It’s summertime—vacation season. While some might spend it at the beach, others decide it’s the perfect time to travel. If you’re still waiting for the right moment to buy a farm of your own, why not spend your getaway at a farmstay?
During our research of various U.S. farms that open their doors to guests, we discovered there are just too many fantastic farms to choose from. How could we compare fruit and vegetable farms with animal-based farms? And what about the ones who had both? Our answer? Narrow it down to one feature. Of course, we zeroed in on one of our favorite farm animals: goats.
Here’s our list of five fantastic goat farms to visit during your summer vacation.
1. CornerStone Farm, Red Oak, Va.
Courtesy CornerStone Farm
Open year-round, CornerStone farm offers the beauty of the Virginian landscape as it changes each season. There’s a tranquility to the scenery of the farm. All you have to do is go, sit on the wrap-around porch or perhaps by the pond and take it in. CornerStone boasts a menagerie of animals, including horses and ponies, miniature Sicilian donkeys, Miniature Jersey cattle, alpacas, poultry, Barbados Blackbelly and Dorper sheep. And, of course, they have goats.
Guests can choose from the Farmer or Farmhand Packages, which include Farmer Certificates for children to help out on the farm. Guest farmers can milk goats, taste the cheese made from that milk and even feed the kids.
We chose this farm for this unique activity: goat packing. This activity allows guests to go on a hike without having to carry all their gear themselves.
“The guests that take Aquilla for a goat-pack picnic lunch find this amazing,” says Barb Halligan, co-owner of CornerStone Farm. “Having a goat pack everything for them so they are basically hands-free hiking and then having a quiet lunch with Aquilla nearby grazing; guests just find it fascinating. Guests help me saddle Aquilla up and then hike into our small 40 acres of forest to enjoy a family or romantic lunch along our hiking trails.”
It’s often the highlight of their guests’ stay, Halligan says.
For more information on CornerStone Farm, visit their website.
2. The Emerson House at Asgaard Farm, Au Sable Forks, N.Y.
Courtesy Asgaard Farm
The Emerson House, built in the 1930s, is a home away from home. Spend a weekend, or perhaps longer, in a two-bedroom farmhouse any time of year, where you are unencumbered by technology (there is no telephone or television). Take advantage of the amenities the house does offer (full bath, laundry facilities and the freedom of not staying at a hotel). Enjoy family time and partake in helping out with the goats on the farm. The farm includes 48 Alpine, Nubian and Saanen milking does. Or have a romantic getaway, making use of the outdoor shower, barbecue grill and alfresco dining area.
The highlight of the Asgaard Farm is the Farm Store. Open Thursdays and Saturdays, the shop is full of goat-lovers’ delights. Guests can taste a variety of cheeses made from the milk of the farm’s goats (fresh chevre in various flavors, fet.a.ccompli, barkeater buche, whiteface mountain and au sable valley tome) and caramels. (Sea-salt caramels tend to be a favorite of guests.) Guests may also choose soap made from goat’s milk. Scents include natural, lavender, oatmeal and honey, gardener’s soap and farmer’s soap.
Head out to the Emerson House, milk the goats and experience the many uses of goat’s milk.
To learn more about The Emerson House at Asgaard Farm, visit their website.
3. Lost City Goats, Lost River, West Virginia
Courtesy Lost City Goats
With the George Washington National Forest just a short walk away, the Lost City Farmhouse is an ideal place to stay for hikers, nature lovers and goat lovers alike. Although it has been renovated, there’s a ruggedness to the farmhouse. Hardwood floors and antique fixtures are staples throughout the three-bedroom house. There’s even a gas cast-iron stove. The décor provides a charming country feel, and the views of the mountains are breathtaking.
While the scenery is gorgeous, Lost City Goats also invites visitors to interact with their goats—even take one home! If you’re interested in purchasing a goat, but are unsure of where to get one or how much work they might be, come visit this farm. Sometimes experiencing firsthand what it’s like to take care of a goat (or two or three) will sway you one way or the other. Maybe you’ll discover you were wrong and you’d rather not own a goat. But perhaps you were right all along—you love goats and must have them on your farm! At Lost City Goats you can “test drive” being a goat farmer and purchase one if you’re so inclined.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Lost City Goats, visit their website.
4. SleepyGoat Farm, Pelham, N.C.
Courtesy Sleepy Goat Farm
What more could you ask for than to stay in a spacious-yet-private, fully-equipped apartment? Situated on a lush, green landscape, the apartment has panoramic views of SleepyGoat Farm. Watch the kids cavort in the kid field, join in feeding them or help milk the other goats. Maybe you’re just there to relax—that’s fine too! Watching the goats play can be just as entertaining. Take a walk, go on a bike ride or hang out with family or friends on this lovely farm.
“This year we have had a lot of guests stay in the separate apartment attached to the main farm house and the guests get to have fresh milk, eggs and some samples of our cheeses,” says Karen Nooruddin from SleepyGoat Farm.
Whatever your activities consist of, we suggest taking their cheese-making class. If you love to cook, like I do, this is a must. Find out firsthand how goat milk is turned into delicious cheese—and taste the result!
“I’d say that our cheese making class 101 is very popular,” Nooruddin says. “Every Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. we have free cheese-tasting, too.”
The cheese tasting takes place at their at their SleepyGotique store, which has items from around the world, along with cheeses, jams and various other products.
Always wanted to learn to make cheese? Be sure to visit SleepyGoat Farm. For details, visit their website.
5. Lucky Goat Family Farm, Big Sur, Calif.
Courtesy Lucky Goat Family Farm
For anyone who’s never been to Big Sur, it’s worth a visit. The Santa Lucia Mountains are greeted by the Pacific Ocean—a gorgeous site as you drive across Bixby Bridge. Big Sur offers various activities, including hiking, shopping and art gallery visits, as well as a several charming restaurants—anything from pizza and burgers to coastal farm-to-table delights. And with farm-fresh food available at the restaurants, why not spend your time in Big Sur on a farm?
Although it’s the priciest stay on our list (rates start at $500 per night), we couldn’t resist including it because of its culinary activities. Sure, you can milk goats and make goat cheese here, too, but they also offer the opportunity to learn how to cook seasonal goat cheese recipes—a must for any goat farmer who would like a variety of options for his or her goat cheese. The tasty meals are paired with wine (hot chocolate for the children), which in this writer’s opinion is the perfect combination. Enjoy the communal aspect of a gourmet farm meal in gorgeous Big Sur.
To find out more, visit the Lucky Goat Family Farm Facebook page.
If you want to find other farm stays with goats go to the Farm Stay US website and use the Advanced Search.
Do you have a favorite goat farm that’s not on our list? Tell us about it in the comments.
Love goats? Learn more about them on HobbyFarms.com:
- 25 of the Most Adorable Baby Goats You’ve Ever Seen!
- Raising Dairy Goats for Milk
- 3 Common Goat Myths
- Angora Goats: Equipment and Shearing
- 7 Ways to Get Your Farm Ready for Baby Goats