My family loves to travel. We enjoy seeing new places & learning about new cultures. Though with a young child this can be challenging at times. This year one of our vacations was a Farm Stay. This turned out to be the best family vacation we have ever taken.
Our Farm Stay was to Amish Country in Lancaster, PA. Though there are many wonderful farms you could stay at all over the country. I'm sure you can find a similar farm stay experience close to you.
Never heard of a farm stay! Well you are in for a treat. A farm stay is exactly what it sounds like. You get to stay on the farm. No, this is not just a stay in an old farmhouse on an abandoned farm. This is a real working farm with animals, machines and farmers. Generally farm stays offer B&B type accommodations. Sometimes it is in the farmhouse or other buildings on the grounds.
Each farm is different with what they offer. So look around. A farmers breakfast is usually served. Chores are generally not require though participation is always welcome. Many places offer classes like making cheese or other cooking classes, sheep sheering or gardening. It truly is an experience for all.
We stayed at Verdant View Farm which is currently an active dairy farm. They offer rooms in the main farmhouse or in a farmhand home that was build in the 50s. We stayed in the main house. Our room was small but comfortable. We rose early to go help milk the cows and gather eggs. Morning breakfast is served family style at the long farmers table in the living room. We were served a multi-course meal that included fresh items from the farm and surrounding area. While there we experienced yogurt, eggs, raw milk, fresh baked muffins, and beef sausage. The freshness was amazing!
The rest of our day was spent playing on the farm. They have a dog, numerous cats, goats, bunnies, chickens, pigs and cows. We played in the barn and climbed on the farm equipment. We wandered through the gardens and played with the animals. We even sat and watched the old steam engine that rumbles through the pasture. Running in the wide open space was even exciting.
Verdant View is surrounded by Amish culture. So we did go off the grounds a few times to eat, shop and sight see. JJ was not happy about this. He continually asked "Can we go back to Old McDonald's farm now?" I'm still amazed at how much fun he had doing what seemed like nothing.
Lucky for us there were tons of children his age there. They all ran around together and I was able to sit and watch. So, even I got to vacation!
If you decide to head out to Lancaster for one of their farm stays, don't forget to take a look into a ride on the Strasburg Steam Engine. It was well worth it. Tickets can be booked online in advance. We went with the dinning car and ordered a Hobo lunch. We also visited the Train Museum across the street. Inside they have old trains that you can touch and view. A trip to see the trains is an experience I highly recommend.