By Toni W. Riley
When a couple chooses a wedding venue, they look for a location where they can share their love and begin their life together. Battle Creek Farm, nestled in the lush farmland and rolling hills of southwestern Caldwell County, is a venue that was literally “built on love,” if you ask owners Kristina and Scott Evans. That love is their story.
The couple laughs when asked to “tell their story” about developing the venue on what was once a working dairy farm owned by Kristina’s grandfather, William Adams. They banter back and forth with “You tell it, no you tell it” as they settle in to explain how they came to be married 30 years after graduating from Caldwell High School.
Scott wins the coin toss and describes how they were in the same class in high school but didn’t run in the same crowd. He notes that Kristina came from “the wrong side of the creek,” but she quickly interjects that he came from the wrong side of the creek, and they laugh again.
Life before Battle Creek
The couple grew up on opposite sides of Eddy Creek, which cuts across northwest Caldwell County. After high school, Scott moved to Nashville, married and eventually settled with his wife and two sons in Louisville, where he was a partner in a prosperous snack food business. His wife of 23 years died in 2012.
Scott stayed in Louisville until his eldest son completed high school, but in 2014, Scott told his partners he needed a break and moved back to Princeton with his youngest son.
After high school, Kristina married and opened an antique shop at her home next to Adams Family Farm — the same farm on Highway 139 where she grew up picking vegetables and selling them off a traveling wagon in Princeton with her dad.
She had the opportunity to move her shop to downtown Princeton and, along with a friend, expanded it to a coffee shop with a full lunch menu. In 2003, Kristina sold the shop and went on to work as a paramedic until 2007 when she became the main caregiver for her grandparents.
Kristina lived on the dairy farm on Battle Creek Road off Highway 91 and took care of them at their home a mile down the road 16 hours a day.
By 2011, her grandmother had passed away and her grandfather had moved to assisted living and her second marriage had ended. Kristina’s father, David, had turned what was meant to be a vegetable market into a restaurant, and she began to run Adams Breezy Hill Farm Restaurant.
By chance, Scott took his parents to the restaurant for Easter lunch in 2014, and Kristina waited their table. Kristina spoke to both of Scott’s parents and called them by name. Scott looked up at her and said, “You don’t have any idea who I am do you?” They started dating two weeks later.
During the time they were dating, Kristina and Scott began to conceive of the idea of turning the dairy farm into a wedding venue.
As their love grew over the next six months, they worked on an old red tobacco barn, repurposing anything they could find from an old stove to a cross-cut saw to add authenticity to the rustic appeal of the barn. They used an old ladder as a chandelier.
An old dresser with a mirror reflects 5,000 white lights strung where tobacco hands once stood. A quilt from Kristina’s family covers an outlet box. An old chair Scott’s father donated hangs from the wall, and couches made from straw bales complete the ambience of the barn.
Scott proposed, and the couple decided they didn’t want to tell anyone they were getting married. They chose, instead, to disguise their wedding as the grand opening of the venue on Oct. 11, 2014.
“Probably more people knew that we were getting married than didn’t,” Kristina laughed.
Their parents told them they needed to tell relatives to make sure everyone came.
But the charm wasn’t lost on anyone when, during the open house, Scott stood up and thanked everyone for coming then said to Kristina, “Have I told you today how much I love you?” Kristina replied, “No,” and they walked to the center of the barn where a minister stood up, and they were married.
Sharing their love
Since then, the couple has worked diligently to expand the venue while operating and managing the restaurant full time. At the farm, they have taken an old pole barn and turned it into a wedding chapel, complete with an enchanting altar and church pews, which provide seating for 160.
At Battle Creek Farm, wedding couples have the option to use either a restored 1952 Buick sedan or an antique sorghum wagon pulled by an old Case International tractor to travel to the tobacco barn, which is now the reception area. That short journey will take newlyweds past the old dairy parlor — also painted red to match all the other buildings.
The barn is colorfully decorated with bright flower boxes and containers, made from an old bucket, an old cattle trough and cattle feeder. All are reminders of what the farm used to be.
Kristina and Scott are very realistic about their long-term goals for Battle Creek Farm. They want slow, steady growth, which is the same motto her father used to build Adams Breezy Hill Farm Restaurant.
They both agreed that people could hurt themselves and their business by growing too fast. They want to take time and develop Battle Creek to the best of their abilities.
“We want to build the wedding venue together,” Kristina said. “We built our love here. The farm has become our passion. We have this beautiful farm, on this historic creek, nestled in this lovely countryside, and we want to share it.”