moved with a madness, dressed in his suit of lights and already wearing the agile footwear of a high wire performer. He moved faster, his breath heaving in and out, as he interrupted the prayer and silent. At the confessional door, he moved to open it with a jerk and fell into it banging the door behind him. The attending priest recoiled with a jolt and asked, “What is it, my son?”

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“What is it?” responded Antonio, “Father, you should be asking me ‘who is it?’ And I should say, forgive me, for I have sinned, and this time it is the worst. It is in my mind, Father. Completely in my mind.”

It would take at least an hour for the startled priest to hear of Antonio’s fantasies about the mystery woman that had watched him for so long before he turned to see her leaving. It was in his quiet time that he was driven to impure thoughts an, masculine fantasies. For as long as he had made bullfighting his career, his mind was a controllable machine, but now he seemed incapable of any discipline whatsoever. Ritual was done correctly, but it had no meaning. Preparation was executed as always, but it was hollow. He felt like nothing mattered but to get to her, to find her, to know her and to love her in every way he knew how.

As the priest amused at yet another turning in life, he thought carefully at the odds he had placed on this fight and where it might take him financially if the matador couldn’t grasp his thinking. “Tell me more about this woman,” he spoke with theological adroitness. “Tell me all that you can remember and I will help you speak to the Lord.” Antonio told all that he could and the Priest took careful notes. At the end of confession, the matador was given some reassurance that divine providence had a way of making all things settle out in divine order. He was blessed again by the priest and as quickly as he departed the cathedral, so did Father Balderas. He had little time to do big work.

In the alley behind the cloister entrance the Priest whistled for a young boy eager to help with any errand that needed speed. He was quickly dispatched with a folded envelope bearing the seal of the church and whispered instructions. The caper fields were at least a 30 minute gallop, but the market vendors knew more though servant gossip than sentries at hacienda gates. Father Balderas suspected that this woman was none other than the convent-educated daughter of Don Pedro Cuervo, the most generous patron of the neighboring parish. The young boy disappeared in a cloud of dust and soon he returned after gathering the necessary information: she would be at the bullfight with her father, her mother and a great-uncle from Sevilla. “Gracias,” the priest spoke softly as he handed the boy some coins and made the sign of the cross gently across his dirty forehead. “Thank you, my son. God will reward you.”

On Sunday at the scheduled time for the bullfight, Antonio was alerted by a smiling Father Balderas as to the presence of Esperanza, her location in the prestigious seats above the entry as well as her name, gentry and disposition. His chest swelled up with pride and determination. This fight would be for Esperanza.

Upon entering the ring and making his dramatic, overgenerous presentation to the crowd he approached Esperanza with a small bouquet of plumeria blossoms wrapped in a strand of his strong, jet black hair. The crowd roared louder as he deeply and slowly bowed before her, never knowing at that moment that in 25 passionate and powerful years they would be seated together, above the entry, in this very ring, hands clasped tight and hearts leaping wildly as their first son entered for the first time as matador, honoring the love of their parents driving and magnetic passion that brought him into this magnificent world of honor and fate.fountain

 

From it’s peaceful fountain patio to its unique royal blue triangle shaped tub, Spain offers yet another unique 7F romantic getaway experience. We hope you can book an escape soon!

7F Stories

It Began With No Women Allowed

HCL bed

In honor of our Cabin of the Month, we are sharing Carol’s original story of the Hill Country Lodge.  Thru the years, some things have come and gone in the cabin, but the precious doll’s bottle remains in the kitchen window.  We encourage you to book a stay in this quaint cabin and look for many more of Carol’s special pieces.

During The Depression the 3 Frierson brothers all attended Texas A & M College, commuting by rail from the original 7F Ranch, northwest of Abilene in Haskell County. The 7F family brand was originated there in 1886.

Each Frierson brother studied agriculture and was, of course, in the Corps of Cadets. Following their studies here, each received their commission and served in WWII, Roy on the French front, Byron instrumental in the takeover of Berlin, and Gene in the Pacific. Following the war, they returned to A&M to get graduates degrees. During that time, they built this first cabin.

It appeared to be a place for healing. They gathered with their friends to hunt and no women were allowed. Across one wall were 4 sets of full sized bunk beds, in the center of the one large room was a long picnic table, there were 2 refrigerators, 2 stoves, and a kitchen area along one wall, an enormous cistern, an outhouse, a campfire and a huge post-war Caterpillar diesel generator.

