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: horseback riding

Hull-O Farms - Durham, New York

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A farm that began in 1786 is still being run today, seven generations later, by Frank and Sherry Hull and their sons. The Hull-O Farm and family have dedicated over 200 years to their farming heritage and have been recognized by New York State as a National Bicentennial Farm. With hundreds of acres under cultivation, they grow forage for their own livestock and provide feed for wildlife that often can be seen from their wrap around porch they've recently added to their farmhouse.

FARM STAY

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Accommodating to friends and families, Hull-O Farms and Family Farm Vacations offer three private guest houses. Guests have the option to share the family farm experience and join for a country-style breakfast, dinner or dessert in their 19th-century upstate New York farmhouse. Most guests don’t pass up on all you can eat buttermilk pancakes that melt in your mouth, farm fresh produce and all natural grass fed meats. You’re also invited to hayrides for the whole family, fishing in their farm pond and bonfires with s’mores under the starlit sky. For more information and frequently asked questions you can visit their FAQ section of their website.

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(The Rose) - A short walk from the barns is this inviting two bedroom country home. It’s equipped with a full kitchen, full bath and living room with fully finished pine floors (lumber used was harvested from their own forests).

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(The Austin, named after Grandpa Hull) – Located on the hill at the very edge of their 300 acre farm you’ll find their country chalet with a private floor just for you. This two bedroom home comes with a full bath, living and dining area. There is no formal kitchen, but a microwave and small refrigerator are provided. Make your way up to the 32-foot second story deck overlooking their scenic Durham Valley, an image you will cherish long after your visit.

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(The Gifford, named after Grandma Hull) – This two story four bedroom country-style home is walking distance from the barns with a deck that overlooks their grazing cattle in the meadows. Equipped with a full kitchen, full bath, sun porch and living room the Gifford makes a fantastic stay for the whole family.

FARM ACTIVITIES AND EVENTS

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A farm stay at Hull-O Farms isn't just a vacation; it’s an educational experience for you and the whole family. Don’t worry learning on the farm is fun! Adults and children love the hands-on experience they receive interacting with farm animals and helping with daily chores. Did you know that you hold the bottle differently when feeding baby goats than you do for lambs?

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The Hull-O family love having guests, but so do their farm friends. You’ll get to meet and interact with a number of farm animals: Cattle, heritage pigs, pot-bellied pig, jersey calf, goats, lambs, turkeys, ducklings, red deer, horses and even cuddly kittens and puppies.

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Life on the farm isn’t all work and no play. After chores are finished there are plenty of downtime activities from hay rides, a mystery corn maze and badminton to hammock resting, nature walks and relaxing around the campfire.

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LOCAL ATTRACTIONS

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If you plan to venture off the farm, there are a number of nearby attractions. Ranked among Americas top five “show caves”, Howe Caverns is only a 45 minute drive away. If water parks are your thing, Zoom Flume, New York’s #1 family water park is just a minute drive from the farm. Horseback riding, cruises, shopping, casinos and many historic attractions are also fun options for Hull-O Farm guests.

Plan your next farm and family adventure at Hull-O Farms. For more information and booking visit the following: Hull-O Farm Website,Farm Stay Profile,Reservations.

Photo Credit: Hull-O Farms

Westgate River RanchWestgate River Ranch is located on 1700 acres in Central Florida, just an hour from Orlando. Not your typical cattle-wrangling operation, Westgate provides plenty of family opportunities to enjoy the outdoors with everything from a petting corral and rodeo to swamp buggy rides and trap and skeet shooting.

We fired off some questions to the ranch to find out exactly what they have to offer.

Can you tell me a little about the history of Westgate River Ranch?

Believe it or not, Florida actually served as the original birthplace of the American cowboy. Long before cowboys became the symbol of the American West in the late 19th century, Seminole Indians, Spanish colonists and American settlers called “Crackers” herded cattle in Florida. Westgate River Ranch is located on some of the same land that those first cowboys roamed years ago.

In the early 1700s, American settlers began migrating to Florida out of the Carolinas and Georgia. These early settlers quickly took advantage of the wild cattle roaming the state. They often were called “cow catchers” because they would capture the wild cattle and build herds from them that they would drive to the seaports of Florida and sell to the Spanish that were sailing in from Cuba and Puerto Rico. The cattle would be taken back to Cuba and Puerto Rico to stock the ranches of the Spanish islands and be used as a food source.

