The Barn at Cranberry Creek is an incredibly stunning wedding venue located in Boonville in Yadkin County. It opened just four years ago in the spring of 2018 by three brothers, Darin, Dwayne and Neil Brown. The three brothers, however, are not the first generation of Browns to make use of this property. This land has been in the family for five generations and was a farm long before it was a wedding venue.
In 1898, the farm was bought by Thomas and Polly Ann Brown, the great-great grandparents of Darin, Dwayne, and Neil. They farmed the land until 1920 when they passed the farm down to their son, William D. Brown. “Papa Willie,” as he was called, and his wife Nettie settled down on the farm and had four children. One of those children, ND Brown, would be next to take over the family farm.
After ND returned from serving in World War II, he and his wife, Nola Campbell, made their home on the farm and began to tend the land and milk the cows by hand. From there, the farm continued to expand and grow with each passing year. Once ND’s son Vernon graduated high school, he became a partner with his dad in the farm business.
Vernon and his wife Brenda had three sons, Darin, Dwayne, and Neil. The three boys grew up on the farm and helped with the many tasks that had to be done. Darin believes the work ethic they learned as kids growing up on the farm has aided them in their wedding venue business venture.
“We’re used to doing that kind of work. When we decided to do the wedding venue, we knew that we could stick together as a family and do the hard work that it took to make a go at the wedding venue business.”
Even though the property looks radically different these days than it did a century ago, the same things that defined the farm define the current wedding venue business: dedicated service and commitment to people. Maintaining the grounds and operating the wedding venue business requires the same hard work it took to tend the farmland. Darin, Dwayne, Neil and their spouses still work their full-time jobs while also working the wedding venue family business on the weekend. They typically have two weddings in a single weekend, while also doing things throughout the week. Their manager, Christy Brown handles the tours, bookings and works directly with the couples and vendors to make sure their big day is a success. There are five owners that keep the venue going: Darin Brown, Dwayne and Dana Brown, and Neil and Christy Brown.
The family has also made an effort to preserve the history and authenticity of the farm. The barn where the cows were milked and hay was stored has been converted to a ceremony and reception site, yet it still maintains its charming, rustic look. The even still have their grandfather’s 1956 Massey Ferguson tractor.
The Barn at Cranberry Creek has proven to be quite successful so far. Weekend weddings are fully booked for 2021, and they were even a winner of the 2021 WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Award. Couples travel from all over North Carolina and even from neighboring states to have their wedding at The Barn.
The current generation of the Brown family is excited to carry on their family legacy of hard work. It means a lot to them to be able to preserve the land and keep it within their family. Darin Brown described what the farm meant to their family by saying, “It was their way of life.” By continuing to work hard together as a family, the Brown family feels as if they are honoring the generations of Browns that came before them.
2020 marked the 50th anniversary of the NCDA&CS Century Farm Program. Century Farm Families will gather at the 2021 N.C. State Fair for a reunion. Less than 2,000 families across North Carolina can say that they have operated a family farm for 100 years. Applications to join the Century Farm and Bicentinial Farm programs are online: https://www.ncagr.gov/paffairs/century/index.htm