When I was 6 years old I was allowed to come to the deer camp with my father. It was a cold, wet day in December with threats of sleet lingering from moment to moment. As we left the house, I ran back to my room to get a small, glass doll’s bottle in case I saw a deer, I might possibly catch it and feed it. I could hardly wait as we slipped and slid down the rough, wild roads, crossing swollen creeks and muddy tank dams. It was the height of adventure.

As is often the case with our child-like hearts, once at the camp my attentions were drawn to the deer, gutted and hanging from the trees, sausage squealing and smoking on the grill and the blazing fire, the laughter of the men and the sense of this forbidden man’s world, the right of passage I was being initiated into. So, promptly I lost the bottle.

When I left for college in 1972 the cabin was virtually abandoned. My horse went on to greener pastures, our family matured and I stayed in the city. Daddy died in 1982 and for years I just couldn’t return.

Then in 1995 I was hiking in the Andes mountains of Peru when I decided to go home. It was as if I heard a voice guiding me. So, that’s what I did. I came home.

36 years after I lost that bottle, I began to develop this land and wouldn’t you know it, while digging in the yard outside this dear little cabin I found that little glass, rubber nippled doll’s bottle that now sits on the kitchen window. A sign, I believe, that I have made the right decision to revive my father’s wish, to perpetuate our family brand.

My father was the oldest and he had no sons, so I inherited the 7F brand. I am the first woman in 112 years to hold title to it. I am so honored and I am so proud. there are 200 acres left of the original 2,400. This little fantasy village is on a 20 acre subset of those last 200 acres. Originally, we raised Angus cattle experimenting later with Brangus, then finally the town grew and we developed some of the farm into housing. It is a powerful place. A lot of good living has happened here. I learned to ride my first horse just steps from where you are sitting and I ate plenty of baloney sandwiches out under these trees.

So, let me tell you more:

I designed this bed and had it made by a local artist. The cedars are cut from our land, the roots are pulled from the banks of Peach Creek. The interior ceiling was the original roof of the deer cabin. The wood on the walls is from an old estate in the Montrose area of Houston and I battled long and hard for the old kilm rug at an auction in Hong Kong in 1985. The two portraits near the kitchen are of my dear parents. The artwork is from all over the world, a Valesquez from Honduras, the impressionistic wedding is from Nicaragua, the lone wolf from an state near River Oaks, the Madonna and child, from Peru.

There is an enormous amount of love in this cabin. There is a healing energy here, too. It is a sacred site. It is blessed and so am I.

Thank you for spending some time here. It means so much to us.
Hill Country Lodge is a guest favorite for many reasons.  From the unique twisted cedar bed, to the relaxing porches and tubs, to Willie Nelson serenading the guests upon arrival, there is so much to enjoy.  If the walls could talk……

 

 

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7F Stories

The Sweet Love of Monique and Vincent

Our French chateau is a longtime favorite at 7F Lodge.  It’s one of the most romantic cabins on property. The story behind the France cabin is a beautiful tribute to Monique and Vincent written by the original owner of 7F.  Here is their story:

On Tuesday, she methodically bundled the seven letters she’d written the week prior and tied them with a pale blue satin ribbon, each sealed with red wax, having folded the stiff parchment paper into an envelope. As promised, every day Monique Dupui cataloged and chronicled the thoughts of her idle mind, virtually journaling the clothes she chose to wear, the foods served to her by the staff, the moods of her heart and the comings and goings of her jolly footmen. Hiding by the seashore was never her forte, yet there was a sense of peace she felt in the little Provincial village. It held an unspoken charm.

It had been only two months and she was sure it had been a year. Shortly after her heart was broken by a carless lover, her father arranged for her to flee from Paris, hiding, unknown by any, and free to gather her strength and her resolve for a return debut at the opening of the Opera Season.

While her father dispatched a coach full of dubious seamstresses with bolts of billowy chiffon and brocaded satins to fit Monique, he carefully, and with military execution, made sure the gigolo’s reputation spread throughout Paris like a gas fire. Her honor was at stake.

But if it weren’t for the company of her little dog, Banjo, she might not have been able to muster a laugh. Daily, as she walked on the beach, Banjo, ran with the wind, jumped at the sea gulls and barked at the foaming surf.