These first American cowboys eventually became known as “cracker cowboys” and the Spanish cattle and horses that they made their living with were called “cracker horses” and “cracker cattle.”

The area that became known as River Ranch once served as a stopping point along the trail for the cracker cowboys during their cattle drives across the state. They would meet each other here at certain times of the year and bring together the small herds of wild cattle that they had caught into one large herd. By doing that they could help each other get those cattle to market.

Westgate River Ranch lodging

River Ranch was originally built in the 1960s by Gulf American Corp. (GAC), then one of the largest land developers in the state, as the centerpiece of a huge proposed development in the area called “River Ranch Acres.” In 2001, Westgate Resorts purchased River Ranch and Westgate River Ranch reopened its doors the following year.


What is the area like and how do people get to you?

Westgate River Ranch, which has evolved into the largest dude ranch East of the Mississippi, lies on 1,700 beautiful acres and is surrounded on all sides by approximately 400,000 acres of state and federally protected wetlands. We are located about an hour south of Orlando – easily accessible by car and RV.

Westgate River Ranch bedroom

What is the lodging like – can you describe a few of the options?

  • Standard and Deluxe Lodge rooms featuring queen beds and in room kitchenette.
  • One and Two Bedroom Cottages, sleeping up to 6 guests. These cottages were completely renovated in 2013 and feature full kitchens.
  • The Saddle Club – these feature studios, one bedroom deluxe cabins, one bedroom grand cabins and two bedroom cabins – these units were all completely renovated in 2013, and feature new dark wood furniture and luxurious lighting and linens.
  • Glamping – ‘Glamorous Camping’ – set in a beautiful wooded area, each tent is set on a platform and is fully furnished, in addition they come with heating/air conditioning, features 2 rocking chairs on the deck, plus each tent has its own grill and picnic table and comes with a key to a private bathroom and shower. The Glamping site also includes a personal concierge service.Westgate River Ranch Glamping Tents
  • Tent Camping - Escape to nature and relaxation at the Westgate River Ranch campsites, which are nestled in a beautiful wide-open area. We conveniently carry firewood, charcoal, and most other camping supplies in the General Store if you happen to need extra comforts you may have forgotten. Westgate River Ranch Glamping Tents Interior
  • RV Site - Each RV Site offers power and water hookups.
  • As of August 2013, we now have shared bathroom facilities with showers within a short walking distance of the campsites. Enjoy camping at an award-winning resort that offers endless activities both day and night!

Who does the resort cater to and how friendly is it towards kids?

We cater to couples, families and groups. We are extremely child friendly with endless activities.

What is a typical visit like, i.e. what do people do while staying with you?

We have an abundance of activities on offer at the ranch – horse back riding, air boat rides, swamp buggy rides, archery range, basketball, boat rentals, dinner hayride, fishing, full service marina, mechanical bull, nine hole golf course, petting farm, pony rides, trap & skeet range, video arcade, horseshoes, tennis, outdoor pool.

A huge favorite among the kids in particular is our adventure park which features a bungee jumper, mini-golf, rock climbing wall and zip-line We also have a ropes course which can cater for group/corporate team building events.

Westgate River Ranch Rodeo

I see you have a rodeo. Who’s in it and is it participatory for guests?

The live Rodeo takes place every Saturday night and is open to guests and the public alike. (Additional fee for ticket applies). It draws rodeo athletes from all over to compete in trick riding, calf roping, barrel racing and, of course, bull riding.

Plus the fun doesn’t stop once the rodeo ends! If you feel bull riding isn’t that tough, take a spin on our new Mechanical Bull. Or get your feet moving to the lively Dance Party just outside the River Ranch Saloon where you’ll hear music and games from a lively DJ to end a perfect day.

We neglected to ask about the food but, after-the-fact, found out that the Smokehouse Grill restaurant serves excellent smoked BBQ. The onsite General Store serves breakfast, salads, deli sandwiches, pizza, beverages as well as offers sundries and groceries. Future plans (sometime this year) include a renovation of the Saloon (located next to the Rodeo) to convert it to a steakhouse, bar and live music venue.

So, while this might not be the typical farm or ranch stay, there's plenty to enjoy from sunrise to sundown. In fact you can book your reservation right here right now, then head out to the ranch, jump on a horse and ride into a bit of Florida history, if only for the afternoon.

(Photo credits: Westgate River Ranch)