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!
Brrrrr. BRRRRRR. It's cold! You would think it was winter or something.
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*
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:
Often, a big advantage of being out in the country at night is how dark it is. Stargazing opportunities abound!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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?
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!
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... 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.
My 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.
The 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!
Roast turkey, baked ham, all the sides, and all home cooked on the farm... what could be better?
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!
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.
Briar Rose Farm is an old mountain farm in the heart of the southern Appalachian Mountains. Sitting on 260 acres of rolling hills, steep slopes, green pastures and mountain creeks, Briar Rose Farm offers plenty of space for outdoor adventure and peaceful getaways. With multiple cabins to choose from and friendly farm animals to play with this farm makes a great place for romantic getaways or somewhere to bring the whole family.
Farm Cabin – The Farm Cabin is great for your whole group sleeping up to five guests. It is located on the main farm near the animals yet still offers privacy. It comes with satellite TV, limited Wi-Fi, a large hot tub, gas grill and wood burning fireplace.
Sweet Briar Cabin – The Sweet Briar Cabin is secluded on its own 89 acres with green pastures, mountain views and peaceful privacy. It sleeps up to three guests and has a private outdoor hot tub.
Knob Cabin – If you’re looking for a romantic getaway you’ve found it. This cozy cabin comes with an outdoor hot tub, fireplace and an amazing view. It’s located above the main farm and offers complete privacy.
The Home Away – If you’re looking for a cozy home away from home this may be your best option. The Home Away cabin is a two bedroom, two bathroom home with an office. It has a front and back deck and is very private. The open dining and living room make for a great place to spend time with the family.
With 260 acres to explore there are plenty of activities to keep you busy right here on the farm. There’s a mountainous creek that runs through, trails to hike and numerous photo opportunities. This is a working farm so you can help with chores if you want a true farm experience. You also have the opportunity to play with the friendly farm animals.
If you’re looking for more outdoor adventure, many guests find themselves taking advantage of many local activities. There are plenty of options including: hot springs, hiking, horseback riding, skiing, rafting, fishing and llama trekking. Whichever outdoor adventure you’re looking for you’ll likely find it nearby.
For more information and reservations: Briar Rose Farm Stay Profile or their website briarrosefarm.com.
I had the pleasure of visiting Airlie Farms Bed and Breakfast and meeting the wonderful hostess Nancy Petterson. When I arrived she invited me in for coffee and one of her delicious homemade pear muffins as she prepared breakfast for her guests. “This has been the most delightful version of going to grandma’s house” one of the guests said as they were finishing up breakfast. I couldn’t agree more, Nancy is a kind, warm and welcoming woman that makes you feel right at home. As the breakfast ended and the guests began packing up their things I prepared for a memorable interview and farm tour with Nancy.
Nancy and her husband Joe purchased the 226 acre farm 23 years ago and have offered their home as a bed and breakfast for a little over eight years. Their remodeled 1910 farm house offers a comfortable and cozy, yet luxury, stay. Their working Quarter Horse farm sits on beautiful rolling hills with spectacular views across some of Oregon’s richest farm country. Nancy takes pride in and has over 60 years’ experience as a quarter horse breeder. She also enjoys gardening and canning fresh produce. Her hope is to start offering bread making or canning classes so guests have something to take home with them.
As I took my shoes off and stepped in the house I was welcomed by the Petterson’s friendly farm dog, Molly, who just wanted to be pet and have her belly rubbed. We were friends for the remainder of my visit.
With single, double, suite and family accommodations available, guests have many options from which to choose. Because the house is more tailored to adults and older children, the Pettersons recently completed the Airlie Family Cottage for families with young children.
Does waking up to grandmas homemade country style breakfast with freshly brewed coffee and your choice of frittata with cheese, potatoes, farm bacon and sausage, spiced peach parfait, scones, and fresh squeezed juice sound exactly how a vacation morning should be? Breakfast is served in the main house for all guests, large and small.
The Airlie Family Cottage is perfect for families with children and has basic cooking accommodations, refrigerator, and a loft that kids love.
Aside from the wonderful accommodations, there are 226 acres to explore and family friendly farm animals abound. From guided rides, lessons in the arena, playing with the goats and chickens, or gathering your own eggs, there is plenty to enjoy and experience right here on the farm.
After the interview, Nancy took me out on the Gator to tour the farm and, of course, Molly had to join us. From one of the goats putting my ear in its mouth as I was taking a photo of another, to Barney the donkey chasing after us for the hay in the back of the Gator, to enjoying the spectacular views from the top of the hill, I’d say I had quite the farm experience during my visit.
