Hacienda de la Mariposa is located at 3875 Stagecoach Road in Camp Verde. Information: 888-520-9095.
At Hacienda de la Mariposa in Camp Verde, you get more than a bed and breakfast, you also get a dose of the King.
© Morey Milbradt
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By Kathy Montgomery
Reggie Vinson answers the door at Hacienda de la Mariposa wearing jeans, loafers with no socks, and chunky turquoise rings. He is lanky, loose-limbed and quick to smile. His wife, Kat, is just finishing a phone call.
The two seem an unlikely pair, at first. Reggie's wispy, ginger-colored hair and pale complexion form a sharp contrast to Kat's dark eyes and olive skin. And while Kat speaks with a deliberate Texas drawl, Reggie talks in staccato bursts.
The two take their arriving guests on a tour, and Reggie fires facts about his life in no particular order: "I've played guitar since I was 15," he says. "My mother was a gospel singer. I played with Liberace. My cousin is Minnie Pearl.
"There I am playing live at the Grand Ole Opry," he says, waving at a display wall. "These are my gold records." The framed records bear plaques that read "Rockin' Reggie Vinson" and include John Lennon's Rock 'n' Roll album, on which Reggie played bass, and several by Alice Cooper. Reggie played guitar and sang background vocals for School's Out, and co-wrote Billion Dollar Babies.
Kat bought the Hacienda four years ago from Donna Momeyer, who found her way to Camp Verde at the end of a life-changing journey. Momeyer and her husband, Mickey, bought five acres on the banks of Beaver Creek, built a Santa Fe-style B&B, and put a butterfly on the gate to symbolize Donna's spiritual transformation.
They named their retreat Hacienda de la Mariposa, roughly "Butterfly Ranch," and decorated it with Mexican folk art depicting saints and crucifixes, planted gardens, and built a chapel they called Casita Milagros — "Little House of Miracles." Donna believed the place had power. "Not everyone finds us," she said at the time. "But everyone who comes through the gates is somehow transformed."
Kat certainly was. She came for a visit four years ago and fell in love with the B&B. When a butterfly alighted on her hand during a trip to Sedona, she took it as a sign and bought the place. Soon after, she married Reggie, and then things got rockin'.
The Vinsons cleared the banks and added a creek-side deck for guests. Each of the five guestrooms now has a hot tub. Most importantly, they filled the place with music. The Vinsons invite their guests into their apartment — which is packed with guitars, Elvis memorabilia and Kat's doll collection — and the recording studio where they write love songs to each other and compose music for films.
"Come on, honey, sing," Kat says, dragging each vowel. Reggie plucks up a guitar and, smiling, croons Only the Lonely.
"How 'bout Kathy's Clown?" Kat teases. "You need to learn that, because that's what you are."
The guests file out grinning, feeling like friends. "If you're bringing music, you're bringing people closer together," Kat says. "That's what music is about."
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