Transplanted Cajun Starts New Life at RV Park
The mountains of Unicoi County near Erwin, Tenn., represent quite a change in scenery from the bayous and shrimp boats that Kristy McQuarrie grew up on.
McQuarrie, who co-owns the Grandview Ranch and RV Park in Unicoi with her husband, Henry Luwisch, is from the southern Louisiana community of Chauvin. It was there the self-described Cajun spent much of her youth working on her father’s shrimp boat, the Johnson City Press reported.
“We went to school, but summertime came and you had to spend your summer on that shrimp boat, working and picking shrimp and making money,” she said.
After moving away from her parents and the shrimping business, she met Luwisch, whose family business also was shrimping. Free time for the couple, McQuarrie said, was spent camping. She said it was while on one of these outings that the two seemed to simultaneously share the same thought that would eventually bring them to Unicoi County.
“We just said ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to camp all our life?’ ” she said.
The pair searched the Internet looking for RV parks up for sale before coming across Grandview Ranch. Luwisch had previously looked into starting his own blueberry farm. They found that Grandview Ranch not only had blueberry plants already in place, but other aspects that made the locale all the more attractive
“We just fell in love with this place,” McQuarrie said. “It had the blueberries, it had the RV park, it had the pond. We just fell in love with it and we’re here.”
McQuarrie and Luwisch purchased and reopened Grandview Ranch in August.
Mountains surround the 48-acre ranch property, taking the place of the Louisiana waters McQuarrie was once accustomed to.
“It’s beautiful to wake up in the morning and just look around and it’s like, ‘Gah, I live here,’ ” she said. “It’s very different than waking up on the bayou. You look outside and you see a bayou and shrimp boats.”
What has not changed for McQuarrie is the hard work required to keep her new endeavor running. The grounds at the ranch are now teeming with life, including peacocks, horses and pot-bellied pigs, all needing care. There is always grass that needs cutting and trees that need trimming, she said.
“It’s a constant thing,” McQuarrie said of the work.
But McQuarrie said she enjoys the work and being outdoors, and she and Luwisch have some things planned for their first full summer as owners of Grandview Ranch, including work to open a country store on the grounds, a children’s horse camp in June and July, musical events and, of course, Cajun cookouts.
McQuarrie also said she can always count on her new neighbors in Unicoi County.
“The people are wonderful here,” McQuarrie said. “ … If I needed anything, these people around here would give it to me, help me out in any kind of way.”