10 Agritourism Vacations to Satisfy Your Inner Farmer
Looking to get your hands dirty? These farm and animal-centric excursions are all about connecting to the land.
Photo By: Image Courtesy of Getty Images
Photo By: Seed Savers Exchange at SeedSavers.org
Photo By: Mary Palmer Dargan ©Gibbs Smith, Lifelong Landscape Design, Mary Palmer Dargan
Photo By: ©iStockphoto.com/CarbonBrain
Photo By: The Moorings Village, Natalie Watson
Photo By: Cape Kidnappers
Photo By: Jane Riew
Photo By: Shutterstock/Jeff Smith - Perspectives
Photo By: The Hawaiian Islands
Try beekeeping on for size at the luxe Inn at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill just 40 minutes outside Lexington, Ky., where guests have a chance to meet the buzzy inhabitants of the 40-hive, on-site apiary. Not only will visitors learn about the honeybee lifecycle and pest management, they'll also get a primer on how to set up their own hives at home. Afraid of getting stung? Opt instead to hang out with the property's resident horses, working steers, chickens and more.
In the quaint enclave of Aurora in New York State's leafy Finger Lake region, garlic grows in the sprawling fields that surround the historic Inns of Aurora, a luxurious collection of restored homes on the banks of Cayuga Lake. Guests who book the Garlic Farm Tour get to slip into a pair of rubber "wellies" and spend time with local farmer Dennis Donahue, who'll talk about the rich history and medicinal properties of this pungent member of the onion family. They'll also have the chance to plant their own garlic, which when ripe, is harvested and mailed back to them as a keepsake.
Sipping on a glass of Bordeaux is great and all, but for those who like to be a little more hands-on with their wine, there's the Fulkerson Winery in New York State's Finger Lakes. During the fall harvest, guests can pick their own grapes—think Pinot Noir, Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and more—from the vineyards surrounding the property's historic 1850s-era farmhouse, then learn how to make their own wine and beer from the property's knowledgeable staff.
Nestled on a dreamy 4,200 acres in the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, Blackberry Farm is the quintessential back-to-nature luxury retreat. The onsite Farm Field School is perfect for those interested in learning where their food comes from. Join Master Gardener John Coykendall on an interactive walking tour of the property's on-site garden, which is jam-packed with heirloom vegetables, flowers, and herbs. Coykendall is a treasure trove of plant info, from tall tales about the garden's plant contents to time-tested methods of preserving heirloom seeds. You might even get to take a few of those seeds home with you.
Spread across 160 acres in Hobart, Ind., Broken Wagon Bison manages a herd of 70 creatures. In addition to producing bison meat, leather, hides, and unique jewelry, Broken Wagon Bison also gives visitors the chance to get up close and personal with its four-legged residents. From June 1st through September 30th, guests pile into a tractor-pulled platform for a first-hand look at what it takes to run a bison herding operation.
Palm Tree Planting
On 18 tropical acres in breezy Islamorada, Fla., The Moorings Village is a luxe coconut plantation-turned-resort located just halfway between Miami and Key West. Sadly, the property sustained a direct hit from Hurricane Irma in 2017; although it bounced back quickly, reopening in January of 2018, a huge number of its gorgeous palm trees were lost in the storm. Staff are still rebuilding the lush beachside gardens, and guests are invited to get in on the action, picking out spots for future trees and even helping to plant new ones.
In addition to posh hotels rooms and world-class golfing, The Farm at Cape Kidnappers on the banks of New Zealand's Hawke's Bay also offers a unique excursion: shepherding. Set on a 6,000-acre working sheep and beef farm, guests can watch the property's resident farm dogs "muster"—that means "round up" in shepherd talk—and see sheep get their coats shorn.
Farm stays may be the trendy vacation du jour, but Rochester, Vermont's Liberty Hill Farm has offered farm-centric, back-to-nature vacations in a charming country setting since 1984. Guests who spend the night in the inn's circa 1825 Greek Revival main building are invited to milk any of the 270 Robeth Holstein cows who call the property home, or even bottle feed some of the calves. Of course, there are plenty of kittens scurrying around to cuddle, too.
Fans of famed Boston chef Barbara Lynch take note: The chef's Stir on the Road program, which takes hungry adventurers on culinary programs around the world, is not to be missed. This year, the schedule includes a trip to Piedmont, Italy, for a White Truffle Culinary Bootcamp. Guests will get to experience a truffle hunt firsthand alongside a knowledgable trifalau, or truffle hunter, plus unforgettable meals of homemade pasta and wood-fired bread in a warm reclaimed farmhouse.
Farm Your Own Lunch
On 8.5 acres inside Maui's Waipoli misting forest, O'o Farm is the epitome of natural Hawaiian splendor, producing top-notch produce for the famed Pacific’O restaurant in the nearby city of Lahaina. Those who opt for the lunch tour are treated to a genuine farm-to-table experience: Guests are invited to pluck the ingredients for their salad—edible flowers, chocolate spearmint, raw kale, sorrel lettuce and more—and also venture into the rolling coffee fields. There, they're instructed pick a ripe coffee cherry, open it to reveal a pair of coffee beans and drink the sweet juice within.