While going through emails, I came across the Honey Hollow Farm on a parent’s list serve. It promised a low-tech and engaging family farm stay. I knew the kids could stand to spend some time away from the screens. If it wasn’t a desktop, tablet, or phone, then it was the TV. This would be perfect timing. It was during the state exams and while I was off from work. My third grader opted out and my six year old is home schooled. My oldest wouldn’t join us due to his after school commitments. I went ahead and booked via Airbnb like there was no tomorrow.
After the smooth 2 & 1/2 hour drive, we arrived at the farm. Just off of a neatly paved road was the farm’s driveway, adorned with wooden hand painted signs leading the way. The off road was very wet and muddy due to rain. The home itself has a wooden sign labeling the destination. Up the stairs we went and opened the door to the cozy two bedroom house. Once inside, we placed our muddy boots on the boot tray and the girls ran through the place to explore, making their way up the ladder to the loft bed where they’d spend a good portion of their stay. We arrived rather late the first night and didn’t do much by way of entertainment. There were many options for sleeping but the 3 of us slept together on the pull out couch.
I was the first one to wake in the morning to hear the rooster crow. Surprisingly, it wasn’t loud enough to wake me but served as a reminder of where we were. As the girls woke, we made pancakes with the mix from home. Larissa, the farm’s owner, was supposed to come by with chicks for petting, a dozen fresh eggs and take us on a tour of the farm. But with the quiet farm as our backdrop and limited electronic devices, the girls took this opportunity to drive me completely insane! They loved exploring the games, toys and books on display in the bedrooms and then starting fights over who’d go first. After canceling with Larissa, the girls fighting and screaming some more, I took them out walking on the farm. The animals were extremely friendly and walked over towards us as we approached. The sheep were the cutest and seemed to ‘baa’ at us as we walked away. As lunchtime neared I searched yelp and found a local pizza place which was essentially an all out Italian restaurant. The food was amazing! Thereafter, we continued to the mall in Albany, about a 30 min drive north. The mall was huge and had a Billy Beez which we did not partake in. But despite their behavior that day, we got some dresses from the GAP and headed back to the farm where they played dress up and played in makeup.
Larissa and Chris were on hand the whole stay. So the next day, as the girls seemed to calm their emotions, I asked Larissa to come by with the chicks for them to pet and hold. Both seemed scared at first, yet Sara, who’s anxious most times, became very comfortable very fast. Next we toured the farm, again but with Larissa as our escort, it was much more interesting and informative. As we walked the path past the chicken coop, shooing the hens and roosters along the girls clung to me for dear life as if the chickens would peck their eyes out. They got over their fear as we approached the ponies, Bugsy and Jasmine . They were very happy to see us and the girls were excited to pet them. Next we held bunnies, petted the goats, and fed the sheep. My big girl, Maxine was eager to ride Bugsy while Sara was afraid. First Maxine and the couple’s daughter brushed and suited the pony. Once ready, she mounted Bugsy like a pro. Of course seeing her big sis do it, Sara now wanted to try. Although timid and anxious at first, after 10 minutes in, Sara was not only comfortable but proud she stepped out of her comfort zone. I asked Larissa about her experience with children that are reluctant to engage with the animals, specifically those with special needs. She said, funny enough, special needs and autistic kids are usually the kids that become the most engaged and interested with the animals.
There was much more to do at the farm that we did not participate in. Larissa and daughter offer a variety of affordable crafts during the stay. Such as needle felt paintings, felted garland, drier balls, bendy dolls, lip balm, soap making and more. They also have beautiful soft cotton tees in a variety of sizes, as well as skeins of yarn for sale. There’s a book full of info such as the back story about the farm, sites to see during your stay and local eateries. Larissa and Chris are from Brooklyn NYC and can offer tips on travel and ways to make your stay more comfy. We definitely recommend the Honey Hollow, Sweet Farm Stay and will be back, we’ve have found a new family retreat.