Resort gets makeover

By Brandon Evans | Published Saturday, September 14, 2013

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A redesigned, renovated and reinvented MD Resort celebrated the grand opening of a new complex called The Oaks late last month.

Ribbon Cutting

RIBBON CUTTING – A large crowd attended the Decatur Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting Aug. 24 for MD Resort in Aurora. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

New owner Bill Benedick of Decatur, his wife, Susie, his brother Ben and an architectural and design firm have given the resort in Aurora a sleek, modern look that still captures the rural essence of Wise County.

“We tried to put a soft touch on it,” Benedick said. “We gave it a country flair but not too much because we didn’t want to scare city people from coming out here.”

NEW SPACE – As part of the reinvented resort, owners Bill and Susie Benedick built a banquet hall. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The brand-new meeting hall and the banquet hall, known as The Oaks, measure 8,000 and 12,000 square feet, respectively, and combine modern design with the approachability of a country setting. The buildings can host weddings, corporate retreats, banquets, family reunions, holiday parties, proms or anything else a client could conceive.

They’ve also added a catering service and a bus and limo service to the list of amenities.

Since the closure of Garrett Creek Ranch near Paradise, Benedick has known there is a shortage of places to host corporate getaways or similar events. The only comparable facility is the Civic Center in Decatur – and its offerings are very different.

“We knew there was a need for this type of facility,” he said. “I also like the location. It’s only 25 miles from Sundance Square in downtown Fort Worth.”

Once you get beyond The Oaks, the rest of the resort opens up on 30 acres of land starting with a large, corrugated tin Party Barn. Behind that is an organic garden and barnyards housing a variety of animals including horses, buffalo, donkeys and an area for a chicken coop to supply the bed and breakfast and caterers with farm-fresh eggs.

Thick, sprawling live oaks are found throughout the property and lead visitors to the bed and breakfast. Half a dozen two-bedroom, two-bath cabins are being installed on the grounds across from a large, established pecan grove where a covered bridge crosses a creek and pond to a tranquil setting for an outdoor wedding.

A building near the bed and breakfast, that now holds several suites, is being transformed into a full-service spa.

“We hope to bring a lot of clients out for day packages at the spa,” Benedick said.

While Benedick, his family and staff have helped reinvent the 12-year-old resort, Benedick has also reinvented his professional life. Benedick bought the place late last year and began work in January after spending most of his career in the oil field.

“After 35 years in the oil field service industry, it’s a nice change to do something so different,” Benedick said.

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