Photos by Hardy Realt and Cameron Flasich
Nestled in the mountains of the Chattahoochee National Forest, just off of Big Texas Valley Road, lies 420 acres of beauty with an entrance that is easy to miss if you are relying on GPS.
The property is called Many Streams Ranch, aptly named for the myriad of streams and trails that wind across its acreage, and for the fact that travelers from all over the world have left unified by their sense of enjoyment of this special place. Boasting four authentic log cabins with a total of 11 bedrooms and nine bathrooms, Many Streams Ranch is the perfect location for lovers of nature and luxury alike, and offers visitors a unique blend of comfort, inspiration and privacy.
The property’s owners, Laura and Dr. Matt Mumber, purchased the raw land in 1999 and have been building the ranch ever since. “When we purchased the place, we were looking for somewhere to get away and enjoy nature, and this has far exceeded our expectations,” Mumber says.
The expectations of even a first time visitor will be exceeded as soon as they drive up the path to the main cabin, called the Bear Cabin. From there, they can soak up the stunning views from the front porch, looking out onto miles of untouched forest and mountain ridges. A careful eye will even be able to spot the tower of the House of Dreams on the Berry College campus, giving the view a feeling of both vastness and familiarity. Nearly every bit of land visible from the porch’s overlook is either national forest or a state park, giving potential buyers a rare assurance that the land surrounding their property will never be developed.
Additionally, these types of surroundings ensure that the ranch sees little to no light pollution, making it an ideal location for stargazing and searching the heavens for the Milky Way.
Aside from the immediate beauty of both the land and the view, visitors will also notice the peaceful silence that envelops the property. “The silence up here has a certain quality; everything about the natural world up here is really restful,” says Mumber.
Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of Many Streams Ranch is the story behind the Bear Cabin. Originally an American Legion Lodge located in Camp Hill, Penn., and crafted out of American chestnut logs, the structure was deconstructed and transported to Rome in 2001 in order to be rebuilt on the property.
Then, the logs waited for several months before being reconstructed at the ranch. Mumber recalls the moment that he realized it was time to put the cabin together again when a friend accidentally placed a piece of the cabin’s wood into a campfire. “We pulled it out of the fire quickly and now you can see it in the wall just behind the TV,” he laughs.
The first cabin built on the property, now called the Moose Cabin, began as a hand hewn 16×16 room that was originally intended to be a simple painting studio for Mumber. However, he describes his wife’s reaction upon first seeing the cabin.
“Where’s the kitchen?” Laura asked.
“Well, there isn’t one,” Dr. Mumber explained.
“What about a bathroom?” said the lady of the ranch as she pushed her vision further.
“No, no bathroom,” Mumber again replied.
“Or air conditioning?” she asked, increasingly irritated at her husband’s responses.
“No air conditioning either,” as he sensed his bride’s dismay with his building plans.
“Well, do you ever want me to come up here?” she asked as a gentle nudge for her husband to give to her will.
To that end, Mumber credits his wife with adding most of the elements like state of the art kitchens and handcrafted furnishings in the bathrooms that make the spaces comfortable and add an element of luxury, akin to “glamping.”
“Even though it is in the middle of nature, it’s got all of the high-end features you could possibly want. My wife made sure that when you come up here, you’re going to be very comfortable. It’s not camping; the structures look rustic, but they’re very solid. And if you want some luxurious time in a beautifully tiled shower to feel like you’re in a four-star hotel, you can do that.”
For example, the fire pit area, it’s very comfortable,” Mumber continues. “Once you get on the deck there are no bugs and there’s no mud, so it is nature in an accessible framework. If you want to go off-book and go into the woods, there are all kinds of trails. So, this property offers the entire spectrum from a very private, beautiful and natural setting that you can go out and explore if you’re into camping and hunting, or the more spa like atmosphere. The property also suits those who want to come up here and watch the sunrise or the sunset, but don’t want to get dirty.”
While Mumber may not take credit for some of the more glamorous additions to the property, his own passion for the ranch and attention to detail are evident, from the careful building of each of the property’s cabins, down to how he pauses midsentence to replant a sprig of rosemary in the garden. He and his wife have never lived on the property full time, but they have continually made additions and improvements to it, “whatever fits and makes it more enjoyable for the people who come here,” he says.
In addition to the Bear Cabin that serves as the heart of the property and the Moose Cabin, the property is also home to two other cabins that feature bedrooms, meeting spaces and even a yoga room. These are called the Deer Cabins, namely for the herds of deer that can be seen hanging around on a regular basis.
In the past the ranch has typically functioned as a retreat center, although the opportunities that the space provides are nearly limitless. “We wanted to build it like a retreat center because it’s such a beautiful place, and there have been thousands of people who have been here to enjoy it since we were fortunate enough to purchase it.” Mumber says. “There have been numerous retreats for a variety of different groups: schools, churches, cancer patients, physicians, family reunions, pretty much any type of group that you can think of.”
In addition to the four cabins with ample room for guests of any sort, Many Streams Ranch also features an in-ground gunite salt water pool with stunning lake and mountain views, and a small pond formed from one of the property’s many streams, that could easily be enlarged into a lake. The ranch also offers a sport court perfect for basketball, tennis or volleyball, a custom built propane grill, seasonal fruit trees and even an intriguing labyrinth built to appease the wanderer’s soul.
The possible ways to enjoy Many Streams Ranch are facilitated by the sheer beauty that surrounds it. “Where are you going to find mountains, streams, 600 acres of managed lakes, privacy, inspiration and comfort?” asks Mumber. “I’ve been fortunate enough to travel around the world, and there aren’t a lot of places like this. It’s a very unique and special place.”