If you decide to wander off the farm there are plenty of local attractions from which to choose. Airlie Farm sits in wine country so take a trip over to one of the vineyards for a bottle of wine and some tastings. Many hunters and judges stay as guests for the nearby Luckiamute Valley Pheasant hunting. Hunters and guests are welcome to bring dogs if they are leashed or in crates. There are also plenty of places to go hiking, fishing, birding, and visit covered bridges. Families with children may find themselves taking a short trip to Salem’s Riverfront Park or A.C. Gilbert’s Discovery Village to enjoy family-fun activities and a hands-on children’s museum with interactive exhibits.
In my short visit to Airlie Farm Bed and Breakfast I was able to appreciate what the guests had to say about their experience and how Nancy interacted with them. I don’t think one guest left without making sure they gave Nancy a hug and thanking her for a wonderful time and an amazing experience.
“You make us feel right at home.”
“She’s a great host.”
“You make people feel comfortable and relaxed.”
“We came downstairs and she’s making breakfast and then we look outside and she’s out driving the tractor (gator) around feeding the horses and animals. Nancy does it all.”
“I think I may move in here.”
“We’re packing up and then I’m giving you a big ol’ hug.”
“We miss you and this place already.”
My last question I asked Nancy was what she enjoyed most about the farm, Bed and Breakfast and living this lifestyle. She responded with “Well, I love it all. I thought the quarter horse business was my entire life until I went off with the B and B. I thought, why didn’t I start this out when I was 30, instead of 200. It’s wonderful. I love my horses, but I can’t be out there as much. Every guest is special.”
It was a great pleasure meeting Nancy, touring the farm and meeting the farm animals. Nancy truly has the “gift of hospitality” and if you have the chance to visit the beautiful state of Oregon I recommend a stay at Airlie Farm to experience it all for yourself.
For more information and reservations please visit Airlie Farm’s profile, the Airlie Farm Bed and Breakfast website or Booking and Questions.
Photo Credit: Airlie Farm, Anthony Mugica - USFSA
adventure alpaca alpacas Amish animals apiary apple cider pressing apples Arizona Arkansas astronomy autumn B and B backyard chickens baking barn cats beach Bed and breakfast beekeeping bees birding bison Books butter making cabin cabin rental California camping canning cat cattle drives cheese cheese making Cheese-making chickens children under 12 chores Christmas colorado community Connecticut contest cooking cooking class cooking school country cows dairy Dan Morgan disney world donkey donkeys eco tourism travel ecotourism eggs elk essay fall family farm family farms family vacation family-style meals farm farm activities farm animals farm blogs farm dogs farm life farm school farm stay farm stay story Farm Stay U.S farm stay u.s. Farm Stays farm to fork farm vacation Farm Vacations farmer's markets farmhouse Farming Farms farmstay featured farm fiber Finding Farm Stays fishing Florida food fruit gardening gardens geese Georgia gift certificate gifts glamping goat cheese goat milk goats goji grapes grass fed greenloons Hawaii Haycations heritage heritage breeds hiking historic homesteading honey spinning horseback riding horseback riding vacation horseback vacation horses hunting Idaho illinois Indiana jam making Justesen Ranch Kansas Kentucky kids knitting land conservation lard leaf peeping Lili Debarbieri livestock log cabins Louisiana Maine maple sugaring maple syrup Maryland meals to order Michigan milking Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana mother earth news national forests national parks natural foods Nevada new england new hampshire New Jersey New Mexico new york North Carolina Ohio olives orchard orchards Oregon organic organic gardening ozarks Pacific pack goats Pennsylvania permaculture pets welcome photo essay photos pie pie crust pigs Pinterest quilting racehorse ranch ranch stay ranch vacation ranch vacations ranches Reading recipes relaxing renewable energy riding lessons romance seasonal self-prepared meals self-reliance sheep skiing sleigh ride snow snowmobiling snowshoeing soap making South South Carolina Southeast southwest spinning stargazing stewardship sugarhouse swimming syrup teaching teaching farms teaching ranches Tennessee Texas Thanksgiving thoroughbred tourism traditional foods trail riding travel turkey u-pick USDA vacation rental vegetables Vermont video video essay vineyard Virginia Washington weaving weddings West Virginia wine wine grapes wine tasting winery Winter Wisconsin working animals workshops wwoof yurt
© 2010-2015 U.S. FARM STAY ASSOCIATION | P.O. Box 268, Alsea, OR 97324
Thank you to the following organizations for supporting the U.S. Farm Stay Association: