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Want to get your hands dirty and learn some new skills while having a good time on vacation? The agritourism industry has been growing over the past decade, resulting in plenty of options for anyone who wants a farm-oriented getaway. If you’re searching for a unique destination that might just transform your life, these ideas are sure to fit the bill.
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Conveniently located near Albuquerque, the Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm is a 25-acre organic farm that offers monthly cooking classes and serves transcendent Field to Fork dinners on its sweeping portico that overlooks the Sandia Mountains. Just two miles from Rio Grande Nature Center State Park and four miles from Old Town, you’ll enjoy breakfast featuring organic fare, a fitness center and an outdoor saltwater pool. Some rooms boast kiva fireplaces and patios.
Just 40 minutes from Lexington, Shaker Village will help you learn everything you need to know to get started with beekeeping. Guests will meet the buzzy inhabitants and learn about the honeybee lifecycle and pest management, as well as find out how to set up their own hives at home. There are also options to spend time with the resident horses, working steers, chickens and more. Rates include a beekeeping workshop, complimentary admission to Shaker Village, a box lunch, and one voucher redeemable for 20% off dining at the Trustees’ Table.
Hidden Villa is a Spanish-style estate that sits on 1,600 acres of land in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. It’s been hosting farm field trips and camps for decades, offering classes on everything from making cheese and sausage to milking cows. Owned by the Duveneck family, it’s a nonprofit with funds used solely to maintain the land. Guided tours are offered that will bring you around the trails of the estate, school programs and weekend classes, as well as summer camps for kids. There’s no Internet access or even cell phone service, but by staying you’ll not only learn some new skills but get a glimpse of what life was like before all those electronic gadgets with accommodation in a rustic bunk-bedded cabin or the picturesque Josephine’s Retreat, a bright little cottage accessed by a small trail through the woods.
The hen-butchering classes on this remote Lummi Island farm will provide a whole new perspective on dinner. It was started to feed the growing desire to see where food comes from, teaching participants how to process chickens, meaning slaughter and clean, as many people have decided to own the birds but they just aren’t sure what to do with them. Accommodation includes rooms like the Farmhouse which has a queen bed, a private deck and a walk-in double shower with full steam, including options for refreshing lemon, grapefruit or eucalyptus steam.
If you want to learn all about wine, with everything from picking grapes to sipping, Fulkerson Winery in the Finger Lakes region of New York is ideal. During the fall harvest, guests can pick their own grapes, like Pinot Noir, Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and more, from the vineyards that surround the property’s historic mid-19th-century farmhouse which sits on the shores of Seneca Lake. Afterward, learn how to make wine and beer from the knowledgeable on-site staff.
Tucked among 4,200 acres in Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains, the Blackberry Farm offers the ultimate back-to-nature luxury retreat. It hosts the Farm Field School for those who want to know more about where their food comes from, with Master Gardener John Coykendall leading interactive walking tours of the on-site garden, which is filled with herbs, flowers and heirloom vegetables. Extremely knowledgeable, he can answer all your questions about plants, from what’s in the garden to the property’s time-tested methods of preserving heirloom seeds. Luxurious accommodations include sweeping views and all sorts of comforts like plush robes and high-end amenities.
Traditional cattle drives show guests what it was like to be a cowboy 100 years ago at Vy6 Ranch, which was inspired by the film City Slickers. Guests take part in three-day cattle drives and learn what it takes to raise grass-fed beef. Gain a working knowledge of gathering, moving and sorting cattle while enjoying a unique and scenic landscape in central California. You can also develop new riding skills and techniques while staying at the remote Mustang Camp, with breakfast and dinner provided at the V6 Chuck Wagon dining area. Packed lunches are offered for eating out on the trail.
The Farm at Cape Kidnappers is renowned for its luxurious rooms and world-class golfing, set along the banks of Hawke’s Bay in New Zealand. But it also offers guests the chance to join in on a unique excursion: shepherding. As it sits on a 6,000-acre working sheep and beef farm, guests can watch the resident farm dogs round up the sheep and witness the animals getting their coats shorn. The sprawling property has its own vegetable garden which provides the ingredients for many of the dishes on the menu, like New Zealand lamb and beef. It also hosts a gym, heated infinity pool and an 18-hole championship golf course.