Finding Country Comfort at Mount Vernon’s Warwick Farm
Page Price’s family farm gets new life as an event space and the host of curated antique and garden sales.
Homeowner Page Price framed a pathway with viburnums and flowering pear trees at Warwick Farm in Mount Vernon. In designing spaces, Price advises: “You have to borrow from what’s around you, and if not, try to block it out.”
Price’s dining table rests on a gravel patio beneath the enormous sycamore tree at the corner of her farmhouse.
Page Price has worked dauntlessly to transform her 200-year-old Warwick Farm in Mount Vernon into a beautiful, rural venue to share with others. Couples host their weddings in the vintage DuPont glasshouse. Shoppers from all over Ohio travel back roads to attend the highly anticipated barn sales. Others are lucky to make the cut for the frequently sold-out wreath workshops, pie-making events and Valentine’s Day dinners.
“It’s a way to do what I want and share it with others,” Price says. “To do it all and not share it would be a waste.”
In 1998, Price and her husband, Greg, bought the farm from his mom soon after the two had finished graduate school—Page for landscape architecture and Greg for veterinary medicine. Greg had grown up on the dairy farm, milking 200 Brown Swiss cattle with his brother. Page also grew up in the country, taking on every 4-H project possible in Northwest Ohio, so she was familiar with the demands of rural living.
The couple renovated the neglected farm one project at a time, starting with the pre-Civil War farmhouse and historic bank barn, then outbuildings. The event venue business hadn’t factored into their early plans. They’d originally intended to focus on raising sheep in a naturalistic setting for local farm-to-table restaurants and butchers. “It was kind of an accident,” Page says. Yet she embraced one event concept after another and made each one work in creative ways.
The barn sales began, she explains, when she started collecting antiques and selling them at a flea market in Springfield. When she grew tired of hauling, setting up and tearing down her wares for each show, she jumped at her friend’s idea to host a barn sale and invited other creative friends to sell their vintage and handmade goods. They named the event the Rural Society Antique & Garden Sale and hosted their first sale with highly curated displays. “It just turned into a thing,” Price says.
Now in its 10th year, the semiannual sale, set for May 5–6, features 25 vendors and attracts 400 carloads of guests. They come for the sale and to wander the farm and gardens—the clouded boxwoods in front of Price’s home, parterre herb garden, raised bed kitchen garden, perennial borders and shade plantings beneath an enormous champion sycamore tree. The wedding venue business evolved in a similar manner after the second barn sale. “That was an accident, too,” Price says.
A dealer simply asked to host her daughter’s wedding at the farm. The bride happened to be a photographer and posted her romantic wedding photos online. Price suddenly found herself acting as an event planner and discovered her talents in styling, entertaining and floral design. She even traveled to Petersham Nurseries in England to study a unique assembly technique she uses so well in her foraged and floral designs today.
Over time, the wedding business inspired further farm improvements, eventually expanding the venue space to 1,800 square feet and accommodating up to 350 guests. The cattle yard is now a dance floor, framed with foundation stones salvaged from the farm’s old silos. Apple crates filled with ornamental trees and herbs further accent the space, connected by strings of twinkle lights.
The milk house was completely gutted and rehabbed, becoming a guesthouse with a full industrial kitchen, sitting room, bath and a large, dormitory-style loft bedroom. The abandoned maple syrup house was converted to Price’s floral design studio and an outdoor entertainment space. Two greenhouses were also added to extend the growing season for the large kitchen garden and numerous flower borders on the farm. The 1800s springhouse (which sits atop a natural spring, hence the name) was revamped into an additional guesthouse.
“So many of these hip people are surprised to arrive at the farm and find me in my tall muck boots, and learn I live here and do all this work,” Price says. “To do all this, you have to get dirty.”
The newest structural addition to the farm, the glasshouse, came from an architectural dealer in Philadelphia in 2019. “The glasshouse was a big leap,” Price says. “I always wanted one, but new ones were so expensive.” She was delighted to find an online listing for a 75-year-old Lord & Burnham glasshouse salvaged from a DuPont estate near Philadelphia. She purchased it, relocated it and reconstructed it during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Price also came up with a clever idea to add more bar space to the property. She took an old produce stand and revamped it into a secondary mobile bar for larger events. And the projects keep coming: a revamped kitchen garden outside the maple syrup house; a new chicken house and dahlia border; and an outdoor kitchen complete with grill and pizza oven.
Livestock also remains an important part of Warwick Farm today. A herd of 75 sheep and a guard llama named Monty graze its 40 acres of pasture. The farm is also home to a flock of black copper Maran chickens, a few rabbits, a dozen cats and three corgis—Potter, Pepper and Moody. A few peacocks and French guinea fowl roam the grounds, as well. Price says the test now is maintaining the balance between an authentic rural aesthetic and the conveniences expected by fashionable wedding clients.
“I appreciate the wildness of how things grow. The challenge is to find a bride that’s OK with that,” she says. In other words, OK with sheep in the barn, peacocks in the yard and lush, overflowing flowerbeds.
“That’s the struggle,” Price says. “I want events, but don’t want to lose what this place is all about.”
This story, which appears in the March 2023 issue of Columbus Monthly, is excerpted from “American Roots: Lessons and Inspiration from the Designers Reimagining Our Home Gardens,” by Nick McCullough, Allison McCullough and Teresa Woodard, published by Timber Press. The authors will sign books on May 5 and 6 at the Rural Society Spring Antique & Garden Sale at Warwick Farm. theruralsocietyatwarwickfarm.com