SHINGLEHOUSE — The Orchard Guest House is a quaint home tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the world, and that’s exactly why people like it.
The Orchard Guest House, which once was a trolley station in the 1900s, is owned by D. Frances Ripley and operated by Tom and Jo Weitzel. It’s a very patriotic home and area, and is dedicated to the L.E.E.K. Hunting and Mountain Preserve for the Wounded Warriors in Oswayo. Outside, a walkway is dedicated to Cpl. Jason Dunham, who served in the Marines during the Iraq War. He died in April 2004, at age 22, after he used his body to shield other Marines from a grenade explosion in Husaybah, Iraq.
The three have dedicated many years to fixing up the home and making it into the private escape it is today. It was never their dream or goal to renovate a home like they did here.
“It was rough doing this … but it was rewarding. We saved a historical place,” Jo said. “I think it was meant for us to save it.”
It opened for visitors in 2017. The home, located at 382 Coons Crossing Road, Shinglehouse, is a place where locals can house their out-of-town guests, hold weddings, reunions, receptions, memorial services, or for visitors who just need to get away.
They get a lot of visitors who are coming to look at the stars, Tom said, referring to Cherry Springs State Park in Coudersport, a certified International Dark-Sky Park that is world-famous for being one the best places in the USA for stargazing.
“Probably 80% of them are stargazers,” Tom said. Jo said people have come from all over, including Florida, Chicago and New York City.
It’s a more popular place in the summers, the Weitzels said. But it would be the perfect place for the fall and winter holidays.
“Say somebody lives in an apartment and they decide, ‘Darn, I’d like to have my whole family in, but I don’t have room for them,’ they could come right here and have their turkey and the whole thing,” Jo said.
For the Christmas season, they puts up a nine and a half foot Christmas Tree near the entryway for people to marvel at.
When people rent the home, they have the whole house and 40-acres to themselves. The Weitzels live close by so if there is an issue, they’re able to help. The house has three bedrooms, one bathroom, a kitchen, a dining room, living room and an inviting porch with rocking chairs to tie it all together. There’s also a sunroom-type area in the back of the house. It sleeps eight people. Outside, beyond the Cpl. Jason Dunham Walkway, there’s a grill, a huge bonfire pit and a little playhouse for children.
People like it here because they can relax, unplug and just take a breath.
“They can unplug,” Jo said. “Just the pace. People come in here … and say, ‘this is like going back in time.’ It’s a slower, relaxing place.”
For more information or to inquire about reservations, call 814-697-6462.