Please join us in welcoming one of our newest members to Farm Stay U.S., Mavis Manor!
Specializing in "Farm to Fork localness", Mavis Manor is a sustanable farm stay retreat situated on 33 acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of West Virginia.
The farm raises a flock of 75+ happy chickens, a fluffy English Angora Rabbit named Chewy, and a locally famous pig called Sylvia Smackers.
With three guest rooms in the 1897 Queen Anne Victorian house, Mavis Manor can accommodate up to 9 guests, including children under 12. They provide breakfast and have snacks available, and guests are welcome to help with chores, learn about permaculture, or relax and play yard games.
To see what more they have to offer, visit Mavis Manor's listing on Farm Stay U.S.!
Last weekend, we had a booth at the LA Times Travel Show, which was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. It was our first time being an exhibitor at a show of this size, and wow, what a response!
If you're here visiting the site after meeting Scottie Jones or Dr. Serina Harvey from Flip Flop Ranch at our booth, welcome. We've always known farm, ranch, and vineyard stays constitute an amazing travel niche, but having a steady stream of folks interested in visiting and, by extension, helping small farms remain sustainable was so gratifying.
We love to tell the story of farm stays in photographs, which we hope is evident by the number of photos you can find here on the site. To that end, we had a slide show playing on our booth's screen during the travel show -- when we weren't demonstrating the site -- and we wanted to share it here with our site visitors. This is only a small sampling of our member farms, but it was so much fun to put together that we'll definitely be doing more of these in the near future.
The members featured in the slide show are:
Trevin Farms in Sudbury, VT, was founded by two chefs who escaped north to Vermont from urban Massachusetts. Troy and Kevin are devoted caretakers of their herd of Nubian goats and exuberant animal lovers. They are also passionate about cheesemaking, teaching guests to whip up incredible chevre recipes that include mouthwatering ingredients like honey and lavendar.
Most of the guests who stay in the B&B's three plush bedrooms ($109-$165), take advantage of the cheesemaking package ($310-$525, including lodging), which includes a cheesemaking class, dinner, and a bundle of fresh chevre for guests to take home. Visitors are also free to pick vegetables from the garden, gather eggs from the hens, and learn to hitch Tyrone the draft horse. The B&B is elegant but accessible, and kid and pet-friendly (for an additional $25/pet).
Off the farm, there's also plenty to do: The small but not-to-be-missed town of Brandon is a few minutes away, and boasts art galleries, The New England Maple Museum, summer music festivals, sophisticated restaurants like Cafe Provence, and special events like Make Your Own Leaf Person Day. The larger town of Middlebury, home of Middlebury College, is 15 minutes away. Also close are wonderful outdoor recreation opportunities like hiking, biking, canoeing, and kayaking. Silver Lake, the Long Trail and Green Mountain National Forest, and Moosalamoo National Recreation Area are all nearby.
For more information, visit Trevin Farms' website, Facebook Page, and Farm Stay U.S. listing. They've also been featured in the New York Times and Food Network Magazine.
Photos by Michelle Nowak
Please say hello to our new Farm Stay U.S. member, Three Sparrows Farm!
Farmers Doug and Erin raise Mini-Mancha goats on their two acre farm just 15 minutes from the historic town of Prescott, Arizona. Guests can enjoy fresh goat milk, plus eggs from the farm's chickens. Meet their "deceptively charming" donkey, named Button!
The farm has a cabin which accommodates up to four guests. They welcome kids of all ages, who are free to roam and explore, help with chores, nap on the porch, and explore the area. There are horse riding facilities and hiking trails located nearby.
Visit the Three Sparrows Farm listing on Farm Stay U.S. to learn more.
Please join us in welcoming a new member to Farm Stay U.S... Lucky Goat Family Farm, located in beautiful Big Sur, California!
Lucky Goat Family Farm is equally inviting for families with children as it is for romantic couples, singles, or groups of friends. Each day begins with milking the goats, making cheese, checking the troughs, and watering the gardens. Guests are welcome to join in, or just relax on the spacious decks overlooking the ocean.
The farm hosts have been making goat cheese for 26 years and they offer a special goat cheese making workshop (by reservation, with a separate fee from the stay).
The cottage has room for up to five guests to stay and experience this haven for wildlife and livestock, including goats, sheep, horses, cattle, sheep dogs, deer, bobcats, fox, and condors.
The farm is located close to Pheiffer Beach and the Cultural Center of Big Sur, Loma Vista, where visitors can find great music and wonderful shops of local crafts.
Want to see more? Visit the Lucky Goat Family Farm listing on Farm Stay U.S.
Check out this video from Men's Journal featuring Red Reflet Ranch in Ten Sleep, Wyoming! Guests, in this case Ryan Van Duzer, help with herding cattle on this 27,000 acre ranch in the Big Horn Mountains.
We asked Ryan some questions about his cowboy experience.
The wrangling experience was like nothing I've ever done before. I've ridden horses but never surrounded by hundreds of stinky, stubborn little cows. It surprised me at how difficult it was to make the herd travel in the direction we wanted, I thought they'd just get in line and march off to greener pastures. There was one moment when a rather rambunctious cow picked a fight with my horse, causing it to rear up and I almost flew off. Clay, the head cowboy said in a soft tongue, "We almost lost our host on that one." From that moment on the 'real' cowboys kept the fighter far away from me.
The absolute best part of the Red Reflet are the owners Laurence and Bob, they treated us like family and after four days together we really didn't want to leave.
The best advice is to have an open mind and be willing to try everything. Staying at a ranch is much different than staying at a resort because you get to participate in activites alongside real working cowboys. There really is nothing like it and the charm of ranch life is sure to make anyone fall in love with the western lifestyle.
Well, here we are! It's Christmas Eve, and our countdown is
over, but I want to leave you with one last gift... the gift of
Setting aside the distractions of a non-farm life and creating a
meal together from items found in the garden; listening to the
sound of more quiet than you're used to, or the unfamiliar noises
of goats and chickens; playing in a creek or floating down a river;
brushing a horse and playing cowboy; sipping wine; stargazing...
these shared experiences are priceless.
We're looking forward to what 2013 has to bring for Farm Stay
U.S., all our farms and ranches, and all the travelers whose
company we will enjoy. Cheers!
Know what's fun? Horseback riding. I spent many a childhood
holiday hoping for a chance to go on a trail ride.
Day 2 - Horseback Riding
Whether going on trail rides, taking part in cattle
drives, or making use of indoor
or outdoor riding arenas, communing with the
horses is a fantastic gift from our farms and ranches.
Since I'm in a wintery mood and would love nothing more than
snow for Christmas (which probably won't happen), I'm daydreaming a
Day 3 - Snowshoeing, Snowmobiling, and Skiing
This is different from day
eight's sleigh rides because... hmmm, because... because I'm
making this up as I go along! Anyway, these are
get-up-and-get-moving activities, perfect for working off some of
that extra helping of sweet potatoes.
Some farms have lots of land, and you might be able to step
right out the door and start snowshoeing. Others are very near
popular destinations and make a great place to stay overnight and
call home-base to your snowy explorations.
The gift of a winter wonderland!
Well, here we are, just four more days until Christmas! Today's
gift comes from trees...
Day 4 - Maple Sugaring
Trees that give you SYRUP.
"We elves try to stick to
the four main food groups:
candy, candy canes,
candy corns, and syrup."
I didn't include this in yesterday's
post because, while it's something farmers can show or teach, it's
not like most people can then go home and tap their own maple trees
(unless you have the right kind). Maple sugaring is a seasonal
activity, usually taking place in the spring.
The gift of sweetness!
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