Summer vacation planning is in full swing. Have you considered getting down and dirty and booking a farmstay with the family? Agritourism is becoming a large part of the US travel picture, and the local food movement illustrates there’s never been a better time to learn about where our food comes from. Opportunities abound to experience the life of a farmer, show kids that pickles start on vines before they get to jars, and that farm fresh eggs have a taste far different from those most of us are used to. These five spots will have you experiencing life down on the farm.
The Flip Flop Ranch – Lucern Valley, Calif.
A good antidote to the bright lights of LA is the Flip Flop Ranch, about two hours into the high desert past Big Bear. Sheer a sheep, cuddle a chick and get back to your family heritage at the ranch while reconnecting with nature. This farmstay is a real learncation, where you can get dirt under your nails and learn to garden, build a fire, can your own food and make soap or cheese. Have fun while homesteading becomes a new part of your vocabulary. You have to love a place whose motto is “Helping city slickers survive the Zombie Apocalypse”. Full kitchen amenities are available and if you have a hidden homesteading talent, you might be able to barter for your stay. Starting at $100.
Trevin Farms – Sudbury, Vt.
Nothing says Vermont quite like the rolling hillsides studded with cows, pastures and barns you’ll find throughout the state. Trevin Farms belongs to the Green Hotels in The Green Mountain State, and follows many sustainable practices to make it a unique bed and breakfast. Kids can learn and be a part of farm chores from milking goats to gathering eggs. Their vegetables are garden to plate, and if you’re a cheese lover, there’s a class in Mountain Chevre Cheese making. Located in central Vermont, when you’re ready to hike, bike or kayak, the farm is within an hour of many tourist destinations such as the Teddy Bear Factory, Bromley, Pico and Killington mountains. If you’re worried about the smell of a farm, the owners assure us that they believe cleanliness is next to healthiness. Manure is the main cause of farm odor and it is unhealthy for animals and their guests. Using compost methods to dispose of manure, the farm is kept clean and free of any odor. Prices start at $315 for the Laura Ashley room and the Cheese Making package.
Kinnikinnick Farm – Caledonia, Ill.
Kinnikinnick Farm, located 85 miles northwest of Chicago, is a small, family owned organic farm. Named for the stream that runs through it, guests stay in wood floored tents that are spacious and comfortable. The enchanting spots have flush toilets, a wood burning stove for cooking and heat, and candles and oil lamps to replace electricity. This is an opportunity for the family to get back to a rural life of years gone by, harvest crops, feed the animals and unplug from the craziness of our data driven worlds. The owners work with you for meal planning before your arrival and provide a well stocked selection of local fare. Make Your Own Pizzas on the farms wood fired grill is a guest favorite. Almost any food restriction can be accommodated. The week before you arrive they will call you to discuss your meal and cooking options. Starting at $200.
Farm Sanctuary – Watkins Glen, N.Y.
Animals have an ability to bring out the best in all of us. They are a calming force, and used in the treatment of many different types of health issues. The Farm Sanctuary is an 175-acre animal haven that houses rescued animals from industrial farming sites around the country. More than 500 animals now live and roam the beautiful Finger Lakes countryside. The Bed and Breakfast offers visitors the chance to visit a real working farm, get up close and personal with the animals and experience a healthy vegan lifestyle. In the morning, you’ll enjoy a continental vegan breakfast. The adorable red longhouse style cottages look right at home in the setting. Throughout the day guests are welcome to browse the Visitor Center, pitch in with shelter chores, or enjoy the companionship of the farm animal friends. Within minutes of the location are breathtaking gorges and waterfalls, quaint wineries, miles of hiking trails and lakes, and other attractions. The staff is knowledgeable about vegan dining in the area and provides an updated guide for options close by. Rescue sites are also in Orland and Los Angeles, Calif. Starting at $110.
North Country Farms – Kauai, Hawaii
Most people think of sand and surf when it comes to vacationing on Hawaii, but agriculture is a big part of the overall economy. Located on the north shore of Kauai, North Country Farms has four acres of the best of both worlds. Boogie boards and organic fruits and vegetables sound like a pretty good combination to me! The kitchenettes are included in the farms handcrafted cottages and the tropical setting will have you taking advantage of a hammock siesta in no time. Kids will enjoy learning the ins and outs of farming, and then have an afternoon of surfing the waves. The scent of tropical flowers is everywhere in this eco-destination, slightly off the beaten path, with an endless variety of areas to explore nearby. Starting at $150.
Book a FarmStay
There are farmstays all throughout the US. To book a farmstay or learn more about farmstay vacations, visit FarmStay.
Would you ever consider a farmstay? Or have you taken one in the past? Let us know. We want to hear from you.
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