The story below is an excerpt from our July/August 2014 issue. For the rest of this story and more like it subscribe today, view our digital edition or download our FREE iOS app!
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The attractiveness of farm vacations is built around bucolic settings and other-era activities.
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Photo courtesy of Janet Peterson
Cloud 9 Farm
Feeding the cows, helping with the hens and learning how honey is made are favorite activities at the Cloud 9 Farm.
Photo courtesy of Janet Peterson
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Nikki Haslett & Ken Insley
Horse Creek Stable
Horse Creek Stable owners Diane and Lester Aradi.
Photo by Nikki Haslett & Ken Insley
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live on a farm? Farmers across the Blue Ridge region are throwing open their pasture gates and inviting overnight guests to experience life on the farm.
You can help with chores like collecting eggs, feeding sheep and harvesting vegetables, creating a connection to the farmers who grow your food (not to mention eating gourmet meals in a pastoral paradise). Of course, pitching in as a farmhand isn’t a requirement of a farm stay. You can also relax on the porch overlooking the pastures or nuzzle the goats.
These three farms in the Blue Ridge region offer more than just a place to spend the night.
The Farm at Spring Creek
At The Farm at Spring Creek, a herd of cattle has grazed on 200 acres in the rolling hills of Greeneville, Tenn. since the 1800s. The cattle ranch is like countless other farms in the region: A working farm that puts food on the tables of local families.
But all that changed when Bryan Wright and Lauren Turner purchased a log cabin that dates back to the 1840s, moved it to the farm and started restoring it.
The couple intended to use the quaint cabin as a guesthouse for their families and friends but rave reviews from overnight guests convinced them that it could be a successful bed-and-breakfast. The Farm at Spring Creek has welcomed guests to vacation on the cattle ranch since 1993.
“We get a lot of folks who grew up on a farm and want to reconnect to that and some who have never been on a farm before and come for the peace and quiet,” explains Wright.
As word of their unique lodging option spread, so did the demand for reservations. Most of the guests who came to the farm were eager to help with chores and learn basic homesteading skills.
“All of my life, these were chores I had to do and we had folks coming here who wanted to do them,” Wright recalls. “We wanted to share that heritage, history and knowledge of farm life.”
In addition to raising 225 head of Angus cattle, Wright and Turner added goats and beehives, and started offering farming and homesteading classes ranging from beekeeping, livestock care and soil preparation to basket weaving, soap making and food preservation.
The Farm at Spring Creek has expanded its farm stay options, adding two new cabins, both built in the 1800s and in the midst of restoration (there is even a class on reconstructing historic cabins).
“It’s like stepping back in time,” Wright says. “A lot of people want to be more sustainable and get back to nature and experience life on a farm and that’s what we offer here.”
The Farm at Spring Creek, Greeneville, Tenn.
423-361-6441 | thefarmatspringcreek.com