Looking for a real, dirty, hands on farm stay around Lancaster
March 17, 2014 5:42 PM   Subscribe

We are spending spring break in and around Lancaster, PA. We have some plans in mind (Gettysburg, buggy tours, pretzels and chocolate and markets and a candlelight walking tour) but what would really make our kid happy is a farm stay...a muck-out-the-stalls, frolic with baby goats, pitch some hay kind of place. All we can find is the gather eggs for breakfast/petting zoo kind and while there's nothing wrong with that, we were hoping for a bit more. We've been to East Hill Farm in NH, which is more like what we're looking for--and which lets me know that these types of places do exist. Any ideas? They would be much appreciated!
posted by aimeedee to Travel & Transportation around Lancaster, PA (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Farmers do talk to each other. Even though I don't know if what you're looking for in PA, I bet if you asked the farm you loved in NH, they could probably point you in the right direction.
posted by bilabial at 6:06 PM on March 17, 2014

I wonder if there would be any leads in the local organic/ sustainable/ buy local farm scene. Or possibly contact the Lancaster or York Co. 4-H.
posted by sepviva at 7:40 PM on March 17, 2014

Best answer: You might look into WWOOFing. I'm not familiar with the gather eggs / petting zoo type of farm stay. WWOOF farms will expect you to do several hours of actual work each day, since it's what pays for your visit.

Not all are kid-friendly, but I see several on the map near Lancaster, so you have a good chance of finding a suitable one.
posted by sibilatorix at 7:51 PM on March 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

There are a number of farm stays in Lancaster County listed here. While the heading from the tourist agency does mention "milking cows, collecting eggs, chasing baby chicks and learning about life on the farm," perhaps if you contacted some of them on the list individually, they might let you be more involved in farm chores.
posted by apartment dweller at 7:51 PM on March 17, 2014

The Eby Farm Bed and Breakfast [Gordonville] writeup specifically mentions "You may milk a cow, feed a calf, gather eggs and play with the kid goats."
posted by apartment dweller at 8:00 PM on March 17, 2014

Try www.featherdown.com
Haven't stayed at one myself, but I've heard of them, and it sounds right up your alley!
posted by jrobin276 at 12:26 AM on March 18, 2014

You might be able to get a lead through the Lancaster Farmland Trust. They obviously know a lot of local farmers, including Old Order Amish who might otherwise be hard to contact.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:02 AM on March 18, 2014

Hearty second for WWOOFing - I came in to recommend it and it's exactly the approach and attitude you're looking for here.
posted by kalapierson at 10:44 AM on March 18, 2014

Response by poster: Great ideas here...am tracking them all down. Eby Farm is one that looks good but once on the phone with them, not what we had hoped for...featherdown looks amazing but out of our budget and seems only to be in Illinois. Wwoofusa does absolutely look right up our alley. I am waiting to hear back from them. Will also contact 4-H and the land trust although the websites look less promising. But thank you for such out-of-the-box ideas. I love this place.
posted by aimeedee at 7:18 PM on March 18, 2014

This one, Weatherbury Farm, is in PA but very far out of your way (it's near Pittsburgh), but perhaps they might know of someplace similar near where you are staying? (I think my search term was 'farm home stay')

Also this 2012 article, Make yourself at home at a Lancaster PA farm, may generate some leads.
posted by apartment dweller at 10:37 AM on March 20, 2014

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