Farmstay U.S. Blog

Created for and by travelers and the farmers, these posts will cover a variety of topics related to farm stays in the U.S.

Monthly Archives: May 2010

Western Pleasure Guest Ranch in Sandpoint, Idaho

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In the early 90's, a fifth generation cattle-ranching family decided that they wanted to share the beauty, history, and heritage of the land that they'd been working since 1940... and, so, Western Pleasure Guest Ranch began extending their country hospitality to overnight guests.

Located in Idaho's scenic Panhandle region, the 1,100 acre ranch has spectacular views of the Selkirk and Cabinet mountains, as well as being adjacent to thousands of acres of land for horseback riding or cross country skiing. Owner Janice Schoonover tells us that they enjoy four true seasons and "the landscape is stunning with the changes that each of the seasons bring."

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Guests staying at the ranch can enjoy different activities, depending on what time of year they visit. Summertime brings all-inclusive guest ranch packages, which feature horseback riding as the main activity, with additional opportunites to enjoy wagon rides, working with cattle, skeet shooting, and archery. Guests may also enjoy a dinner cruise on Lake Pend Orielle, or canoeing down the Packriver.

In the winter, there are horsedrawn sleigh rides, cross country skiing, and snow shoeing. Right now, in the fall, it's an excellent time for leaf peeping - taking in all the gorgeous autumn colors.

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The lodge - made of handhewn logs - has six private rooms with private baths, plus a rec room, a great room with a large riverrock fireplace, a loft sitting area, and a hot tub. There are also four private log cabins with private baths that each sleep six. The cabins have furnished kitchens and wood stove heat.

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Western Pleasure Guest Ranch welcomes group retreats, family reunions, corporate retreats and provides a beautiful and unique setting for weddings. Beginning September 30th, the ranch will host Bed and Breakfast stays - an example of the different offerings that change with the seasons.

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To learn more about Western Pleasure Guest Ranch, take a look at the video below, and then visit their listing on Farm Stay U.S. Now is a great time to book for a winter getaway, or start thinking about a guest ranch adventure for next summer!

Pebble Cove Farm on Orcas Island, Washington

NEW MEMBER SPOTLIGHT!

Another new member to the Farm Stay U.S. website this year is Pebble Cove Farm on Orcas Island, Washington.

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Overlooking Massacre Bay on Orcas Island, this south facing salt water farm grew out of a dream of raising children by the sea. Guests may stroll through the organic garden and enjoy in-season produce, collect organic eggs, pick berries, and visit with the goats and Buddy the pony.

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Pebble Cove Farm welcomes guests of all ages to stay in one of their studio suites, the family suite, or the cottage. Weddings, family reunions, and other special events may be held at the farm.

To learn more and plan a visit, check out the Pebble Cove Farm listing here on Farm Stay U.S.!

(Photos courtesy Pebble Cove Farm)

On the Windfall in Lansing, North Carolina

NEW MEMBER SPOTLIGHT!

Today we are welcoming On the Windfall in Lansing, North Carolina to the Farm Stay U.S. family.

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This 215 acre farm is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. They raise sheep and chickens, grow sunflowers, and are experimenting with a hop yard. Guests can also visit with goats, a donkey, and a wild pony, and enjoy hiking and fishing right on the property. Leaf peeping is another wonderful seasonal activity here.

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On the Windfall has three private cottages with lots of amenities. The Barn and The Granpy Aut each sleep 4, and The Granny Mandy sleeps up to 9. The farm welcomes children under 12, weddings, family reunions and other special events.

To learn more and plan a vacation, visit the On the Windfall listing here at Farm Stay U.S.!

(Photos courtesy On the Windfall)

Farm Stay Story - Windysage Farmstay B&B

This Farm Stay Story was sent to us by 12 year old Kelly Kirk, who recently vacationed at Windysage Farmstay B&B in Mackay, Idaho with her family. Take it away, Kelly!

Windysage2Hi, I’m Kelly. I live in Texas with my mom, dad, and older sister. This summer I had the most wonderful vacation ever and I want you to have fun also. So, if you’re looking for a place out in the country to relax, enjoy the scenery, have fun with your family, play outdoors, and be with animals: well I think I know just the place for you. There’s this new organization called Farm Stay U.S. that has bed and breakfasts which are on the land of a farm, ranch, or vineyard.

My family and I traveled to a goat farm in Mackay, Idaho. There, we played with the chickens, ducks, cats, bunnies, turkey and goats. The turkey made the most beautiful cooing sound. I learned how to milk a goat and filter the milk afterwards. Miss Karen and Mr. Adam, the owners of the farm stay, made extra sure to make us feel right at home. They gave us fresh eggs from their chickens and fresh milk from their goats. We also received homemade bread and sausage. At dark we sat around the campfire and ate the ice cream from the goats’ milk Mr. Adam made for everyone, and enjoyed the moonlit mountains.

