feeding animals and gathering eggs sounds like a vacation
for you, then head for rural
Pennsylvania, Ohio or West Virginia and a farm bed-and-breakfast. Country
B&Bs have long been popular getaways for weary 9-to-5ers from the city and
But in recent years, growing numbers have found
the simplicity they seek amid the cows and crops of a working farm.
Some inns offer the opportunity to get your
hands dirty while also enjoying nature trails, herb gardens or horseback
riding. Others expect you'll be too busy golfing, fishing or taking a dip in
the hot tub or pond to do much around the farm.
Marcy Tudor, co-owner of Weatherbury Farm in
Avella, Washington County, and president of the Pennsylvania Farm Vacation
Association, notes that the rural B&B trend mirrors a steady decline in
the number of farms in the state.
'A farm B&B gives people the opportunity to
get a little taste of farm life,' she said. . . .
Marcy Tudor also treasures that contact with
her visitors. She and her husband Dale, a business analyst with Bayer Corp. in
Robinson, bought a 100-acre Washington County farm in 1986. Planning to offer
a place of peace "Far From the Madding Crowd," they borrowed the
name Weatherbury Farm from that Thomas Hardy novel. They also named their farm
animals after characters from Dickens and Shakespeare.
Their 1870s house has two guest rooms, each
with a private bath. The remodeled summer kitchen has two more rooms, and the
Tudors are working to add more. Several years ago, they dismantled and
transported a 100-year-old barn to their property from elsewhere in the
Working with their son, Nigel, and local
carpenters, they are converting it to what they call the livery stable, with
three suites and a handicapped-accessible guest room. Nigel, 19, is an
architectural blacksmith and is building the stair railings.
"We've had some delays but hope it will
open soon," Marcy Tudor said.
Young guests like to help feed the farm's
menagerie -- 25 cows, 25 calves, a dozen sheep, three geese, half a dozen
ducks, a dozen Guinea hens and a lamb named Little Nell that's fed with a
Marcy Tudor, a master gardener, dreams of
building a greenhouse to grow plants and share some with the public. She and
her husband also hope to organize an annual festival that will feature folk
art, folk music and perhaps demonstrations and workshops by local artisans.
The Tudors are always thinking of ways to
improve their award-winning B&B. In 1994, they helped organize the
Pennsylvania Farm Vacation Association. (ed note: the association was formed
in 1963, in 1994, Marcy Tudor was elected president and developed a business
plan to promote the association.) Each of its 26 members has been
inspected and received a clean water certificate. The association has its own
Web site, www.pafarmstay.com, as
does each B&B. "