One afternoon she gathered her watercolors and painted Banjo’s loving face by the seashore. Around the wedge of a rocky point she could see another artist, a man, wrapped in a woven blanket to ward off the chill. He painted with vibrant oils pulling from his mind something not at all there before him: a tall vase of jonquil sunflowers, some reaching for the sky, some dropping their heads in surrender. In a burst of doggish joy, Banjo bolted for the man stealing his loaf of bread, knocking a clay jug of wine over in the pale, soft sand, it’s claret bubbling onto the small shells beneath his feet. Not easily amused, the man stood, pulling his chair back from the wreck as Monique approached with a gesture of apology.

After an exchange of senseless words she asked his name. “Vincent” he replied. They stood shoulder to shoulder on that butter colored point lost in the moment of the sun setting over the Mediterranean, shifting the shadows and sending sunbeams through the clouds as Banjo frolicked in the surf watching the gull’s aerial combat overhead. Without words, they found their hearts joining.

In the days that followed, Monique and Vincent dined on fruit de Mer, tiny crab legs and shoreline mussels, sardines and salty anchovies, with generous portions of wine and the nutrient rich bouillabaisse the Niscoisse fishermen brewed daily. As the hues of Vincent’s paintings intensified, so did their passion: a slow, immediate burning held under control only through protocol.

But time began to close the gap. On the evening before her father was to send a coach for her return, they could honor their atiquette no longer and in a passionate instant Vincent created a turbulent moment of intimacy far, far beyond the realm of earthly pleasure and well into the celestial magnificence of creation.

Waking from the sluggish rest that follow and the comfort of the womb-like canopied bed, Monique found herself alone. An undeniable fief overcame her as she called out his name, “Vincent?” Only silence. “Vincent!”

It seemed an eternity before he stepped in front of the balcony, healing her with a fast embrace. “Come see what I’ve painted ,” he whispered.

Wrapped only in a cream colored sheet, she followed him to the tiny corner near the banister. There on an easel, blending into the night she could see the wet canvas.

“It’s called Starry, Starry Night,” he said softly to her. “As I started to paint, it became evident that you have sent me far beyond the heavens and well into eternity. You have changed my life forever.”

Monique’s “Banjo” resides in the cabin as does Vincent’s “Starry, Starry Night”, which guests can enjoy gazing from the indoor jacuzzi tub.  We hope that you encounter someone that will “change your life forever”.

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Banjo

 

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Starry, Starry Night

 

 

7F Stories

Hola Febrero!

Hola from Mexico!

Happy February and “love month” from 7F! We cannot believe the first month has passed in 2016. There is much to look forward to with all the weddings and celebrations of love to come this year! We wanted to announce our cabin of the month is Mexico. We know many of you want to celebrate Valentine’s Day with someone special and we’d love nothing more than to have you at 7F! Before I share what makes our cabin of the month so special I wanted to share with you some fun facts about Valentine’s Day.

1. It’s a holiday celebrated in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, and Mexico!

2. Aside from Christmas, it’s the second most popular holiday for cards to be sent averaging at 150 million a year.

3. A weekend getaway is the BEST way to spend your Valentine’s Day weekend (that’s a 7F fact)!

Let me share a little bit about Mexico with you and why you should spend a few days with us…

The cabin’s artistic bungalow look is the perfect cozy place for a weekend getaway.. The weeping plaster walls and latillo ceiling give it a feel unlike any of the other cabins.

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The head of the bed is made of a lion’s cage turned sideways to fit our queen size bed.

Mexico Feb Cabin

The unique wall art, Virgin of Guadalupe Shrine, and beautiful tile add the perfect Mexican feel with the convenience of being in College Station.

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And to top it all off the cabin has a kitchenette and a two person hot tub with a nice curtain for privacy.

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If you’re in need a getaway to celebrate love we hope you’ll choose to spend it here with us! The memories you make will be sweeter than chocolate covered strawberries and roses!

Happy “love month!” and remember Love Saves Lives.

~ Abi Albers

 

 

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Ivory Joe Taylor

Continuing our journey through the cabin scenarios, we learn a little about Ivory Joe Taylor. This is Carol’s fictionalized manager of the Sugar Shack. The cabin itself was brought in from the Brazos River bottom. The bedside photo depicts the cabin as it once was when sharecropper families resided in it.

