Panorama of the Big House


Front view of the Big House

How do I get to the Big House?

The address of the Big House (for GPS, or MapQuest, or Google, or Bing) is 284 White Rock Furnace Rd, Rural Retreat, VA 24368. You can also click Map & Directions for maps, directions, and more information.

Who should I contact about registering for a program at the Big House?

It depends! The Big House hosts several different programs, all run by different people or organizations! If you visit our Programs Page, you should find a link to the sponsoring organization, and a contact person.

What is the weather like?

Our elevation is about 2700 feet above sea level, so our overnight temperatures can get downright cold, even in summer. At the same time, the southern Virginia sun can warm things up nicely during the day. Click here for the forecast from

What should I bring with me when I stay at the Big House?

Bring clothes for both cool and warm weather, so you’ll be prepared for the rapid temperature changes that are typical in this mountainous region.

Please do not bring pets.

Henry & Janis Reed workshop participants: bedding (sheets, blankets, pillows etc) and towels will be provided for participants at these programs. John & Sandy will send a more detailed list of recommended items to bring once you have registered for your program. Contact John and Sandy if you have any questions about what to bring. Phone: 276-686-5878. Email:

A.R.E. Camp program participants will be sent a detailed list of what to bring after they have registered for the program through the A.R.E. Contact the A.R.E. Camp Manager if you have questions about what to bring. Phone: 757-428-3588x7162. Email:

Are there laundry facilities?

The house has one washer and one dryer available for limited use, and a back yard solar dryer (clothesline!)

Is smoking allowed?

Smoking is not allowed inside the house.

Is the Big House wheelchair-accessable?

No. All the bedrooms are on the second and third floors, and there are no elevators and no ramps.

Is wireless internet available?

The Big House now has a high-speed internet connection (through DSL) and WiFi. Hurray!

Will my cell phone work at the Big House?

Sorry, cell phones don’t work very well at the Big House. Mountainous regions do not get very consistent cell phone service. We’re just a little too far from the nearest towers. Most folks drive into the town of Rural Retreat occasionally (about 7 miles) to check their messages. The Big House landline is available for those who need to use a phone.