Welcome to Garden Gate at Haley Farm. We are so glad you found us!
Located in the quiet town of Sebago, just minutes from the shores of Sebago Lake is a little farm nestled amongst the mountainous pine forests of Western Maine. Settled c. 1817 on rolling pastures, fields, and forests, it remained a working farm until 1945 when it became the local general store. From the 1970's to the present day it has been owned by two more families.
In 2010, we, Sarah and Rich Bianculli, came up with a wild dream of moving to Maine and buying a farm we could later transform into a wedding venue that encompassed the rural charm of Maine. Rich grew up in Massachusetts and lived in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. I grew up in Portland and ended up in Rhode Island for college, and eventually we met. I knew I always wanted to move back to Maine and Rich was on board. In 2009 we were planning our wedding, looking for the perfect farm setting and finding ourselves saying, "I wish we owned a barn!" In 2010 we were married in Maine and came up with our "5-Year-Plan" of how to get back and get that farm!
The years went by and we kept a running list of all the things our venue would need - within an hour from Portland, a large barn, plenty of land with a mix of pasture and forest, some type of unique feature, not too many neighbors, and plenty of history, among many other things. We casually looked at a few farms, always finding something not quite right. In 2014, we were closing in on our fifth year and getting ready to welcome our first baby. Things became serious when a beautiful yellow barn door caught our eye. We studied photos of the farmhouse and barn online for weeks. Should we contact the realtor? Should we drive by? Is this for real!? In September of 2014 we scheduled a showing and I am not even sure the order of events, but Rich found himself at a new job in Maine, our Rhode Island house was on the market, and we had our offer in. Our son was born in December and we finally closed on our dream farmhouse and barn in March of 2015.
We did not waste a single moment getting work done. And by we, I mostly mean Rich! The barn had changed very little since it was built and was home to numerous animal stalls, haylofts, old farm equipment, a million ladders...150+ years of collected items covered in dust and hay. Over the summer the barn started to empty out and take shape. A deck was built off the back, plans for a new roof and floor made, and landscaping begun - dump truck after dump truck of fill brought in to create a lawn next to the barn, trees cut, new plants. I could go on and on! And I will.
On this blog I will be sharing more of our journey and behind the scenes of what we have done and what we are doing over the next few months. We have taken quite a few photos a long the way, been to a few town meetings, presented site plans, (stream setbacks, culverts, permits, building codes), had the inspector out here. We are happy our new town is excited for our plans! I'll share photos of our progress, historical photos of the farmhouse and barn and stories of all the people who made it what it is today, styled photo shoots, tips for couples looking to get married here, and more than likely photos of our son, Richard, and two rescue pups, Simone and Scooter playing on the farm. Be sure to follow us on Instagram too for more behind the scenes photos, daily life here, and event photos.
We hope you enjoy getting to know us and Garden Gate at Haley Farm better, and we look forward to meeting you!