Shall We Wander, Love, Over to the Bar?Oct 01, 2022 09:00AM ● By Lilace Mellin Guignard
According to the old adage, you can’t make your horse drink. But turn your horse trailer into a mobile bar, and you can get others to. Just ask Ashley and Cody Bowen, owners of Wanderlove & Co., a special occasion rental service based in Wellsboro that added just such a mobile bar—The Wandered Spirit—to their herd of bohemian and vintage style accessories. Imagine plush couches and chairs upholstered in lux mauves, blues, and oranges grazing in the field by a lake. No doubt there’s a tent or pavilion nearby, beside which a matte black-and-white horse trailer bar with live edge counter slabs stands like a stallion watching his ladies.
And then it’s cocktail time and the stallion gets surrounded by happy folks wanting a little libation.
Years ago, Ashley saw something online that gave her the idea, and asked Cody to keep his eye out. When he was hunting the pipeline above the Goodwin Farm on the Ding Dang Road (yes, that’s really the name of the road) he saw it—a 1991 Sterling horse trailer sitting and rotting in an old pasture. When he told Angel Goodwin, she gave the okay for it to be re-homed, and Cody hauled it to his parents’ house for rehabilitating during 2021.
Gutting it was easy. “I’m really good at demo,” Cody grins. “Dad’s good at the finish stuff.” It had two stalls, so the divider needed to be removed, the inside rust treated, and then electric and plumbing added. Cody’s dad worked on helicopters in Viet Nam and knew how to handle the sheet metal. The walnut boards they transformed into polished, live edge slabs came from a barn, also on the Goodwin Farm. Cody and Ashley added a personal touch of nostalgia by including pieces from the pallet bar they’d made for their wedding. The sign was made locally by Studio Mengee.
Ashley, who bartended at the Wellsboro House for five years, designed the interior flow and chose the matte black exterior paint to make a distinctive industrial-chic statement. Wandered Spirit went live in August 2022. They are still refining the layout a bit after each event.
Weddings are their main events, though baby showers, reunions, grand openings, and proms use their rentals. They will deliver south to State College and north to the top of Keuka and Seneca lakes. Clients build a wish list online from the portfolio and Ashley works with them to craft a proposal based on their style and budget. There is free delivery and drop-off within twenty miles of Wellsboro.
Their most popular items are the farmhouse tables, couches, and chairs used to create a comfortable lounge or photo staging area. For Wellsboro Area High School proms, colorful rugs softened the concrete pavilion floor with flair. “I love proms,” Ashley says. At weddings, a lounge area can be set up beside the Wandered Spirit. Some choose to create a lounge area away from the music and noise.
Ashley, a WAHS graduate herself, now teaches second grade at Don Gill Elementary. Cody works at C&N Bank, and they have a four-year-old daughter, Savannah Rose. Ashley started Savvy Rose Floral Design, named after her daughter, in 2020, and the rental business Wanderlove & Co. followed the next year. But the floral business takes more time away from her family, so Ashley is phasing that out after May 2023, except in connection with events using their rentals. “We’ll still offer it as an add-on,” she says.
Now with the Wandered Spirit, the couple often works events side by side, pulling beers from the dual taps or making cocktails. They have liquor liability insurance, but this is a dry hire bar—meaning you purchase the alcohol. “We can help you figure out how much you’ll need,” Ashley says. And RAMP (Responsible Alcohol Management Program) certified bartenders are part of the package. “Most people don’t realize that if they host a party where they serve alcohol, they have the liability too,” explains Ashley. By hiring their trained bartenders—with or without the mobile bar—it means you can relax and enjoy your party, knowing you don’t have to be the one to tell Uncle Bob he’s had enough.
There are many package options, from using the mobile bar with no alcohol, to beer and wine only, to beer, wine, and two signature cocktails of your choice. Custom packages are also available. Add-on services include a lounge area, coffee station, and hydration station stocked with iced tea, infused water, and lemonade.
The great thing about a former horse trailer is that it’s made to go over rough ground. If it can be hauled to a semi-flat surface by a four-wheel drive, that’s all they need. They’ll plug into your electric if near enough, or they’ll stick their quiet generator off in the woods, and you’re good to go.
“Finding Ashley’s wedding services was like stumbling upon an oasis in the desert,” says Nadia Tuffaha Grigg, who used the floral services and furniture rentals. “I had started to settle on just having the bare essentials at our wedding, but then my mother-in-law introduced me to Ashley. The Wandered Spirit mobile bar opened up another portal of possibilities for pulling off the wedding magic I had dreamed of. I am so thankful for Ashley and excited for future betrothed couples in the area who will get to have their dream weddings, too.”
Ashley and Cody have learned a lot as their business has grown, not the least of which is how to back a trailer into tight spaces. But whatever your space or event, they are committed to providing an elevated experience with a unique aesthetic suited to your vision. As they say, “it’s not just a bar, it’s a vibe.”
Vibe with them at wanderloveandco.com, on Facebook under Savvy Rose Floral Design, or call (607) 857-3637.