The last time I came to the Woodstock, Vermont area was to run the 2010 Covered Bridges Half Marathon. My husband Ethan has also run this race several times (before it started to sell out within minutes), making it a racecation with a big group from Cambridge Running Club (CRC). Seven years later, we both came back with a big CRC group. But instead of chasing half marathon PR’s, we all chased our kids around Fat Sheep Farm & Cabins in nearby Hartland, Vermont.
The CRC connection continues: Fat Sheep Farm was founded by Todd, one of our oldest CRC friends, and his fiancee Suzy. Both of them live there with their 3-month old daughter. Todd and Suzy both changed careers to follow their passions for food, farming, and travel. Over the past few years, they found the site, set up the pastures and fields, added infrastructure such as solar panels, began growing crops, added animals, and built five rental cabins. They currently have three Nigerian dwarf goats (Billy, Brady, and Gronk), three ewes (Brie, Blue, and Feta), two rams (Mr. Socks and Manchego), one rooster, and sixteen chickens. They sell fruits, vegetables, and eggs at local farmer’s markets. Suzy makes cheese at nearby Cobb Hill Farm.
The cabins that are perfect for a weekend getaway (whether you are going as a couple, friend group, or family). All of the spacious, fully-stocked cabins overlook fields and mountains. The smallest cabin size (Sunrise or Sunset) worked well for one CRC couple and their 3-month-old. When our son Parker is older, we’d appreciate the biggest cabins (Lull Brook or Four Corners), which have one bedroom and a loft. Our other friends’ 8-year-old twins loved going up the spiral staircase and sleeping in the loft.
We stayed in Ascutney, which was perfect for two parents + one 2-year-old. Parker had ample space to play with toys in the living room, and there was just enough space for us to place his pack and play at the foot of our bed in the bedroom. Since our home baby monitor is not wifi-enabled, we bought an Amcrest wifi camera to use as a travel baby monitor. We connected it to the cabin wifi and placed it on one of the small kitchen stools so that we could view him on our phones.
We enjoyed cooking in the kitchen, and especially appreciated the eggs and homemade bread that Suzy and Todd left for us (to make a triple-local breakfast sandwich, add Cobb Hill cheese).
We had planned to stop at Hannaford on the way up to stock up on groceries, but ended up skipping that because a traffic jam added about an hour to our trip. This actually turned out fine because we went out for two meals. We made coffee, eggs, toast with peanut butter or butter, and a green chili stew with beans and rice for the other meals. We packed a bunch of HappyTot pouches, Kirkland applesauce pouches, Harvest Crisp snap peas, Ella’s Kitchen nibblers, and Kirkland cheddar ducks as backup toddler food. Parker sat at the small kitchen table to eat his meals and we ate at the kitchen island (which was also perfect for doing a jigsaw puzzle–tall enough to keep little prying hands away).
Each morning, Suzy and Todd invite guests to take part in feeding and herding the animals. The older kids loved walking the sheep down to the pasture, putting hay in the goats’ cage, giving the goats and chickens grain, and collecting eggs from the chicken coops. Parker liked saying hello to the sheep in the barn and saying “bye bye goats!” as they ran to their pen, but he was bit skittish about feeding them or walking into the pasture. Later in the day, he warmed up to feeding the chickens some overgrown lettuce from the fields after watching the other kids do it.
Suzy and Todd also give tours of the fields and explain what crops they are planting. This week, we saw zinnias, potatoes, decorative corn, lettuce, and much more on Parker’s second “CRC visit to Farmer Todd’s fields.” Back in April 2015, Ethan and I (and Parker, in utero) went with two other CRC friends to Todd’s urban farm in Lowell to help him sift compost and take it out to the fields with wheelbarrows. It was a fun contrast to see fully grown crops (with a fully grown baby running around them). One of our friends got truly into the farm-to-table experience by helping Todd weed the potato fields and making dinner using farm vegetables.
During the day, cornhole, ladder toss, and horseshoes are all available for lawn festivities. Parker learned how to play cornhole from Todd and liked “helping” us play against each other. He loved kicking his soccer ball around the lawn, examining every single rock he could find, and inspecting Todd’s truck.
Lots of activities are just a short drive away, such as picking blueberries at Clay Hill Corners. We had a great time going as a group, and came back with 5.8 pounds of blueberries!
Cobb Hill Farm is also close by. We did a short hike and bought some delicious cheese.At night, we loved sitting around the fire pit in Adirondack chairs. We recommend bringing s’mores fixings and bug spray. We can’t wait to go back for another Vermont farm getaway!