Robinson Farms NxtGen is making history, it is the largest Black-owned resort in the state of Missouri. The 95-acre family-owned and operated resort in Cape Girardeau has a unique take on vacations, blending 19th-century style with mid-century modern style. The resort is the perfect Midwestern getaway.
“There is so much to do in this field, there are 12 siblings including myself, nine boys and three girls and this is the opportunity to bring in all our talents,” said co-owner Drucella Robinson-Perkins.
Robinson-Perkins’ father was a farmer in southern Missouri in Sikeston and her mother was a stay-at-home mom. She says owning this estate gives her and her siblings a chance to step up from her parents to add their flavor to acquiring land and building for the generation behind them.
“Land that produces something or gives you the opportunity to do something, that’s where your wealth begins,” Robinson-Perkins said.
She adds that her children, nieces and nephews are looking for them to be the leaders and lead. We are the next generation after my parents.
After the death of her parents, Robinson-Perkins began to think about what she wanted her legacy to be, and the kind of stamp she would leave behind.
“You start to think about the impact on those who come after you,” Robinson-Perkins said.
She says her parents’ values prepared her for this role in the hospitality industry, her father taught and demonstrated the importance of ownership and being an entrepreneur.
“I’m prepared for this,” she said.
Robinson-Perkins comes from a devout, church-going family whose roots are planted deep in the black church, and she says this resort is all part of God’s plan.
Robinson-Perkins, a designer by education and profession, retired from her nine-to-five in January 2020, due to a lack of creative expression, Robinson-Perkins simply no longer felt the position of configuration manager.
With the extra free time, she came home to Sikeston for a childhood friend’s wedding, and before her mouth could catch up with her lips, she inquired about land for sale between St. Louis and Memphis. Well, in a small town like Sikeston everyone knows someone, and this person knew a great piece of an estate that had been on the market for about 10 years.
A friend’s boyfriend told Robin-Perkins about the 95-acre property, she extended her visit and went to see what her family’s future legacy had to offer.
She says she was blown away because the first thing she noticed was the bright red barn and sky-blue house with a wrap-around porch. The big surprise is that the property contained two more buildings, a gray barn and an all-brick mansion that looks like it came straight out of the movie Gone With The Wind.
Robinson-Perkins looked up and said, “God is this the beginning of the hotel?”.
She says she knew it was divine because ideas and plans about designing and using the space suddenly occurred to her.
Robinson-Perkins spoke to the other siblings about the gem she had found and they were on board to proceed with the purchase of the estate.
The Robinson family became the new owners of the 95-acre estate, the Robinson Farm NxtGen is black and proud, and rightly so given that less than 2% of the country’s hotels are owned by African Americans according to the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers.
The grand opening last month welcomed visitors from around the world, they toured the Sunset Cottage which was designed top to bottom by Robinson-Perkins, the house has a wraparound porch leading to the side entrance, where the oversized carport the teal houses -colored bicycles.
The kitchen has the perfect amount of bright colors to give you a whimsical feel, the lighting fixtures are unique, and the living room has hints of neutrals that give tourists a cozy home feeling. The lower level has an entertainment room and a bedroom. The cottage sleeps 10 guests, it’s great for a girls trip or brocation.
The pond is great for all anglers and women looking for a more outdoor adventure. Catfish, Blue Gill and Bass live in the pond that stands on the property.
And there’s the Elle, the ‘big house’, the all-brick mansion that can accommodate 30 guests, 10 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms, it’s a place that has to be seen to be believed. The mansion is named after her mother, Ella Mae. The larger-than-life house brings grace and royalty to the country. Giving Bridgerton vibes, the king-size wooden staircase winds up to the second floor where a lamp about three feet high greets you in all “her” glory. Robinson-Perkins called her Esther. I see big tea parties and weddings in the Elle.
“It’s such a well-built house,” said the resort owner.
The house is so huge that it has secret doorways and tunnels.
Robinson-Perkins says that for some suites, she will furnish them based on her siblings’ personalities.
The family plans to add a boardwalk that will lead visitors around the property near the garden, add small houses on the property for guests who want a more private getaway, and possibly an outdoor amphitheater . The possibilities are endless with 95 hectares of land. She hopes the estate can become the Salamander Resort and Spa of the Midwest.
“Even if I can’t reap the benefits of what I’m doing now, generations after me will,” Robinson-Perkins said.
Ashley Winters is The St. Louis American Report for America reporter.