MN Farm Stay: Spend the Night on a Working Farm
most distinct farm stay lodging experiences.
In recent years, Minnesota farm stays are growing among a number of travelers looking to reconnect with fresh air, local and organic foods, and a more simple and authentic lifestyle on vacation. Minnesota farm stays, popular elsewhere in the world, are now growing in attention here in Minnesota, allowing guests to awake to the sounds of the countryside and experience a day on a working farm.
At Moonstone Farm in Montevideo, MN, guests have come from all over the region and even as far away as New York City to experience country life.
“People are cherishing more of what’s in their own backyard and not traveling so far anymore. They’re also finding a lot of value in solitude and quite,” said Audrey Arner, owner of Moonstone with her husband Richard Handeen. “Since we decided to offer a farm stay, we’ve seen a growing number of people interested.”
Farm stays are a form of accommodation on a working farm. Actual accommodations can vary from a room in a farm house, to a cabin or a guest cottage, like Moonstone offers. They also vary as to how family focused they may be; some allow children while others do not. Typical rates are similar to a bed and breakfast, and like a bed and breakfast, some offer limited meals. Some farm stays, like Moonstone, allow guests to participate in the daily activities on the farm if they choose.
“Some guests help on the farm with daily chores, but others come here and decide they want to relax,” said Audrey. “We see guests who are in town for meetings from the city. Some people are on vacation or in town to visit relatives. It varies a lot. We get hikers, bikers and a fair amount of birders, since we’re in an area with significant prairie and wetlands.”
Guests at Moonstone stay in the “Broodio” – a one-room cottage that was once a chicken brooder and then an art studio, hence the name. The 240-acre farm raises grass-fed cows and free range chickens, maintains honey bees, and it also grows grapes and berries. On site, a farm store offers products from the farm, as well as locally made cheeses and pottery handmade by Richard.
“We’ve been living here since 1973, and for 100 years before that this farm has been in Richard’s family,” said Audrey. “We operate the farm following sustainable principles and hope to leave this land better than we received it.”
It’s that same love for the land that draws many guests to Moonstone. The farm stay is open year round, except for the weeks between New Year’s and Valentine’s Day. In the summer months, guests are joined by two interns that work on the farm each summer.
“Each year we have two internships. Interns stay on the farm and complete a project of their choice,” said Audrey. “They choose the project, write the business plan and determine the market. For example, our intern this year is raising free-range chickens. We help in financing the project, but they have to do the research and planning in order to develop their product. They also have to see it through during the summer. It’s been a wonderful experience and allows interns to learn sustainable and organic farming.”
While guests at Moonstone won’t be put to work like the interns, they can learn many of the farm’s sustainable principles during a stay. Guests also have access to the farm’s pond with a sandy beach and canoe, as well as a fire pit, grill and sauna. A continental breakfast featuring local foods is served daily.
Nearby, the Prairie Waters region offers miles of trails, local organic shopping, dining and several historic sites for those looking to spend time away from the farm and see the region. Hinterland Vineyards and Winery in Clara City, MN also is a short drive away, offering wine tastings daily.
Whether you plan a day working on the farm or a day touring the area, you’ll return to a night under the bright prairie stars.
“People come here to get away from the busy city life,” said Audrey. “We hope we can help them do that – help them get back to the land.”
If You Go:
Moonstone’s Broodio is available for rent year round, except New Year’s through Valentine’s Day. The broodio sleeps up to two guests. Full restrooms are available in the main farmhouse for guest uses.
The farm is just minutes from downtown Montevideo, MN. Take Hwy 7 west to 40th Street. Turn left and take 40th street to the farm.
While You’re There:
Don’t miss the opportunity to see the farm in operation. Though guests at this farm stay aren’t required to help with the chores, don’t miss an opportunity to see the farm at work. If you’re looking for more activities in the area, there’s plenty to do during a Prairie Waters Weekend Away. Visit Upper Sioux Agency State Park, shop at other local organic farms, enjoy a wine tasting at Hinterland Vineyards and Winery in Clara City, MN or try an art class at Milan Art School.
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