Quail and Comfort at The Webb Farm

After three hours of winding through 300 acres in the Carolina Sandhills in a Kawasaki Mule with three bird dogs and a guide, a quail hunter needs a drink, a moment or two of privacy and a warm place to unwind.

The Webb Farm near Rockingham, N.C. easily offers all three – along with a chef who’s pleased to braise and roast the harvest of the day’s hunt.

In 2006, owner Bill Webb converted 1,200 acres of his former tobacco farm into four 300-acre hunting courses, loaded with wild and surrogated quail. He tore down a decaying farmhouse, and on its footprint built a four-bedroom lodge in the local, agrarian vernacular. Then he opened up the gates to one of the finest quail-hunting venues in the South.

He hasn’t looked back since.

“There was a two-year process to design the lodge, with a great room with vaulted ceiling, an extra wide porch roof over the porch,” he says. “I based it on other hunting and fishing lodges, but to fit my budget.”

By 2011, the word was out – and it was time for an addition. Webb called on Bob Timberlake, an artist, an architect and an avid quail hunter.

“We were standing out front all, and Bill said there were these people with nowhere to stay, so he needed more than four bedrooms,” Timberlake says. “We started looking at where to add on to the side, and how to tie into the roof. I sketched it out on a napkin.”

The result is a pair of four-bedroom structures, linked by a breezeway, a bar and a wraparound porch.

“There’s a connection between the two houses so it can be used by two different groups of people,” Timberlake says. “The breezeway separates the two groups, with their own places to lounge around, have a drink and watch television. It’s one body and two souls, almost.”

And it’s an unmitigated success, a decade after the tobacco settlement of 2004:

“Since 2006, several thousand hunters have come through,” Webb says.

They come for the birds and the dogs, to be sure. But they come for the comfort and the Southern hospitality too.

[slideshow id=1091]