For April vacation, we headed up to Vermont to experience their “fifth season.” The snow is melting, the rivers are raging and everything turns to mud. Everything. We settled in at Fat Sheep Farm, a unique lodging experience and working farm.
Hartland is located in Central Vermont near Woodstock and Quechee so there is loads to do in the area. Five cabins line the pasture, each with a pair of Adirondack chairs on the back porch to enjoy the view.
We were far from roughing it in the cabins, which were built in 2017. They are spacious, clean and comfortable. While they have a modern style, they look like they have always been a part of the landscape- as if they belong there.
Each cabin is unique. We were in the Lull Brook Cabin. It had a living room, kitchen, and downstairs bedroom. A spiral staircase led to a second bedroom in the loft. It was great to have some separation for the kids who all have different bedtimes. There was a large bathroom on the first floor with a full bathtub.
The cabins are open and airy. Strategically placed windows fill the space with natural light.
We were welcomed with a basket of homemade scones and fresh eggs. The kitchen was equipped with everything we needed to prepare meals and make coffee.
The owners, Suzy and Todd left city living to become organic farmers. They live on the property and are there to make guests feel welcome and have a great stay.
I actually worked with Suzy many years ago and it was great to see her. She has a daughter the same age as Lizzie and they became instant besties. Autumn told Lizzie she loved her dress. Lizzie reached out her hand to hold Autumn’s and they were off.
In the morning, Lizzie peered out of the window to see if the chickens were awake. The kids were so excited to go meet the animals.
Farm chores started at 8:00 in the morning and the kids were chomping at the bit to get up to the barn. Chores are not obligatory, but I would highly recommend taking part. We helped feed three goats and brought them out to pasture.
Next we tended to the sheep, who just had their lambs. It was so sweet how Suzy would hold a baby in her arms and the mom of that lamb would proudly stand beside her, just keeping an eye on what we were doing.
Last but not least, we headed to the coop to feed the chickens. I loved that my kids got to participate in everything. Suzy was really patient with the kids, explained what we were doing and answers the endless questions they came up with.
Their favorite activity came last- looking for eggs. They collected about 15 eggs and just when we thought we were done, a hen stood up and laid an egg right in front of us! We held the egg and couldn’t believe how warm it was.
This is why I think trips like this are so important. We are so removed from our old way of life, that there is a real disconnect from where our food comes from. If you ask kids where eggs come from, most will tell you they are from the grocery store. If we want kids to respect animals and care about their welfare, they need to know and understand them.
After chores were through, we headed back to the cabin to relax. Watching my kids run through the fields with the sun setting behind them, I realize that this is what childhood should look like… being outside, getting muddy and finding joy in simplicity.
When we first walked into our cabin, my eldest son immediately asked where the television was. I was worried he would complain about being forced to unplug, but it was never brought up again. At night, I leaned over to kiss him goodnight and as he drifted off to sleep, he whispered, “thank you for bringing me here.”
I can’t recommend a visit to Fat Sheep Farm and Cabins enough. There are pet friendly cabins that accept dogs and cats. Suzy and Todd also put on special programs that you can sign up for such as bread baking, learning to make homemade yogurt and foraging for vegetables in their organic garden to use as ingredients in your dinner. On request, they will also host a big campfire for your kids to make s’mores and tell stories.
We had such a wonderful time at Farm Sheep Farm and left with a great appreciation for the hard work that goes into organic farming.