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.

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How about a celebration of the other farm animals -- not the livestock or poultry - but the hard working barn cats and dogs that do their fair share of the work around the farm or ranch?

12 Days of Christmas (on the farm) - Day 8

Arizona Collage

If you're planning on visiting a national park this year, a nearby farm or ranch could make a good "home base" for your explorations.

Lots of farms offer camp sites or tents, as well as RV hookups, and even glamping!

 

glamping collage

 

 

12 Days of Christmas (on the farm) - Day 7

balloons

Happy new year's eve!

Hoping to go on a few adventures in 2015? I ran a bunch of searches for you on some of the more daring activites listed by our farm and ranch members. These might be right on the farm, or available nearby - check with the owners first if you have your heart set on a particular activity. There may be seasonal considerations as well.

How about... ziplining?

Ballooning? (Oh... over wine country... *sigh* Romance and adventure!)

Explore some caverns or do some rock climbing?

Kayaking? (Check into what kind of kayaking - there's a big difference between a quiet bay or lake and kayaking on rapids!) There's also rafting (again, check if it's lazy river rafting or white-water rafting).

We have some ranches where you can learn roping! Not sure you could put that skill to use on a cattle drive, but going along for the ride with a new secret skill would be fun anyway.

Maybe you're a pilot and need a place with an airstrip... yes, we actually have a ranch that lists an airstrip as an amenity. And there are a few more that list helicopter landing. Cool.

Or maybe your adventure in 2015 includes getting married... eh? Eh? Anyone? Some of our members have wedding chapels, and LOTS of them welcome weddings and elopements!

Onward to the new year!

12 Days of Christmas (on the farm) - Day 6

Brrrrr. BRRRRRR. It's cold! You would think it was winter or something.

snow chores

Let's daydream about beaches and swimming pools for a minute... *daydreams*

Beaches and swimming pools might not be something you generally associate with farms, but vacationers can totally have the best of both of these things... the farm experience and a refreshing dip in the water to cool off. You know, during the hot months! We have several members who list beaches as an activity (I actually like beaches in cold weather, too), and even more who list a swimming pool as an amenity or swimming as an activity... that could be swimming holes, splashing around in a creek or river, or lakes.

Planning ahead for warmer days! *daydreams*

12 Days of Christmas (on the farm) - Day 5

Farms generally make us think of the "usual" farm animals... cows, chickens, pigs, sheep. But did you know that we have farms in the U.S. raising other unique animals?

Check out these farm stay search results for opportunites to see some creatures you might not usually come across in a farm setting:

armstrong creek bison
Bison and calf at Armstrong Creek Bison Company

12 Days of Christmas (on the farm) - Day 4

Often, a big advantage of being out in the country at night is how dark it is. Stargazing opportunities abound!

stargazing

In our search results, we have some members who have checked off "astronomy" as an activity, but really, bring a telescope along on any rural vacation and you're likely to be rewarded as long as the skies are clear. (You can even rent telescopes online - just do a web search.) Consider planning a trip around one of the annual meteor showers!

12 Days of Christmas (on the farm) - Day 3

Well... hello! Finally! Not sure how many of you out there have been checking back every day, but one of the challenges of rural living includes, occasionally, a fickle internet connection. So sorry. I was finally able to make it to a coffee shop today where I have a lovely, fast connection and three posts to catch up on... so away we go!

high tea

I love the days between Christmas and the new year. Even more as a kid and there was no school or job (love my job!) to encroach on the long, lazy hours spent reading books in front of the fireplace. I started thinking about all the relaxing ways to spend time on a farm. Here are a few ideas from our members (available either on-site or nearby):

See that? A rural vacation need not be all about farm or ranch chores, though there IS something to be said for pulling weeds in a garden. Really.

12 Days of Christmas (on the farm) - Day 2

Everyone who celebrates... did you have a good Christmas surrounded by friends and loved ones? Hope so! Here at USFSA HQ and its satellite office (AKA, my house) there was lots of tamale making - a big group effort - and then gathering around the dining table to polish them off. Holiday gatherings around here never seem to stray far from the kitchen!

