What do you like to do during your travels? Do you travel to relax, have an adrenaline-pumping adventure, or perhaps to try something new? I am a traveler that wants to experience a bit of everything while traveling, but I’ll be the first to admit that a farm stay wasn’t the first experience to come to mind.
Scottie Jones and her husband Greg changed my mind completely when I visited Leaping Lamb Farm.
Scottie and Greg moved from Arizona to Oregon in 2003 for a change of pace. With no prior experience or background, they bought a farm. They tested out a few different ways to make the farm profitable. Eventually, they landed on an unconventional idea: farm stays. Visitors have the option to stay in their beautiful 5-bedroom, 3-bathroom farm house or a two-bedroom, 1-bathroom farm cottage. Guests will experience farm life and tend to the farm and animals firsthand during their stay.
Scottie isn’t just popularizing farm stays with Leaping Lamb Farm. She’s the founder of U.S. Farm Stay Association, which helps guests connect with farm and ranch stays all over the U.S. It’s kind of like Airbnb for farms, but the mission is to help travelers get off the grid, feel more connected to the food they eat and develop an appreciation for rural life. Rustic travel experiences are not so common these days, but my visit to Leaping Lamb sparked an interest in traveling mindfully and feeling more connected to the places I stay.
Michael and I had the unique opportunity to stay at Leaping Lamb Farm over the summer when we visited Oregon with the Willamette Valley Visitors Association. We stayed in the charming farm cottage, which was so cozy that I didn’t want to leave! With soft Pendleton blankets hanging from the walls, an electric fireplace, fresh milk and hand-picked eggs in the fridge, and homemade bread in our own kitchen, the cottage offered more than what I could have ever imagined. The newly renovated main farm house is just as tastefully decorated and ideal for group stays. I’d love to bring a group of friends back to Leaping Lamb for a farm stay weekend and stay in that big house! It would be such a fun alternative to the group camping trips we organize.
Scottie, Greg, and their staff of three are busy around the clock from the minute they wake up. We awoke early to feed the chickens, turkey, and peacock and gather eggs for breakfast. We also fed horses, Paco the farm donkey, and some baby lambs and goat kids! Lastly, we let the animals out of the barn to graze in the fields and walked the farm grounds. Scottie pointed out tiny, imaginative “fairy houses” built by a previous farm worker in the forest and showed us the vegetables that were ready to be picked from the garden.
I might be from rural Connecticut, but these farm activities were all a first for me. Farm living is in stark contrast to the city life I’ve grown used to living in New York City, Madrid, and San Francisco, but I couldn’t get enough of it at Leaping Lamb. And Michael was right at home; the farm stay reminded him of summers on his grandparents’ farm in upstate New York.
We didn’t do the real dirty work like shoveling manure, but it was an option if we wanted. Scottie and Greg will provide their guests with a wide spectrum of farming tasks based on guests’ preferences. Right off the bat, this made me feel that a farm stay would be an ideal trip for a family to educate kids during a relaxing getaway.
Leaping Lamb Farm was my first farm stay experience and it was so luxurious (but not pretentious) that it really set the bar. More importantly, there is a lot to be said about a family that picks up and moves across the country to learn how to live a simpler life and offers a unique experience to others.
To learn more about Scottie Jones and her journey to farm life, visit Leaping Lamb Farm, or read her book, Country Grit.
Challenge yourself to take a new kind of trip. Go on a farm stay!