Magnolia Living 2021 - 11

HISTORY Lives

Rural B&B offers guests comfort, rest, food
Text and Photography by Richard LEDBETTER

WHEN YOU roll into the Nickelsons' driveway
in Columbia County's Calhoun Community, you're
likely to hear classic country music playing softly on
the outdoor speakers. You might gather from that the
Bed and Breakfast takes its name from country greats
Moe Bandy and Willie Nelson, but you'd be mistaken.
Rather " Moe and Willie's " got its name from a pair of
playful donkeys who share the property with guests.
Julie and Jim Nickelson have been married 46
years and raised two children. They didn't set out to
establish a rural B&B, it just developed on its own.
Their house is approximately 72 years old, built by
Paul Young in 1949, Julie says.
" It's comfortable with plenty of space but the little
barn out back is what really sold us on the 16-acre
property. During our travels, we stayed in a lot of
B&Bs and always enjoyed the personal nature of the
accommodations, " she says, adding that she came up
with the idea out of the blue.
Jim adds, " I can build anything once I mine it out of
her imagination. I decided if we are going to do this,
we're not going to owe anyone, so we did the work
ourselves. "
The couple took six years turning the barn into a
rustic Bed & Breakfast.
" We used a lot of old white oak, barn wood we

found stacked in the hayloft. There's so much
Arkansas history right here around Calhoun that I
came up with the slogan, 'Where history meets a labor
of love,' " she says. " The community of Calhoun is
older than Columbia County.
" Our property was owned by multiple generations
of the same family who first pioneered here in 1849.
Right next door is a red brick, four-room schoolhouse
built in 1928 and paid for by Arkansas Power and
Light Company founder Harvey C. Couch. "
In addition to " Moe and Willie's " little red B&B barn
with its two spacious bedrooms, baths, kitchenettes
and gift shop, the property contains what they refer to
as the " Chicken Coop " - a large, detached dining hall
surrounded by windows containing a once-famous,
100-year-old hamburger grill from a renowned eatery
in their former Pennsylvania home. The vintage
gas griddle is in its second incarnation, producing
fabulous burgers and breakfasts Jim whips together for
guests.
" The 'Chicken Coop' is not only a nice breakfast
nook but also a great gathering place for friends and
family, " Julie says. " That's why we say, 'Come as
guests, leave as friends.' "
To book accommodations, visit: Moe and Willie's
B&B & Gift Shop on Facebook or call 870-904-1114.
MAGNOLIA LIVING

2021

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Magnolia Living 2021

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