10 fantastic farm stays where you can embrace nature and agriculture

Take a surrey ride at The Retreat at Silvies Valley Ranch in Seneca, OregonTake a surrey ride at The Retreat at Silvies Valley Ranch in Seneca, Oregon — Photo courtesy of The Retreat at Silvies Valley Ranch

Looking for a different type of vacation this year? Agritourism, or a farm stay, should be on your radar. Farm stays originated in the Italian countryside in the 1970s as a way for farmers to generate income and share their knowledge of agriculture with visitors. For travelers, it’s an opportunity to enter a slower pace of living by connecting with nature, learning about farm life, and disconnecting from our technology devices.

While each destination offers a different experience, you can participate in as many activities as you want. Or simply settle in with a good book by the fireplace. Getting to know your farmers and gaining insight into where your food comes from are just a few perks. Here are 10 of our favorite farm stays for your next agritourism adventure.

Cedar Mountain Farm – Athol, Idaho

Connect with nature and farm animals at Cedar Mountain FarmConnect with nature and farm animals at Cedar Mountain Farm — Photo courtesy of Vickie Zimmerman

The 440-acre Cedar Mountain Farm in northern Idaho has a petting zoo with goats, sheep, chickens, and bunnies. Guests are encouraged to interact with all the animals on the family-owned working farm, including the ponies and Scottish Highland cows.

Farm stay accommodations include rooms in the main house, plus a spacious log cabin with two bedrooms, a full kitchen, and a living room. Wander along miles of hiking and biking trails on the property, or head to nearby Farragut State Park, which has more hiking trails, a disc golf course, and picnic areas.

Tabula Rasa Farms – Carlton, Oregon

Book a tour to learn about sustainable agriculture at Tabula Rasa FarmsBook a tour to learn about sustainable agriculture at Tabula Rasa Farms — Photo courtesy of The Ground

“Tabula rasa” means clean slate in Latin, an apt name for Brenda Smola-Fotir’s regenerative farm in the heart of Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

Growing up on a cattle ranch, Smola-Fotir has always been familiar with agriculture and farm life. For Tabula Rasa, she wanted to focus solely on responsible farming practices and regenerative agriculture.

Guests can stay in The Farmhouse at Tabula Rasa and partake in farm life. Set on 22 acres, you’ll find heritage-breed cattle and hogs, plus hens and ducks. Farm tours are a highly educational experience: See where your meat comes from and learn about sustainable agriculture. The farm is also part of The Ground, a collective which integrates food, hospitality, and agriculture.

Mountain Goat Lodge – Salida, Colorado

Enjoy the outdoors at Mountain Goat LodgeEnjoy the outdoors at Mountain Goat Lodge — Photo courtesy of Mountain Goat Lodge

The big draw at Mountain Goat Lodge is the resident dairy goats, which provide milk for cheese, yogurt, and country breakfasts served at the lodge. The 19-acre farm offers a range of accommodations, from luxury suites to retro campers.

Guests of the farm stay can book a cheesemaking class, learn about raising goats, or do goat yoga. You might even be able to pet one of the adorable baby goats. After a long day, soak in the outdoor hot tub as you stargaze, or curl up with a good book in the lodge’s great room.

Blisswood Bed and Breakfast Ranch – Cat Spring, Texas

Disconnect from technology and enjoy family time at Blisswood Bed & Breakfast RanchDisconnect from technology and enjoy family time at Blisswood Bed & Breakfast Ranch — Photo courtesy of Jumping Rocks Photography / Skeeter Hagler

A historic working farm about an hour from Houston, Blisswood Bed and Breakfast Ranch features more than 350 acres of unbridled beauty and access to nature. With lodging options that range from rustic glamping tents to cabins and larger houses, the ranch offers an authentic farm stay experience.

Take a guided 45-minute safari tour to view bison, deer, and blackbuck antelope, or rent a bike and explore the ranch trails. Blisswood also offers horseback riding, kayaking, and catch-and-release fishing. Best of all, there are no televisions in the rooms, so you can disconnect from technology and connect with loved ones.

Fat Sheep Farm and Cabins – Hartland, Vermont

Cozy up to resident sheep at Fat Sheep FarmCozy up to resident sheep at Fat Sheep Farm — Photo courtesy of Suzanne Kaplan

Fat Sheep Farm and Cabins, a sweet little Vermont farm stay, features five cabins on the property. Each includes a full kitchen, living room, and all the comforts of home. The bonus: Some units are pet-friendly, which means the chance to introduce your furry family member to some of the resident farm animals.

