(Our September/October edition will be available online soon)
A place to just be
By Joanne McDonald
The mindful kindness of Daphne and Dave Bakker lifts many weary hearts that find their way to the tranquility and respite of the Haven of Hope Farm Bed and Breakfast in Lincoln.
For the past six years it’s been a soft landing for so many – families supporting loved ones in the hospital located five minutes away, individuals undergoing cancer and other medical treatments, people living with disabilities, and those seeking respite from the stresses of everyday life.
“Sometimes people need a place to just be,” says Daphne who with Dave has walked her own journey caring for family members and welcomes guests exactly where they are in that journey.
They know the importance and power of being there unconditionally. They have a depth of understanding that is intuitive to the needs of their guests – from understanding their need for privacy to welcoming them around the kitchen table for a big country breakfast.
Daphne leads a tour through the immaculately clean and fully accessible private guest apartment that opens onto a porch that wraps around the house for a spectacular view of the idyllic rural setting.
There is an easygoing gentleness about the farm – fluffy sheep grazing, doting alpacas minding the chickens – and the absolute majesty of the green hills that roll across the horizon to meet the old growth Carolinian forest of the Rockway Conservation Area.
The beauty of nature all around is life affirming.
The setting is picture perfect but it’s the sensitive and intuitive care from hosts Daphne and Dave that give support to guests wherever they are on their journey.
“We felt this was something we were really called to do,” said Daphne. “We feel incredibly blessed to be able to give back.”
“Dave and I work together as a team and having experienced family members with health concerns it was very familiar to us to be able to enter into the lives of our guests.”
The Bakkers moved to the farm property 22 years ago and raised a family – Nicolette, Annalise and Jake – which has grown to include two son-in-laws, – “Jon and Phil are two of the greatest guys you could ask for,” – and four grandchildren.
“My mom as I was growing up had severe rheumatoid arthritis. I knew what it was like to live with a family member with a severe disability. Our daughter Nicolette was diagnosed with Immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) a platelet disorder.”
“As a result of spending a lot of time at McMaster we came to understand what it was like to have a child with a medical condition,” Daphne said.
In 2012 the family spent the whole summer painting fence posts on the 12-acre farm. “We had a blast.” They renovated the barn and Daphne and Dave got a blessing from all their kids to begin the new chapter in their lives. They opened Haven of Hope Farm in October, 2013.
Life is precious and can be fraught with difficulties. The Bakkers and all their rural B&B has to offer give their guests rest for the journey. They are a profoundly caring couple.
“Having gone through a lot of these experiences ourselves we actually can understand their journey in a deeper way. Our desire is to give them a place to just be.”
“When we started the Haven of Hope Farm as a family we felt so blessed by what we had been given and we wanted to give back to our community in this way. We want to show them the warmth and hospitality and be able to meet them where they’re at with what they’re going through.”
“When guests come here there is a peace and stillness and the hospitality they receive, they often say, gives them renewed strength for their journey.”
“We have one apartment suite. We focus on one set of guests at a time so the hospitality they receive is very personal. We try to meet their needs. We allow them to come to us and we respect their privacy.”
“We do enjoy getting to know each guest. We talk together, cry together. They time they spend with us, they are allowing us into their world and we consider it such a privilege.”
“There are guests who come for rest between cancer treatments. We have family members from the hospice who come while they’re visiting their loved ones. There are people with disabilities and the suite is set up for all their needs.”
Haven of Hope also hosts day retreats for groups such as Grief Share which supports people who have lost loved ones.
It’s a lot of work and Daphne credits the “amazing help” that keeps everything right and running. “We have people who help us on the farm and we have a student helper. We have a great church family and friends.”
And the guests, Daphne says, give back to them in so many awesome ways. “We have a phrase, ‘enter as a guest, leave as a friend.”
Guests have called Haven of Hope “a wonderful place run by wonderful people.” They write about enjoying the Bakker’s company during “delightful country breakfasts” and remark that the private apartment is immaculately clean and the food amazing. They call it “a warm and welcoming home and a much-needed retreat.”
The reviews are heartfelt. Guests call the Haven of Hope Farm B&B “Five-plus Star” accommodation with full barrier-free accessibility in a quiet, rural setting.
“If you or anyone in your family is on a medical journey, your stay can be like a retreat where your strength is renewed and your soul restored.”
Another guest writes: “During my stay, Daphne ministered to me many times in many ways, from healing, lovingly prepared meals and juices; to kind, encouraging words; to prayers from the heart and more. She and Dave are a great team.”
The guest apartment is a private, fully accessible and tastefully decorated suite with a master bedroom, and private bathroom. The sitting room is equipped with recliners, dining table and chairs, fridge, microwave oven, kitchen amenities, electric fireplace and a closet with clothes washer and dryer.
Guests have exclusive use of the adjacent cozy fireplace room with comfortable furniture, Wifi, television, films, games and books.
The breakfast menu is changed each day and posted at the family dining table in the host kitchen.
“Chef Daphne offers numerous options including gluten and dairy-free dishes. The food is, well, simply delicious.” While the full farm style healthy breakfast can be served in the privacy of the suite, guests recommend partaking in the company of the most hospitable hosts.”
There are trails to walk, gardens to enjoy, a whimsical treehouse and play area, and a viewing deck into the conservation area to spot deer and wild turkeys. The animals, Suffolk sheep, alpacas and chickens are an important and special part of Haven of Hope Farm. They love visitors and the alpacas are a hit with their comical expressions.
It’s 12 acres of beauty and tranquility on a working sheep farm nestled in the Niagara Escarpment surrounded by lush vineyards and fruit orchards. It’s a place to retreat and savour the privacy in a time of stress and crisis.
Haven of Hope Farm B&B is located at 3315 Ninth St. Louth, Lincoln.
Phone 905-682-0059 or email email@example.com