Taylor Hill Tidbits
There are so many stories to share. Take a look around our lodge.
Bound to Audubon
Charles Taylor (Chuck) Manatt found a creative way to save his grandfather’s turn-of-the-century barn near Audubon. Having served three generations, the barn stood as a reminder of the place where cows were once milked and hay was hoisted into its loft. The dairy business was shuttered long ago, but the commanding barn was built to last and ready for its next chapter.
After graduating high school in Audubon, Chuck left the family farm to attend Iowa State University with his future wife Kathleen Klinkefus (who is also from Audubon), to study law in Washington, DC and build a career that took him to Los Angeles and then back to Washington. But from wherever they lived, Chuck and Kathy, along with their children, returned to visit the homeplace and their many friends in the community almost every summer. In harvest season they brought friends back with them to enjoy beautiful western Iowa and to hunt; they pondered building a lodge on the century farm where all could enjoy both serenity and hospitality.
A barn transformed
With a strong desire to save Grandpa Taylor’s barn, the Manatts, their farming partners Donna and Ted Bauer, along with family friend and local contractor Tom Testroet, began renovating the classic red English barn into a modern bed and breakfast, maintaining its classic Midwestern charm. Within a year, the barn was transformed into Taylor Hill Lodge – appropriately named after Chuck’s Grandpa Taylor and for its location on the first big hill north of Audubon. The hill provides a marvelous spot for stargazing at the pitch-black night sky. A local artist designed and fabricated its two stained glass windows and many family antiques and photographs were at last given a home.
Your Western Iowa destination
Completed in the spring of 2002, Taylor Hill Lodge stands looking much the same on the outside. The inside would be quite a surprise to Charlie Taylor, however. Where once pigs rooted in the straw, the guests now relax on leather sofas in front of a cozy fireplace. “Homey and comfortable” is how guests describe the lodge with its earthy colors, mission-style furniture and original pitched ceiling visible from the spacious great room below.
Open February through December, Taylor Hill Lodge offers six bedrooms, four full baths and a family-sized dining and sitting area. Outside to the east is a patio where guests can sip their morning coffee while viewing the sunrise and surrounding fields, or stargaze with a cold beer in hand. The lodge is superb for reunions of family and friends, as well as solo travelers who are always welcome.
The Manatt family farm sits upon native land of the Sioux, Iowa and Kaw (Kansa) tribes. To learn more about native lands of Iowa and the U.S., one useful resource is http://native-land.ca.