Vacation usually means relaxation, time for yourself, and perhaps a little adventuring. While researching your next vacation destination, a farm may not immediately come to mind. Destination farm vacations, or farm stays, are gaining popularity across the United States and may just be the perfect balance for your family’s next vacation.
Farm stays aren’t a new phenomenon, but are more commonly found abroad, such as in Italy and New Zealand. The growing interest in farm stays in the United States comes at a time when more and more people are getting reacquainted with the land, food and farming. What better way to learn about where your food comes from than to work the land yourself? Each farm stay experience is a unique one that allows you to be as involved in the farm as you desire.
While vacationing at your chosen farm destination, you may have a selection of activities offered to you, such as collecting eggs in the morning, cheese making classes, or feeding the animals on the farm. You will also have an opportunity to explore the area around the farm, and see what life on a working farm is really like.
Jupiter Moon Farm located near Charlottesville, Virginia, offers farm stays that are focused on knitting and spinning. If you don’t know much about knitting or spinning, they can also arrange for lessons during your stay. At Blue Heron Farm, in Massachusetts, you can participate in activities such as milking goats, picking berries and other seasonal farm tasks. For coffee lovers and for those looking for a more tropical experience, you can stay in the Hawaiian countryside on a Kona coffee farm. In California you can stay at Philo Apple Farm and enjoy a weekend of cooking using various techniques, ingredients and a healthy dose of creativity.
While searching for farms to stay on, you will also come across a wide variety of offered accommodations and amenities. Some farms, like this ranch in Montana, offer private cabins, while other farms, like Deepwater Bay in North Dakota, give the option of staying in the farmhouse. The types of farms and ranches that you can choose to stay at vary greatly. You might want to see what a cattle ranch in Arizona is like, or you may want to discover more about the winemaking process on a vineyard in Washington.
Whatever option you choose to explore and enjoy during your vacation, you will come away with a new meaning and appreciation for the food you eat, the wine you drink, and the farmers who take care of it. Happy farm-cationing!
About the author: Delancey Nelson is the market manager of the Lauraville Farmers Market in Baltimore, Maryland. She has worked on numerous farms and vineyards abroad and holds a degree in Historic Preservation and Community Planning from the College of Charleston.