A working alpaca ranch may be an unexpected location for a new bed and breakfast, but that is not stopping its owner, Denton resident Jim Patrick, from opening up one.
Since last fall, Patrick has been working on his land on Denton’s east side to create what he calls an Irish-themed gateway.
“We want to be informal and natural,” said Patrick, 61. “We call it getting back to nature naturally.”
Along with Rita, 61, his wife of 43 years, he took a portion of their 6-acre alpaca and llama ranch and added The Old Irish Bed and Breakfast — an area that includes three vintage-style cottages. Each cottage is named after award-winning alpacas — The Capote, the Greystoke Shamrock and The Finnegan, Patrick said.
The ranch also includes the PaCa Road Inn, a 40-guest dining and event hall for weddings, reunions, meetings, anniversaries and graduations, two outdoor patios with two wood-burning fireplaces and seasonal heaters and a gazebo and the PaCa Pro Shop — a store that sells clothing made from alpaca fleece, and many other items.
“We want to offer those who visit Denton County a unique, fun experience,” Patrick said. “Guests can enjoy a bit of the quiet country life, spend time with the alpacas and llamas and still be close to all the attractions the city of Denton and the surrounding communities have to offer.”
A week before Christmas, Patrick bought the first two of three 299-square-foot cottages and placed them near a small pond that is surrounded by 100-year-old pecan and oak trees on the property.
“It looks like your grandma’s old cottages,” Patrick said. “All of the cottages have porches and feature antique and vintage furniture with such amenities as Wi-Fi, microwaves, televisions — with DISH Network access — and refrigerators. Each cottage also includes a unique vintage teapot, which belong to his mother, and a cottage diary where guests can write about their experiences.
“We are trying to get back to the feel of late ’30s, ’40s and ’50s and return you to a time when things were less tense,” he said.
Patrick, who still retains his employment as a chief consultation officer for a company, has an extended resume that covers 40 years of business experience. His experience includes producing and being featured in radio commentaries known as “90 Seconds for the 90s,” being a news correspondent and working for three Fortune 100 companies. With all of his experience, however, it took him a while to convince his wife that he wanted to open a new business.
“She is a CPA; she freaked out at first,” Patrick said. “I had to put all types of spreadsheets together for her to explain how it would work.”
Patrick said he envisioned everything he has on his property and is now ready to share it with others.
“I am half-Irish and half-Italian,” he said. “We will offer you the Irish charm with the Italian hospitality.”
Patrick and his wife of Irish and German descent have three children and five grandchildren. They have lived in Denton since 2004.
Dana Lodge, director of sales at the Denton Convention and Visitors Bureau, said she toured Patrick’s facility last week.
“I think it is a unique facility,” she said. “He has two cottages that lend themselves to a couple’s retreat.”
Lodge said there are three other bed and breakfasts in Denton: The Wildwood Inn, which is considered more of a bed and breakfast/boutique hotel; The Heritage Inns, which includes restored historic Victorian houses near downtown Denton; and the Buffalo Valley Events Center, which has a small hotel and guest rooms with the bed and breakfast concept.
Lodge said it was apparent during the tour that Patrick has poured a lot of effort into his business.
“It is a pretty serene setting, offering a country experience,” she said.
Before Patrick began building his bed and breakfast, he went around his neighborhood and asked his 18 neighbors down the street for their permission.
Dick Webb, a neighbor who lives directly across the street from the venue, said he likes the idea that his neighborhood will be showing more visibility once the bed and breakfast opens to the public.
“You can’t see the place from my home,” Webb said. “We don’t even know it is here unless he invites us over. …We are excited about it. I would love for him to start getting business and stay busy in this side of town, since there is not a lot going [on] here.”
Webb’s wife, Valerie, said she has known Patrick since before there was a house built on his property 17 years ago.
“I was worried that this [the business] would affect the neighborhood, but it really has not,” she said.
A wedding consultant, Valerie Webb will also be providing her services to help couples plan their special events at the bed and breakfast.
The Prairie House, Giuseppe’s, Hannah’s, Mike’s Coffee Shop, Hoochie’s Oyster House and Bagheri’s Restaurant are some of the businesses that will work with the bed and breakfast to help provide meals, since the bed and breakfast does not have a working kitchen.
Patrick said he is interested in keeping business local. The cottages and his website already display work by resident artists. He also joined the Denton and Aubrey chambers of commerce this month and is looking to join the North Texas Bed & Breakfast Association, which supports lodging, motel and hotel business.
The Old Irish Bed and Breakfast is also a green-conscious location. The mulch used throughout the property comes from the city dump. The property also uses an aerobic treatment system for sewage. And the alpaca manure is turned into fertilizer for use on the alpaca ranch.
Patrick’s first event is scheduled for the end of October, when he expects about 90 people from the International Crochet Crowd’s Fiber and Yearn Retreat to visit the premises.
Since his venue is a working ranch with 40 alpacas and llamas and other animals, Patrick said he would still work to continue to create a place where people can create lasting memories. In the future, he hopes to add two more cottages and an Irish garden.
“It is meant to be a quiet, relaxing and intimate atmosphere,” he said.
Karina Ramírez can be reached at 940-566-6878. Her email address is email@example.com.
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The Old Irish Bed and Breakfast at Patrick’s Pastures Alpaca Ranch
3030 N. Trinity Road