For a rising number of tourists, vacation no longer means strawberry daiquiris and white sand beaches—instead, it’s about milking cows and picking vegetables.
A long-standing institution in Europe, so-called “farm stay vacations,” which put tourists right in the middle of working farms, are growing in popularity in New England. And though many farm stays don’t include manual labor, Julia Grimaldi, a program coordinator at the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, says they’re universally a worthy, and healthy, vacation choice.
“I think there’s at least a generation, if not two, that is removed from food production, in terms of understanding how food is grown, where food comes from,” Grimaldi says. “There’s a number of reasons to encourage people to learn about where their food is coming from, and ag-tourism makes that fun.”
Here, 14 Massachusetts farms that open their doors—and barns—to guests.
1. Blue Heron Farm
Blue Heron houses guests year-round in its fully equipped farmhouses. Visitors can opt to assist with chores like milking goats, grooming horses, moving hay bales, digging up fishing bait, and tending to the animals.
8 Warner Hill Road #1, Charlemont; blueheronfarm.com. Starting at $110 per night for short-term stays.
2. Delta Organic Farm
Stays at Delta are less about work, and more about relaxation. Guests dine on Delta’s organic, all-natural foods, and are free to walk, bike, or cross country ski on and around the farm’s grounds.
352 East Hadley Road, Amherst; deltaorganicfarm.com. Starting at $105 per night.
3. Eden Pond Farm
This farm, which specializes in poultry, rents out a two-bedroom barn apartment to travelers. Guests can help with tending to the animals and other chores, and have access to fresh herbs, meats, and produce from the farm.
316 Eden Trail, Bernardston; airbnb.com. $140 per night.
4. Hartman’s Herb Farm Actual farm work is pretty minimal at Harman’s, but bed and breakfast guests can enjoy a fresh-picked herb dinner and homemade breakfast, as well as easy access to hiking, biking, and cross country skiing trails.
1026 Old Dana Road, Barre; hartmansherbfarm.com. Starting at $100 per night.
5. Holiday Brook Farm Guests at Holiday Brook Farm can help with minor tasks like haying and milking goats, or simply enjoy the fully stocked farm store and nearby activities like hiking and biking.
100 Holiday Cottage Road, Dalton; holidaybrookfarm.com. Starting at $225 per night.
6. Howden Farm
B&B guests don’t participate in farm work, but they are free to explore the 250 acres of land where Howden grows pumpkins, corn, raspberries, and other produce—some of which gets included in daily breakfast service.
303 Rannapo Road, Sheffield; howdenfarm.com.
7. Ingalls Crossing
This bed and breakfast is located on a functional dairy farm, ensuring fresh food throughout the stay. While guests can’t participate in farm chores, they can stay active on nearby walking and biking trails.
175 Blair Road, Williamstown; ingallscrossing.com.
8. The Inn on the Horse Farm Visit with the horses, or just enjoy the scenery at this inn. The farm also has chickens, so your breakfast will be made with farm fresh eggs.
277 Old Sudbury Road, Sudbury; innonthehorsefarm.com. Starting at $169 per night.
9. Kenburn Orchards Fruit fans will love Kenburn’s multi-course breakfasts, which use the orchard’s homegrown berries whenever possible. Vacationers can also explore the orchard’s extensive grounds.
1394 Mohawk Trail, Shelburne; kenburnorchards.com. Starting at $139 per night.
10. Maple House Bed and Breakfast
At this B&B, you can help out with farm activities like harvesting produce and feeding the animals, then participate in some outdoor fun like boating, swimming, hiking, and biking.
51 Middletown Hill Road, Rowe; maplehousebb.com. Starting at $100 per night.
11. Mayflower Farm Mayflower Farm is located just off the Appalachian Trail, so you can enjoy hiking, walking, and skiing during your stay, or just soak in the Berkshires views and farm-to-table dining.
74 Undermountain Road, South Egremont; mayflowerfarm.net. From $300 per night.
12. Stonehaven Farm A true farm stay, Stonehaven’s program requires guests to get down and dirty. Travelers can choose to help with tasks such as feeding animals, collecting eggs, herding sheep, and harvesting produce from the gardens.
1506 Drift Road, Westport; stonehavenfamilyfarm.com. $150 per night.
13. Warfield House Inn
Drink in the Berkshires scenery at this posh farm bed and breakfast, which is located near rivers for white water rafting and fishing, as well as trails for hiking, biking, and skiing.
200 Warfield Road, Charlemont; warfieldhouseinn.com. Starting at $220 per night.
14. Wolfe Spring Organic Farm
Wolfe Spring just began its farm stay program this year, so guests can help shape their own experience in its Apple Cottage. Possible activities include tending to the animals, picking berries, or simply touring the grounds.
946 Hewins St., Sheffield; vrbo.com. Starting at $375 per night.
Source URL: https://www.bostonmagazine.com/health/2015/08/13/farm-stays-are-a-healthy-vacation-trend/
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