Farm bed and breakfasts give a fresh perspective

 (Pittsburgh) Post Gazette | June 25, 2000

As reported by Trudy Gray in the (Pittsburgh) Post Gazette, June 25, 2000:

“If 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 suburbs.

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 county.

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 bottle.

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,, as does each B&B. ”