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.

Archive for tag: Pennsylvania

Flint Hill Farm in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania is known as a Farm Educational Center. Located on 26-acres, this multifaceted farm is a working Alpine goat and Jersey cow dairy that procudes milk, cheese, and yogurt. You can pick up these products in their on-site store or enjoy them with your breakfast when you stay on the farm.

Flint Hill Farm - making dairy products

Guests and visitors to the farm can also opt to sign up for a cheese making class, where they learn to make chevre, mozzarella, or cheddar cheese. They also give the option of milking the cows and goats in the morning before class!

Flint Hill Farm cheese making

Flint Hill Farm draft horseOvernight guests have the option to be "farmer for a day", which includes hands-on egg-collecting, feed and water the ponies and horses, feed and milk the goats, and observe cow milking. Draft horses help with much of the everyday farm work during certain seasons.

The farm itself dates back to about 1850 and run by two famlies until Kathleen Fields purchased it in 1997. Vacationers can choose to stay in the farm house, where there are two rooms with queen beds, plus a room with twin beds, or stay in a mobile home/RV that is situated in the six acres of woods on the property.

Activities at Flint Hill Farm in PA

Camps are offered during the summer, including Farm Camp, Horse Lovers Camp, and Kindercamp. More information can be found on the farm's website.

Flint Hill Farm goat and cow dairy

Start planning your trip to Flint Hill Farm today!

Enjoy a closer peek at Flint Hill Farm through this video:

Please join us in giving a hearty welcome to four new site members who joined us in November! Here are some quick highlights from their listings:

Kitts Marsh Farm

Kitts Marsh Farm

Prince Federick, Maryland

Patuxent riverfront cabin just feet from sandy shore and pier. Fishing, crabbing, swimming, and kayaks available. Glamping on our working farm - farming in beautiful Calvert County, MD since 1707. We sustainably raise grass fed Angus beef and a variety of cage free laying hens, and we just added meat rabbits. We raise and harvest our own hay for winter use. Lots of berries to pick in season: raspberry, blueberry & blackberry. We also have a herb & vegetable garden.


Snug Hollow Farm

Snug Hollow Farm

Irvine, Kentucky

An organic farm that boasts 300 acres of babbling creeks, glorious wildflowers, abundant wildlife, wooded mountainsides and the simplicity of country life both past and present. Accommodations consist of a restored chestnut log cabin, a pine/cedar cabin by the creek, and a spacious two story farmhouse... read a book by the fireplace, enjoy the panoramic views, or simply daydream.

 

Mississippi Modern Homestead Center

Mississippi Modern Homested Center

Starkville, Mississippi

The Homestead is a large house on six acres of lakefront property with over a mile of nature trails, chickens, bees, two teaching gardens, gray-water, rain catchment, and compost systems, and a fruit tree orchard. The house, partially powered by solar, includes 5 bedrooms, a large kitchen with a walk-out screened in porch for nutrition/cooking classes, a large meeting space with a view of the gardens and lake, an art space dedicated to all things messy in the walk-out basement, and a children's education classroom with an attached greenhouse. We encourage guests to stay overnight for activities, workshops, and events.


Chelsea Sun Inn

Chelsea Sun Inn

Mount Bethel, Pennsylvania

Rolling hills, cornfields, deer and farm animals abound at this farm stay located near the Delaware Water Gap. Year around activities are available for adventure seekers as well as opportunities for exploration or relaxation. This stunning bed and breakfast, with its luxury accommodations, captures the flavor and concept behind Tuscany's agri-tourism, all on an operating farm, vineyard, and winery. Perfect for a weekend getaway, just 70 miles from New York City or Philadelphia. Schedule a relaxing couples' massage or enroll in an introductory wine-making course as you participate in making your own case of select wine and custom labels.


stargazerThough alpacas don't have a long history in the United States, according to Brian Leach, who directs marketing at Sunset Hills Farm Alpacas, alpaca farmers are a tightly knit -- and quickly growing -- community. There is a lot of enthusiasm and energy surrounding alpacas, and to many of the people who dedicate their time to raising them, alpacas are not just a business but also a hobby and a passion. As Brian Leach explains, alpacas are an eco-friendly choice of livestock, since they clip the turf like a lawnmower, providing gentle pasture management. Alpaca fleece is also hypo-allergenic and extraordinarily soft, and alpacas tend to have sweet personalities and gentle dispositions.

Sunset Hills Farm sits on 47 rolling acres in Western Pennsylvania, 45 minutes north of Pittsburgh, and a few hours south of Lake Erie and Niagara Falls. With a herd of 100 Accoyo and Peruvian alpacas, by U.S. standards Sunset Hills is considered a large alpaca farm. The farm was founded in 1997 by Dr. David and Laurye Feller, who take tremendous pride in their award-winning alpaca herd. As Mr. Leach tells me, "We're a farm that produces champions; real stars have a permanent home here."

stargazer-livingSunset Hills Farm has become more diverse and dynamic as it has grown - beyond specializing in breeding and selling champion alpacas, the farm also offers an onsite alpaca boutique called Alpaca de Moda, a B&B with two distinct properties, the Sunrise and the Stargazer, and property rentals for special events, including weddings. At Alpaca de Moda, the farm sells its own luxurious, multi-award winning alpaca yarn and locally hand-knit sweaters, hats, and gloves plus imported alpaca garments.

