For 95 years, the historic Leslie County, Ky., land that is now home to Wendover Bed & Breakfast and Retreat Center has provided community and hospitality to the Frontier Nursing University (FNU) community, friends, family and guests. A national historic landmark, Wendover offers more than just lodging; it continues to be a place for personal and community growth. Alongside the bed and breakfast, Wendover offers the Livery Retreat Center, which is a perfect location for retreats, meetings, conferences, and reunions. An outdoor fire pit, rock barbecue grill, and three acres of the fenced-in property provide a private but spacious location for groups large and small.
This past holiday season, Wendover was home to many great events including a holiday open house featuring a local storyteller as well as an international maternal conference. It also hosted an Education Partner Luncheon celebrating partnerships in the local school systems, which was especially meaningful as it honored FNU founder Mary Breckinridge’s focus on meeting the needs of the community. A local Family and Youth Resource Center provided FNU with a list of students in need during the holiday season, and at the luncheon, FNU was able to meet those needs, donating gifts and necessities to nearly 40 children. In Mrs. Breckinridge’s honor, the children were also gifted with fruits and candies as she had traditionally given each season.
Wendover’s rich history began in 1925 when Mary Breckinridge first moved to Leslie County. She built The Big House with the goal of extending stable nurse-midwifery services to the rural area. As a housewarming party, Mrs. Breckinridge invited everyone from the county to come to see ‘The Big House’. The community responded with overwhelming enthusiasm, and as a result, she ended up hosting almost 500 guests.
In 1931, the Garden House was built. This building contained the Frontier Nursing Service (FNS) administrative offices, clinical space for the Wendover District Nursing Center, and lodging for FNS Couriers. FNS played a key role as the landscape of nurse-midwifery training changed due to the lack of available nurse-midwives during World War II. In 1939, Mrs. Breckinridge opened the Frontier Graduate School of Midwifery.
Today, Wendover continues to operate as a bed & breakfast and retreat center. In 1991, Wendover was designated a U.S. National Historic Landmark. It welcomes guests with its rich history, southern hospitality, and home-cooked meals.
In February, Wendover was featured in this episode of “Kentucky Life” on Kentucky Educational Television (KET). FNU President Dr. Susan Stone was among those who appeared in on-camera interviews for the program.
Guests eager to learn more about the legacy behind Wendover and Mary Breckinridge are encouraged to visit the on-site photo and artifact gallery, and even have the opportunity to stay in Mrs. Breckinridge’s original sleeping quarters. In February, students from Mountain View Elementary School in Leslie County, Ky. took a field trip to Wendover, where they experienced first-hand the history and achievements of Mrs. Breckinridge whom they had studied in class.
“Bringing our students to Wendover was a great opportunity for students to gain a greater appreciation of its significance to our community and heritage,” said a tweet from Mountain Valley Elementary School.
Today Wendover offers visitors a taste of the past, with all the current amenities. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing weekend away, a meeting place ripe with history and legacy, or a beautiful location to celebrate friends and family, Wendover Bed & Breakfast and Retreat Center is the perfect host. Visit WendoverBB.com to book your stay or event!