By Nancy Peevy | Photos by Chadwick Turner
MattLane Farm House East: A Charming Stay
Personal touches and unparalleled hospitality make this Airbnb a sweet spot for wedding parties or a country retreat
When Donna Buell saw the real estate listing for the farmhouse on Church Road in Goshen, she told her husband, Brian, that it would be the perfect complement to their wedding and special event venue, Stone Chapel at MattLane Farm, just two to three minutes away.
The Buells built their premier wedding venue on their family’s horse farm in 2007, and it features an Old World European style with antique front doors and antique stained-glass windows. Brides can get married in an outdoor setting or in the chapel. Located on Bowen Boulevard in Fayetteville, near Goshen, the venue is about 15 minutes from downtown Fayetteville, but parents of her brides and grooms have often told Donna that they wished there was somewhere closer to stay.
“Town is only 15 minutes away, but if you’ve been over there setting up and working on the wedding, 15 minutes as opposed to two minutes is a whole new ball game,” Donna says.
The Buells bought the farmhouse in December 2020 and opened it on Airbnb last March. Since then, it has been a hit with Donna’s wedding parties.
“I’ve gotten really good reviews,” Donna says. “They love it because it’s so close. The Airbnb is a two-night minimum, so sometimes the bride and her bridesmaids will stay here the night before, and then the bridesmaids come back here after the wedding. Or sometimes they kick the bridesmaids out and the couple comes back here for their wedding night.”
While the farmhouse is a great addition to the wedding venue, Donna has also hosted other groups, including ten women on a girls’ trip, parents coming to visit their students at the University of Arkansas, motorcyclists in town for Bikes, Blues and BBQ, a family reunion, and families from out of state wanting to escape the city and enjoy the peace of the countryside. Guests have come from all over Arkansas and as far away as Florida.
Built 109 years ago by a Goshen doctor, the style of the house originated in Arkansas in the 19th century. Cyrus Sutherland, a professor at the University of Arkansas’ School of Architecture for more than 30 years and an expert on local Arkansas architecture, named the style “prow house” because the rounded protruding front portion resembles the prow of a ship. During his tenure at the university, Sutherland would often use the house as a concrete example for his students of a prow house.
At some point the doctor sold the house to one of the Guinn brothers, a local family. The other brother lived across the street. “I know all the Guinns,” Donna says.
In fact, her cousin by marriage grew up in the house. “And, a good friend of mine grew up in the other house across the street,” Donna says. “She said every Sunday after church they all came here for lunch. When the weather was pretty, they all ate outside.”
“The Guinns sold the house to Mr. Sharp, a local guy here who had a cabinet shop,” Donna says. “I actually used to buy vegetables from him and his wife. When his wife passed, he lived here a bit longer and then a young couple bought it. They re-did the kitchen and two bathrooms. Those were the major things.”
When the Buells bought the house, they turned the den on the back of the house into a large bridal suite that includes a toilet and sink behind a partition. “Everybody said, ‘Donna, you can’t put a toilet in a bedroom,” she says. “And I said, ‘Yes, I can. I traveled all over Europe and it’s very normal.’”
At about 2,100 square feet, the four-bedroom, three-bath house sleeps 10 with two king beds, two queens and two single beds. Donna calls the style “casual and comfortable.”
Donna added several original paintings to the house, including a whimsical cow in the living room. Local artist Jane Davidian did the artwork in the kitchen above the sink, as well as the treads of the steps going upstairs.
Guests can cook in the fully stocked kitchen, and there are place settings for 12. Tables in the kitchen and dining rooms allow for seating for 10 to 12 people. If guests don’t want to cook, family-owned Pancho’s Mexican restaurant is across the street.
Donna says her guests most enjoy sitting outside on the back deck, looking over the large backyard. She’s provided a grill for cooking steaks or hamburgers and comfortable seating for hanging outside. “People really love the deck and sit outside a lot — weather permitting,” she says. The yard works great for guests with dogs, and Donna finds that a lot of people want to bring their dog. She allows pets.
When guests arrive at the house, they are welcomed with fresh flowers in every room, even the bathrooms. Donna also makes sure to have a fully stocked coffee bar, cold drinks, juices, bottled water, snacks and fresh baked muffins on hand.
The house sits on four acres, zoned commercial by the city of Goshen. The Buells have plans to build several small buildings on the property that will house an antique store and a “unique” coffee shop, Donna says.
The house can only be booked through Airbnb and is listed as MattLane Farm House East (Goshen/Fayetteville). It rents for $575 per night, with a two-night minimum.
Donna says she is typically booked at least one weekend a month, with an average stay of three or four nights. As word gets out, she expects her bookings to increase. Guests need to book soon, because with Airbnb reviews like “incredible,” “extra special,” “charming,” and “a gem,” the Buell’s farmhouse will soon have a waiting list.