by Erin McNelis, Photography by Michael Becker
Rustic-chic interior design is a trend that has been gaining momentum in the last few years and fits in well around the Bucks County area with the old farm houses and converted barns that abound.
According to Tim Luccaro, general manager of Holly Hedge Estate in New Hope, that was something the estate was doing even before it was a trend.
“We are an old farm converted into an upscale facility,” says Luccaro. “We offer the quintessential Bucks County feel. Our guests can live the estate life style, while still having that rustic, down to earth feeling as well.”
Holly Hedge Estate began life as a farm built in 1782 by carpenter Watson Fell. Four of the main buildings still stand, and some of the most prominent buildings on the current estate are from the original farm. Fell used hand-hewn timber and locally quarried field stones and built the barn in the classic bank barn style. This sustainable building method was a necessity in 1782, but the current owners Joe and Amy Luccaro and their sons have chosen to adopt the same path. “We are using environmentally friendly paints, using reclaimed wood from a barn up the street to renovate spaces on the property, and using four of the 21 acres to grow some of the food that we serve at the estate without pesticides and other chemicals,” says Tim Luccaro. “We are preserving the historic charm while at the same time not using exploitive practices just to increase business revenue.” The catering facilities recycle and compost scraps, and the scraps that can’t be composted go to a local farmer to feed her pigs.”
After the Fell family sold the property in the late 1800s, the estate changed hands many times.
In the 30s, Trenton Times Editor in Chief James Kerney and his wife made it their private estate home, and added ornate English-style gardens and landscaping, much of which survived to the present. It served as a performing arts camp as well as a school until the Luccaro family bought it in 1993. Since then, the family has refurbished buildings and restored many of the original architectural features to honor the land, property, and community that they are a part of.
In addition to weddings and corporate retreats, the estate has an inn with 15 rustic and charming rooms for guests seven days a week most days of the year. All rooms have private en suite bathrooms, cable television and complimentary wi-fi service. An in-house bakery provides many of the breads and pastries served for the weekday continental and weekend full service breakfasts.
Homegrown, handmade fruit preserves and syrup tapped from the estate’s sugar maples make an appearance on the table, too.
Because owner Joe Luccaro has a background as a chef, the facility offers a high end, quality cuisine that might differ from other wedding venues. “We pay a little more money to know the history and origin of the food we serve,” explains Tim. “We grow and locally source as much of the food as we can to give our guests the high end cuisine as well as add to the rustic atmosphere we provide.”
While Luccaro admits it can be difficult to get a reservation on weekends, the estate’s midweek rates area available to those looking to get away and experience the inn as a guest during the week. For more information on the estate’s wedding and banquet services and sustainability practices, visit www.hollyhedge.com or call (215) 862-3136. The estate is located at 6987 Upper York Road in New Hope.
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