Farm Stays: Why You Should Consider a Working Farm for Your Next Family Vacation
Searching for your next memorable vacation destination sans airfare? You might not have been thinking ‘Agritourism,’ but that isn’t a reason not to pull out your wellies! Not only is East Hill Farm easy to get to—it is both an all-inclusive resort, and a true recreational and educational farm experience. With a nonstop immersive activity schedule for all ages, home-cooked meals, mountain views, and a spotty WiFi connection endearingly referred to as “Country WiFi,” quality time with the fam is a sure thing. Think sleepaway camp for the entire family!
You’ll find the Inn nestled at the base of Mt. Monadnock, just a short drive north to New Hampshire’s southwest “quiet corner.” A couple of full-body breaths will come easy as you admire the panoramic backdrop of this rural, working farm on your stroll into the main Inn’s cozy farmhouse complete with a wooden screen door that will bang shut behind you.
Check-in is an exciting affair for everyone among the hustle and bustle of new and returning families settling in, and starts with a quick orientation tour and rundown of the weekend activity schedule. Among them, DJ family dance party and cheese making with Farmer Dave. Your kids will beam when the friendly staff hands them over an empty egg carton for collecting their breakfast from the chicken coop the next morning. This is the moment you forget where your car is parked.
Other morning “working” farm activities include milking a cow and goat in the barn—and there’s no shortage of daily chores that need getting done if you’d like to lend more of a hand! Talk to the barn staff, and while you’re in there, sign up for horseback riding. There are pony rides for the littlest, and Junior Wrangler lessons and trail rides for the bigger kids. Don’t miss the Udder to Butter workshop after lunch for the ultimate butter making experience for all ages—you’ll be able to taste it on your bread come dinnertime.
Most indoor activities take place back in the main Inn where you’ll want to keep an eye on the illustrated activity board. The full day’s schedule is laid out visually so even the youngest of your clan can gather round and make their picks. The downstairs rec room is where you’ll find the Ping-Pong Tournaments, and is a hive of activity offering various Arts & Crafts for toddlers to teens. EHF’s warm and multi-talented staff turn out to be expert face painters! They are the ones who will be hosting the kids-only party later on while the adults gather in the dining hall upstairs for cocktails and some classic retro-style hors d’oeuvres. The “not-to-be missed” activity of the evening? Family Bingo, with prizes from the gift shop.
The dining room is a great open and inviting space resembling a cross between the mess hall from The Parent Trap and your favorite coffee shop. You may have spotted your name on a place card on your first lap through. Each family has their own separate table assigned to them for the weekend, and meals are home-cooked and all you can eat. Diet restrictions? No problem—the staff will happily accommodate any and all special requests including gluten-free, low-sugar, and allergies. A weekend stay includes three meals a day plus a bottomless cookie jar (homemade of course) with coffee, tea, hot chocolate and snacks available anytime. Breakfast includes fresh-baked muffins and cooked to order eggs, lunch a savory hot and cold buffet, and dinner a full-course, family-style affair with entrée choices and a full kid’s menu. And don’t forget to take your table’s leftover bread—the farm animals will be expecting it for breakfast the next morning!
Whether you choose lodging in the main Inn’s 1834 farmhouse, or opt for one of the property’s cottages, you’ll be sure to find something that suits your family. With 65 guest rooms ranging from basic to deluxe, all accommodations have private bathrooms and the more modern units have beyond basic amenities like television, AC, and fireplaces. Layout options are plentiful with sitting areas, twin rooms, and private living rooms and can be viewed on the Inn’s website. Many have stunning views of Mt. Monadnock and the property’s Perkins Pond.
With 150 acres to explore, and an abundant seasonal activity schedule 365 days a year, there’s no reason to leave the grounds until you are headed home. So dress for the weather and inspire a love of the great outdoors in your family. Winter activities include sledding, ice-skating in a ‘naturally cooled’ outbuilding, and even a Night Walk led by Naturalist Hans Meyer. Bring your own skis if you have them, or rent them at the Inn and take off on the cross-country trails steps away. Want to learn to snowshoe? The Inn’s got you covered! When you get cold, there are plenty of cozy nooks to warm everyone up back at the main lodge. Grab a game or book from the front desk, kick off your boots and relax around the fireplace with your family. If the Inn at East Hill Farm had a motto, it would be “Where Traditions Start.”
The Inn is at 460 Monadnock St., Troy, NH, 603-242-6495, east-hill-farm.com.
Tradition abounds here at the farm in every season with many families rebooking the same dates next year, so choose your week or weekend wisely. You’ll have first dibs on your accommodations when checking out. If you opt for one of the more rustic cottages, you may want to throw some extra blankets and pillows in the car. Also, accommodations requiring a cot may elicit a Princess and the Pea response from certain children.