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Here is the story of Ivory Joe Taylor as fictionalized by Carol Conlee.

Ivory Joe Taylor had a love. First it was music and then it was Sadie…until Sadie left with Jasper Wallace. Jasper had come into her life on the wave of a fine man’s cologne and with a promise of better lives ahead for the both of them. Sadie with her slurry tones of sad songs and Jasper with his high style and new money, spoke of a promised chance in Memphis, at a club on the river. Known for its “traffic” she could be discovered there. Sadie only had to hear what wasn’t said in order to pack her bags. The delta soon became history for Ivory Joe’s woman-of-little-patience.

So, Sadie left with Jasper in a sputtering black automobile, leaving a trail of dust that hung in the air for days. Ivory Joe watched time go by so invisibly…as if nothing had really happened…but in truth, all he could think of was that when Sadie left all the clocks in all of the world should have stopped. She was gone. Gone for good.

She’d been gone so long that nothing but the blues would do. He cried with his guitar most every night until the sounds took on a sad, grieving tone all it’s own. A “juke joint” held open its arms and Ivory Joe held onto the friends that opened a door to that underground world of both pleasure and pain. Sure, there was his music, but somehow…in spite of the fact that life hadn’t been fair at all, if a mad did have “the gift” women would follow those notes and that music and the juke joint could become the center of a small rural universe. A rural social club in the lonely, unlit country.

So…on an offer, Ivory Joe agreed to manage the club…The Sugar Shack. Stiff at first, then easy as traveling lady singers began to stroke and pet and coo. He was resistant to their cunning manipulations of his very fragile state, but soon with a reliable well-known bootlegger, some money coming in, and word of mouth bringing in patrons from as far away as across the river, Ivory Joe found his calling. He’d created an Eden…forget about needing a red apple, the “Eves” were anxious and willing to shed their skins and clothes for a chance at a “better” kind of life in a juke joint where time stood still and gin flowed.

In fact, most of the assorted women that came in and out of Ivory Joe’s life were only trolling the place for a cure to their painful isolation and loneliness and that burning female need to be cultivated and sought after. Ivory Joe did little to pursue the women’s desire, but by being caught up in the blues and doing a slow, steady dance with prosperity, he held an invisible magnet that pulled in their outrageous solicitation. And…eventually as the nights grew long and the music died down, one by one and night after night, he would hold onto each of those songbirds, eventually taking each into the serious and soulful interior of his very red room and into his very red bed.

And as their long dance of love built up the heat inside that Manager’s office, no matter the pleasure, the only thing Ivory Joe could think of as the lights flickered on those very red walls, was the one woman the he couldn’t have. The sharp red lipstick she wore would never leave his mind. All he could ever see was Sadie. And she was gone. Gone for good.

Sugar Shack is our October “cabin of the month” which means you can reserve it online for a weekday evening stay (Sunday-Thursday) at a special rate. Many guests enjoy the bluesy feel of this cabin.

 

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7F Stories

The Story of Batts Ferry

The Batts family history is forever intertwined with 7F Lodge. Craig and Carol completed their final “6 Flags over Texas” representation with the Batts Ferry Log Cabin to depict the Republic of Texas period. On this land, the Batts family carved out a living with a ferry business across the Brazos River and settled on what is now 7F Lodge land. Carol fictionalized the Batts family with this cabin scenario. Enjoy!

A Fisherman's Wedding

A Fisherman’s Wedding

 

BATTS FERRY

Once the waterways of the world were the only main gateways to new worlds. A man could “put it” on a sufficient river and connect to an ocean that connects to all other oceans on Earth.

It cost money for passage. Shallow crossings on the muddy Brazos estuary were few and far between as the river made its way to the Gulf Coast.

Edmond Batts arrived on the East bank of the Brazos with a wagon full of rope, lumber and ambition, his team of four mules pulling the load one step at a time.

He had fallen in love in Galveston, a city filled with riches and failures and merchants wealthy from trading shiploads of timber, sugar, coffee, rum, porcelains and thick carpets to hold carved walnut furniture from the Old World.

Edmond had landed in Galveston from the distant shores of Ireland, trading his passage for an exchange of dock working and long hauling.