To see how a working farm operates, guests can help with morning chores, like feeding the animals, walking the goats, and collecting eggs laid by the resident chickens. The farm stay also offers farm and garden tours, plus cheesemaking and sourdough workshops. At day’s end, have fun hanging out with the fluffy sheep.

Stony Creek Farmstead – Walton, New York

Stay in spacious and comfortable platform tents at Stony Creek FarmsteadStay in spacious and comfortable platform tents at Stony Creek Farmstead — Photo courtesy of Stony Creek Farmstead / Bas Berkhout

Less than two hours from Manhattan, the Stony Creek Farmstead offers a respite from the hustle and bustle of city life with a stay in one of their spacious platform tents. Each has running water and indoor plumbing, a fully stocked kitchen, and comfy bedding.

Wake up to the sun peeking through your window and the faint chirps of birds outside. Collect eggs from the chicken coop to make breakfast, or go on a farm tour. Check out the weekly pizza nights and gather with other farm stay guests.

There’s ample opportunity to hang out with resident farm animals on the property, such as Belted Galloway cows, sheep, many chickens, and ducks. Heads up: Overnight stays are available only from May to mid-October.

Blackberry Farm – Walland, Tennessee

Enjoy many activities along with serenity at Blackberry FarmEnjoy many activities along with serenity at Blackberry Farm — Photo courtesy of Blackberry Farm

The award-winning Blackberry Farm, situated on 4,200 acres in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, is a gathering place for everyone from foodies to celebrated chefs. The working farm encourages guests to partake in daily activities, such as tours to learn about the heritage tomatoes and livestock, and the history of the farm.

Take a yoga class, stroll the grounds, or go horseback riding. At the end of your day, sit down to a sumptuous dinner, feasting on the culinary delights this farm stay is best known for.

White Stallion Ranch – Tucson, Arizona

Set out on a horseback ride at White Stallion RanchSet out on a horseback ride at White Stallion Ranch — Photo courtesy of White Stallion Staff

This all-inclusive farm stay sits on more than 3,000 acres adjacent to Saguaro National Park, home to the magnificent saguaro cactus, which can grow to 40 feet tall. Just a short 40-minute drive from Tucson International Airport, White Stallion Ranch offers spacious Western-themed rooms with large private patios, where you can sip coffee overlooking the farm and ranch.

Partake in numerous activities at this farm stay, from hiking to horseback riding, archery, and rock climbing. Kids and adults can visit the petting zoo, where a variety of animals live, many rescued from abuse and neglect.

The Inn at Irish Hollow – Galena, Illinois

Visit the general store at Irish HollowVisit the general store at Irish Hollow — Photo courtesy of Christian Giannelli Photography

Set in the countryside among bucolic hills, The Inn at Irish Hollow bed and breakfast features suites and five luxurious cottages on a 500-acre working farm. Known for hearty country breakfasts with fresh produce and herbs picked right from their gardens, feel right at home (and well-fed) surrounded by grassy pastures and lush woods.

Stroll through the farm stay’s forests and wildflower patches or explore the adjacent 1,500-acre nature preserve. For some relaxation, book a massage with one of the knowledgeable practitioners.

The Retreat at Silvies Valley Ranch – Seneca, Oregon

From goat herding to golfing, enjoy all the recreation at this Oregon working ranch and farm stayFrom goat herding to golfing, enjoy all the recreation at this Oregon working ranch and farm stay — Photo courtesy of The Retreat at Silvies Valley Ranch

The Retreat at Silvies Valley Ranch, a 150,000-acre working farm, is full of rich history. Located in the rugged Blue Mountains of remote eastern Oregon, this farm stay originated as a homestead in the early 1880s. Today the western-themed ranch features casually elegant accommodations, including log cabins and suites. Cabins can be adjoined, which is ideal for large families and groups.

Cattle, goats, and horses call the farm home, leaving plenty of opportunity to interact with them. Participate in feeding animals, horseback riding, fishing, or learning about goat herding and cattle roundup. If you’re into golf, the award-winning course won’t disappoint. Wagon rides are a hit with the kids. The restaurant serves authentic, hearty cowboy fare, including certified organic, grass-finished beef and produce grown right on the farm.

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