Big Rock Valley
Nature provides an incredible backdrop for retreats, as educational components are combined with reflective hikes and other outside experiences. Our unique accommodations enhance this experience with guests staying in renovated farmhouses dating back to the 1800s, as well as five retired boxcars converted to comfortable sleeping units equipped with all of the modern conveniences of a hotel.
The foundation's conference complex, known as Billieville, is styled after a vintage Old West Town. The center contains a dining hall, high-tech conference facility, and various other unique spaces for breakouts and small group functions. Retreat participants enjoy evening conversations around a large campfire centered among the boxcar accommodations.
The Heritage Center provides a place for guests to relax, grab a quick workout in the gym, or learn more about Kitty Litter and the clay-absorbent industry through an archival exhibit about Edward Lowe Industries.
Big Rock Valley derives its name from the large number of boulders left behind by the receding glaciers from the last ice age. Area farmers had to clear these rocks to plow the fields, and they often created large piles of big rocks near the edges of their fields. These boulders are now part of the property's landscaping. The forests and farmlands that make up Big Rock Valley were acquired by Edward Lowe over the course of many years. He typically offered lifetime leases to the retiring farmers in exchange for acquiring their farms.
After Ed bought the first 160-acre parcel of BRV in 1964, he joked that, "I don't want to own all the land, just the pieces next to mine." The estate served as his home until his death in 1995.
In addition to his passion for helping small businesses and entrepreneurs succeed, Ed Lowe had a great love and respect for the land. He was adamant that good stewardship be practiced and that the integrity of the land and environment be preserved. His directive is incorporated into the foundation's charter.
Today the foundation is not only involved with good stewardship practices and preservation, but has raised the bar to develop innovative approaches to thoughtful land management.