With that in mind, today's post centers around food... and of course it should, since farms and ranches are all about the production of food. What wonderful places, then, to go and connect over a cooking class, or gather around a wood-fired oven!

tamales1 tamales2
Yeah... we Instagrammed our tamales. No shame.

We have many farms, ranches, and vineyards listed on the site which offer all meals as part of their farm stay packages, and some are even offered as family style dining, which really make guests feel at home with their hosts.

coldmooncookingschool
Cooking school at Cold Moon Farm.


It's easy to find a farm to visit that appeals to exactly the kind of connection you want to forge with your traveling companions. On our search page, click on "show more search options", then choose from the Food options. Be sure to check under Amenities and Activities, too. (Just a note: select one or two options to narrow your search - the search results bring back only members who match ALL your criteria, so pick the one thing that's most important to you and then narrow it down by looking through those results.)

Pass the nog?

12 Days of Christmas (on the farm) - Day 1

Season's Greetings, readers! I had so much fun composing the Christmas countdown posts back in 2012 (was it really 2 years ago?) that I decided to do another series this year. Plus, it challenges me to write something every day during a time when things typically slow down around here. Check back during the 12 days of Christmas - that's December 25th through January 5th - for some musings on the connections we make when we visit a farm, and learn about some (maybe surprising) activities and amenities offered by farm, ranch, and vineyard stays around the country!

 

Connect

 

The decision to make this series of posts was inspired by a recent study published by Cornell University that says "...research shows experiences - like that vacation you've been thinking about - provide the most joy and tend to increase social connectedness."

[Science says buy experiences, not things, if you're looking for the perfect gift]

Well, farm stay operators already had a pretty good idea that this was the case. Farm stay guests have the option to go somewhere rural and slow things down... take your time gathering eggs in the morning or selecting produce out of the garden for your evening meal; gaze into the eyes of a horse; sit in the hayloft with a friend.

Joy and connection, a perfect theme for the 1st day of Christmas!

Thanksgiving on the Farm

Thanksgiving... a celebration of coming together and giving thanks for the bounty of the year. It seems natural and right that such a gathering take place on a farm, doesn't it? But not everyone has the opportunity... maybe no family farm to visit while growing up, or simply no proximity.

Stylin' 70s ThanksgivingMy childhood Thanksgivings were spent with my grandparents. We had no river or woods to traverse; they hosted the festivities at their home in a Los Angeles suburb. Grandma's kitchen had cast iron pans, bacon fat saved in a jar on the stove, and my very own checked apron hanging behind the door, but it was no farm kitchen. She was a good cook, my grandma, making the most of our feast that emanated from freezer, cans, and boxes.

Oh, I loved it. LOVED it. It's still my favorite holiday, though we make dramatically different food choices these days. Access to farms and locally grown food is a vitally important component needed for people to make those choices.

Here at Farm Stay U.S. we're always checking in with our listed members to see what they're offering. The other day I ran a search on Thanksgiving Dinner to see which farms or ranches had checked that off as an activity travelers could enjoy.

East Hill Farm Thanksgiving tableThe Inn at East Hill Farm in Troy, New Hampshire is one such farm stay where guests can enjoy a Thanksgiving feast and fully immerse themselves in farm life! During the entire Thanksgiving weekend, guests can stay any number of nights, and each overnight includes 3 meals, including Thanksgiving dinner.

Milk the cow and goat, collect chicken eggs, take a pony ride, jump in the hay, and help feed the animals. The jam-packed weekend activity schedule (link opens a PDF) is full of opportunities to hike, take a bread or cheese making workshop, make candles, camp fires with s'mores, and so much more. There is even a contra dance and a cocktail party!

East Hill Farm Thanksgiving leaf pile East Hill Farm Thanksgiving chicken coop

Roast turkey, baked ham, all the sides, and all home cooked on the farm... what could be better?

East Hill Farm Thanksgiving rolls East Hill Farm Thanksgiving Pie

To learn more, visit the Inn at East Hill Farm's listing here on Farm Stay U.S. You can also search through all our listings to find farms, ranches, and vineyards to visit all through the year.

Happy Thanksgiving!

East Hill Farm Thanksgiving fall colors


Photos courtesy East Hill Farm, except for that amazing 70s era photo which, as you may have guessed, is me and my grandpa goofing around over the Butterball.