It's really quite Simple . . . We fell in love with a house
And we think you will too
"We want every couple to fall even more in love on a wedding day."
"We are in the business of creating experiences that
you and your guests will
want to remember forever."
The story started the same as so many . . . boy meets girl in college -- Berry College in Rome, Georgia, to be exact. Two college sweethearts fall in love and get married. They dream about their future together, children, a home near the water, pets, travel, and one that they truly just threw out as an idea . . . own a wedding venue.
All of those dreams came true in beautiful and unexpected ways and when we least expected it.
The motto at Berry is "not to be ministered unto, but to minister," and that has been our biggest dream . . . to minister to others by giving back in order to make the world a better place. "Life" took hold. We busied ourselves in our careers and ultimately homeschooling our children full time . . . growing family, living in Savannah, pets, travel.
Then in 2018, we were scouring homes for sale when we found her. At our very first tour of the estate, we knew she would be ours. Or truly, we would be hers. You see, this home was built before we even existed, and it is our hope that she will last long after we cease to exist. We are just the caretakers of this piece of paradise for this moment in time.
From that moment, we had found our passion. And we are passionate about bringing people together with experiences that exude joyfulness. HollyOaks on the Marsh is the realization of a dream. We are creating a life together that we can be proud of, and we are inviting you into our home and lives by sharing HollyOaks with those who appreciate her the most.
HollyOaks on the Marsh is a truly Historic Private Estate. She was originally granted, in 1747, by King George II to Richard Cooper, a millwright who accompanied James Oglethorpe, founder of Savannah, to the new colony. The 500-acre estate was only accessible by water. After the American Revolution, the history is vague, but eventually the estate was absorbed into Wild Hern, our neighbor to the south and the land remained undeveloped and un-farmed. A large group of free and formerly enslaved African Americans settled in the area and named it Burroughs. There is a rich and vibrant history of the families who lived here, and many of their descendants still live nearby and worship at Saint Bartholomew's Church, located about 3 miles to our south.
In the early 20th century, Shelby Myrick purchased Wild Hern, and in 1925, he split off 40 acres for the Meyer family of Savannah. With their experience in international shipping industry, the Meyers built the Manor Home with beautiful views of the river and named their home, HollyOaks. A few years after, Charles Stuart of the Halsey-Stuart banking dynasty in Chicago, purchased the estate and, after significant additions and renovations, changed the name, frequenting her as their winter home. The property changed hands one more time when the Maner family of Savannah purchased the estate in the 1950's and held her until the current owners fell in love with her in 2018. They reverted to the original name of HollyOaks on the Marsh and she remains privately owned by people, not corporations. The family loves opening this estate to those who appreciate beauty and history.
Our perspective and philosophy are to revitalize this estate, bring people together in love, and radiate joy. The funds that are brought in from events help pay the taxes, insurance, renovations, and maintenance of the estate.
The Manor House was designed by prominent Savannah architect John Lebey, who designed many of the stately homes along Victory Drive. The mansion was designed to look like a historic home but utilized the modern building techniques of the time. Exterior concrete block walls were reinforced by rebar and poured, and the original metal shingle roof remains and has been restored. Over time, various additions have served to enlarge the original structure but care is taken to ensure that every addition speaks to the architectural design story and enable the home to serve the needs of the family therein.
Designed for the glamorous Savannah social soirées and parties of the 1940’s and 50’s, the interior living areas feature custom doors that fold open to create large spaces for entertaining. "We like to say that the home was an open floor plan before the term was coined," the owner said. The pine walls and floor in the hearth room and guest cottage were made from trees felled on the property. The marble fireplaces are original and sourced in Georgia from white, pink, and green marble, and the original marble fresco on the mantel in the main room was custom made in Italy for the family's ancestral history in Scotland and England. Brass fittings and fixtures are original, and the banister on the front stairs was hand-carved to follow the curvature of the wall. A gentle slide of the hand along it will detect the slight variations that speak to its being hand-made. Walls are plaster and the original moldings are in place throughout. The upstairs foyer is known for its oval shape complete with curved door moldings.
In the 1970’s, the Manor Home underwent a massive update with the addition of several rooms and bathrooms, as well as central air and heat. The interior was decorated in the colors and patterns that were popular during that time, and the 70’s décor was still in place when the current family purchased the estate in March 2018.
Since that time, the entire home has been completely renovated. The crystal Swarovski chandelier in the formal dining room adds an opulent sparkle to dinner parties. Gorgeous finishes such as designer wallpaper, paint, and carpets have brought a modern touch while respectfully giving nod to the past. Custom furniture and furnishings create a grand but comfortable atmosphere.
The gardens have been reclaimed from the surrounding forest, bringing the heirloom camellia and azalea gardens back to full bloom. There are over 50 camellias on the estate. The abundant Live Oaks, the State Tree of Georgia, with gently swaying moss, are admired far and wide. There are estimated to be over two dozen of them, and they are inspected regularly by a professional arborist, many estimated to be over 200 years old with several being over 450 years old. The oldest tree on the estate is to the left of the barns and has a wooden swing that is a beautiful spot for photos. The Magnolia trees are beginning to blossom again after many years of neglect. Careful tending, fertilizing, and trimming makes a healthy, beautiful tree.
Lawns are carefully tended as well. The land management aspect of running an estate is important to the health of the gardens as well as the comfort of the resident family and guests. Insects are controlled with regular professional spraying regardless of season. Gardeners oversee the trimming and mowing, edging and blowing. Finally, professional lawn experts fertilize to keep the grass healthy and free from insects and pests.
The estate is continuing to build into a working farm behind the scenes. Barns are currently being renovated for structural safety and beautification. The horses love the peaceful and pastoral paddocks, and the chickens produce the most delicious and healthy eggs from their organic care. We have plans for the additions of several other animal species so expect an ever-evolving scene.
We invite you to experience HollyOaks on the Marsh and enjoy our piece of paradise for your event.