Mast erects cabins near trail
By David PettyJohn
Special to The Farmville Herald
A new business venture in Cumberland County is offering a rustic respite for those visiting the High Bridge Trail State Park and other sights across the Heart of Virginia.
Wilmer Mast is a co-owner of High Bridge Lodge and Cabins LLC, which is situated on the border between Cumberland and Prince Edward counties.
“Basically, I plan to rent them out on weekends, weeknights, whatever they want to do,” said Mast. “People graduating from Longwood (University) may want to rent them.”
Mast plans to market the 27-acre spot to newlywed couples on their honeymoons. Mast thinks that will encourage more people to visit Farmville.
With help from Gary Shanaberger, of Longwood University’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Wilmer and his wife have brought a new attraction to the area.
The two cabins available for rent include a three-bedroom cabin called the Cedar Ridge Lodge and a smaller one-bedroom cabin called the Weekend Get-away.
The cabins are brand new, and they both still have the smell of fresh of fresh wood inside. They were built in August, and their interiors were just finished.
Wilmer has been in the business of building rental cabins for three years now. A friend he went to school with in Amelia County started his venture into the industry first. His success at building large cabins in Ohio encouraged Mast to start his own cabin rental business. His friend was a great asset to him in the construction of these cabins, Mast said, sending his work crews down to Cumberland County to help with the construction project.
“I’ve done some construction, but I’ve never built a log house,” Mast said.
The process of applying for building permits for the cabins took Mast about three months as he went through the application processes before county planners and supervisors in Cumberland.
Mast plans to use the nearby landmarks, such as the High Bridge Trail, as a selling point for the cabins. High Bridge is about two miles away from the cabins.
Mast noticed the land when it came up for sale, deciding it was “really a great location” once he took a tour of the area.
According to Shanaberger, a business analyst for Longwood’s SBDC, where he gives advice to small business owners, Mast is working on the project in three phases. In the next two phases, Mast will build more cabins.
“(Mast is) very excited about it,” said Shanaberger. “He’s been fun to work with; he’s a very busy person. A lot of the meetings that Wilmer and I had were at night after he finished his day job.”
“(Mast) has a really good plan and business model,” said Shanaberger. “I think having the cabins next to the trail just makes a lot of sense; there’s over 200,000 visitors a year to … High Bridge State Park.”
For more information on High Bridge Lodge and Cabins LLC, visit www.highbridgelodgeandcabins.com.