" Shaggy rust-colored
cattle dot the soft, green vista that rolls downhill from Dale and Marcy Tudor's farmhouse
Nothing breaks the silence but the bleating of the couple's natural lawn mower, a
female Southdown sheep incongruously named Tiny Tim.
The Tudors christened the place Weatherbury Farm after the Wessex setting of Thomas
Hardy's novel, 'Far From the Madding Crowd.' And indeed it is that.
Located 28 miles from Interstate 79 near Avella in Independence Township, it's with
an hour's drive of, yet far removed from, the madding crowds of Pittsburgh.
This peaceful, bucolic setting can temporarily be yours -- for a price.
Weatherbury Farm is one of 19 working farms across Pennsylvania that also take in
paying guests as members of the Pennsylvania Farm Vacation Association.
The Tudors, former Ross Township residents, bought the farm six years ago and
opened it to paying visitors four years later.
Animals and space are the two things that help people distinguish vacation farms
from other bed and breakfast establishments, says Marcy Tudor.
As on many of the other farms, visitors to the 104-acre Weatherbury Farm can, says
Tudor, 'feed some of the animals, or you can help roll hay down the hill during cutting.'
Also, she jokes, 'I offer to let them weed my flower gardens, but they never
Weatherbury Farm entertains guest with croquet equipment and an
in-ground swimming pool, a puzzle table and player piano in the music room, and both an
indoor playroom and outdoor playground equipment for children.
Half of its 16-page information booklet lists nearby attractions that include
historical sites, golf courses, riding stables, The Meadows racetrack, Star lake
Amphitheater, a winery and Brooke Hills Playhouse, a summer theater.
'Most weekend guests come armed with a list of nearby attractions they intend to
visit and never leave the farm.' says Marcy Tudor.
'Children love coming here. We fill Perrier bottles with milk so children can feed
the baby sheep.' ... "