Going ‘down home on the farm’ means great family fun

Ami Neiberger-Miller

via The Yellow Barn at Shenandoah Caverns

Our area is filled with opportunities to enjoy “down home fun” on the farm. There’s an abundance of “pick your own” places, but many agritourism businesses are rapidly expanding, offering live entertainment, tours, and fun recreational activities. Here’s a selection of regional attractions. To find out seasonal hours, and what activities are offered, check their websites.

 

MARYLAND

Carroll County Farm Museum

500 S. Center St., Westminster, Md.

410-386-3880, carrollcountyfarmmuseum.org

The farm museum shows life in early America with an original 1700s log barn, smokehouse, broom shop, saddlery, springhouse, wagon shed, firehouse, one-room schoolhouse, farmhouse, and a general store. Costumed guides transport you and your family through history to a bygone era.

 

Clark’s Elioak Farm

10500 Clarksville Pike, Ellicott City, Md.

410-730-4049, clarklandfarm.com

This is a rootin’ tootin’ good time on the farm. Enjoy the petting zoo, cow train, hayrides, and pony rides. Attractions from a bygone amusement park, fondly known as the Enchanted Forest, have moved to the farm, giving it a magical fairy tale quality. See the Cinderella pumpkin coach, Mother Goose and her gosling, the Old Woman’s shoe, the house of the Three Little Pigs, a castle, and much more. Venture into the Pine Tree Maze and spot children’s storybook favorites. You can also pick up produce, eggs, meat, and other goodies in the farm store to take home.

 

Howard County Living Farm Heritage Museum

12985 Frederick Road, West Friendship, Md.

410-489-2345, farmheritage.org

Learn how to plow with a mule-led team, see antique tractors and threshing machines in action, enjoy libations while listening to bluegrass music, see a Wild West show, and tour the museum. The museum has 6 miles of nature trails available for hiking, biking, horseback riding, picnics, educational walks, and more.

Misty Meadow Farm Creamery

14325 Misty Meadow Road, Smithsburg, Md.

Misty Meadow Farm Creamery
Misty Meadow Farm Creamery

301-824-2112, mistymeadowsfarmcreamery.com

This family farm operation makes a variety of flavors of ice cream on site. Tour the dairy, meet the barnyard animals, take a wagon ride around the farm, play on the pedal tractors and in the play area with your kids, and enjoy wholesome cheese, yogurt, or bottled milk. The country store offers toys and gifts, as well as dairy products to take home. In the fall, visit the corn maze and pumpkin patch.

 

Old Maryland Farm

301 Watkins Park Drive, Upper Marlboro, Md.

301-218-6770, pgparks.com

Old Maryland Farm is part of the popular Prince George’s County Watkins Regional Park. Little ones enjoy learning about chickens, ducks, llamas, sheep, and ponies. Hayrides and farm demonstrations are offered. A short walk from the farm is a popular miniature train ride (yes, you can ride the rails!), an antique carousel, miniature golf, and overnight camping.

 

Oxon Cove Park and Oxon Hill Farm

6411 Oxon Hill Road, Oxon Hill, Md.

301-839-1176, nps.gov/oxhi

A National Park Service site and once an 1812-era plantation, Oxon Hill shows willing farmhands how to do the daily work of an early American farm. Visitors can milk cows, feed chickens, and churn butter. Try the activity area for kids in the barn.

Other events include story reading, scavenger hunts, wagon rides, and cider pressing. Biking and hiking trails are also available.

 

South Mountain Creamery

8305 Bolivar Road, Middletown, Md.

301-371-8565, southmountaincreamery.com

Tour the dairy, watch the cows being milked, meet the new calves, or visit during feeding time. This fully functioning dairy farm supplies dairy products to more than 9,000 households in the Washington metro area. Guided one-hour tours are available.

A children’s play area and picnic pavilion are offered. Stop in Karen’s Kountry Store for snacks and ice cream.

 

VIRGINIA

Back Home on the Farm

2915 Willow Run Road, Harrisonburg, Va.

540-442-6493, backhome-onthefarm.com

These farmers want to share their love of the land and their animals with anyone who wants to visit. A butterfly conservatory, greenhouse, and a fully restored antique carousel are unique features.

You can also enjoy a country tea, visit the children’s play area, go through the lavender maze, or enter the rubber ducky races. In the fall, there’s a cornfield maze, pig races, and other activities.

 

Claude Moore Colonial Farm

6310 Georgetown Pike, McLean, Va.

703-442-7557, new.1771.org

Stroll through this living history museum, where you can see how people lived in the 17th century. Costumed interpreters are in character and will demonstrate how farm work was done 300 years ago. There are cattle, chickens, geese, and hogs on the property. Workshops are offered year round in a variety of topics and guests can pitch in with the work of the farm, helping harvest tobacco, wheat, or rye when the plants are ready.

 

Cows N Corn

Cows n' Corn
Cows n’ Corn

5225 Catlett Road, Midland, Va.

540-439-4806, cows-n-corn.com

This Fauquier County farm can teach you all about cows, thanks to its 100-plus herd of Holsteins. Your little ones can enjoy a ride on the cow train, and the entire family can take a hayride. The “Moo Bounce” and puppet shows offer lots of fun, and you can even make and taste your own butter. Incredible corn mazes and more fun are found here in the fall.

 

Frying Pan Farm Park

2709 W. Ox Road, Herndon, Va.

703-437-9101, fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/fryingpanpark

You’ll find antique tractors, a blacksmith’s forge, a smokehouse, a dairy, and a kitchen garden at the Kidwell Farm, which interprets farm life from the 1920s through the 1950s. In addition to wagon rides, a carousel, and farmyard animals, there’s a country store with local produce and homemade baked goods.

