Heart on the Holston: Event venue brings dreams to life
Linda Burkett had always found herself drawn to the art of entertaining and hospitality. She put those skills to excellent use when she and her daughter, Kelsey Kilgore Taylor, opened The Homestead on the Holston in June 2017. Located on the family’s property, The Homestead features a log cabin structure and gorgeous views of the Holston River. It was originally part of a land grant to a Revolutionary War soldier. The history of The Homestead on the Holston is as rich as it is beautiful, and it has now found new life hosting weddings.
“It’s a truly one-of-a-kind place,” says Linda. “People are drawn to the log cabin, to the river, and to the beauty of the setting.” With seating for up to 125 guests, a full catering kitchen, and overnight accommodations for up to 10 people, Linda prides herself on offering her brides a wedding experience customized to fit their dreams and budgets.
Kelsey, a professional photographer, and Linda work closely with local caterer Jo Kilgore to provide a number of in-house event packages for their guests. “It’s ample and affordable,” says Linda. “I try to sit down with every client and help them find exactly the right combination of services to meet their needs.” During their first summer of operation, the venue hosted five weddings, with over 780 guests enjoying the wide, green lawns of The Homestead.
Renovations for The Homestead on the Holston were funded in part by a matching grant from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority. Linda also received invaluable assistance from Tim Blankenbecler, Director of the Mt. Empire SBDC. A neighbor introduced Linda to Tim at the SBDC. “Tim took us under his wing,” says Linda. “We couldn’t have been treated any better. He went through the proposal with us word by word and number by number to make sure that we got it right,” she adds.
As their second wedding season approaches, Linda is excited to see The Homestead on the Holston continue to grow. She plans to expand the range of services available to brides, as well as make the facilities more handicap accessible.
Without the guidance of the SBDC, The Homestead on the Holston might have remained a hidden gem in the heart of southwest Virginia. Thanks to Linda’s vision and Tim’s dedication, it can now welcome hundreds for years to come.