PRESERVATION AND CONSERVATION
TO PURCHASE HISTORIC ALBEMARLE COUNTY FARM
In March, 2005 ... I reported that ....
....it is with great pleasure and hope for a bright future that
I report that Bundoran Farm is under contract to be sold
to Qroe Farm, a preservation development company. The terms
are cash and there are no seller-imposed restrictions on
the property. This sale is not conditional on any rezoning.
Thats the same way we Scotts bought it, long ago.
None of the Scotts have any present or future financial
interest in anything Qroe proposes to do in the future,
so I offer here only my personal thoughts ...
The principal owners of Qroe FarmBob Baldwin and David
Brownhave impressed me greatly. It is commonplace
for us to receive offers from persons wishing to buy our
property. There are plenty of people who can easily afford
this farm and write a personal check to pay for it; yet
our conversations have rarely gone beyond a polite "No.
Thanks." Prior to meeting the Qroe Farm leaders, I
have met no one who has demonstrated to me the combination
of personal character and a proven track record of land
stewardship so as to qualify them - in my eyes, not
a banker's eyes - as a potential owner of a property we
Scotts have cared for since 1940. Owning and working farm
land can get into one's soul, and it is really important
to me that I pass this place on to someone who cares. The
alternative: an auction sale to (who only knows?) after
my death is not at all appealing after my parents' and my
lifetimes of stewardship.
I added in December, 2005:
Celebration Associates has joined the Qroe Farm team at Bundoran.
Celebration Associates, is headed by Don Killoren and Charles Adams, these being the two lead executives who built the new town of Celebration, Florida. These men add to the strength of the Qroe Farm team.
Celebration Associates, is building the fascinating and very attractive Baxter Village project for the Springs/Close family. Celebration Associates is the principal behind the magnificent and sensitive Homestead Preserve project in Bath County Virginia.
Bundoran lies in southern Albemarle, on the upper branches
of the Hardware River; its well-watered pastures, extraordinary
landscapes, and mountain valleys provide some of the
most peaceful and pleasant surroundings in this prestigious
community. New owners do represent change - yet they will
surely preserve and protect a large portion of the farm.
Not much will change immediately, except that, eventually,
more people will be able to enjoy as owners this magnificent valley in which we are located. My mother
will live in her home for as long as she chooses; I shall
do the same in mine. Our farm employees will continue their
employment under the same agreements as are now in effect.
Our orchard and pasture leases, rental house leases, and
hunt club agreements are all being assumed by the new owner. Big
game hunters will continue to enjoy deer, turkey
and bear hunting as a member of the Bundoran
Hunt Club Just ask our Hunt Club manager Jim
Why will we stay at Bundoran after the sale? Because we
have confidence that whatever Qroe Farm does with Bundoran,
they will aim for the highest standards of aesthetics and
environmental protection. We appreciate Qroes interest
in the continued sustainable management of our mountains
hardwood forests and our fertile pastures
for livestock production, mixed with discreet residential
We appreciate that they have no cookie-cutter plans on hand. They don't
drop a street grid on a parcel and start bulldozing. They
begin a project by asking their new neighbors for opinions,
for guidance, for what they would like to see built where
and how; what kind of access, etc. I suspect that we will
all learn fast that these people are refreshing to deal
We live close to the world-renowned
University of Virginia, and this 2000-plus acre farm will
now offer the chance for more people to enjoy our 20 miles
of private horse riding and walking trails
in the valleys
and through the heavy timber, which is spectacular in the
These trails are all linked together with plenty of room
for a four-horse
team to pull its way from our
carriage house to a magnificent hillside where a lovely
I first met the new owners several years ago. Serving
on Albemarle Countys Rural Area Focus Group but not
knowing much about real estate development, I began to read
up on rural development projects. My reason? I always noticed
that government could say "NO" but found it much
harder to say "YES" to creative ideas and slightly
out-of-the-box thinkers. Yet these creative projects always
seemed lovely to my eyes; some had to be built where no zoning
existed at all. The new village of Seaside Florida is such an example.
A few environmental groups had published glowing reports of
Qroe Farms magnificent record of sensitive development.
Curious, I traveled to New
Hampshire to study their work. I was impressed, particularly
so with the large amount of productive lands preserved forever
as commercial forest and productive agriculture, and by Qroe
using protective covenants to define agriculture....not as
a peripheral use, but as the First Priority Use within its
Cows mooing? Tractors starting up early? Does that bother
a potential owner? Solution? Please locate somewhere else
or don't complain. The farm operation comes first, and if
a farm does not have a chance to profit from agricultural or forestry operations, the land will eventually
decline into ugly wasteland. All this is made very clear well
before anyone buys a Qroe home site.
preservation development concept is very interesting, and perhaps unprecedented. I am certain that Qroe understands
rural priorities; that farm operations should come first;
houses second. So, Bundoran Farm's several hundred acres of
apple orchard, hundreds of pasture
acres, and magnificent, mature hardwood
forests will, for the very most part, be preserved forever.
Following my tour of Qroe's New Hampshire projects, aside
from an occasional conversation about land preservation and
a casual tour of Bundoran long ago, we have had no relationship.
We had never, even peripherally, discussed a sale until Qroes
unsolicited letter arrived [in December 2004]
with an out-of-the-blue offering to buy our properties.
I confess to being utterly astonished at its subject matter.
We have confidence in Qroe Farms, in Bob Baldwin and David
Brown as the gentlemen they quite obviously are, and we hope
for a pleasant future that includes a warm ongoing relationship
with our new neighbors.
TRAGEDY STRIKES: A plane crash took the lives of David and Bob in July 2006.
The sudden deaths of Robert H. Baldwin and David I. Brown stunned the Scott family and all of our neighbors. We had all come to admire and respect these magnificent men. They were men with big dreams, and theirs were dreams worth having...
Immediate questions come to mind: Who will take their place?
Charles Adams of Celebration Associates will become the flag-bearer for the Bundoran project, guiding the in-residence, on-farm Bundoran project manager. Charles (to include his talented partners) has long been a silent partner on the Qroe-Bundoran team and we Scotts have come to know him well. Charles lived nearby in Hot Springs, Virginia, where he leads the Celebration Associates' Homestead Preserve. He has now moved his family to Albemarle. Their Bath County project rises to exceedingly high standards; it has greatly impressed all who have studied it. We are quite certain that Charles Adams and his partners believe as strongly in the Qroe Farms mission as did Bob and David.
So, are we Scotts worried, now? Our answer remains the same:
"No. Never for an instant; and not at all."
Today, in January 2014, I note with pleasure that considerable new capital and additional talent has been added to the venture.
is led by Matt Spence, and this team brings exciting new energy to Bundoran Farm.
is the parent capital holding company of the Natural Retreats resort destination management company and of its recently-acquired Celebration Associates operating companies.
I see nothing but positives from the inclusion of these distinguished businessmen, who--obviously--do not dream small dreams. They clearly strive for excellence in all they do, and we Scotts have great confidence in them.