The history of Hunt Club Farm goes back to the 60s -the 1760s, to be exact, when the area was first developed as Woodhouse Plantation. In fact, the original house still stands today, and is on Virginia Beach’s Historical Register.
Skip ahead 200 years to the early 1960s, when a young military wife and mother, Mrs. Mary Vogel stumbled upon a 200-acre tract of land with an abandoned farm house on London Bridge Road and recruited 14 families to purchase it. They renamed it Princess Anne Hunt Club Properties, and subdivided it into “farmettes” that were a minimum of five acres each. The goal was to create an equestrian community.
The Vogels’ son, John D. Vogel – known as J.D. – became a farrier after graduating from Kellam High School. He started growing produce on the farm and opened a farm market at the front of the property. He grew various vegetables, strawberries and pumpkins.
J.D. attended conferences about agriculture and the developing trends in agricultural tourism (also known as agritourism). He started offering pumpkins and hayrides to school children every fall. Soon, he started the Haunted Hayride, the first of its kind in the area. Then he purchased a greenhouse, started cultivating his own seeds, and began a spring Children’s Garden Field Trip to help educate local school children about plants and animals on farms.
All the while, J.D. worked at the Virginia Harbor Pilot’s Association, spending 18 years there in all. Hunt Club Farm survived because of its fall activities, including the Haunted Hayride, Pumpkin Patch and Harvest Hayride Field Trip.
J.D. started working exclusively at the farm in the late 1990s, and in 1999, he hired Randi LaMark, a pharmaceutical sales representative, to help coordinate his fall activities. The two fell in love, and married the following year. They have since had two sons – Nicholas and Taylor.
Hunt Club Farm’s dedication to agriculture has allowed them to become a leader in the popular agritourism movement. The original farm market still exists, and sells a variety of locally-made products, including soaps and candles made on the property. In the fall, the market is home to one of the largest pumpkin patches in the area, and beginning the week of Thanksgiving, Virginia-grown Christmas trees are available for sale, and farm staff members make beautiful wreaths with the recycled tree clippings.
An array of culturally-significant fairs and festivals has also resulted from Hunt Club Farm’s agricultural focus. These include a Spring and Easter Celebration, Fall Harvest Fair, Halloween Festival and Holidays at Hunt Club. The petting farm is a major focus of every special activity at Hunt Club Farm.
Mr. and Mrs. Vogel would be so proud that Hunt Club Farm’s tradition has carried on and has expanded, teaching more and more families all about what farm life has to offer.
John C. Vogel passed away in August of 2003 after a brief battle with cancer. He truly was the backbone of the family and both businesses. Mr. Vogel loved his family, his farm and all children.
Mary Vogel passed away in July of 2006. Mary was well known in the dog breeding world for her Vogelflight Bichon Frises. She was actively involved as a competitor and a judge at dog shows around the country. She loved working with her dogs, spending time with her family and looking for “finds” at antique auctions around town.
Hunt Club Farm is open each year from April 1 through New Year’s Eve. We welcome you to explore our website for a peek at the exciting experiences that we offer. We hope to see you on the farm!