|Mary Veraguth helps our girls collect fresh eggs for breakfast.|
|Katie and her favorite kitty.|
Farm expands to haycation fun
Guests are free to do what they want, but some are up at 5 a.m. when farm kitchen’s bird clock chirps and announces the day’s first milking. They can head down the dirt road to owner Jess and Mary Veraguth’s farm, where they milk about 50 cows, four at a time for two to three hours.
|Jess shows us how to feed calves.|
Veraguths have farmed on this land above the Mississippi River Valley for four generations. When they expanded to 300 acres about 15 years ago, they opened the adjacent farmhouse to guests. It became the Room to Roam experience, which bales together a field trip, farmer’s market and country vacation.
The guest house feels like a time warp with crocheted knick-knacks and bright flowered wallpaper in the kitchen. And it wasn’t just the farm-inspired fun that made them shriek. The house’s crickets did, too–the one part of country life that rattled our city kids. They wouldn’t sleep on the floor, so they passed out in a pile of three on the bed.
|Piled together, safe from crickets.|
After morning chores and a break for breakfast, Jess Veraguth takes guests on a hayride, bumping through the fields past lush stalks of corn to the edge of the bluff and a breathtaking view of the river valley. It’s only a few minute’s drive to Winona, Minn., or the small town of Fountain City where you can grab an ice cream cone and enjoy meandering along the Mississippi.
Feed calves, collect freshly laid eggs
When evening rolls around, families hold on to two-quart bottles of milk that hungry calves greedily empty in minutes. Then it’s time to collect a bucket of eggs from Black Star hens.
Guests are welcome to raid the garden, too. Our girls would eat the sun-warmed tomatoes like apples while our son climbed the super-sized round bales of hay.
|Room to Roam’s guest house.|
Read more about it
For more information, you can call Jess and Mary at 608-687-8575. No e-mail. Remember, they do things the old-fashioned way.
You can also watch KARE-11’s recent Gopher Getaway on the farm or go to Farmstays.us.com for more information. If you want a farm experience for your family, read the entries at Farmstays.us.com carefully. Many places run more like a B&B and do not allow kids under 12.
|Sisters get in the spirit of DeSmet’s Wilder Pageant.|
|Camp in a wagon at the Homestead.|
If you’re looking for more inspiration for hands-on, unique “Trips You’ll Talk About,” check out the feature in Midwest Living.