 

Great Country Farms and Bluemont Vineyard

18780 Foggy Bottom Road, Bluemont, Va.

540-554-2073, greatcountryfarms.com

Kids love to find their way through this farm’s mazes, bounce on its giant jumping pillow, and slip down its enormous slides. You can also pick produce, feed the farm animals, play miniature golf, picnic with your dog, and go fishing in a catch-and-release pond. Enjoy a wagon or cow train ride, romp in a classic corn bin, climb on a variety of playsets, and make your move with a giant chess set. Visit the Roosteraunt concession stand for barbecue, freshly baked pies, cider donuts, and ice cream. A glass of wine at the Bluemont Vineyard can be found just across the road.

 

Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum

21668 Heritage Farm Lane, Sterling, Va.

571-258-3800, heritagefarmmuseum.org

Explore a general store and grandma’s kitchen (pre-World War I), and be a farmer for a day on the children’s farm. Travel through time to meet 10 generations of county residents who left their mark on the land. There are numerous events throughout the year, including Tractorpalooza, Bunny Bonanza, the Princess for a Day ice cream social, and the apple festival. The museum gift shop offers beautiful handmade clothing for 18-inch dolls, as well as wooden trucks and tractors and gifts for adults.

 

Posey Thisisit Llama Farm

754 Harrisville Road, Toms Brook, Va.

540-436-3517, poseythisisitllamas.com

This 27-acre farm in the northern Shenandoah Valley invites visits with the llamas and demonstrates wool dyeing at select times during July and August. Wool-producing sheep also are on the farm, along with their wool, yarn, and wool products.

 

Ticonderoga Farms

26469 Ticonderoga Road, Chantilly, Va.

703-327-4424, ticonderoga.com

Part of the National Botanic Garden, Ticonderoga Farms offers amazing farm fun with cow train rides, slides, a jumping pillow, special festivals, a tot lot, and an animal petting area. Ticonderoga has the longest swinging bridge in Virginia at 143 feet and the largest bamboo garden in the United States. Popular events include the Fig Festival in the summer and the Fall Festival, which includes hayrides and pumpkin picking.

The Yellow Barn at Shenandoah Caverns

261 Caverns Road, Shenandoah Caverns, Va.

via The Yellow Barn at Shenandoah Caverns
via The Yellow Barn at Shenandoah Caverns

888-4CAVERN, shenandoahcaverns.com

Located just off Exit 269 of I-81, the Yellow Barn is on the grounds of Shenandoah Caverns and includes a working beehive that visitors can watch through plexiglass. The Yellow Barn also features restored antique farm wagons, carriages, and a 25-foot tobacco press, among other memorabilia of rural life. Regular country music concerts are part of the scene.

 

PENNSYLVANIA

The Amish Village

2395 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster, Pa.

717-394-6185, amishfarmandhouse.com

Experience Amish life with tours of a farmhouse, a one-room schoolhouse, a blacksmith shop, a smokehouse market, and farm animals. A large picnic area invites you to bring a lunch and take break from the frenzy of modern life. You can also take a 90-minute narrated Backroads Tour that includes a stop at an Amish business.

 

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm

150 Cherry Hill Road, Ronks, Pa.

717-687-6843, cherrycrestfarm.com

This country fair-themed park and education center features farm animals, a beehive observation area, corn maze, wagon rides, pedal carts, and a baby chick hatchery. There are a host of farm-related attractions and activities, including slides, an obstacle course, a jumping pillow, and much more. The Strasburg Railroad even makes a stop here, and there’s a wealth of food options on site.

 

Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum

2451 Kissel Hill Road, Lancaster, Pa.

717-569-0401, landisvalleymuseum.org

This living history village and farm transports you through time to a bygone era in Pennsylvania Dutch history. Stroll the streets of the village and hear costumed interpreters explain crafts and handiwork from the 19th century. Farm equipment displays show how the Industrial Revolution helped farmers increase production. Many local inventions and developments and American farm technology are on display

 

DELAWARE

Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village

866 N. Dupont Highway, Dover, Del.

302-734-1618, agriculturalmuseum.org

Take a wagon ride while viewing the many picturesque and historic farm buildings throughout the property. Meet the chickens and a delightful 75-pound potbelly pig named Lulu. Enjoy a self-guided tour of the grounds and see the huge model train layout that demonstrates the historic importance of the agricultural community and railroads in Delaware. You won’t want to miss the art exhibits and gift shop.

 

Lavender Fields

18864 Cool Spring Road, Milton, Del.

302-684-1514, lavenderfieldsde.com

See the nearly 3,000 lavender plants, enjoy honey from the bee hives, and walk in gardens devoted to native wildflowers, bees and butterflies, dahlias, and hostas. Homemade soaps are popular in the shop here. In addition, enjoy a walk through a labyrinth that offers a half-mile meditative journey. It is modeled after one in the Chartres Cathedral in France.

 

WEST VIRGINIA

Farm Discovery Center

1003 Blackwater Lodge Road, Davis, W.Va.

304-259-5611, mountaintrailrides.com/farmdiscovery.html

Located inside Blackwater Falls State Park, the center introduces visitors to farm activities, such as milking a mechanical cow, and features exhibits of agricultural tools. The center seeks to educate new generations about where food comes from and the agricultural heritage of the region. This summer, Ben McKean, from Healthberry Farm, is offering biweekly presentations on honey bee biology and beekeeping in West Virginia. Horseback riding, a petting zoo, and adventure cave are nearby.

 

Follow the Fields of Gold Farm Trail for fun

The Fields of Gold Farm Trail in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley lets you explore working farms, pick your own fruit in orchards, enjoy wine tastings, and experience the fresh tastes of farm markets and farm-to-table restaurants.

Check out fieldsofgold.org for venues, maps, details on what’s ripe for picking, and events throughout the valley.

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