Love farm-to-table? You can’t handle this farm-to-table! (Actually, you can, and you really should.) That’s right, we found a super family-friendly vacation at a real, live working farm, complete with pastoral vistas, home cookin’, your own private cottage and more cute animals than you can shake a stick at. Plus: actual farm work the kids will love. (Your toddler can milk a cow. Need we say more?)
photo: via Hull-O Farms Facebook page
Welcome to Hull-O Farms!
Looking like something straight out of one of your kids’ story books, Hull-O Farms is located in a beautiful area of the Catskills, about a two hour drive from New York City. The farm itself has been in the Hull family for over 200 years, and seven generations. The Hulls — Farmer Frank and his wife Sherry (you’ll think of her as a second mom by the time you leave) head the daily operations of the farm with their sons, and have been welcoming guests to be part of the family for 22 years. (The duo has dubbed the visits, “Family Farm-stay Vacations.”)
There may not be a pool or beach here, but this is an actual working farm and your family will get to join the ranks of farm hands during your stay. At the center of the farm is a picture-perfect white farmhouse surrounded by a barn and rolling fields filled with farm animals. At any given time, you may happen upon a calf, kitten or sheep, to name a few of the properties’ four-legged inhabitants.
photo: milking a cow via Caitlin Dowling
When we say “working farm” we mean it (in a good way of course!). Upon check-in, visitors are given a schedule for their stay. The main chore of newbie farmhands (that’s you) is to feed the animals, which eat twice a day: once in the morning and again in the early evening. Rest assured, this will quickly become the highlight of your little farmer’s day, and you will probably like it, too. (The calves and goats need milk, the chickens and pigs need feed, and the bunnies need their grass and hay.)
photo: feeding a calf via Caitlin Dowling
After having your own breakfast it’s time to hit the chicken coop to collect eggs. Don’t worry if your less than delicate two-year-old breaks an egg, consider it a rite of passage.
photo: chicken coop via Caitlin Dowling
Don’t worry, in between chores there’s plenty of downtime for relaxing or a day trip. However, if the family gets really into it, there’s always something to do to keep the farm running. Visiting and snuggling with the kittens and bunnies is also always an option — yet another Kodak moment at Hull-O.
photo: bunnies on the farm via Caitlin Dowling
Food: Come and Get It!
Yes, Sherry Hull really does ring a big old dinner bell when it’s time to eat (regardless of the meal). Make sure you come hungry because she’s is going to make sure you get your fill of her home cooking, and it’s likely you’ll want seconds and thirds.
photo: breakfast on the farm via Caitlin Dowling
Meals are served in the farmhouse dining room and it’s a communal affair with all the other guests. Expect homey dishes and ingredients like farm fresh eggs, sausage and pancakes for breakfast and homemade lasagna, roast beef, fresh vegetables, homemade pie and brownies for dinner and dessert. For those picky eaters in the family, there are also kid meals upon request. Breakfast and dinner are served daily and included in your stay.
If you like what you’re eating, the farm sells products to take back home, including pancake mix, farm eggs, and fresh meats.
After a fun day on the farm, your family will return to its own private country home. Hull-O farm has three different houses available for rent, which range in size from two- to four- bedrooms, all of which are outfitted with bathrooms and full kitchens.
Prices vary depending on the day and season, and rates start at $250 for a four person family in the winter and spring and increase during the more popular summer months. Sheets and towels and soap are provided, but consider this similar to a B&B stay, so make sure to pack your own toiletries and other necessities. There are stores within driving distance if you forget to bring something, but remember, you’re in the country and there isn’t a 24-hour Duane Reade on the corner.
photo: Gifford House via Hull-O Farms
More Fun on the Farm, in All Season
As if the animals weren’t enough, Hull-O Farms offers more opportunities for additional country fun. Spend your free time fishing in the pond, cruising the fields on a hayride, or spinning on tire swings. And you can expect a good old fashion bonfire party at least one night of your stay, complete with the making of s’mores.
At the end of summer, a corn maze is open where you can go ‘get lost’, and in the fall, visitors can check out the pumpkin patch.
photo: via Zoom Flume Water Park
Local Attractions Beyond the Farm
During the afternoon you’re encouraged to get out and explore. If you do nothing else, go for a simple drive and enjoy the beautiful landscapes of the Catskills. While you’re out cruising consider stopping in to one of these popular local spots.
Zoom Flume Water Park
During the summer months, you may want a way to cool down. Right down the road is a waterpark filled with slides and pools where families with kids of all ages can make a splash.
photo: Howe Caverns via Caitlin Dowling
A scenic 45 minute drive from the farm is Howe Caverns. Take an elevator 156 feet below the Earth’s surface to explore a prehistoric underground cavern six million years in the making; you even a short boat ride as part of the tour. (Tip: it gets cold that far below the Earth’s surface, so even in the summer, bring a sweatshirt.)
10 Cochrane Rd.
Durham, NY 12422
Has your family ever taken a farm vacation? Let us know in the comments below!