Fulfilling Farm Holidays
May 15, 2012
To escape the bustle of city life, Mandy Lim explores five farms for an enriching getaway.
Caught up in our hectic lifestyles, many of us forget how to relax. Getting away for a short trip to a place with fresh air, luxuriant greens and perhaps even the clippety-clop of horses’ hooves is one way of rejuvenating our bodies and refreshing our minds.
Liberty Hill Farm Inn — Vermont, USA
Each day at Liberty Hill Farm begins with a hearty country breakfast and ends with a dinner prepared fresh from the oven, courtesy of hospitable ninth generation farmer Beth Kennett. In between, you may wish to pitch in with farm chores, whether it’s harvesting hay, bottle-feeding calves or milking the cows. Explore the surroundings on a leisurely wildflower walk; float down the White River in a tube; go mountain-biking in the Green Mountain National Forest or visit Vermont’s famed skiing villages (during winter) nearby. The main house is a Greek revival building almost two centuries old, with butternut wood beams, maple wood floors and comfortable country furnishings to make you feel right at home.
Aplagarden Guest Farm — Tidaholm, Sweden
Situated in central Sweden between Gothenburg and Stockholm, Aplagarden offers a peaceful farm stay where guests may wake up in the morning to a visit from a moose. Follow it out into the apple tree garden with its rich bird life, play with the farmyard animals, or stroll through the pastures and visit with the farm’s pride and joy – the beautiful American Morgan horses (above). Ride them in the indoor riding arena or on the scenic riding trails around Aplagarden, which is also flanked by some 40 lakes teeming with abundant fishing opportunities. In the evening, have a barbecue with your freshly-caught rainbow trout or enjoy meals cooked in a woodfire oven, paired with lively conversation with your hosts.
North Hayne Farm Holiday Cottages — Devon, UK
Set on 4ha of rolling pasture in peaceful Devon, North Hayne Farm Holiday Cottages specialises in family vacations. With seven stone cottages tastefully converted from old farm buildings, each named after a Beatrix Potter character such as Peter Rabbit and Tom Kitten, it’s hard not to be enchanted. Help feed and care for the animals in a hands-on experience for the whole family. Collect freshly-laid eggs, walk the goats, bottle-feed the new lambs, enjoy morning rides on the donkeys, and don’t forget to give Patrick, the pot-bellied pig, a back scratch. Grown-ups may also indulge in holistic therapy treatments such as massages and foot reflexology while the kids work off excess energy with the toys and games in the play barn.
Kamahi Cottage — Otorohanga, New Zealand
If you wish to experience the serenity of farm living but still want to enjoy luxurious trappings, visit Kamahi Cottage, New Zealand’s only five-star farm stay. Providing anything you would expect from a luxury lodge, guests can choose to enjoy the privacy of their own self-contained romantic cottage (above) or head to the main farmhouse for homemade meals paired with potent home-distilled schnapps. Activities range from leisurely tours through the hilltop farm and its gardens to exciting blackwater rafting, abseiling, eco-tours in glow worm caves and more in the Waitomo and Otorohanga areas just a stone’s throw away.
The Tea Sanctuary — Kerala, India
The Tea Sanctuary in Munnar is a lush landscape combining nature’s fresh air and verdant hills with man’s lovingly-tended tea gardens. Begin your stay by checking in at one of the refurbished colonial bungalows, then step outside and take a deep breath of the fresh air laced with the aroma of tea and eucalyptus plants. Explore some 23,470ha of land and take part in activities including trekking, fishing, golfing and wildlife watching, not forgetting experiencing firsthand the process of tea growing and processing. End your day with delicious Continental or Indian cuisine served in the privacy of your bungalow and of course, a calming cup of tea.