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Maple Hill Manor one of 10 Great Places for a rural “Haycation”

10 Great Places for a rural “Haycation”

By Lisa Norman, Feather Down Farm Days

Forget about the beach for your next vacation. Why not try a farm? More are welcoming guests for what Country Living magazine calls “haycations.” Visitors come to help with chores and to see firsthand how food is raised and harvested. The magazine’s senior associate editor, Jourdan Crouch, shares some of her favorites with Larry Bleiberg for USA TODAY.

Maple Hill Manor Bed and Breakfast
Springfield, Ky.
This 15-acre farm has an impressive — and varied — pedigree. It served as a Confederate encampment and Union field hospital during the Civil War, and more recently was home to former N.Y. Giants’ quarterback Phil Simms. Guests at Maple Hill Manor can interact with llamas and alpacas and help gather apples, peaches, cherries and plums from the orchard during harvest season. Rates begin at $119 and include breakfast and evening dessert. 800-886-7546; maplehillmanor.com

Sunrise Guest Ranch
Edgemont, S.D.
You can bring your own horse to this spread in the southern Black Hills, bordering Wyoming and Nebraska. Visitors ride trails and can participate in turkey and buffalo hunts and a cattle drive. The ranch also offers a four-night archaeology program. “This is a true ranch experience, overlooking the Cheyenne River,” Crouch says. Rooms from $85 per night, 605-662-6275; sunriseguestranch.com 

Kinnikinnick Farm
Caledonia, Ill.
Though guests sleep in a tent at this farm about 85 miles west of Chicago, with fresh linens, candles and even a wood-burning stove, they’re hardly roughing it, Crouch says. You can gather freshly laid eggs to make a breakfast omelet, pick organic greens for a salad and hand-grind your own coffee beans. Kids will love walking baby sheep and goats on a leash. There’s even a weekly treasure hunt. Tents from $189 a night. 716-226-6323; featherdown.com 

Liberty Hill Farm Inn
Rochester, Vt.
Activities on this dairy farm range from feeding animals to picking wildflowers to helping delivering calves. But whatever you do, you’re sure to eat well. “It’s run by a ninth-generation farmer, known for her delicious meals,” Crouch says. Cheeses come from nearby Cabot Creamery. Guests stay in one of seven rooms in the 150-year-old farmhouse. Adults $98, teens $75, kids 2-12 $54, under 2 free, including dinner and breakfast. 802-767-3926; libertyhillfarm.com

Agarita Creek Farms
Fredericksburg, Texas
Visitors stay in one of two log cabins and have free rein on this family-run Texas Hill Country property. “You can do as little or as much farm work as you’d like,” Crouch says. Activities range from harvesting fruit to milking cows. Optional hunting packages are available, too. Cabin rentals start at $175 per night. 830-896-9140; agaritacreek.com

Blackberry Farm
Walland, Tenn.
Don’t think for a minute you’ll be roughing it at this pricey five-star resort, but you will have a chance to learn farm skills like beekeeping, and making jam, bread and cheese. Plus, as Crouch notes, “you can enjoy spa services and some of the finest cuisine in the country.” Rates, which include meals, from $745, double. 800-273-6004; blackberryfarm.com

Rocky Acre Farm Bed and Breakfast
Mount Joy, Pa.
This historic property in Lancaster County has been run by a Mennonite family since 1965, although it has been around for two centuries, and once was a stop on the Underground Railroad. Now it’s a wonderland for kids, with a playhouse, hay wagons and tractor rides. “There are a lot of hands-on activities,” Crouch says. For a change of pace, the Hershey theme park is just a short drive away. Rooms from $129 to $199 per night, including breakfast. 717-653-4449; rockyacre.com

Leaping Lamb Farm
Alsea, Ore.
You can pick plums and berries to make jam at this small family farm. Visitors are also free to help with the animals, which include lambs, turkey, horses, chickens, donkeys, and a peacock. Plus, Crouch notes, the Oregon coast is just a short ride away, making for a great day trip. The one cabin is $125 per night for two, including breakfast. 541- 487-4966; leapinglambfarm.com

Philo Apple Farm
Philo, Calif.
This 1,700-tree orchard offers a tranquil Northern California getaway, and more. “They have a big food focus,” Crouch says “It’s a great place for aspiring chefs.” Several times a year it offers an intensive cooking class over a weekend, including four hands-on meals, which runs $1,800. At other times, cottages, which are grouped among the apple trees, begin at $175 per night. 707-895-2333; philoapplefarm.com

Stony Creek Farm
Walton, N.Y.
You’ll stay in roomy tented cabins on this 100-year-old dairy farm and have a chance to collect eggs, milk goats, make cheese and play with farm animals. The heirloom vegetable and herb garden offers a memorable souvenir. “You can take home a crate of what you harvest,” Crouch says. Tents start at $189 per night. 716-226-6323; featherdown.com

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