• Location: Rolla, Mo.
• Owner: Michele Broxton
Services: Michele Broxton is the fourth generation in her family to farm in Phelps County, Mo., and the third generation on the same farm. Primarily a black Angus operation of 600 acres, Michele converted her farm to a commercial venture.
After living in the Nashville area for years, she returned to Phelps County with her children in 2009. While looking for a place to live, she discovered a historic home that had fallen on particularly difficult times. She was shocked to find the Phelps County landmark, Historic Green Acres Farmhouse, she had driven past countless times as a child, had been in foreclosure for nearly two years; it was about to become a parking lot.
The original Green Acres farmhouse was rebuilt in 1935 and is the original log cabin site of the Snelson family, who helped to found and build Meramec Iron works. She made an offer to the bank that was accepted. By Christmas 2015, she and her children had made enough repairs that they could move in.
Meanwhile, Michele found another home that was so overgrown with brush, the only portion visible was a bit of gingerbread along the roof line. A real estate agent friend helped her to secure that home, the Historic Holmes House, which she discovered was built in 1865 and was once owned by a former Civil War colonel. It’s located on a land grant from the railroad. Michele remodeled the property and opened it as her first Airbnb in May 2019.
“That home booked up so quickly we were overwhelmed with messages by travelers asking if we had anywhere else on the farm where they could stay,” she recalled. “So we set to work on the ranch house of our Green Acres Farm and opened our second Airbnb in October 2019. And then the pandemic hit.
“Our reservations filled up quickly. Guests enjoyed staying here for a few extra days, letting their kids run free, seeing the cows and feeding the chickens. It made me really happy to connect them to this simple way of farm life,” she added.
Future Plans: “We’ve also added campground facilities to our farm recently,” she concluded. “Currently, our immediate future plans include building cabins there to make more room for future guests.”
Michele’s story brings a whole new perspective to agritourism as folks find new ways to learn about life on the farm, where their food comes from and how children can share in the legacy that is American agriculture.