All kinds of guests come for the B&B. Some are interested in raising alpacas themselves (and some will be by the time they leave!), while others are traditional vacationers simply looking for a nice place to stay while they enjoy the golf courses, festivals, hiking, biking, orchards, and farmers markets of the surrounding area. For those interested in raising alpacas, guests have the option of shadowing the farm manager, and helping with chores that may include feedings, grooming, and shearing the alpacas. Guests are also welcome to collect eggs from the farm's small flock of a dozen chickens.

sunrise-cabing-porchGuests choose between two properties, the Sunrise, a traditional three-bedroom, two bath log cabin, or the Stargazer, a two-story, two-bedroom, two bath apartment built into the alpaca barn. Rates for the B&B start at $99/night. Brian stresses the Stargazer's unique appeal: from the inside, it looks like country cottage while from the outside it's an old-fashioned barn. The Stargazer's windows also look directly out onto the alpaca habitat, and toward the surrounding hills and valleys. The Stargazer close in winter, while the Sunset is available for year round stays. Delicious breakfast options might include a frittata or quiche, including ingredients from the garden, or fresh baked goods from local bakeries or the farm kitchen.

For more information about Sunset Hills Farm, including contact information, check out the listings for the Stargazer and the Sunrise on Farm Stay U.S.

knitting-class

My family vacation at Berry Fields Farm

I had visited lots of farm stays on my own, so I wanted to see how my parents, sister, and her two cutie pie kids liked the experience. Last August, I planned a farm vacation to Berry Fields Farm in North Central PA for the five of us. I especially wanted to see how my nieces Skylar (5) and Ruby (2) took to gathering eggs and feeding the animals, and to snap a few adorable pictures of them along the way.

To read my report of our vacation at Berry Fields Farm, click here for the blog post at farmstays.blogspot.com


6 Family Farm Vacations in PA

PA barnWhen my sister and I were growing up in rural Western Pennsylvania, our best friends lived just down the hill and across the field from us. Their father had a great big garden that captured our imaginations and encouraged us to dream. We kids would feast on strawberries and scheme to get rich selling the extras from the end of their driveway. Nobody ever stopped to buy our strawberries, but we weren't too discouraged; the strawberries tasted too good for us to be sad about it, and besides the cornstalks were starting to grow. I really couldn't believe that something as incredible as an ear of corn could have such humble beginnings, starting out as one single shriveled kernel pushed into the soil of a little cup.

Like many lucky kids, exploring nearby fields and watching a garden grow were essential parts of my childhood. Children gain so much from having the opportunity to roam and explore a chunk of land, and to see and eat their food at its source. A hundred years ago, Americans often took vacations to farms simply because many people in those days had relatives who farmed. Over the years, the percentage of farmers has dropped to below 2% of the population, and most of us have lost our connections with farms. But losing that connection has meant missing out on what was once a key part of life - exploring the countryside, and learning about and tasting the freshest possible food.

To honor the place I grew up, here are six hands-on, family-friendly farm vacations in PA:

Weatherbury Farm1.  Weatherbury Farm, a 102-acre, organic grass-fed cattle and sheep farm 45 minutes southwest of Pittsburgh, draws many of the same guests back year after year. Owners Dale and Marcy Tudor pride themselves in offering guests a fully interactive farm stay experience, with many opportunities for kids, especially, to get involved in farming. Families staying for two or more nights are given a packet filled with coloring & activity books. Regardless of age, kids are invited to earn an official "Weatherbury Farm Kid" certificate and cow wristband, which are awarded after helping with farm chores and completing a workbook.

The main Weatherbury guesthouse, called the Livery, is an area barn that the Tudors transported from a nearby farmstead, rebuilt, and renovated. The rough barn exterior belies surprising elegance on the inside, with 20-ft loft ceilings, a deeply-lacquered original hayloft wood floor, and lovely antiques. Farm breakfasts are served in a large dining and common room in the lower level of the Livery.

Rates start at $127/night for a two night stay. www.weatherburyfarm.com

Farm of Peace2. The Farm of Peace sits on 150 rolling acres of field and forest in South Central Pennsylvania, at the end of a long dirt road. Renata Parrino, animal caretaker, farm stay host, and head cook for retreats, is one of five farm owners. The owners are all part of a Sufi spiritual community who bought the farm in 2003. After focusing for years on offering a Sufi retreat, they have opened their beautiful and secluded farm to non-denominational visitors, and all are careful to make guests of any background feel welcome.

Twenty Tunis sheep with copper-colored faces graze the land in rotation, with two donkeys serving as protection for the herd. The farm also supports a flock of laying hens, and roughly 200 pastured broiling hens during the summer. Children are excited - and welcome -- to pet and feed the animals, and to collect eggs. A large vegetable garden and small orchard produce organic vegetables and fruit for guests and for a CSA that's offered to nearby communities.

