Meet the Owners
Updated: Jun 20, 2019
If you've ever been to Gathering Oaks Retreat, then you've experienced the personal touches that go into every aspect of the property. It's this attention to detail and the warm welcome guests receive that bring them back for reunions, weddings, girls' getaways, and more . . . and it's all thanks to owners, Brandon and Lacy Hodges.
Brandon and Lacy--who are both native Texans--met and started dating while attending Texas A&M University. After graduation they married and moved to DFW where they worked and had two daughters. In 2015 they moved to Waco where Brandon grew up.
Shortly after moving back to Waco, Lacy noticed this beautiful property just outside of town. It was definitely a "fixer upper", but Lacy had a vision and Brandon believed in her. In fact, some might call Brandon and Lacy the "Dream Team", as they combined his entrepreneurship skills with her love for design and hospitality.
"I love creating and decorating nice spaces for conversation and entertaining in the home and in patio and garden settings," Lacy explains. It's this love for decorating that helped her bring Gathering Oaks Retreat from a vision to a reality.
When she's not running the well-manicured property, Lacy enjoys working out and spending time with friends and her two daughters. "Fitness has always been a passion of mine since I taught aerobics at Texas A&M." Brandon’s hobbies include boating, golfing, dove hunting and the occasional sprint triathlon. Brandon travels a lot for his job, so he also enjoys traveling with his family when he can.
On the rare occasion this busy couple gets a date night, they like to keep it low key. "We've started putting the kids to bed early and having date night at home," says Lacy. They enjoy "a nice meal outside on the patio with good conversation and a glass of wine as we try to talk about things other than Gathering Oaks."
Brandon adds, "We enjoy getting out of town together and doing something active like skiing, hiking and 'trying' to play tennis, but it’s difficult in this phase of life with busy kids. We also love to tour wineries and relax!"
When it comes to spending time with their two girls, Layla and Lily, Lacy says, "We like to cook together. At ages 10 and 8, they really want to do it themselves though. They prefer I just supervise--haha! I just started trying to allow them to choose a recipe and prepare dinners this summer. Layla cooked steak and vegetable stir fry with rice last night and it was delicious. Lily plans to make shrimp with pasta this week. Anything to get them to want to eat new things other than a hamburger."
"We also have lots of extra time right now with it being summer! I spot them a lot in tumbling and we've always loved jumping on the trampoline together. Both my girls like to dance, cheer and tumble. I coach Lily’s basketball team and Brandon and I teach Layla’s Sunday school class at church. Layla likes to shop and spend time with me. Lily likes to snuggle and giggle!"
Between work, travel, and Gathering Oaks, this busy family of four still finds time to relax. "We really try to unplug on Sundays now and reserve the day for church, family lunch and relaxing. Brandon still likes to tinker around with small projects at Gathering Oaks on Sundays after lunch--these make him really dirty. I just relax!"
Lacy continues, "We also try to have three sit-down dinners a week at home where we catch up and share about our day. Brandon and I really try to save conversation and decision-making about Gathering Oaks for times other than dinner since it was the main topic of conversation for about two years. We are both creative and slight perfectionists (although it’s hard to admit) so we actually enjoy brainstorming ideas and improvements, but the kids get tired of hearing about it. The business is way more manageable now that the initial renovation is complete and all the main business decisions are in place and in full swing. We hope to continue to improve and add amenities that our guests will enjoy, but they are mostly optional now as time and money allows."
If you have visited Gathering Oaks, then you know every aspect of this picturesque getaway was designed and implemented with love and a passion for serving others. "The vision for Gathering Oaks was a huge leap of faith," says Lacy, "but it has become a huge blessing to our family. We’ve stayed at Gathering Oaks ourselves for New Years Eve, Easter, Layla’s birthday, and we will have a mother/daughter retreat for 4th grade girls this summer."
Lacy continues, "My parents drive up from Granbury quite often to work on projects just for fun: creating walking trails, pulling weeds, burning brush, planting flowers and building benches. They love making the property look better and have always enjoyed outside projects. They are super proud of Gathering Oaks Retreat and love to visit with guests who stay with us. None of us live there, but if you happen to catch any of the Hodges family while you stay with us, please stop and say hello."