Photography Cameron Flaisch

Today’s family often balances the back and forth, the ripping and running, and the hustle with time for rest and relaxation. As business picks up, the time to enjoy the beauty Mother Nature has sprinkled around us becomes short, and vacations require an itinerary to stuff activities in a week set aside each year.


For the prepared professional, the rare opportunity arises to change one’s quality of life, an opportunity that will allow families to turn a vacation into a “staycation.” On June 18, American Auctioneers (1033 W. Main Street, Centre, Ala.) will lower the gavel, and after the last bid is taken, some lucky soul will turn the key to one of the most beautiful properties in Northwest Georgia. Let’s take a look inside 7 Hills Equestrian Center’s (201 Kellett Road, Rome) one-of-a-kind charm.


Al and Debbie Martiniello, the soon-to-be former owners of this stunning 75-acre property, were always on the go. As transplants to northwest Georgia by way of Washington State and Michigan, the couple fell in love with the Armuchee area.

“Debbie loves horses, and I had always wanted to build a log home,” Al explains. “Because of the nature of my work, we were never able to get away for a vacation. So, I found four parcels of land that I was able to purchase and we started building a horse farm. We made the property our vacation home.”

Originally, the property was a tree farm. Eastern white pines, magnolias and cherry trees still stand among the babbling creek that runs year round throughout the property, the three-plus acre lake, and three watering ponds. And with gaggles of turkey; an abundance of deer; and the waters of the lake teeming with catfish, bass, and brim, there is no shortage of wildlife for the new owners to enjoy at their leisure.

Seven structures, including the custom-built log cabin crafted from eastern white pine logs, offer plenty of places for storage, guests\farmhand quarters or rental possibilities. The stacked-stone entrance is key coded, and as the wrought-iron gates swing open, visitors are welcomed by roll-ing pastures, dotted with patches of white, pink, and yellow wildflowers. The main barn, or show barn, features 17 stalls with concrete floors and space for feeding, grooming, and caring for the horses that call it home. A covered riding arena is attached to the 150 by 120-foot barn to allow for training and riding, rain or shine.

An apartment-style duplex and spacious living area above a secondary barn – with five stalls – provides extra living space and fills the farm with personal touches. And as one can imagine, getting from one place to another on the grounds can be a trek. Fortunately, the Martinielloes paid attention to the details when constructing their homestead paradise.

“We poured over 1,000 yards of highway-grade concrete throughout the property,” Al says. “We also poured over 300 yards of concrete beneath the covered riding arena, so that it would meet the wind shear factor. We have a motor home that is 50,000 pounds, and tractor trailers would bring in supplies during construction. So, we wanted the drives to be able to withstand the weight.”

An additional foaling barn stands roughly 50 yards from the property’s main living structure, the log home. As the drive ends, guests are welcomed by a parking garage, built from the same eastern white pine from which the cabin is constructed. Two oversized, open-air parking coverings with RV hook-ups provide plenty of space for cars and campers. The center of the garage is enclosed and secured by a bay door, making it ideal for storage.

The impressive, custom-built porte-cochère towers above the entrance of the cabin. Natural light floods the main living space as the 28-foot vaulted ceiling makes way for the river rock fire-place, framed by a back wall almost completely made of glass windows. From one of the four bar-top seats around kitchen island, one can gaze across the in-ground saltwater pool onto the shimmering surface of the lake.

Above the kitchen area, a cozy loft hovers in front of the massive antler chandelier, offering an ideal place for an office or a quiet area to read a book. The separate dining, directly off the kitchen, provides lovely views of the surrounding gardens in bloom and opens to the screened porch, which beckons for a gentleman to enjoy a cigar. From the master bedroom on the main floor and from the screened porch, access is available to the sunken, four-person hot tub. Covered, so that one can relish in the relaxing jets melting away the stress of the day, a glance just off the railing provides a view of the large koi pond surrounded by pastel gardens.

His and hers closets, a claw-foot soaking tub and doubled-headed shower provide rustic elegance to the master suite. Granite countertops cover working surfaces in the three spacious baths and kitchen. Two bedrooms in the basement area, perfect for children, have doors that open directly to the pool. Off the main living room is a deck spanning the entire length of the home and a river rock fireplace waiting for marshmallow roasting on chilly fall nights.

The basement is reserved for the media room, flanked by a smaller area that the Martinielloes used as a home gym. And around the corner, before arriving at the two bedrooms downstairs, is a room hidden behind two bookshelves. This hidden nook is nice to have in case of storms and could be perfect for a gun enthusiast’s safe. A large laundry area rounds out the space.


The home and foaling barn are protected by a state-of-the-art security system. Cameras keep a watchful eye on the property, and the owner receives cell phone notification when something is disturbed without permission. A propane-fueled generator kicks in when the power is out, and in-ternet service is already available through AT&T.

And for the do-it-yourself types, the property also features a large workshop that is handy for constructing the next phase of this wonderful homestead vacay spot.

Coming home and feeling like you are miles away from the day-to-day rigors of work was the goal for Al and Debbie Martiniello, and the property they chose delivers. However, it is ironic that they are only 15 minutes from town and a little over five minutes from Russell Regional Airport.

“After I sold my company and retired, we started spending more and more time away from the horse farm,” says Al. “We own two farms in Ocala, Fla. And that’s where we spend the winter months.

“In the summer months, we travel to Michigan in our motorhome,” he continues. “My wife is from Michigan, and we like to visit family and friends there. So, we feel that it is time to let [7 Hills Equestrian Center] go tand allow another couple to have a vacation every day.”

On June 18, potential buyers who wish to live the vacation of their dreams will bid on the time of their everyday lives.

I worked in the criminal justice field for 12 years as a probation officer and decided that a change of pace was necessary. I came to work for V3 Magazine In 2013 and they offered me a chance to do something I've always loved and lower my blood pressure simultaneously. When I'm not telling stories, folks can usually find me fishing or trying out new recipes with my family.