Tucked away in the heart of the creative corridor, adjacent to Cornell College sits, Thistle’s Summit, a stately victorian home, with over 115 years of rich history in her walls. The house was built for a professor at Cornell Dr. E. R. Ristine, later became home of the Dean of the College whose stamp of approval still hangs in the front entryway coat closet.
From the moment that the owners, Marti and Ash, walked into the house they knew this was a very special place filled with creative and restorative energy. It’s hard to say what they were most taken with: the birds softly chirping, the wildflowers sprouting at every corner of the property or the treehouse views. They immediately knew this place was too good not to share. They decided to take a leap of faith and leave their lives in Des Moines to start Iowa’s queerest bed & breakfast and homostead. They know that traveling as a queer couple can be stressful, awkward and sometimes dangerous. They built Thistle’s Summit to be a safe haven for the queer community and people of all walks of life to find respite, relaxation and midwestern hospitality, in a community that is warm and accepting of all folx.
Like many young Virgos, Marti grew up faking illness to stay home from school to watch Martha Stewart. Not only did they share a name, Marti felt a deep kinship with her, like one day maybe she would like the life that other Martha did. After a successful career in events for over a decade, working for internationally recognized museums, she felt further from that goal than ever. She had no time to put her hands in flour, to pursue passions or to create tablescapes from the garden. Hell, she didn’t even have a garden. So she decided to hang it up, and forge ahead towards something different, something that allowed her to do the things she loved and still make people feel seen and special. You will find her in the kitchen, nearly always, or foraging for ingredients on the property. She is living her best life, and feels very grateful to have the ability to do so.
they/them // she/her
You’ll likely find Ash in the garden or reading in the living room with Thistle. Once she learns a little bit about you and what you’re interested in, she’ll probably run down to the library to find a book you HAVE to read. Ash is a storyteller, writer, and astrologer, as well as a farm kid and former farmworker. They’ve worked primarily in sustainable agriculture as a communications expert for 10+ years and had the garden chops Marti needed to start cooking and eating seasonally and garden fresh. Ash has been to 45 states, took a year-long cross-country road trip, and will happily swap travelogues with you.
she/her // woofer // snoodle mcdog
The lady of the house, the namesake, the star power. It seems derivative to call her a 2-year-old black lab mix, because she has more personality than some humans we have encountered. She is sweet and sassy. She has a penchant for bananas, peanut butter and cheese. She will greet you with a wag (and sometimes a small jump, which we are working on) and most certainly can’t wait to show you to your room. You will find her where the sun beams trace the floor, slowly moving throughout the house to find the best nap spot. She spends her days dreaming about tummy scratches, hiking and the neighbor dog, Mandy.