Through the salt grass marshes, he learned to ferry loads of cargo, poling his way through the shallows and catching the high tides and draining currents back to the channel around Galveston.

He had first seen her on The Strand in Galveston coming from a schoolhouse where she taught English to young children from around the world. The scandalous man that brought Monique here from New Orleans had drowned when a barge collided with his small skiff headed back from the Bolivar Peninsula in the dark of night. She was left alone. The man was her father and his death put her in the unenviable position of being an unprotected woman.

When Edmond arranged a chance encounter and an opportunity to walk the block with her, he could not get enough of her beauty. New Orleans held a mystery to him, but not like the others in the city. Others could not fathom a woman leaving the sophistication of the Vieux Carrie for the flat sand bar of Galveston. Many thought she and her father left for a conspicuous reason since she did nothing to try and return there after his death.

She had little interest in him at first. The work she was doing with the unfortunate children was from her heart and felt it the only way she could give back to those less fortunate. She found that their scrappy ways were difficult, but for the most part the children were dear and gentle and anxious to learn. It was Edmond’s tenderness with them that he displayed in honesty as he waited for her outside the school building. Over time, she began to trust him.

Knowing that she was accustomed to the finer things, he had to take action to become a merchant in his own right. Following the finish of his servitude, he set out for the Brazos, north of Washington and he staked an area known to need safe passage. He would return for her as he made his fortune. Hopeful that she could count on him, she could not allow herself to believe that he would return for her. Losing her father left her without confidence.

As the ferry began, Edmond became known as the proprietor of Batts Ferry, the only crossing between Calvert and Washington. In no time, business was brisk. Wagons arrived before sunup, lined in a row, eager to board the ferry that was guided by rope and pulled by the mules, two mules on one side of the river and two mules on the other side of the river. One wagon would cross east and often another wagon would cross west. It became prosperous and Edmond was becoming wealthy.

But with wealth comes another burden: no time. Passage did not wait for daylight. Often, wagons or lone riders needed to cross during the night, willing to pay the higher tariff. Edmond did not mind. His fortune was growing, but her heart was breaking.

Convinced that he had forgotten her or lost interest, she succumbed to making a visit to a “fortune teller” in the lower bowery by the dock that receives the ships from Europe. The old woman was from Hungary and was often consulted by the superstitious sailors that were sailing new routes across the sea.

Monique entered the Hungarian woman’s hovel and lifted the veil from her hat. She had traveled the streets in disguise, hoping to ward off the gossip of those watching her every move.

As the fortune teller looked into Monique’s eyes, she could see the heart of a woman in love. She turned over cards, she gazed into crystal balls, she burned pieces of paper and she gave her firm advice.

“The man loves you deep, but he cannot come to you. He cannot,” she snapped with a thick accent.

Monique felt tears. What she heard is that he will not come to you, a casualty of a sad heart that is confused and crazy with love. As a tear fell from her eye, the gypsy woman continued.

“He is troubled for he cannot come. He has trouble in his heart for the longing. There is no coming for you now. Now he is not to come.”

Monique wept. The gypsy pulled her in closer to the table.

“Where is this place he will not leave? Where?”

Monique could not say. She did not know Texas.

The Hungarian snapped her fingers. “I know this man he has news on everything. You come back and he will know.”

Moving to the door, the gypsy spoke again. “You can make a trip? You can travel?”

Monique was puzzled.

“You can make this trip to travel for this man that loves all of you.”

That night Monique dreamed. Edmond had a box of gold and no one to cook for him. He fell asleep on his dock and his mules were hungry. She woke with a start knowing he needed her.

The next day, again under concealed dress and via a zig-zagged path, Monique arrived at the fortune teller’s door.

“Come, yes. Come. I get this man,” and the gypsy sent a young boy with a message to the dock. “You like tea for now?” she offered.

With a nod, Monique took a china cup filled with thick, dark leaves and very hot water. She sipped cautiously.

“Drink all, then I read leaves for you,” the woman ordered with a smile. “I love work with the lovers missing each of the other.” Her accent was still thick and Slovak, but tender and motherly.

In a moment there arrived a dock worker that was a living news man. He removed his hat and took a seat after the gypsy gestured. He turned to Monique.

