Alan and Kimberly fell in love in 2007 while Kimberly was living in Newport, RI. " The funny part is I hired Alan’s company to refurbish my 3,200 sq ft home I had just purchased. I had vowed I would never move back to NY!” Ultimately, Kimberly returned to Hoosick Falls to be with Alan. Because of her passion for working in the guest service industry, she opened Nirvana Day Spa. Today Kimberly cannot imagine living anywhere else.
In 2011 Kimberly and Alan acquired Saratoga Horse and Carriage Co. Two years after they bought Saratoga Horse and Carriage, a bride and groom requested their services at a historic wedding barn in the Hudson Region. As Kimberly steered the horse-drawn carriage onto the property, she drove straight through the gates of serendipity. Their dreams shifted into focus and the couple realized their next step. Their passion for working with horses and brides led them to their biggest dream yet - opening The Wedding Barn at Lakota’s Farm.
So they spent the next five years honing their plan, touring hundreds of farms surrounding Saratoga, from the Catskills to the Adirondacks, searching for the perfect place to house their menagerie of dreams. Searching, searching, until they pulled into one of the oldest farms in Washington County-originally part of a massive thousand-acre property built in 1772 and rich in history, it had fallen into a sad state of disrepair with walls collapsing and floors buckling. It was unkempt, filthy, dilapidated-but to Kimberly, a vision! "I pulled in and the place was already finished in my mind." The farm was perfect just a short drive to Saratoga-they were sold!
Today, the Wedding Barn at Lakota Farm is a testament to Kimberly's experience and intention and Alan's Master Carpentry skills, traveling the Northeast hunting for unique pieces to add to the puzzle that existed as a finished whole in Kimberly's brain. "I walk into a space that's completely dilapidated and I see it finished." She located the collection of Italian, forged iron stools and the oversized mahogany bar in the cocktail lounge on Craig's list-the bar once a twenty-year old, cracked slab floating up the Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina. The 75-year old, six-foot tall and six-foot wide crystal chandelier now hanging in the ballroom barn once graced the very ground Kimberly stood on as a child. "Who puts a chandelier in a 150-year old barn? I do! I have a picture of me standing under that as a little girl. It came from a banquet facility where I grew up. I went to an estate auction and wasn't sure I'd get it, but I did!"
Just about every element accompanied by its own story, each weaved together in Kimberly's fantasy and materialized in The Wedding Barn as it stands today. The logo and beautifully handcrafted sign that hangs behind the bar, were both a creation by local wood artist Ryan Warner. "It was everything we were dreaming of." The vintage mismatched china and glasses one of Kimberly's most prized collections. "Everywhere we go I ask, 'Honey, can we stop here for old China'?"
The Naming of Lakota’s Farm
Kimberly and Alan's first horses, the horses they named Lakota and Othello, were rescued from a farm where they had been both abused and neglected. Lakota came with many issues. He was blind in one eye and for the first two years he had continuous hoof and shoulder issues - even more disturbing, he was broken in spirit. Lakota did not trust people- especially men, and would do all that he could to avoid being touched.
Over the course of two years, Kimberly and Alan were slowly able to gain both Lakota’s and Othello’s trust. Earning this trust took patience and courage on the part of the horses and his caregivers. Above all, it took forgiveness. Lakota now accepts affection. He forgave mankind for the cruelties done to him and opened his heart up to accept the love they had to offer. The magnitude of that effort and gesture was not lost on Kimberly and Alan.
In naming our farm, ‘Lakota’s Farm’, we honor his spirit and remind ourselves daily of rewards that can come from opening your heart.
Native to New England, Kimberly’s love affair with horses began at birth! As a 4-year-old, Kimberly received her first painted pony as a Christmas gift from her father. The pony was decorated with a big red bow around his neck and a western saddle on his back. At the age of 13 she moved to her father’s farm and began caring for up to 20 Percherons. By the age of 14, Kimberly was skilled enough to drive a team of Percherons in the New York State Fair.
After high school, Kimberly joined the Army and served for 5 years as a Military Police Officer. She has since earned degrees in Criminal Law, Hotel Restaurant Management and Culinary Arts. Kimberly moved to California with the hope of becoming a mounted police officer and began working in the hospitality industry. Her enthusiasm for the hospitality industry led to the position of Events Banquet Manager with the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego.
During the summer months, her love of horses drew her to work as “wrangler” on a Dude Ranch in Colorado. There she drove a wagon loaded with guests, pulled by a team of Belgians, into the Continental Divide. Eventually, she made her way back east where she worked as the Food and Beverage Director for the Sagamore Resort in Lake George. Kimberly also worked in Connecticut as a Sales and Events Planner at Water’s Edge Resort, as guest Services Manager at Mohegan Sun Casino and also as HR Business Manager for Elemis Spa, the world’s largest spa corporation.
Originally from northwestern Connecticut, Alan is the proprietor of a successful home renovation business called Tallat Designs in Hoosick Falls. Little did he know how necessary those building skills would become to his future life and career with Kimberly.