Love Is In The Air

Issue: February 12, 2021

February is the month of love. Winter begins to tire in the South and surprises us on occasion with sun-soaked afternoons in the upper 60’s. This morning green tips from the spring daffodils are inching themselves out of the cold hard ground, but we’re not out of the woods yet. Later this week they’re predicting a polar blast, but in Tennessee, you can almost always count on finding a field of daffodil flowers in their beautiful yellow display on Valentine’s day.

It’s the earth’s way of saying “I Love You.”

They Fell In Love with each other,

then fell in love with the Cumberland River, and that love affair blossomed into a home above the charming little river town of Granville.  They had no idea that their love story would one day lead them down a winding path to Wildwood. 
John and Natasha Deane met each other in the fall of 1987. John had just landed a new job with the physician organization at Washington University Medical Center in St. Louis, Missouri. Natasha was a cancer research scientist at Wash U and her Dad was John’s new boss!  Before long, Natasha’s Dad invited John to his home on Saturday mornings to mentor him on the practice of medicine and what it means to heal the sick. After one of these Saturday morning sessions, John was to join Natasha’s mother and father for lunch at a local restaurant. Natasha remembers, “My mother came downstairs and took one look at young John, marched back upstairs and informed me that I was having lunch with my father today. ‘The two of you are IDENTICAL!’, she insisted”.  Natasha and John were married in May 1988.

Their life and careers lead them eventually to Galveston Island and later to Nashville where they raised two beautiful daughters. In the early 90’s they bought a used 1985 Gibson houseboat and named her Plan B. Sometime in the summer of 1996 they decided to make a long weekend voyage up the Cumberland river with their girls. They docked at the old Granville Marina and instantly felt an inward connection. Life here for the Deanes somehow slowed down. Natasha would play her mountain dulcimer in the evenings under a blanket of stars. John and the girls would explore the historical museums and little shops in Granville.

This family boating excursion from Nashville to Granville became a tradition and lasted for over five years until they sold Plan B in favor of seeking a “cabin in the woods.”  That summer they drove to Granville and timed the visit for the very first Heritage Day festival.  John recalls, “We stopped for ice cream at the former “Gulf” station in Granville which at that time sold some hot lunch items as well as ice cream treats. That’s where we saw a small sign advertising a cabin for sale on Eagle Mountain Road.” They loaded up the girls and drove to the vacant house. “While we were up on the front porch a huge rainstorm started in the valley.” John smiles and continues, ” Within a few moments, the rain passed over and a full-size rainbow appeared across the sky. It felt like a sign!” They didn’t purchase that home, but the sign was real and within a week they found a six-acre parcel of land nearby on the same Eagle Mountain looking down on Granville and the marina where they had once docked the Plan B.

The Deane family would spend the next several years up on Eagle Mountain camping, learning about the area and making connections with the friendly people in Granville. In the fall of 2000 they began building a weekend home. They had no idea that “Plan C” was putting up her sails. They didn’t have a clue that their weekend home would one day be their full-time home and how could they have known that the marina in their view would one day be an object of their re-creation as Wildwood Resort and Marina.

Natasha and John spent most weekends in Granville until their daughters were grown. When their adult daughters moved away and a desire to travel in retirement set in, in 2015 they made a hard decision to put the Eagle Mountain property up for sale. Sometime shortly after the property was listed they were invited to join a “Friends of The River” meeting at the Granville marina, organized by community members Donna and Kevin Jones. They went to support their friends Donna and Kevin, to discuss and learn about conservation and ways to contribute to the revitalization of Granville and the Marina. Somehow within the hour-long gathering over a cup of coffee, John was thinking to himself, “the best way to reinvigorate Granville Marina would be for someone to buy it and invest in making it a destination.”

Before long, John and Natasha had taken their weekend home off the market. In January of 2018, they made the plunge, jumped in the water with their partners the Jones’ and became the proud new owners of the marina with a vision of a resort. Today John and Natasha live full-time up on Eagle Mountain and if you time it right on your visit to Wildwood you just might catch Natasha down on the boardwalk playing her dulcimer to the evening stars.

LOVE is in the Air

Now entering into our fourth season at Wildwood, the same Love that drew John and Natasha here many years ago blooms anew. Countless guests have now chosen Wildwood to be the special place for their anniversary getaway. Heartfelt hugs witnessed during family reunions take one’s breath away. Last season, Wildwood had two romantic marriage proposals, one while on a sunset pontoon cruise! Wildwood recently hosted our first lakeside wedding in 2020 and we are super excited about the intimate marriage ceremonies scheduled for later this spring and summer.

Love is truly in the air at Wildwood. It’s in the daffodils. It’s in the misty mornings. It’s in the sunsets. It’s in the cozy nooks and quiet spaces you’ll find here. It’s the friendly smiles that greet and serve you here. It’s in the moments of time that somehow slow down just a little when you come to Wildwood with someone you love.

(For more information about planning a wedding, family reunion or executive retreat at Wildwood, call Sydney Dodson at 931-653-4360.)

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