WeatherLea Farm lies in Lovettsville, within Loudoun Country, VA very close to the Potomac River at a point where Civil War troops passed back and forth on a pontoon bridge multiple times under the watchful eye of Union sentries, after the earlier wooden bridge was burned by the Confederates. Lovettsville was one of three towns in Loudoun County whose citizens voted against Virginia’s secession form the Union in 1861, and the farm’s owners at that time are believed to have been Union supporters. The core of WeatherLea’s main house is a log structure that dates from around 1794, when a dwelling was first mentioned on the property deed. The farm is thus historically significant as well as highly scenic and agriculturally productive.
It has been known as “WeatherLea” since it was owned by Earl and Yetive Weatherly from 1950 to 1986. “Lea” is another word for “meadow,” so the play on words is apt for this rolling 28-acre property of pastures, meadows, vineyard and pond. During the 1976 Centennial year, Yetive Weatherly wrote a book about Lovettsville that remains its definitive history.
The Baldwins have owned the farm since 1992, when Pamela was on emergency leave from a Foreign Service assignment in Sri Lanka and convinced Malcolm (who remained in Sri Lanka) that this was the place for their future. Their inspiration to undertake sheep and grape farming -- as well as the “farmstay” concept used in the WeatherLea B&B -- came during a 1998 trip to New Zealand where the Baldwins enjoyed visiting sheep farms and vineyards whose owners welcomed overnight guests and special events, and concluded that their very own place in Virginia could be nicely adapted to a similar model. All that was required was retirement from their careers in environmental policy and international development, which came about several years later. They began raising sheep in 2003 and growing grapes in 2005, and have been hosting weddings since 2007 (following the farm wedding of their own daughter) and B&B guests since 2010.
The Baldwins have added extensive plantings of trees, shrubs and flowers throughout the farm, a task that never ends. They have also undertaken extensive improvements in the main barn and the two cottages that now host overnight guests. They are committed to using sustainable practices to the maximum extent possible in all their activities, including “green weddings.” They enjoy hosting wedding and overnight guests and who are seeking an ambience of country elegance. They also participate in farm tours, especially when there are new lambs to show off, and they welcome volunteers at grape harvest time.