If your family is searching for a fresh experience, consider a farm stay. Here are five places where your crew can collect eggs, milk a goat or get their hands dirty in the garden:
Weatherbury Farm. PA.
Give your kids the chance to hand feed ( from a bottle ) baby lambs and toss grain to the free ranging chickens. By joining in these morning chores and learning about organic farming, they can earn the “Official Weatherbury Farm Kid” designation. Discover how the owners of this 100-acre, idyllic spot near Pittsburg, focus on using integrated techniques to manage their sustainable farming operation. You’ll stay in historic buildings and of course, dine on farm-fresh taste treats.
Mary Jane’s Farm. Moscow, ID.
Check into a stylish wall tent on Mary Jane Butters’ farm and the worries of the world will melt away. Gather your own eggs for breakfast. Pick vegetables you’ll enjoy for lunch. Visit the library housed in a barn. Burn calories helping out with farm chores. Relax in the outdoor living room area nestled in a grove of plum trees. Go for a hike or play cards or board games. Later get clean in the outdoor tub or showers.
Contact: 888-750-6004; www.MaryJanesFarm.org.
Leaping Lamb Farm. Alsea, OR.
Stow your technology and get to know this charming farm, the animals and the folks who run this 40-acre homestead in Oregon’s Coast Range. Enjoy a leisurely family breakfast in your cozy cabin that includes local eggs ( yep, right from the farm ) and other fruits, breads and cereals. Find your way to the orchard to pick apples, pears or plums. Lend a hand in the greenhouse and garden or learn about raising lamb and Heritage turkeys. Visit the horses, admire the peacock and make time for a hike or bike outing on neighboring trails.
Contact: 877-820-6132; www.leapinglambfarm.com
Pagett Farm. ME
Your kids can pal around with the pigs, goats, chickens and ducks and learn about organic farming. Gather the family to help out with the chores on this 63-acre spread or simply relax and enjoy the natural environment. Check out the starry night sky before falling asleep inside the luxe platform tents, each decked out with braided rugs and colorful quilts. Consider a visit to nearby lakes for kayaking, swimming or canoeing. Also, Acadia National Park is within an hour and a half drive.
The Inn at Celebrity Dairy. Raleigh, NC. It's an eight-room, Greek-Revival farmhouse an hour southwest of Raleigh, rewards early risers: At 6 a.m., the five dozen goats are milked, and soon after, guests dig into award-winning cheese and eggs from the inn's free-range chickens.
First time casters and veteran anglers enjoy the natural places that enable a fly fishing vacation. Test your tippet deep in the wilderness or perfect your back casts on the resort lawn.
Gather your gear. Then enjoy the beauty and art of fly fishing:
LL Bean Outdoor Discovery School. Freeport, ME or Columbia, MD. The knowledgeable instructors at LL Bean can jump start your family into the wonderful world of fly fishing with their one or two-day introductory courses. You’ll learn about fly-tackle, delve into knot tying, fly tying, and fish-food identification, then move outside to practice casting skills in a nearby pond. Continue the analysis and improvement at home once you’ve viewed their video of your newly acquired skill. Contact: LL Bean experts are available for fishing advice on their hotline between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m EST every day; 1-800-347-4552. For class registration: (888)-552-3261); www.llbean.com
Painting the picture. Nye, Montana. If not casting color onto a canvas, Tom Wolfe can be found throwing a line streamside somewhere in the Montana backcountry. Mixing his love of painting with a passion for wild places, Wolfe paints through the winter in his log cabin tucked in the Absaroka foothills. Then, when spring melts into summer, he happily leads week- long pack trips or day excursions into to some of the best trout fishing water in America. When not teaching the kids how to tie a fly, he might be working on a watercolor of your family’s high altitude adventure. Contact: 406-328-4694: www.TomWolfeArt.com.
Chetola Resort. Blowing Rock, NC. The only Orvis-endorsed fly-fishing lodge in North Carolina has plenty to offer the entire family. Pack a rod for a half day trip to “The Refuge” on Boone Fork Creek, a destination deemed ideal for beginners and families. When not casting a line, check out the children’s camp, a heated indoor pool, fitness center and nearby rafting and golf. Contact: (800) 243-8652; www.Chetola.com.
Match the Hatch. Livingston, MT. Spend a day on the Yellowstone River with Eric Adams and your family members will go home with more than basic casting skills. His educational background in ecology means you’ll learn to “match the hatch”, fish pocket water from a raft and how to maximize a day on the famed Yellowstone River or nearby spring creeks. You are sure to enjoy time on the Yellowstone, the longest stretch of blue-ribbon trout habitat in the nation. Contact: 406.223.2488; www.MontanaFlyFishingGuides.com
Fishing on the Farm. Blackberry Farm, Walland, TN. With two ponds and a stream on site, plus more than 700 miles of fishable trout streams in the neighboring Great Smoky Mountain National Park, this gem of a property offers the novice or experienced fly fishing family the opportunity to enjoy great water as well as a sea of additional activities. Horseback riding, mountain biking, cooking schools, the Farmhouse Spa and charming accommodations on 4,200 pastoral acres, combine to create a picturesque haven for a gathering clan. Contact: (800) 648-4252; www.BlackberryFarm.com.