DOBSON — A Dobson couple is turning what was once fields of tobacco into a wedding destination and much more.
John and Jessica Jonczak are nearing completion of their Barn at Heritage Farm. Once complete, the barn will play host to weddings and other events.
In September of 2015, Jessica Jonczak said her father, Lynn Reece, who rents property to multiple tenants in the Surry County area, floated the idea of a wedding and banquet center. He had received five phone calls in one week asking if he knew of an ideal nearby wedding location. Reece thought there could be a lucrative business there, but he looked to his daughter and son-in-law to take the idea and run.
“We fell in love with the idea,” said John Jonczak. “We broke ground the next month.”
The Heritage Barn setting optimizes “local,” according to the couple. It sits on a farm owned by Jessica Jonczak’s father, which has been handed down through six generations. Once, it was home to acres of tobacco. It became a cattle farm later, and now a number of different crops are rotated through the fields every year.
The barn itself was designed by Jessica Jonczak’s father. She said the building materials include old tobacco sticks and logs salvaged from buildings which once served as tobacco barns.
“We try to make everything ourselves,” said John Jonczak. “What we can’t make, we buy locally.”
Once complete, the barn will be a two story wedding and banquet center which can house up to 300 attendees. A catering room is available for use to those holding events at the barn, and the structure will include a bride’s room and a groom’s room.
Jessica Jonczak noted parties of more than 300 can be accommodated if the group holds portions of the event outdoors.
The doors to the Barn at Heritage Farm open in September. However, the venue is already booked through that month. These events include the first wedding exposition to come to Surry County, said John Jonczak. That event will take place on Sept. 3.
The Heritage Barn is taking reservations beginning in October. The Barn will also have an annual wedding package give-away for members of the armed forces.
The give-away, which will begin in 2017 and features the business’s most expensive package, is already attracting attention, according to the couple.
“We’ve already gotten phone calls from others interested in jumping on board,” said Jessica Jonczak. Though she can only provide the venue, the package may end up including a photographer or even catering for the wedding.
The couple noted there is also a pond on the property, and they have an antique truck for use as a prop in wedding photographs.
Weddings might be what the Jonczaks intend to do best, but they aren’t the only events which may be held at the barn.
“The focus is on giving back to the community,” said Jessica Jonczak.
She explained they would like to hold community functions. A corn maze and a pumpkin patch are in the works at the property, and soon blackberry and blueberry bushes will pepper the property. A civic group is already slotted to sell refreshments at the Sept. 3 wedding exposition.
A special focus will be put toward agriculture, with the barn used to store crops and chicken eggs, and the farm to host agriculture related events such as gardening classes.
The Barn at Heritage Farm is located on Heritage Farm Lane, off of Cave’s Mill Road in Dobson. More information may be garnered at the business’s website, www.thebarnatheritagefarm.com.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.