Nature’s Retreat is the combination of two 19th century farms—Annie’s Place and Ancestor Acres. Both farms are adjacent to one another, and are located in the unglaciated hill country of Holmes County on Mitten Ridge. The Hall family inhabited Annie’s Place and the Mitten family inhabited Ancestor Acres. Both families were close friends for generations, helping each other with planting and harvesting of crops along with other jobs that occurred on the small family farms of yesteryear.
Annie’s Place is rightfully named after Annie Hall. The next to the youngest girl of the nine Hall children, she was born in 1884 in the house her grandfather built (Annie’s Place). Annie never married. She stayed home and took care of her parents, and with her brother Ed, took over the daily operations of the Hall farm. It has been said that Annie had the best floral and garden arrangements on Mitten Ridge. People came from all around to see her gardens. Annie lived all 95 years of her life on Mitten Ridge, leaving her mark with the beautiful lilacs, phlox, redbud, currant, mulberry, and Chinese chestnuts that bloom year after year.
Ancestor Acres lies north of Annie’s Place, and is currently home of the sixth generation of Mitten Descendents. Lew and Julia Mitten moved to Mitten Ridge in 1889. Here they raised 5 children: Grace, Anna, Stan, Joe, and Pet. In 1907 they purchased the farm now called Ancestor Acres. Walking from Ancestor Acres to Annie’s Place is as peaceful a walk as you will find walking among large deciduous trees and along tall grassy meadows. No doubt this walk back and forth occurred for generations between the Halls and Mittens. The Mittens were great stewards of the land they loved so dearly. This stewardship is quite evident today through the magnificent hardwoods, and the preservation of their ancestral home. Joe Mitten, the second son of Lew and Julia Mitten was highly regarded as a naturalist, and is credited with the preservation of his homeland on Mitten Ridge. Known to many as Uncle Joe, his legacy remains in the many large pine groves he reforested, and the large hardwoods he protected and cared for his entire life.
Today, Annie’s Place and Ancestor Acres are owned and operated by Bob and Karen Hunter. Bob is the great-great grandson of Lew and Julia Mitten. They have two children, Cody and Lindsey, whom make up the sixth generation of Mitten descendents to live and care for Annie’s Place and Ancestor Acres on Mitten Ridge. The same stewardship that was started many generations ago by Lew and Julia Mitten continues today by the Hunter family. Come and pay us a visit, you’ll see what six generations of stewardship can look like.