Oregon Farm stay with kids: Willow Witt Ranch

A farm stay with kids is an amazing way to experience a destination! Not only are farm stays often affordable, they allow families the opportunity to meet locals, learn about sustainable agriculture, and have plenty of space to play and roam. Many farm stays are located within easy driving distance of wonderful family travel destinations.

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This summer, we’ve had the opportunity to experience two farm stays, each on opposite ends of the continent. Right after Memorial Day Weekend at the start of summer, we stayed a night at Southern Oregon’s Willow Witt Ranch. Willow Witt is located only 30 minutes from Ashland, Oregon, perfectly situated for any family visiting the area for its river rafting, mountain lakes, or Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Tip: use Farm Stay US to find kid-friendly farm stays on your travel route.

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Willow Witt sits on a high mountain meadow in the heart of the Siskiyou Mountains, and is a working high altitude goat, pig, and chicken farm. Willow Witt’s two owners are passionate about being stewards of the land they’re lucky enough to live and work on, and their diligence is evident in the care of their animals, their dedication to organic, free-range, and pasture-fed ranching, and their friendly, hands-on approach.

Staying at Willow Witt:

Families have their pick between farmhouse accommodations at Willow Witt’s Farmhouse Studio (sleeping six), the three-bedroom Meadow House (sleeping 10), or campground accommodations a short walking trail away. The indoor accommodations both include full kitchens, and farm-fresh breakfast. The campground offers tent camping sites or walled canvas tents. The camping sites are rustic; while some spaces are cleared, others are not well marked. We likened the campground to backpacking spaces.  Willow Witt lists 12 sites, which is accurate, though some are very close together; I would venture the campground would serve 3-4 separate groups well, or one large group.

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Willow Witt’s walled tents are nearly ‘glamping’ status: they come furnished with beds, linens, and other furniture, and a wood stove.  All camping families (walled or tent) have the use of an amazing outdoor kitchen (run with propane gas) and outdoor wood stove. Onsite bathrooms with full plumbing (flush toilets, sinks, and showers) are clean, light, and comfortable, and for the more adventurous type, outdoor showers are also onsite.

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There’s no electricity at the camping area, but the Willow Witt owners have thoughtfully outfitted the bathrooms and kitchen with lanterns, and the kitchen is stocked with dishes, cups, cooking utensils, and pots and pans. Several tables and chairs sit outside the covered kitchen area. The campground is located just up the hill from the ranch site, approximately a quarter mile from the barn. We enjoyed the Willow Witt ranch dogs keeping us company at the campground.

Farm activities and service projects:

We were lucky enough to experience Willow Witt with my son’s 3rd grade class. Willow Witt is known for their educational projects, and during our stay, we were able to help owner Suzanne with a wetlands project. We helped protect the watershed by working in the meandering creeks in the ranch meadows for a few hours. We also experienced an extensive farm tour. Families visiting the farm solo are also given a tour, and can opt to help with morning chores as available.

wetlands-project

Three loop trails depart and return to Willow Witt, and additional hiking is a short drive away at nearby Grizzly Peak. Families can drive into Ashland in 30 minutes, or to boat or swim at Emigrant Lake in 20 minutes. Serious bird watchers come from all over for the birding at Willow Witt, and mountain biking is available nearby as well.

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If you want to have time to enjoy the peacefulness of the ranch as well as enjoy local activities, I suggest booking at least a three night stay. If you’re staying a shorter period of time, plan to plant yourself at the ranch and take full advantage of your immediate surroundings!

Willow Witt as a working ranch:

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Willow Witt does have a ranch store, where their organic, sustainable, and cruelty-free CSA meat and dairy products are sold. They are also represented weekly at the Ashland and Medford farmers markets. Willow Witt also books packing excursions in the mountains, using their own pack goats.

working-ranch

Rates:

Camping starts at $40 per night, which is an amazing bargain when you consider the use of the outdoor kitchen and clean bathrooms. Walled tents are $125 per night (May through October) and sleep up to four. The studio and farmhouse rent for $180 and $225, respectively, in the high season. They are available year round. The value for all accommodations is astounding.

outdoor-shower

Directions:

Willow Witt is located off Oregon’s Dead Indian Memorial Road by Grizzly Peak. From Ashland, visitors take Highway 66 to Dead Indian Memorial to Shale City Road. Do not use GPS, but rather follow these directions. GPS will lead you astray!

About the author

Amy Whitley

AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly as a family travel expert at Go Green Travel Green and Practical Travel Gear, and contributes to Outdoors NW as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.

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Comments

  1. Amy,

    Thank you for your wonderful article about farm stays. We watch kids every day from all walks of life just blossom in a whole new way as they experience life on a farm. I had a guest tell me just yesterday” This is better than Disney World, this is real life. This is what I want my kids to remember when they grow up.” On a long, hard day, I can’t ask for better than that! Keep spreading the word. And again, thank you.

    Ruth Pepler
    Dogwood Hills Guest Farm

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