Down on the Farm Stay Rest, Relaxation and Roosters in Pennsylvania Dutch Country BY LILI DEBARBIERI ••••••••••••••• Olde Fogie Farm Bed & Breakfast (below and right) lets guests try their hand at farm life.
ndependent farming in the U.S. is now the exception rather than the rule. So the "farm stay"-visiting a farm overnight and participating in farm life-has an adventurous allure for city dwellers. There are many of these hands-on bed-and-breakfasts throughout Pennsylvania Dutch Country. One can learn about the traditions of the region and support local, organically grown agriculture without sacrificing on comfort or convenience. Olde Fogie Farm Bed & Breakfast Inn, roughly 45 minutes from the tourist hubs of Bird in Hand and Intercourse, is located between sleepy Maytown and Marietta in Central Pennsylvania. After a warm greeting by owners Tom and Biz Fogie and two wildly energetic dogs, I settled into the chicken coop suite. A family operation, Olde Fogie is small enough to feel intimate, yet offers privacy and amenities comparable to any commercial establishment. Antique furnishings, hand-painted artwork and an eclectic assortment of decorations create a distinctive theme in each guest room. The coop's fully equipped private kitchen adds
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to an overall effect of relative luxury. Even a masseuse is available upon request. On the night of my arrival, my first order of business was diving into the delicious, stream-fed pool with a cascading waterfall and fish so tame you could pet them. Rejuvenated by the icy water, I retired to the gazebo to take in the sunset, the twinkling fireflies and the goat kids returning from pasture. The next morning began like a typical day on any farm-with a rooster as an alarm clock. The optional farm chores consisted of bottle-feeding calves, milking goats, collecting freshly laid eggs, feeding chickens and turkeys and grooming the Vietnamese pig. As a thank-you, typically hostile llamas were trained to kiss the guests. After a sumptuous country breakfast of pancakes with blueberries, walnuts, baked apples and newly gathered eggs, I was free to wander around the fields. Oats, barley, corn, onions, tomatoes and cabbage are just some of the organically grown crops that nourish the animals and guests. Olde Fogie's ecologically sound practices also extend to composting, energy conservation and the use of natural decoys. "We were farming organically before anyone knew what it was," Biz said. "Our neighbors thought Tom sprayed the fields at night in secret. If plants and soil are unhealthy, pests move in. But when your land is healthy, this just isn't a problem." CONTACTS: A Lancaster, PA, Farm Stay, www.afarmstay.com; Olde Fogie Farm Bed & Breakfast Inn, (717)4263992, www.oldefogiefarm.com. I])
LILI DEBARBIERI is a freelance travel and environmental writer.