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Happy to Be Here: Two talents create an adventure


Before Pam and David Anderson moved to Connecticut from Solebury in 2003, they bought 11 acres of land in Upper Bucks County – they knew they would be back. And years later, they came with a vision that would take them into a different world.
The Rev. David Anderson, then rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Solebury, had been assigned to a new church, St. Luke’s in Darien, Conn. Pam, a well-known cookbook author and executive editor of Cook’s Illustrated Magazine, could relocate easily, taking her writing with her.
In 2007, the Andersons hired Princeton architect Michael Farewell, to design a home on their rural property near Riegelsville. “We built it long distance,” Pam said. “We had no idea what he would design.” But he had done the design for building a new Trinity Church after a fire in 1998 damaged it, and the Andersons liked the architect’s work.
What was built was a copper-clad house, a striking contemporary design on a hill looking out on the Bucks County landscape. At first the house was the Andersons’ getaway but when David took a job as chaplain and chief communications officer for Episcopal Community Services in Philadelphia, they moved there full-time.
Pam had finished “How to Cook Without a Book” in 2018. “At that moment,” she said, “ I had nothing more to say.” She began looking for a transition and she realized that the career path for a food person and clergy person’s spouse was limited.
But she had started her cooking career as a caterer and with the expansive copper-clad house at her disposal, she landed on creating a retreat destination. She was able to take all of her experiences into a new venture, escapes for families and community and business groups in a woodlands setting. The Andersons called it Copper House and began advertising its existence. Pam the first retreat in the fall of 2019 and was ramping up for 2020 when COVID-19 hit.
Last fall, Pam started scheduling retreats in earnest. She reached out to churches and businesses touting the attractions, like the outdoor kitchen, the vast indoor area that feels like the outdoors, the pizza oven and in-ground barbecue. “Escape to a luxurious, contemporary spot on 11 peaceful, wooded acres in Upper Bucks County,” the website says. “Build team and personal relationships through mindfulness and self-care activities, hiking, forest bathing, or simply device-free quality time. You and your guests are given access to the entire property complete with cozy firepits, serene streams, comfortable and diverse indoor and outdoor spaces, and a brick oven pizza kitchen.”
Meanwhile, David retired from Episcopal Services and he took on management of the business. “I was always helping out,” David said “and Pam needed a business partner as business ramped up.” This was an opportunity for David to team up with his spouse in a new kind of phase in his life. He has done pastoral work for 30 years and most recently worked for an anti-poverty organization. Like Pam, he had experiences that would enhance the offerings at Copper House. And David is also an author – his book “Breakfast Ephiphanies; Finding Wonder in the Everyday,” explores spirituality in ordinary settings.

Working for Episcopal Services, David said, “was a wonderful segway out of 30 years of pastoral work.” David’s official title is program director and ther work is not a big leap from what he has been doing. “We’ve created a welcoming space here, a place where people can feel at home near nature and natural creation.”
“One of the first things we built was the outdoor kitchen,” Pam said. During covid, the Andersons built the stone circle, a stone wall where guests sit to watch the fire in the steel cauldron at the center.
The days are filled with more than barbecues – Copper House partners include an artist, a yoga instructor who specializes in sound bathing, a horticulturist who leads tours of the woods, and an event planner to schedule the events. “This is not a cookie-cutter operation,” Pam said. Retreats can be arranged for a half day or one day, and longer stays can be arranged with local inns and restaurants who partner with Copper House.
”The house is one big box, like a movie set,” Pam said. It’s constantly changing to fit the occasion and over the years, as Copper House grows, the walls will acquire a blue-green color to add to its appeal, mellowing and becoming more welcoming.
Surely there are books somewhere lurking in the minds of both Andersons as they pursue their vision.

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Updated Monday, Nov. 28, 2022.

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