Happiness Hills Farm is the vision of former Berea College Vice President, William (Bill) Ramsay, and his wife, Rose. Bill and Rose raised six children, were blessed with wonderful daughters- and sons-in-law, 22 grandchildren and 12 grandchildren-in-law, and (as of right now) 14 great-grandchildren. The Ramsay family needed a place big enough for family gatherings, and “Grandpa Bill” decided to create that space, on a lovely 80-acre farm in the Red Lick Valley, just seven miles east of the Berea College campus and surrounded by Berea College Forest.
Bill and Rose’s youngest daughter, Jennifer Rose Escobar, her husband, Alfredo Escobar, and their daughters, Lydia and Isabel, have helped bring Happiness Hills to life, taking care of day-to-day things as well as dreaming about what might happen next at Happiness Hills.
Jennifer is a professional musician and dancer, specializing in Appalachian and related cultures. You can find her recordings on iTunes, and near the CD players in the guest houses at Happiness Hills! She is also Director of the Berea Festival Dancers and works as an instructor with the Berea College Country Dancers.
Alfredo is in high demand as a muralist and as a graphic artist. He owns Good Impressions, a screen printing shop in Berea specializing in quality printed T-shirts, embroidery, signs, and engraving. When he’s not at the shop, he’s usually out and about somewhere in Kentucky or Tennessee, painting a commissioned mural on a community building or in a school.
Lydia and Isabel enjoy helping their artistic parents with their endeavors, regularly singing onstage with Jennifer and helping out at Good Impressions and Happiness Hills as needed. They are competent gardeners and help make canned goods from their own produce, to last the family through the winter, and they are fantastic hosts for children who visit the Farm.
Our Statement of Purpose:
Happiness Hills Farm and Retreat Center was built to encourage the founders’ extended family to share times together, enjoy doing projects together, appreciate the beauty of God’s creation and accept the joys, opportunities and responsibilities of family heritage. It is also a place to share with others the legacy of Christian hospitality the founders’ family has demonstrated for generations to the glory of God. Believing that all people are precious to God, hospitality is extended to all who will accept it in the spirit given.
The center is an ideal place for family reunions, youth group outings, church retreats, staff retreats and seminars, educational and cultural programs, and as a temporary get-away for individuals, couples, families or groups. It is a great base for hiking, seeing area crafts, enjoying area music, attending area events and visiting area sites.
Those who use the retreat center become part of the wider family and share in the opportunities for enriching relationships, personal contemplation and growth in the beauty of the area, the peaceful setting and the use of facilities provided. They also share in the costs and, in some cases, the work of maintaining and operating the center.
In keeping with the intent of the center to be apart from the busy-ness of the world, no TV service is provided but provision for DVD viewing is made and free Wi-Fi is available in most buildings. A landline telephone is provided in Hill House.
Those who use the center share in responsibility for creating and maintaining its character and reputation. Certain activities would compromise its character and change its nature. For example, the use of the farm for recreational vehicles such as ATV’s or motorboats on the lake would disturb its peaceful setting. Overly loud amplification of music is not desirable in this setting, although music, dance and recreation are highly encouraged.
Conduct which one would not wish to encourage in children or grandchildren have no place at the center. Our extended family chooses not to have alcohol as part of family gatherings. Others make their own choices, but problems associated with over consumption of alcohol are unacceptable at the center.
Care is to be taken of the environment and wildlife on the farm and the bordering Berea College forest. A no hunting policy is shared with the college. Accordingly firearms are not allowed. Fishing in the lake is allowed with permission, and a license is required by state law.
Effort has been made to make the center comfortable, convenient, pleasant and safe, and all who come to enjoy its offerings share in responsibility for maintaining it for the enjoyment of others.