We have reached the end of our 12 Days of Christmas posts. We hope you've gathered some good ideas for your vacations in the new year and that we've shown you what kind of variety can be found on farm and ranch stays. From romantic vineyards to kid-friendly adventures, all kinds of great food, activities, relaxation, and animals galore... there is truly something for everyone.
We've just rolled out a gift certificate program and are working to get our members signed up. It would make a great Valentine's day gift, and your recipient can choose which farm they'll visit!
We're looking forward to a great 2015, and we hope you are too! Spend some of it with a farmer, won't you?
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?
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.
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.
Four miles south of Galena, completely surrounded by 500ft ridges and away from bright city lights and traffic you’ll find Ruth and Frank Netzel’s working Adventure Creek Alpaca and Goldendoodle Farm. Sitting on 45 secluded acres their farm has 12 hand-made log cabins perfect for a relaxing getaway. The farm's central location makes for an easy trip to tour the Mississippi River and Casper Bluff.
Local experts in relaxing, Ruth and Frank invite you to come and do the same! Experience beautiful sights, spectacular sunsets, soothing sounds and smells of nature and their star lit sky at night all in one stay at Adventure Creek Farm.
Each cabin is 800+ square feet. With queen beds on each main floor, a double bed in the loft, a gas log fireplace and a large separate bathroom with a double whirlpool bathtub you get to call this warm and cozy cabin your home for the duration of your stay. Their cabins offer the rustic look and feel with modern conveniences including: satellite TV, refrigerator, microwave and central heating. At night take a look out the four foot skylight and enjoy the night sky illuminated with stars.
Cabins are all hand-chinked hewn logs of cedar and red pine with pine floors and ceilings. Major parts are constructed without nails and loft beams are exposed to give a natural feel and cabin experience.
The Netzel’s love showing and answering any questions their visitors have about their alpacas. Their quiet, friendly and curious nature makes them great with families and children. Upon arrival and throughout your visit these alpacas are here to welcome and entertain you. You also have the option of hand feeding or taking them for a walk, which tend to be farm favorite activities for both the guests and alpacas.
Ruth and Frank also raise and breed goldendoodles, which are hybrid dogs. They breed male golden retrievers with female poodles to create these adorable, loyal and lovable dogs. If you’d like you can check out one of their litters of 11 puppies from this short video available Goldendoodle Pups Video.
If you happen to visit in the early spring, morel mushrooms pop up for a few weeks. They go for about $75 per pound at your produce market! Yes, guests have found them on their property and yes guests are allowed to pick them as long as they tell the owners where they found them.
Adventure Creek Farm offers a number of activities on and close by their property. From hiking the winding creek that passes through their 45 acres and enjoying nature and wildlife along the way to touring the nearby Mississippi River, Casper Bluffs and local wineries and towns.
Famous for its beautiful fall colors and rolling hills, storybook winters and star gazing and adventure seeking springs and summers, Jo Daviess County and Adventure Creek Alpaca and Goldendoodle Farm is the perfect destination for anytime of the year.
Adventure Creek Alpaca & Goldendoodle Farm have had guests from all over the world with nothing but good things to say.
"Having the opportunity to meet you during our trip was one of the more remarkable moments of it. You both are kind and pleasant folks. If someday you drop by our country, give us a call! Best regards," E. E. M. & H - Brazil
"What a superb place for a family celebration. Frank & Ruth, a very big thank you for your hospitality. A memorable weekend. We will travel back to England with fond memories." T, C, P & A - England
"This place is a wonderful getaway! Our time here was too short. We danced under the moonlight, got cozy by the bonfire, fed the alpacas, and breathed in the fresh air --- rejuvenated our souls. Thank you to Ruth & Frank for providing this great experience. Looking forward to visiting again. Good things..." C & B – US
"We want to appreciate you for all your kindness! The cabin is beautiful; it's so cozy and warm, I felt like I'm at home. We had great breakfast; it was so nice of you to bring that lovely basket with food! The cabins are close to ski resort where we spent unbelievable day of snowboarding." O, A, A, V & Z – Lativa & Moldova
For more information and reservations visit their Farm Stay Site or website Galena Log Cabins and if you’ve already made your decision you can Book Now. From relaxing getaways to family vacations to couples retreats, Adventure Creek Farm Stay and its surrounding areas offer a destination for just about anyone.
Photo Credit: (Adventure Creek Alpaca & Goldendoodle Farm, Galena Log Cabins, Galena.org)
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