Built as a family retreat from the commotion of every day life, Oak Hill Stables has been a haven for the Sarthou family, who have held a lifetime passion for horses. The 500-acre property was built to raise and train their competitive Quarter Horses and hunter ponies for hunter/jumper competitions.
In the summer months, Oak Hill Stables hosts a riding camp for youth who come from as far as New York. Laura Sarthou Sale continues to give riding lessons to her many students during the school year as well, which is a fitting role for this long-time Oxford school teacher.
In 2006, Laura and Charlie Sarthou expanded their vision for the gorgeous location. “I have been a teacher for 24 years and this is quite different. Now I have become an innkeeper, too!” says Laura of her new profession. Laura sketched out her design for a wedding chapel on a napkin one evening at dinner, and they were on their way.
The farm, which opened its bed and breakfast in 2007, has quickly become a popular location for weddings, social functions, and corporate events. The enchanting Gothic wedding chapel, perfectly set between the pool and pasture, frames a favorite old walnut tree in its altar’s archway. During weddings, horses are known to gaze over the fence and observe the ceremony. As if on cue, they excitedly run along the fence line as the wedding carriage, pulled by a Percheron horse named Robbie, approaches the chapel’s entrance.
The large Victorian style home, set on top of the hill above a pasture where over 80 horses roam freely, is a lovely location for any event. Two large porches, one with gas logs, invite its guests to linger. The home has five guest rooms which sleep up to 12 people. The library is a wonderful place to rest at the end of the day, with views of the chapel, pasture, and woods on each side.
Not far from the house is the original barn that has been restored to a rustic bunkhouse which sleeps 30. It boasts original works of art from woodcraftsmen of Oxford and pews from the Yellow Leaf Baptist Church. The doors, constructed like stall doors, hold the nameplates of many of the original foundation horses of the farm. The lovely woodwork and craftsmanship create an atmosphere of warmth and hospitality.
In addition, a charming log cabin stands just a bit catty-corner to the bunkhouse, its cozy porch and warm interiors beckoning to its guests to stay a while.
“We love being on the farm and decided to share a little bit of heaven with the rest of the world,” says Laura. And that is just what Oak Hill Stables is—a little slice of heaven, where all the troubles of the world seem to melt away as soon as you step through those gates on Old Highway 7.