“There is a ferry crossing 35 miles north of Washington. It is on the Brazos River and it is where Edmond is living and working. It is the first crossing for miles and Edmond cannot leave for the work is constant. He is working himself literally to death. It is prosperous, but he is likely to die before he can come back to Galveston. He had no idea the demand in the area,” the man said gently.

The reflection of the dream flooded Monique. She was close to jumping out of the room. Her anxiety was obvious.

“Drink and give me your cup. Drink.” The gypsy was anxious, too.

Monique sipped and drained the liquid, handing the cup to the Hungarian who quickly turned it upside down, prayed over it and then turned it upright again. She looked carefully at the leaves.

“You must, right now, go to find him for to save him. He is calling for you, saying your name.” She was emotionally invested.

Monique stood and with the assertive stance of ship captain she demanded, “Who can I pay to take me there?”

The gypsy gestured to the man who nodded.

Knowing the docks were full of charlatans and con artists, Monique had to take a quantum leap of faith. “When can we leave?”

The man mentioned he could leave in two days.

“We will leave in the morning,” commanded Monique and the man nodded again.

With a handful of coins, Monique paid the gypsy and she turned to leave.

“Stop for this,” said the woman as she reached in a pocket and pulled out a dried rose and some crumbled herbs. “Make this with tea when you see him first.” And with the tenderness of a grandmother she handed the bundle to Monique.

It took four days of camping and long, bumpy, muddy rides in a wagon to get to the ferry. Rain had followed them from the coast and upon arriving at the site, the ferry had two buildings, one on each side of the river. With a heavy mist cloaking the water, Monique rang the bell on the East side of the ferry, barely able to see a lantern in the evening light coming from the West ferry side.

“Who needs passage? How large a load?” came a man’s voice.

“Just one,” Monique shouted. “It’s Monique.”

Edmond dove into the river and swam to her side. The ferry was not fast enough.

We hope you can enjoy the charms of Batts Ferry Log Cabin. It will be our March Cabin of the Month, but it is available for rental year-round. Many a guest has fell in love with this peaceful, romantic log cabin nestled in the heart of 7F Lodge property.

Batts Ferry Road dead-ends at the Brazos River near Wellborn, Texas.

Batts Ferry Road dead-ends at the Brazos River near Wellborn, Texas.

 

7F Stories

So Long, Farewell

Wow, I can’t believe it is already my last week at 7F. This semester has gone by so quick and it is so crazy that it is almost over!

In honor of my last week here, I thought it would be fun to make a list of the “Top 5” things I have learned since starting here a few months ago:

  1. Nothing beats 7F’s Brazos Muffins.

 

  1. 7F stays lead to great stories. I have loved reading through the journals in all of the cabins and hearing story after story of people who have gotten married here, spent their anniversary here, or have come for a weekend getaway.

 

  1. Texas DOES have seasons. One of my favorite things has been watching the scenery change on property as winter turns to spring, so beautiful!

 

  1. A lot of work and details go into making an event like the ones at 7F run smoothly. Who knew there could be so many checklists, phone calls, and cleaning? But it’s all worth it in the end!

 

  1. LOVE SAVES LIVES.

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It has been such a pleasure getting the opportunity to spend my weeks here, and I will definitely miss the beauty and serenity of this place.

-Katie Morris

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The Woman Who Wears Many Hats

This week I thought it would be fun to talk about one of our staff members. I’ve been able to meet so many great people since I started working here, and while I’m one of the newest members of 7F’s staff, there’s one woman who has been here even longer than 7F’s current owners- Dawn.

Dawn has been working at 7F for a grand total of 9 years- WOW. There is no one else on staff that knows this property as well as she does.

And while she’s been here, she’s basically done it all. She told me that she doesn’t think there is a single job at this place that she hasn’t done, from hauling gravel to cleaning windows to giving massages to handling guest relations- she has taken on every role possible.

And not only does she help out with so many different aspects of the lodge, but she is also VERY good at it. Donna was talking to me about how there is no one else who can make a food basket for the rooms as well as she can. She knows how to place every item in just the right spot, and pays attention to details so every guest gets just as wonderful of an experience. All the staff also say she is impeccable at setting up cabins and cleaning them before a guest arrives. She treats every guest as if they were family and every cabin even better than if it were her own home.

