Who would have thought that you could experience what life is like on a real working horse and cattle ranch in Jasper, Georgia?
The Seventy-Four Ranch is owned by Larry and Pam Butler who are gracious and hospitable hosts. Larry is a lawyer by trade, but a rancher at heart, and Pam was a news anchor in Atlanta, Georgia. Their lifelong dream of owning a ranch came true when they bought the property in 1999.
Horseback riding vacation at Butler-Cape House
When they first purchased the ranch, they went to work restoring the main house, named the Butler-Cape House. It’s considered the centerpiece of the ranch and is made of quarried stone with Cherokee-style chimneys. It’s also got the original floors and window panes and is furnished with antiques and original art. It’s not quite known how old the home is but it’s believed to be built prior to the 1850’s. “You can always tell a southern homestead by the daffodils that are planted,” says Pam. She tends to her garden as meticulously as she does making sure her guests feel welcome.
Bed and breakfast accommodations for your horseback riding vacation
It’s a unique bed and breakfast with several accommodations to choose from. The property has one suite above the barn that has a private balcony and is popular with honeymooners. There are also two adjoining cabins that share a bathroom. We stayed in the porch house, aptly named because you guessed it-it has a porch. Next door is the saddle house, where they actually store the horse saddles. In the main house there are two additional guest rooms. If you want a really authentic visit, you can stay in the cowboy cabin which has no electricity and no bathroom. The bottom floor of the main house is for guests and Pam and Larry live upstairs. The cabins have wood-burning fireplaces; hide rugs from their cattle, saddles that are used daily and beams from trees farmed from their land. The only drawback is that the front part of the ranch is on a busy highway so it’s a little noisy.
Endless activities at the ranch
The breakfast here is hearty and tasty with menu items like pecan waffles, thick-cut bacon and fresh fruit served on an 1800’s French farm house table. Produce and other fixings come directly from the ranch when possible. You’ll need the nourishment as you take advantage of the seemingly endless activities that are available at the ranch such as horseback riding, fishing, roping, ranch tours and camping.
Pet-friendly Seventy-Four Ranch
The ranch itself has fourteen quarter horses, one bull, two steers, a longhorn and eleven Corriente cows (Spanish cattle brought to the Americas by Christopher Columbus). Oh, and several dogs including Jack Russell terriers that are running around. Three of the acres on their property are fenced for the dogs to roam about (including the area around the house and barn) and guests are invited to bring their pets as long as they are well-behaved. They’re foreman, Menny, originally hails from Mexico and is skilled with ropes and horses and he, along with a few other hired hands, help run the ranch. Everyone is friendly and provide ample guidance for whatever you choose to do. Horseback riding is popular and the horses are fairly docile, so even novice riders can feel comfortable. You can ride on their 1200 acres breezing past the cattle with the dogs trailing at the horse’s feet. Be sure to check out the unique brand that the Seventy-four uses for their cattle. It was bought from a Wyoming farm where Larry spent five years learning to cowboy. Guests will not only see the workings of the ranch but also learn how quarter horses are bred and trained there.
Seventy-Four Ranch – moonshine and camp fires
Another favorite at the ranch is to gather around the campfire in the evening, roasting marshmallows and listening to stories. Larry in particular likes to tell ghost stories. “It’s not if there are ghosts here, it’s who the ghosts are,” Larry will start. There were three murders at the house during North Georgia’s moonshine wars. Lee Cape, a local politician and Deputy US Marshall owned the house when moonshining was popular. There were a number of “skirmishes” at the house as two of Lee’s sons ran moonshine despite their families’ attempts to dissuade them. One of the sons, Levy Cape, killed his brother Hobart after he threw out Levy’s alcohol. Hobart died on the back steps of the house and the bullet is still lodged in the front porch.
If You Go:
Address: 9205 Highway 53 West, Jasper, Georgia 30143
My family and I were guests of the Seventy Four Ranch.
This is a guest post by Sherry Jackson, a freelance writer, editor and entrepreneur. Her articles have been featured in a variety of outlets such as Entrepreneur.com, USA Today, Blue Ridge Country, Foothills Spotlight Magazine, Jetsetter and many other print and online publications.
For more great Southern Destinations, please visit www.seethesouth.com.