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Family Travel Files Ezine Family Vacations Resource
3-G Farm Stay Experiences – Sharing Natural Downtime. Winter farm stay vacations provide three generations with an array of energizing activities from dog sledding and snow shoeing to ice fishing and story time by a cozy hearth. Family Fun Ice Fishing at East Hill in New Hampshire Farm

So, what’s there to do on a farm in winter? According to Scottie Jones, Executive Director of the U.S. Farm Stay Association, “The eggs will need to be collected; many farmers breed their livestock to drop their babies as early as February, which is a wonderful thing to observe; cows and goats are often starting up their milk rotation again; and some farms even offer opportunities for sleigh rides and snow shoeing.” 

Possibilities for three generations to share a bit of rural life span the country. Most farm stay locations offer typical creature comforts including Wi-Fi although cellphone bars will depend on your provider. No two farm stays will ever be the same but all offer positive ways to discover how things work. The best farm stays for families are naturally interactive engaging all ages in the rhythm of farm life. From digging turnips in a winter garden and identifying tracks left in freshly fallen snow to gathering eggs and milking a goat, farm stays offer exceptional 3-G experiences. 

To demonstrate the uniqueness and value of a winter farm stay vacation I have assembled seven of the best (most tempting) 3-G examples from the extensive offerings showcased at  

Inn at East Hill Farm near Troy, New Hampshire.
Nestled at the base of Mount Monadnock in southwestern New Hampshire, East Hill Farm offers families a slew of authentic activities including, sleigh rides, Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, dog sledding and ice skating. East Hill Farm Sled Dogs Winter Farm StaysResident livestock includes Cows, ducks, goats, horses, pigs, rabbits, sheep, and an official Petting Paddock. Watch or assist in butter making, cheese making or quilting and special activities are planned to engage young children including games, crafts, and family time around a campfire. 3-G Experience: Share the fun of collecting eggs to eat for breakfast, feeding farm animals and milking the cows. More details at East Hill Farm

Sweet Retreat Guesthouse and Sugarworks near Northfield, Vermont. Located amid 400 acres in Central Vermont's Green Mountains, Sweet Retreat offers privacy and an authentic connection to winter rural life. From the doorstep of the guesthouse enjoy cross-country skiing or snowshoeing and for Alpine skiing Sugarbush is just a short drive. On request, resident Brown Swiss show oxen provide sleigh rides along seven miles of snowy trails. Shelburne Farms, about an hour from the guesthouse, makes a terrific day adventure. 3-G Experience: Ben & Jerry’s is an easy drive and during sugaring season in late spring guests can learn how we make maple syrup in sugarhouse. More details at Sweet Retreat Guest House

Mountain Goat Lodge near Salida, Colorado.
 Almost 20 acres of meadows and pasture land frame Mountain Goat Lodge nestled in the valley defined by Sawatch Mountain Range of Central Colorado.Mountain Goat Lodge Winter Farm Stays Winter activities include snowmobiling, skiing, snowshoeing, cross-country, skiing, dog sledding, egg gathering, goat encounters, board games by the fireplace, and stargazing. Resident free-range chickens dot the landscape and gregarious Oberhasli dairy goats are part of the welcoming committee and offer gentle encounters for wee ones. And guests are free to explore the 20-acrea farm at leaisure. Farm fresh produce is grown in a year ‘round geodesic dome greenhouse on the property. 3-G Experience: A cheese making course allows participants learn how to milk a goat and make simple cheeses including Chevre, fresh Mozzarella, Feta, Paneer, or a Greek-style yogurt. More details at Mountain Goat Lodge

Adventure Creek Alpaca and Goldendoodle Farm near Galena, Illinois. Located on 45 bucolic acres within hiking distance of the Mississippi River, Adventure Creek has 12 hand-hewn log cabins nestled in a valley along – you guessed it – Adventure Creek. Winter days offer the chance to romp in pollution free snow and enjoy snowshoeing or cross-country skiing over the hill prairie landscape. Alpacas in residence provide unique animal encounter for kids of all ages. The ancient burial grounds of Casper Bluff and a thunderbird effigy mound are only minutes away from the farm. 3-G Experience: This location offers over the top stargazing opportunities because it lacks light pollution. On dark-sky nights, meaning clear weather and no moon, guests are provided with binoculars to make stargazing even better. More details at Adventure Creek

Western Pleasure Guest Ranch near Sandpoint, Idaho. Located on 1100 acres of pastures and pines within view of the Selkirk and Cabinet mountains, Western Pleasure offers handcrafted log cabins and country hospitality in a historic ranch setting. Sleigh Ride at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch in Idaho.No worries if the snow falls because guests may enjoy time in the game room complete with board games and pool table. Winter day may be filled with snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, skiing, snowshoeing or good old fashioned snow play. Horseback riding lessons are available at the indoor arena. 3-G Experience: Engage in deer or moose spotting or share a lively horse-drawn sleigh ride along a two-mile loop through the woods and later hot drinks by the lodge fireplace. More detials at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch

Hagen Family Farm near Snohomish, Washington. Hagen Family Farm near Snohomish, Washington. Sleep in your own farmhouse less than an hour from Seattle with awesome views of the Cascades. The dairy farm nestled in the Snohomish Valley offers private family space with a front door view of farm life. Each retro style farmhouse is stocked with comfy amenities including pantry items, old board games and books. Guests may help with daily chores, or take a dairy tour and learn about the resident pigs and cows. 3-G Experience: Using Hagen as a vacation guests can connect with Cascade Adventure Guides (natives of the valley) to arrange a snowshoeing adventure. More details at Hagen Family Farm

Full House Farm near Sebastopol, California. Located in the heart of Sonoma County's Wine Country Full House Farm spans 23 bucolic acres and offers an organic farm stay experience. Trails weave throughout the forest, oak groves and over the meadows providing great opportunities for wildlife spotting. Farm residents include chickens, goats, sheep and horses. Popular family activities include horseback riding, biking, and helping with farm chores. Two small organic gardens are reserved for the use of guests. 3-G Experience: A complimentary Farm Life Tour is included with each stay. The tour provides participants with a chance to feed goats and chickens, collect eggs, learn about horses and sheep, take a photo on the tractor, and taste the farm’s organic foods. More detials at Full House Farm  

Make it happen.
Because I discovered way more than seven farm stay locations worth a visit the best bet is to browse on your own at
Content researched and posted by Nancy Nelson-Duac, Curator of the Family Travel Files with advice from Scottie Jones, Executive Director of the U.S. Farm Stay Association. Images courtesy US Farm Stays. Copyright updated 2017.

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