Windysage3When it was time to go to bed I slept on the pullout couch in the living room of the little cabin we stayed in. My parents slept in the bedroom and my sister slept across the lawn on a bed in a small building fashioned to look like a covered wagon. When I woke up in the morning I didn’t hear the rumble of cars or the neighbor's lawnmower. There was no sound. Everything was calm and peaceful. When I went outside I felt a slight breeze and the warm sun on my face. The chickens were moving around and occasionally the turkey would make its soft cooing sound. There were no cars on the dusty road or a neighbor to be seen. It was just my family, Miss Karen, Mr. Adam, animals and the mountains.

Time went by so quickly I didn’t even realize it was our last day in Mackay. We gathered our suitcases and put them in the car. Miss Karen and Mr. Adam were waiting for us and we hugged them goodbye. We thanked them for everything they had done for us and how they made us feel so at home. Right before we left we gathered hands and prayed. They prayed for us and our safety getting home and we thanked God for bringing them into our life. We left with tears in our eyes but in our hearts we knew we couldn’t be happier. They blessed us in so many ways and they can do the same for your family. Go stay with them on their farm, you won’t believe what you’ll find in just a little town in Idaho.

(Words and photographs copyright Kelly Kirk.)

NEW MEMBER SPOTLIGHT!

Please help us extend a warm welcome to High Breeze Farm in Highland Lakes, New Jersey to the Farm Stay U.S. website.

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This family operated 165 acre farm is located adjacent to the Appalachian Trail and surrounded by Wawayanda State park, which gives it a secluded feeling while still being close to area attractions. High Breeze Farm grows organic fruits and vegetables for their CSA and farm stand, as well as 100% grass fed beef, pastured pork, and free range eggs. Their family Jersey cow provides milk and guests can enjoy the opportunity to make butter and cheese.

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The High Breeze house is a private 3 bedroom + loft home, with the capacity to sleep 12. It has a fully equipped kitchen for self-prepared meals. Guests of all ages are welcome to observe or participate in daily farm activities. Weddings, family reunions, and other special events may be held at the farm.

To learn more and plan a visit, check out the High Breeze Farm listing here on Farm Stay U.S.!

(Photos courtesy High Breeze Farm)

NEW MEMBER SPOTLIGHT!

Please join us in welcoming Belle Meade Farm in Sperryville, Virginia to the Farm Stay U.S. website.

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This restored Victorian farmhouse is located on 138 acres of fields, woods, and streams in a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains. A teaching farm with organic gardening, chickens, horses, pigs, and cows, Belle Meade Farm is a great place to renew and refresh.

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The farm has four in-house rooms, as well as a stand-alone cottage, all with private baths. Rates include a hearty breakfast. Guests of all ages are welcome, as are weddings and special events.

To learn more and plan a visit, check out the Belle Meade Farm listing here on Farm Stay U.S.!

(Photos courtesy Belle Meade Farm)

Our third Farm Stay Story was sent to us by Alison Schwartz, who is a regular visitor to East Hill Farm in Troy, New Hampshire.

East Hill Farm goat kids

My family goes to East Hill Farm every year for a weekend in the summer, and for a week right after Christmas. Even though I am 22 years old now, the chickens, goats, and sheep have not lost their appeal. I look forward to feeding them and petting them. In the summer, I spend hours outside with the animals. In the winter, I bundle up in my winter coat and feed the animals a couple of times every day.

One of our favorite things to do at East Hill Farm is see Jason Purdy perform his magic show. I have seen Jason every year for as long as I can remember. My mom runs a summer camp, and she hires him to perform at the camp every year. Last summer, she told me a funny story about two of my campers, Alana and Darren. Their parents took them to East Hill Farm for the first time, and when they saw Jason's show, they didn't raise their hands when he asked who was seeing the Magic of Jason Purdy for the first time. Their parents told them to raise their hands, and they explained that they weren't seeing Jason for the first time; they knew him from camp. So I wasn't surprised when I went into the dining hall last December and saw their family there!

What makes winter at the farm special is hanging out with old friends in the living room, in front of the fireplace, knitting and crocheting. I invited Alana to hang out with us, too. She is an avid knitter, and I was proud to show her my knitting. I was working on a blanket and a hat. I asked Alana to teach me how to make a pom-pom for the hat, and she got a fork from the dining room and showed me how to make a pom-pom using a fork!

Every year at East Hill Farm is special in its own way. December 2012 was special because in the deepest part of winter, I saw two of my favorite kids from summer camp.

