By Becca Eis | Echo
While driving from Taylor to Muncie, Indiana, one might notice a white farmhouse surrounded by pink barns, but few venture inside to discover a home full of history, character and hospitality.
LaRita's Lodge, located just three miles from campus, is more than just a bed and breakfast. Though originally built in 1918, the building was sold to the Boren family in 1965 and became the home of Leland, LaRita and their daughter Lori Boren. They were joined later by the births of their sons, Lael and Landrew. The family of three affectionately named the property LeLaLo Farms. Throughout its history, LeLaLo Farms has also been home to longhorn, heifers, buffalo, llamas and peacocks, among other animals, such as the seven cats that currently reside there.
And the pink barns? They serve as a reflection of Leland Boren's love for LaRita Boren.
"LaRita's from Oklahoma, and the soil's kind of a clay, a red clay, and when the sun shines on the clay all the buildings look pink in Oklahoma, so he did that so she wouldn't get homesick," said Beth LaMacchio, Inn Keeper of LaRita's Lodge.
LaMacchio shared the following account of how Leland and LaRita Boren met.
Leland Boren did not attend college, but preferred to learn directly from people he admired. After the product his business made became irrelevant, he sought counsel from older businessmen in Kansas City, Missouri, known for buying companies, making them successful and selling them.
Meanwhile, LaRita Boren was getting a college education at University of Oklahoma in obedience to her father's wishes. However, the day after graduating with a teaching degree, LaRita Boren got a job with Trans World Airlines (TWA) as a stewardess.
Soon after, Leland Boren's flight to Kansas City was canceled due to snowy weather conditions, and he was offered a car ride by one of the men training him. Leland Boren agreed on the condition he could sit in the front seat and pick the businessman's brain, but plans changed and instead a stewardess ended up sitting with Leland Boren in the backseat. Leland Boren was less than pleased, but by the time they got to Kansas City, he knew she was special. Yet, he didn't get her name or number, but instead just kept talking about her to the other men. One of the men was a friend of TWA's owner and offered to get her information for him. Leland and LaRita Boren were married within four months on July 3, 1958.
Once the Boren family moved to LeLaLo Farms, LaRita Boren, known for her gift of hospitality, always kept the house full of visitors. After moving into a new home in 2009, LaRita Boren dreamed of converting the home into a bed and breakfast. Unfortunately, LaRita Boren passed away unexpectedly in 2011 before the dream was realized. The bed and breakfast that stands today is appropriately named in her honor.
LaMacchio, cousin of Leland Boren, continues to extend hospitality to every guest that walks through the farmhouse doors. She was the one who completed the renovation, working diligently for an entire year and adding character to every room from a refurbished rocker to an embroidery piece she made in high school. One room contains framed family pictures and a quilt from LaRita Boren's house that perfectly matches the old-fashioned wallpaper.
According to LaMacchio, it is common for Taylor families to discover LaRita's Lodge during their student's freshman year and stay there every time they come to visit. The structure has five bedrooms, but can accommodate up to 16 people at a time.
"I've met the most wonderful people," LaMacchio said. "I don't think I could have done that anywhere else."