The old Valley Beach Club, more than a half-century old and a decade closed, is taking on a new life as an events venue.
Valley Beach, located off Route 72 at 2395 Quentin Road in West Cornwall Township, closed on Labor Day 2011 after 54 years of operation. Now, a partnership of three local women — Julie Bond, Margot Hoch and Shannon Kemp — have begun renovations to transform the four-acre site for new uses.
It will open soon as Quentin Grove, Kemp said. She and her husband bought the property from the swim club in 2007, she said, and leased it back to them for $1 a year to help keep the pool open as long as they could while using another part of the property for a commercial use.
Now that the business has outgrown the space, Kemp said, they decided to create a new use for the site.
“There’s a need here in the area for a weddings- and events-type space,” she said. “Right now, there are a lot of brides who are opting for an outdoor wedding, and we have four acres that would be perfect. We want to get it back in shape and looking beautiful.”
Hoch said they’re renovating the old clubhouse first, with plans to use it for smaller gatherings, such as bridal showers, funeral luncheons and corporate events. Later, she said, they plan to build a larger structure to hold weddings and other, bigger events, such as fundraising galas and family reunions.
They hope to schedule an open house in early November so the community can see what’s happening at the site.
The clubhouse, Kemp said, is a cottage that once was part of an old barn. The property, she explained, was once used by the Coleman, Freeman and Buckingham families (owners of Cornwall Iron Furnace) to raise Guernsey cattle.
The swim club used the cottage for showers, offices, utilities and maintenance, she said. “We are going to turn that into a little cottage for birthday parties and other, smaller events for less than 40 people. Birthday parties, baby showers and holiday luncheon. … That cottage is probably 1,500 to 1,800 square feet, and it’s being refurbished right now.”
The disused pool is going to be filled in, probably next month, Kemp said, creating a flat space where large rental event tents could be situated. Some playground equipment on the site may remain, she added, and “we’re looking into turning the old baby pool into a koi pond. It’s going to have a water feature with a little recirculating creek and a fountain.”
The first priority, however, is “trying to get the landscaping back in shape. The property has been vacant for about 10 years, so it’s a bit of a mess.”
“We took down a lot of dead trees and trimmed back some growth,” Hoch agreed. “It was very overgrown.”
They’re working with a site engineer to finalize details with the township, Kemp said. She noted the property was rezoned by the township for commercial use in 2017.
“We’re not adding any additional structures at this time,” she said. “We’re doing a lot with the landscaping, and getting the cottage available for events. We’re thinking of having an afternoon tea once a week. We’re going to offer it to the Rotary, and to the Lions Club.”
The cottage should be available for use by autumn, Kemp said — certainly in time for Christmas parties later this year.
She and her partners declined to discuss the cost of the project, noting they’re still getting estimates “on a lot of the work.”
They’re building a website at quentingrove.com; currently, the page has a rendering of the project design and a contact form. They’re also building a Facebook page, and Hoch said updates will be posted there as the project advances.
Already, Kemp said, there’s a community buzz about the project.
“We’ve had a lot of people who’ve stopped in. They’re very excited,” she said. “People have a lot of childhood memories there, they say they’re so happy to see it be used again.”
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