Love at first sight ...
... it was when Bärbel Michels opened Alte Forsthaus at 600 meters in Rehsiepen in the quiet Schmallenberg Sorpetal which was up for sale. "I immediately dreamt of what could be done with it." The local historian bought the house 47 years ago at an auction together with her husband - and they have never regretted it. They restored the historic farmstead from 1885, complete with oven and smokehouse, to its original state.
"Even today, I often stand in front of it in amazement and enjoy living in and with nature every day. I couldn't imagine anything more beautiful."
Deer, rabbits, birds, slow worms and fire salamanders love the natural garden with flowers, vegetables and herbs. Orchids, cotton grass and an estimated "120 other plant species" grow on a wet meadow below, says the nature lover. Hikers also stop off enthusiastically, as a circular route of the Sauerland-Höhenflug passes right by the house. Sometimes they strike up a little conversation - and if Bärbel Michels has time, she is happy to show them around the garden and the cozy interior. A few years ago, she and her husband set up a foundation to preserve the listed ensemble for posterity. What the local historian likes so much about the region is not just the nature, Sondern but also the uncomplicated nature of the people. "When I'm in the garden and something breaks, nobody looks at me funny when I jump into a shop in my green work trousers. Schmallenberg into a store in my green work trousers. I see that as great freedom."
History and stories about the old forester's lodge, but also about the everyday life of the forestry workers, can be found in the newly published book from Bärbel Michels. You can obtain it for €39 from Mrs. Michels, at the Stadtsparkasse in Schmallenberg and at the tourist information office in Schmallenberg.
Peace and solitude in nature
In some places along the Romantic Route, the "world ends" - this is where the road ends and you can only continue on foot. And that's exactly what's worthwhile in the beautiful Sorpe Valley or along the higher-lying villages of Nordenau and Westfeld. Wide views and narrow valleys, romantic streams and cosy places that make hikers stop and look. A castle ruin and artistic forged pieces, splendid half-timbered houses and old courtyards also provide an occasion for this. On winter days, the cross-country skiing centre in Westfeld and the surrounding Rothaargebirge mountains offer plenty of opportunities for winter sports enthusiasts.