Get Your Hands Dirty: Hotels on Working Farms

Hay! How about a visit to the 'ole barnyard for your next getaway? Hotels on working farms allow you to leave the fast-paced city life behind -- at least for the weekend -- and hit the country to hone your farming chops. But don't worry; the farmtastic resorts that make our list offer all the amenities of a swanky hotel. It's more like they just happen to encourage guests to rise with the roosters as well. With so many animals roaming about and so much open land to explore, you may just want to pull in the reins on your texting habit and take a digital break during your stay, too. (Again, not to worry -- you don't have to.) Just be sure to pack the overalls, buckaroo -- your hands may get dirty!

Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort; Solvang, CA

Set on a 10,000-acre working cattle ranch in California's Santa Ynez Valley, Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort is the kind of place that breeds cowboys. It's a step back in time to the Old West, but with all the amenities. Expect charming, western-style rooms, and plenty of ranch activities. At the Barn Yard, guests can help bottle-feed goats, calves, miniature horses, and sheep. Animal lovers can also gather eggs, and groom and exercise the animals in the corral. Cart rides with miniature horses are a favorite among younger guests, while grownups can ride into the sunset on one of the property's beautiful thoroughbreds.

The Round Barn Farm, Vermont


The now-inn at The Round Barn Farm is in fact a converted 19th-century horse barn and farmhouse. The old milking parlor and hay loft may now be used as a wedding reception facility, but there are still signs of a working farm on the premise. The organic farm offers plenty of veggies for the taking, and this lovely B&B offers incredible views (sweeping over 245 acres) and plenty of fresh air. It has a decidedly romantic ambiance, with rooms that have whirlpool tubs; some have working fireplaces.

Amee Farm, Vermont


This Old McDonald-style farm offers the full storybook experience: There's a big rustic barn, 40 acres to roam, ponds for rock skippin', a waterfall, and farm animals grazing in the fields (the adorable baby goats are a major draw). The farm stand next door sells fresh eggs, goat cheese, and seasonal greens. Rooms look straight out of an interior design magazine, with a near-perfect combination of rustic, warm, quaint, and stylish touches. One perk here is an inviting wrap-around porch with Adirondack chairs for admiring the scenery. Be prepared to hunker down and eat on-site, as Pittsfield, Vermont has little more than a general store to offer.

Lawcus Farm Guest House, Ireland


Ireland's homey Lawcus Farm Guest House, tucked between two medieval villages, gives wannabe farmers the ultimate hands-on experience. Guests can experience the property to the fullest through outdoor activities that include fishing on the river and feeding the goats, sheep, and chickens. There's little else quite like it in the area, and prices are pretty reasonable for this level of cozy comfort. This rustic property is a solid pick for travelers seeking a slice of traditional pastoral Ireland.

Hidden Pond, Maine


This resort is a treehugger's dream. Spread over 60 acres in Maine, Hidden Pond features 36 suite-like bungalows and two-bedroom cottages. Guests here are encouraged to get their hands dirty, and pluck away at veggies and flowers from the organic farm located on the property. Guests will also discover a tree house built about eight feet above ground, which serves as the resort's luxury spa. This upscale boutique hotel attracts couples with its tranquil environment and top-notch restaurants, as well as families with its cottages that include full kitchens. The hotel also provides a free shuttle to the beach, which is just a five-minute drive away.

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