says she wears many hats but the one she "likes best is a cowboy hat." Fewel and her family run the Cherrywood Bed, Breakfast, and Barn in Zilah, Washington. Guests sleep in cozy teepees, take trail rides to the region's famed wineries, including one owned by her son and daughter-in-law, and indulge in the new vacation trend of "glamping." Pepper Fewel
"You get a nice soft bed instead of a sleeping bag, that's the glam part," she explains. "Camping is you are still outdoors and you are getting the weather and the elements that you can't control." She never really liked camping herself but loves the wilderness and wanted to share that with her guests. When a guest from New York City described her holiday as "glamping," Fewel embraced the concept.
Fewel's dad was a cowboy and she started riding horses when she was a little girl. She always knew she wanted to work with them, but, as she acknowledges, earning a living with horses is difficult. She and her husband started by offering trail rides at the family ranch and eventually turned their home into a bed and breakfast. When the house got too crowded, they expanded into teepees. In the evening, visitors can build their own campfires or soak in open-air antique porcelain tubs looking up at the stars.
Fewel's daughter Tiffany says people come to Cherrywood to find, "some peace within themselves under the open sky." Her mom's big, hearty farm breakfasts are also a draw. Mother and daughter start cooking at about five-thirty in the morning. After breakfast, it's time to saddle the horses for the day.
Their herd of about 70 horses is in integral part of the ranch experience. Fewel used to be what she calls "a Quarter Horse snob," but found that that breed wasn't always the best for inexperienced riders. When a good friend suggested that she go see some retired horses that were about to be taken to the slaughterhouse, it dawned on her that they could be rehabilitated and used at the ranch. "They are just wonderful, wonderful old horses that are grateful to be saved," she says.
Tiffany Fewel describes what the horses give back to the guests: "I don't know what the horses do, but…it's more a therapy. People come kind of rigid…and then at the end of the day, after riding out in the open on the horses, they leave happy."
Fewel notices that her guests exhibit a growing sense of serenity as the days pass. Work stresses and family worries fade away. She hopes that the experience stays with her visitors when they return home; that they have "expanded their bubble just a little bit," as she puts it.
Despite the fact that Fewel's day starts at dawn and ends well into the evening when the horses and guests are settled and the last load of laundry is done, she says her life is never dull. She loves meeting new people and working with her horses but most of all, being in business with her family: "They are always on board and always willing to help. They do think I'm a little crazy at times…but they've never said no. We want to live life and that's what we are all doing."