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: new england

I admit it... I can be a bit of a daydreamer. I guess, working on a farm, I should call it woolgathering! Helping to run the Farm Stay U.S. website is the perfect sort of job for doing a little in-my-head-dream-vacation planning, with so many beautiful photos of farms, ranches, and vineyards to admire.

Fall FoliageFall is my absolute favorite time of year. The weather is perfect and the colors are glorious.

There is pumpkin-flavored-everything.

Everything!

It's easy to immediately think of New England for fall travel, and who can argue? They have all that amazing autumn foliage for leaf peepers, and something about the region just screams crisp air and ruddy cheeks. It says, bonfires, like at Liberty Hill Farm in Vermont, or an afternoon spent antiquing before spending the night at Cold Moon Farm. Break out the scarves and boots and let me tromp around the barn!

Fall is cranberry harvest time all across the United States. Here in the Pacific region, there are cranberry bogs to be found in the town of Grayland, Washington, which is a little under two hours from The Inn at Crippen Creek Farm in Skamokawa. Imagine a day snapping photos along the Washington coast, and winding down with a 5-course gourmet meal on the farm, cooked for you by the professional chef-owners.

Geronimo Trail Guest RanchHow about a high-desert getaway this time of year? New Mexico, too, has stunning fall foliage and sweeping vistas. I'd choose to enjoy the views from horseback and take a trail ride through a piece of Native American history at Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch in Winston.

Alas, I can't spend the entire day with my head in the clouds... just one more peek at our regional guide and I land on the South (East South Central) region, with an eye on Kentucky for some antebellum charm. An afternoon spent harvesting apples at The Farm LLC, followed by some stargazing, brings my daydream to a pleasant close.

Where would your daydreams take you? Leave us a comment!

(Photo Credits: morgueFile, Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch)

Jennifer Murray, of The Inn at East Hill Farm in Troy, NH, recently told us about East Hill Farm's new Farm School. We were intrigued by the idea, so we emailed Jennifer some questions about the farm, inn, and their many agritourism endeavors. Here's the interview.

1. Could you tell us a bit about East Hill Farm?

JM: The Inn at East Hill Farm offers a vacation atmosphere coupled with a unique farm-oriented educational experience. Year round activities for the whole family include indoor and outdoor swimming, hiking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing, cow milking, egg collecting, hay and sleigh rides, horseback riding and a children's recreation program. Three home-cooked family style meals are served daily.

East Hill Farm milking

2. Your farm has so many different programs ... you host farm vacations, senior programs, sleigh rides, dances, and more. How do you do it all? And how does it all fit together?

JM: East Hill Farm does offer many experiences. At the heart of it all we are a family vacation resort with a working farm. For many years we have offered families a relaxing vacation on the farm. Guests are encouraged to interact with the animals and farmers as much as they like. The cows and goats need to be milked each day and eggs need to be collected. We have horseback riding lessons and trail rides as well as wagon rides and sleigh rides.

Over the years we have expanded our offerings in order to remain viable and to stay open all year long. We have developed ways to draw visitors through a variety of programs. Whether someone is coming for an all-inclusive resort vacation, a senior bus tour, a dance weekend, farm school or a business conference, everyone is encouraged to experience part of farm life.

East Hill Farm donkeys

3. You just started a new program called the Farm School Program. Could you tell us about it? What inspired you to start the program?

JM: East Hill Farm School gives middle school students, grades 5-8, with a meaningful, hands-on farm experience. Students will join the East Hill Farm farmers and naturalists for a 3-day program where students will play an integral role in running our farm.

On our 150 acres, we raise heritage breed cows, goats, sheep and pigs along with horses, chickens and other farm animals. Through our school program, students will help us run the farm, from milking the cows to fixing fences to helping manage the fields and surrounding woodlands. By caring for the animals and gaining a stronger appreciation for environmental stewardship, the farm will begin to feel like a home away from home. Schools can customize the program by choosing from a variety of workshops that best align with their curriculum or students' interests.

East Hill Farm piglets

4. What has been the response to the Farm School Program so far?

JM: We have had positive feedback from the schools that have visited us. The students enjoy working on the farm and learning about farm life. The students have participated in projects that have improved the farm, such as helping to create new signs for various barns and helping with seeding the fields.

5. Are there other programs like this at other farms that you know of?

JM: The Farm School in Athol, MA has a similar program. They have been providing farm-based education for children and adults for years. We continue to network with and learn from other farmers and programs and have recently joined the Farm-Based Education Association. www.farmbasededucation.org

East Hill Farm view

6. Which of your programs would you recommend most to other farms looking to diversify?

JM: I think anything farmers can do to expand on educational opportunities is wonderful. There is a trend toward reconnecting with our food supply and eating locally-grown produce and meats. Building connections with local schools and organizations to provide food products and settings for place based education are also important. It is wonderful for students to participate in farm based education right at their local farms!