East Hill Farm Inn

(Photos courtesy East Hill Farm, words copyright Alison Schwartz)

CA Bull Elk Ranch in Richfield, Idaho

NEW MEMBER SPOTLIGHT!

Today we are extending a hearty "welcome!" to CA Bull Elk Ranch, in Richfield, Idaho.

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Located on 800 acres of pristine recreational and hunting habitat, CA Bull Elk Ranch is a working elk and upland game bird operation. Visitors can take part in fishing, hiking, bird watching and wildlife viewing, upland game bird hunting, snowshoeing and x-country skiing, photography, or just unplugging from the hectic world. There are also some of the usual farm animals, like chickens and geese.

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There are four guest rooms with private baths, along with a large common area for relaxing, reading, or exercise. The stay also includes 3 meals a day prepared from food raised primarily on the ranch and by other local producers. Children under 12 are welcome at the ranch.

To learn more and plan a visit, check out the CA Bull Elk Ranch listing here on Farm Stay U.S.!

(Photos courtesy CA Bull Elk Ranch)

Q&A Turtle Mist Farm, North Carolina

ss1This week we feature an interview with Ginger Sykes of Turtle Mist Farm in North Carolina. Ginger and Bob Sykes long dreamed of farming and now aim to share their love for nature and knowledge of where food really comes from with others.

FSUS: Fulfilling a long-time dream, you decided to start your farm after
working for 30 years in corporate America. Why did you choose North Carolina?

Ginger Sykes: We chose this area because it is not too far from my family in Maryland, the land prices here were unbelievable, the property is ideally located because it is rural but not too far from the city -- Our farm is 25 miles north of Raleigh.

FSUS: What's the setting like around your farm, and the landscape?

Ginger: The setting around the property is very peaceful, although we have close neighbors, while on the property you get a feeling of being in a small world all your own.  The view from the guest house overlooking the pond makes you feel like you should be sitting on the front porch in the rocking chairs sipping lemonade.

FSUS: What kind of animals are on your farm now?

Ginger: We have pigs, cows, sheep, turkeys, chickens (laying and broilers), Muscovy duck, Guineas, quail, peacocks, 2 horses, a goat, and a donkey.ss6

FSUS: Can you tell us about some of the unusual vegetables that you grow?

Ginger: Our garden is a small market garden (we grow just enough to take to the farmers market).  But because we cannot compete with the larger vegetable farmers we chose to grow different veggies.  We grow purple & white Kohlrabi (a cabbage turnip), Edamame, turmeric, Tatuma squash (just a different variety of squash), berry tomatoes (cherry tomatoes that are shaped like strawberries), malabar spinach (a summer vining spinach) mini bell peppers, Armenian cucumbers (they look and taste like cucumbers but are muskmelons).

FSUS: How did your farm get its name?

Ginger: We named the farm Turtle Mist because the pond in front of the guest has a large number of turtles in it and in the morning there's a fog that rolls across the pond.

ss10FSUS: What do most guests do during a stay on your farm?

Ginger: Most of our guests are parents with small children who want their children to have the farm experience and to learn where their food comes from.  After they tour the farm, we let them help us with our chores, i.e., gather eggs, feed the sheep and pigs, and they can help in the garden if they want.  If they don't want to work, they can fish, paddle boat, visit with and take pictures of the animals.  Our horse trainer offers horse instructions and riding.  And, depending on how long they stay, some guests visit surrounding cities (Raleigh, Durham, Wake Forest).

(Photos courtesy Turtle Mist Farm)

Farm Stay Story - Spiritwind Farm

Our second Farm Stay Story was written by Andrea O'Connor, who visited Spiritwind Farm in Lebanon, Maine.

Spiritwind Farm Draft Horses

I'm so happy to have discovered Farm Stay U.S.!

I had an incredible time at Spiritwind Farm, Lebanon, Maine. A BEAUTIFULLY restored farmhouse with luxury room and private bath. They have two Shire horses Kelly and Lucy, goats Coco and Bella and babies (so cute!), chickens, pigs. I think the big pig's name is Cobble and she likes to eat giant marshmallows as the occasional treat. She's having piglets in the fall!

Kathy's goat milk soap is fabulous, the best I've ever used. She makes chèvre cheese too, which I didn't get a chance to taste as she was all sold out. Blueberry muffins, a dip in the beautiful pool after days at the nearby ocean beaches, watching the fireflies and flames in the outdoor wood fireplace!

Ahhh. So relaxing and fun.

Thank you, thank you to Farmer Kathy, farm hand Erin, and all farmers doing such importand work for us and the earth!

(Photo courtesy Spiritwind Farm, words copyright Andrea O'Connor)