Families are welcome to stay in the farm's original, 1900 farmhouse. Occasionally, the new retreat center is also available (but only for guests ages 16 and up). It's a remarkable straw bale, passive solar building designed by Philadelphia-based green architect Sigi Koko. The old farmhouse is cozy, providing simple though comfortable accommodations in two rooms. The upstairs guest room is set up specifically to welcome families with young children, with play mats lining the floor and plenty of toys.

Rates start at $50/night, with a DIY breakfast included. www.farmofpeace.com

Mountain Dale Farm3. Mountain Dale Farm

Ken and Sally Hassinger have created a little cottage village for guests on their farm in Central Pennsylvania. The cottages have been fully recycled, after serving a range of functions in their previous lives. All of the cottages have kitchens and bathrooms. In addition to the eight recycled cottages - which sleep 2 to 14 - there are also three rustic forest cabins. The Hassingers offer four more rooms in their farmhouse. The Hassingers grow mostly field crops on their 175 acres, including corn, grain, and hay. Most of the field crops go towards making feed for the animals, the rest are sold to guests and locals. Mountain Dale Farm also has a herd of 60 beef cattle, chickens, ducks, sheep, and fainting goats (a special breed that actually falls over when startled). Guests (especially kids) are welcome to gather eggs and help feed the animals. Near the guest cottages, a pond offers opportunities for fishing and skating.

Rates start at $30/night for rustic forest cabins, and $70/night for efficiency cottages. www.mountaindale.net

4. Stone Haus Farm is a three story, 200-year-old stone farmhouse B&B situated on 100 acres of Lancaster County farmland. The farm grows the best celery you might ever try, so sweet and tender that it could win over even the celery adverse. Merv and Angie Shenk, along with their three children, are friendly and helpful hosts. Accommodations are family-oriented: each room sleeps four, and a playground, yard games, and barn rope swing await adventurous kids. Guests are welcome to feed the goats, gather eggs from the hens, and tour the fields. Breakfast is served family-style at the farmhouse's long dining room table, and features Lancaster classics like baked oatmeal and shoofly cake, along with fruit, sausage, and scrambled eggs.

Rates start at $69/night. www.stonehausfarmbnb.com

Schantz Haus Farm5. Schantz Haus Farm, historic homestead of Swiss Amishman Josef Schantz, the founder of the nearby city of Johnstown, is notable for its big, old barn, rich family history, and present-day dairy farm. Although friendly host Jeanette Hunsberger, with typical modesty, says that the three farmhouse B&B rooms are not romantic or fancy, they are in fact lovely, comfortable and simply, beautifully decorated with antiques. The guest common room has a separate entrance, plus a TV, microwave, and fridge, along with a photo album where Jeanette records all of the guests who stay here.

The Hunsbergers sell the milk from their 80-Holstein herd to the Maryland-Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative. In the farm's large garden, the Hunsbergers grow vegetables, berries, and grapes. They've also got peach and apple trees scattered about the property. Jeanette cooks seasonal breakfasts with her garden's bounty when possible, and she is happy to oblige requests for the farm's delicious fresh milk. Jeanette also has a few sheep, which she keeps for their wool. Guests are welcome to tour the farm, help to bottle feed a calf or milk a cow, or to simply observe fieldwork and milking. In addition to the dairy operation, the farm also grows field crops -- feed corn, hay, beans, and wheat. The original farm comprised 118 acres of woods; now the Hunsbergers farm on 800 acres.

Rates start at $50/night. www.schantzhaus.com

Stepping Stone Farm6. Stepping Stone Farm is a hobby farm owned by Larry and Vicki Rempel. Located in the southwestern corner of the state, the farm sits on 31 acres of fields and woods, with a large 1939 farmhouse. Guests are welcome to collect the farm's fresh eggs from the laying hens, and to feed the goats and rabbits. Guests also enjoy picking the raspberries as they ripen. Larry, who has the green thumb of the couple, grows a large vegetable garden. The Rempels' fruit crops include pears, blueberries, apples, and grapes, which they use to make jam.

The Great Allegheny Passage (GAP), a 150-mile trail open to cyclists and hikers, stretches from Cumberland, MD to near Pittsburgh, PA, passes only one mile from Stepping Stone Farm. Many cyclists, some of whom are "thru-bicycling" the GAP, stay at the B&B, as the trail passes only one mile from the farm. The Rempels offer a courtesy shuttle for cyclists arriving in the little town of Confluence. Train lovers will also enjoy seeing the train passing literally along the edge of the Rempels' backyard, hauling coal or  passengers across Western Pennsylvania. A short walk from the farmhouse is a swimming hole in Casselman Creek where a beaver can sometimes be spotted. For nighttime entertainment, the Rempels offer a campfire, featuring a glittering show of fireflies, satellites, and stars.

Rates start at $80/night. www.steppingstonefarmbnb.com