Established in the 1890's. Hearts Home Farm is located on the site of the original headquarters for one of the first working family farms in Coyote Pass. The remains of the small, original homesteader's cabin can still be seen from the south side of the meadow.
According to local old-timers, from the late 1800's until about 1915, the Coyote Pass farm was a way station on a stagecoach line that ran from San Juan Capistrano to Lake Elsinore and Perris before stopping here, where the route forked. Travelers could then go to San Diego or through the Beaumont-Banning Pass.
During that time, the family maintained a full blacksmith shop, operating a forge and a workshop equipped for horseshoeing, as well as wagon and stagecoach repair. A hundred years ago, weary travelers stopping at the old Coyote Pass farm found hearty food and a restful place to spend the night, beginning a tradition that continues today at Hearts Home Farm.
The Coyote Pass farm was owned and operated by one family for close to 70 years. Isadora Poplin came here, with the rest of the family, when she was a teenager in the late 1890's, and lived here until her death in 1964, at the age of 84. During her lifetime, for reasons we can only surmise, most of the land was sold, a few acres at a time.
Isadora became a well-known, colorful local character. In addition to outliving two husbands, long-time neighbors say that, toward the end of her life, she lost her sight and could often be seen traveling freely about the property by grasping and following a network of clotheslines strung from point to point - often with a black cat draped on her shoulder.
One of Isadora's husbands, a somewhat shadowy figure known only as Dallas, was reputed to have been a ship builder. He is said to have designed and built Heartkeeper House in the early 1920's. Local legend says that he also constructed a detailed "life-sized" replica of a captain's deck, complete with telescope and moveable ship's wheel, as a balcony on the west side of Heartkeeper House. Sadly, it was dismantled and removed during the 1970's. However, examples of his wood-working skills can be seen throughout the house today, from the ornate carving in the living room to the curved face of the built-in bureau in the largest bedroom and the many storage nooks throughout the house.
When current owners Ana and Larry Shurtz were restoring Heartkeeper House, Ana found a small well-hidden compartment, probably installed by the mysterious Dallas himself to provide safe storage of papers and other valuables. Guests staying in Heartkeeper House are encouraged to have a little treasure hunt - the successful few are rewarded by finding some very nice chocolate, and adding their note to those left by all the others who were successful in the search - becoming a part of the experience and history of Hearts Home Farm.
Vestiges of this history can be found everywhere: heart-shaped concrete stepping stones manufactured and sold here in the 1930's and 40's, at the same time as the massive concrete bench, with inlaid antique glass marbles, beneath the giant pepper tree in the front of Heartkeeper House -- an 80-year-old mulberry tree and a pomegranate tree at least 50 years old, both still bearing an amazing amount of fruit each year -- a hand-dug 60 foot well that still provides the water for all the gardens on the farm an old Packard Hornet automobile ornament imbedded in the sidewalk in front of Angelheart cottage - and many hand-built walkways and retaining walls, some with handprints and dates.
In the face of the encroaching urbanization of the Temecula Valley, Ana and Larry Shurtz determined to find ways of setting the property aside as an environmental sanctuary. They applied to the National Wildlife Federation and, in early 2000, Hearts Home Farm was certified as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat. The cost of satisfying National Wildlife Federation requirements is off-set in part by renting the grounds for private parties, weddings and other events. During the spring, birdwatchers come to enjoy the many nesting areas throughout the farm, from red tail-hawks and owls to hummingbirds. Throughout the year squirrels foraging for seeds and fruits while almost tame wild rabbits graze on grass.
A visit to Hearts Home Farm is not just a stay at a typical bed and breakfast. It is a personal, romantic experience of recognition and reminiscence --- each cottage has its own little treasures and trunks, tucked into corners and closets. Our guests experience something of the familiarity that a visit to Grandma's house in the country must have had, in generations past.