Sometimes the best laid plans aren’t plans at all, but little blessings that fall into place. At least, that’s how it worked for Linda O’Neal and Rob Rosenbaum, the husband/wife duo behind The White House on the Hill.
It was about 2006 when they purchased land in Burton — then a couple years later when they opted for more elbow room. With the purchase of 20 acres meant solely to house a family home, they accidentally set the wheels in motion for a luxurious venue and lodging experience.
“I’d always wanted to buy an old church and redo it, but that’s hard to do,” Rob said with a laugh. “You don’t really know how to approach someone about a thing like that. So, we decided to build one.”
Using the same builder who constructed their home — and a mix of reclaimed wood and found antiques — in 2014 they built a little white church, a place for friends and relatives to stay.
“We wanted a guest house. We didn’t plan on a business,” Linda said of the church house, which today serves not just as lodging, but as the backdrop for many a small country wedding. “But we opened it up and just built and built. We’ve been very blessed through all this.”
After the church came a barn to house Rob’s antique tools — and which now doubles as an event space that sleeps six to eight people. With chandeliers in each room, French antiques and high-end linens, it’s a reception space following weddings and lodging for those who attend the celebrations, too.
The goal is to make everyone feel special.
“I have a saying that, if I go away, I want it to be as good as home or better,” Linda, a longtime artist, explained. “That’s what we try to do here.”
With its 300 olive trees which produced about 400 bottles of olive oil this year, its wildflowers and star-filled Texas sky, the property itself is a labor of love. And, in the era of COVID-19, it’s been its own sort of blessing, too. Not only has The White House on the Hill provided added income amid the pandemic, but it’s provided a much-needed escape for those looking to get away while remaining safe.
“What better place is there to social distance?” Rob asked. “Our closest neighbors are cows. You’re close enough to Round Top to enjoy great restaurants like Lulu’s, Popi Burger and Royers, but then, when you’re ready to come back, you’re away from everything.”
As the couple steps into their next chapter in life — both recently retired — they said they’re excited about all they’ve created and the possibilities to come.
“This is one of those things we didn’t expect or plan to do. It’s one of those God things,” Linda said.
The White House on the Hill offers lodging and serves as a venue for small weddings and other events. For more information, visit thewhitehouseonthehill.com, or visit their Facebook and Instagram pages.