|As reported by Sarah Crump , in the
The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) August 17, 2008:
"Delaney Butzine vigorously filled a jug
from an old pump, held bottles for two fuzzy lambs, doled out fistfuls of
cracked corn for a half dozen sheep, emptied and refilled water bowls for three
goats, stroked a chick and searched chicken coop nests. She reached under the
fluff of two hens for the 14 eggs she carefully placed in a bucket that she
carried to the kitchen.
It was all in a day's work -
actually her "chores" took about an hour - for a kid
vacationing at Weatherbury Farm, a Pennsylvania farm that
incorporates an opportunity to help around the barnyard with
a bed-and-breakfast stay.
After delivering the eggs,
Delaney, 4, was ready for a swim. Behind a gazebo, near a
garden where corn and squash grow, she splashed in a
kidney-shaped pool. When she arrived the day before, she
couldn't wait to chase the several kittens playing near a
table and chairs under a tree.
"I can't remember the last time
I saw a kitten," Delaney's mother, Teresa Pugliese, sighed
as she watched her excited child run around the shady back
An account manager for a
Pittsburgh technology firm, Pugliese grew up on a 35-acre
farm. She brought her daughter to spend a relaxed three days
amid hayfields and pastures to fill a gap in the
"I feel bad that she hasn't
had the exposure to animals that I had," said Pugliese, 42,
who liked helping her mom clean the chicken coop. Truth be
told, the rural vacation is ideal for Pugliese.
"I miss all this," she said.
An introduction to life on
Unlike some other
bed-and-breakfasts, Weatherbury Farm, southwest of
Pittsburgh, welcomes children, said Marcy Tudor, who owns
the farm with her husband, Dale. One of the reasons they
opened the bed-and-breakfast 17 years ago was to introduce
young city dwellers to rural life.
know where milk comes from," said Tudor,
who is also an accountant and president
of the 26-member Pennsylvania Farm
designed a farm kid sticker workbook for
children who stay on the farm for more
than two days and awards personalized
certificates to those who complete
tasks, as Delaney did.
Weatherbury Farm, named for a Thomas
Hardy setting, is true to its fictional
namesake. Though only 20 miles from
Pittsburgh, its 100 acres of rolling
pastures bounded by white fences do seem
"far from the madding crowd." City folk
used to a schedule governed by alarm
clocks, not cock-a-doodle-doos, often
come with a long list of touristy things
to do, said Tudor. But they soon settle
into a countrified rhythm.
Most of the
time, they never leave the farm," she
Quilts, antiques and clawfoot tubs
planned a relaxed time. She packed a
couple of books in her suitcase.
want to kick back and read," she said.
Tudor showed them around the 1815
farmhouse, where she and her husband
live, she took them to the outbuilding
where they would be staying. Their room
in the charming tin-roofed, two-story
building was the farmstead's kitchen
Tudors furnished the comfortable pink
guestroom, as well as another on the
second floor, with quilts, country
antiques, clawfoot tubs with showers
(each room has a private bath), ceiling
fans, air conditioners and
minirefrigerators. But the rooms are so
airy that even on a hot summer day,
guests who want to hear a troop of
speckled guinea fowl cluck can turn off
the air and open the windows.
A short walk along a
gravel path from the
is the livery. It's
a 100-year-old barn
that the Tudors and
their son Nigel, an
after moving it from
another farm. There
are three suites in
the livery, with
another room to be
added soon. Guests
have a farm
breakfast in a
dining room on the
first floor, which
overlooks a field.
Weatherbury Farm is
The house needs
they can get to it,
Tudor said. But
rusting tractors and
aging barns just add
to the farm's
character. This is a
after all. The
grass-fed beef and
lamb. At 6 p.m. one
evening, Dale Tudor,
a retired marketing
himself to bale a
field of freshly cut
Where a goat and
geese provide the
Guests can find a good dinner and a game of miniature golf at Breezy Heights Tavern a couple of miles away in Avella or have excellent Southern-style barbecued ribs and sandwiches at Hog Fathers, one of a few modest restaurants in Washington, a scenic, winding 10-mile drive from the farm.
They can return to play board games the Tudors provide in the livery dining room or hang out around the fire pit. That and a swim or a walk around the gravel drives of the farmyard pretty much describe the excitement to be had, but that's all right. Pet a goat, or watch the ever-together Brunhilda and Matilda, the comical watch geese, and you'll soon appreciate the old-fashioned fun the tranquil farm offers.
After a comfortable sleep (there are no televisions in the rooms and suites, but there are full magazine racks), awaken to a country breakfast made by Nigel, the Tudors' son. That might be free-range eggs with bright-yellow yolks scrambled with potatoes and oatmeal-raisin pancakes served on bright Fiesta dinnerware, made an easy drive away at Homer Laughlin China Co. in Newell, W.Va. There's a factory outlet there.
Don't get the idea that Weatherbury Farm is just for families with young children. Marilyn and Johnnie Grace of Brooke, S.C., stayed here while they attended Johnnie's class of 1955 high school reunion. They had a pre-breakfast three-mile walk along a country road. The offbeat stay appealed to Johnnie, a retired U.S. Marine who avoids the usual hotels and motels.
"We don't like plastic places," he said.
As one of her chores during the farm tour "Farmer Dale" led after pancakes, Delaney gathered the eggs for her next-day's breakfast. She delighted in doing the same chores for three mornings, then gave her farm vacation the ultimate stamp of approval, Pugliese said. "She cried when we left."