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I was able to pull her away from her work for just few minutes last Friday and hear more about her experiences. The best part of talking to her was getting to see her personal attachments to 7F. Her son was married here a while back, actually only a few months after she had started working. It was on an October Sunday, and they had rented out all of the cabins and were so excited about the wedding. However, the forecast did not look good, and by the time the wedding rolled around, it had been raining really hard. But they thought fast and came up with a Plan B- for the guests to stand under the porch and the ceremony to happen inside of the chapel. Even with the craziness of the storms, the wedding was beautiful and it happened to stop raining right before the bride and groom walked down the aisle. She said the rain only made the wedding more special.

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Now, all guests are given the option of using “Plan B” if showers roll in for their wedding day, and it all started with Dawn. And she gets to tell that story every time she gives a bride a tour of our property.

After talking to her, it is obvious to me that this place would not be the same as it is today without Dawn’s presence at 7F.

She is definitely a woman with many hats.

-Katie Morris

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So this is how you get a 7F T-shirt….

This past Friday, I had the opportunity to go “behind the scenes” and see what our manager, Laura, and the other staff do to prepare for a wedding day! I was a big fan of the dress code: a t-shirt and shorts, and I was really excited to get the chance to take part in some of what Laura does every day to make sure each guest at 7F has a memorable experience.

 

I got to property around 9 AM, and by that time Laura had already run all around town to get food and other items necessary for 7F to run smoothly. Then we rode over to the Pavilion and began the cleaning process. I worked on the chapel, sweeping, wiping everything down, and making sure the windows were in top shape. Then I helped Laura with some other things in the Pavilion like cleaning mirrors and setting out the right number of chairs, checking things off a long list of duties as we went along. It amazed me how comprehensive the whole process was. Things that I never would have thought to check or clean were done so meticulously.

 

After the Pavilion was ready to go, I helped Charissa, another member of our staff, clean one cabin and refresh another. It was at this point that I began to notice a pattern in the way things are done here. Another long checklist was handed to me, which stated how every detail in the cabin was supposed to be. We gathered all the linens from the cabin, took them to the laundry room to be cleaned, then brought back some new ones along with an assortment of cleaning supplies to make the cabin look exactly how it looked before the guest arrived. We went through each item on the list, making sure nothing was forgotten or overlooked.

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My first thoughts about all of this were, “really, isn’t this a little much?” and “wow, this is taking a long time.”

 

But after working here for a few months and hearing the stories of guests’ “fairytale weddings” and relaxing weekends away, I realize that all that work is completely purposeful and impacts the lives of the people who drive in and out of our property. I love that I got to play a small part in giving a bride her perfect day, and I am appreciative that this is what staff like Laura do on a weekly basis to make peoples’ days that much better.

 

Who knows, maybe I’ll start to make some checklists of my own!

 

-Katie Morris

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The Rest is History

All of the cabins at 7F have unique stories and traditions surrounding them, and April’s Cabin of the Month, Hill Country Lodge, is no different. Hill Country Lodge is one of our largest cabins, with an old soaking tub and chaise lounge, making it one of the best places for brides to get ready before they walk down the aisle. It also is the only cabin with a full kitchen- this is because not only was it the first cabin, but the original owner actually lived in Hill Country for a time.
In fact, I think it is one of the most special cabins on our property, and here’s a few more reasons why:

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An old dictionary sits on the rights a few steps after you walk in, and it is always open to the page with “love” on it.

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Keeping the same theme of love, word magnets on the fridge are put in the shape of a heart. We have had many guests leave us messages with the words when they leave!

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This picture hangs on the wall in Hill Country, showing members of the Aggie Corps from back in the day. The Corps of Cadets meant a lot to Carol (the original owner) because her dad and other members of her family were a part it as well as part of the U.S. military.

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Hill Country’s bed isn’t just a place to sleep, but a work of art. It is an artistic configuration of four peeled and twisted cedars.

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And this glass doll’s bottle, which sits on the window alcove by the sink, represents so much of 7F’s history. You can read all about how this bottle fits into 7F’s story here.

 

The amount of stories and history that is etched into this place is amazing to me. From tales of war veterans to memories of the owners to the experiences of the guests who have come in and out of this cabin, there is a magic to Hill Country Lodge that can’t be found anywhere else.

If you need a place to get away this month, consider coming here and creating some memories of your own.

-Katie Morris

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