We are John and Donna Warner and we are so excited to have this opportunity to share a little bit of our story as well as our home that has come to be known as Ocoee Riverside Farm!
While serving as an officer in the US Navy John was diagnosed with cancer in 2000. John is a cancer survivor but his cancer battle forced an early medical retirement after 15 years of service. Following John’s retirement, he and I continued to grow the property management business that we had begun in 1995 and earnestly prayed about where the Lord would lead us next.
John remarked that the Navy had sent him all over the world but that he had never seen the United States and so, in 2009, with our 2 adult children out of the house and our oldest daughter at the helm of our business, we set out on a cross country trip with our youngest 3 children.
Living in an RV for 13 months we homeschooled and toured the US! The memories of that experience only amplified what we already knew and that is, “The most important things in life aren’t things”! The opportunity we had to basically ‘live on vacation’ with our kids for an entire year demonstrated just how much “busyness” we had allowed to crowd out everyday living!
In addition to experiencing this great country of ours we were also using the trip to help determine where we would want to live because for the first time in our married lives, the military would no longer dictate that decision. It was on this trip that we FELL IN LOVE with Southeast Tennessee! That’s right! We traveled the entire country and this is where we wanted to call home!
Still, it would take us another ten years to make the dream of moving to Tennessee a reality! During those ten years we would continue to reside in Virginia, adopting two chidden from Ukraine in 2012 followed by two more in 2015, being caregivers to my disabled father until his passing in 2016, and becoming caregivers to Johns
mom in 2017. Yes, the vacation was over and the busyness had found its way back into our lives! Then it happened. In 2018 we sold Warner Property Management and began a year long housing search that would bring us to this little town of Benton, TN.
Benton seemed to check all the boxes. Small town with a hometown feel, beautiful scenery, friendly people and cleverly situated 15 minutes from everything and nothing at the same time. It is also within a days drive to adult children, and now grandchildren, living in Georgia, Virginia, Kentucky and Oklahoma. And so, in January of 2019 the Lord blessed us with our little piece of heaven on earth and the
one thing that we both knew was that we wanted to share it!
In the summer of 2019 we began greeting guests to our Riverside Cabin and growing our farm. Sharing the farm with our guests just came naturally and John and I both discovered that we absolutely loved being able to see people smile when they would come face to face with chickens, horses, ducks, llamas, ect.; some of them for the very first time. Our unique stay known as The Barn Loft was added in 2020, and in the fall of 2021 the covered wagons, as well as the camels, arrived!
If there’s one message that we would want to convey to our guests it would be: This isn’t just a place that we come to work, its where we live, and YOU’RE invited! We hope you accept this personal invitation to come and hang out on the family farm with us. Whether you are looking for a peaceful, no contact, vacation or an all in farm experience we trust that the memories of your time spent here at Ocoee Riverside Farm will last a lifetime.
John and Donna Warner