Virginia farm stay with kids: Belle Meade Farm

We’d planned to tour Shenandoah National Park on our full day in Western Virginia; instead, on a sunny Monday in June, I found myself lazying on the dock of the inviting pond at Belle Meade Farm, the kids practicing their high dive from one of the pond’s wooden platforms. Earlier, we’d followed the advice of Belle Meade’s resident chef and explored a little-known trail at the base of Old Rag Mountain, leading to inviting swimming holes, and were now well-settled into a routine of swimming, canoeing, and reading. We’d made the right call.

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Belle Meade Farm’s bed & breakfast focuses on sustainable living, hospitality, and farm life, and offers four rooms (with varied occupancy) on its 138 acres adjacent to Shenandoah National Park. For a Virginia farm stay with kids, it can’t be beat. The property plays host to streams, meadows, incredible views, and a holistic farm housing pigs, horses, cattle, and chickens. Guests can use the outdoor spaces, including a large outdoor pool and hot tub, patio, deck overlooking Old Rag Mountain, and a cozy living room and dining room. Owners Mike and Susan can point families in the direction of local activities and destinations, or direct kids to the on-site swimming pond with floating docks, diving platforms, a rope swing, and canoes. Yes, it’s heaven.

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We visited during the middle of a long tour of the East Coast between visiting historic Williamsburg and Washington DC. A stop at a farm stay with Susan and Mike was just the break we all needed to rewind, regroup, and relax before tackling more city life and history.

Farm stay component:

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Like all farm stay destinations we review, Belle Meade is a working farm. We love getting involved, helping with chores and caring for livestock. However, like all farm stays, the amount of ‘work’ we do depends solely on what’s needed at the time, and at the farm owners’ discretion. During our stay at Belle Meade, the kids collected eggs, helped put the animals ‘to bed’ at night, and fed the pigs, rabbits, and horses. However, what’s on offer during another families’ stay may vary. I always remind my kids prior to any farm stay that ‘we’ll see’ what’s needed. Mike was generous with his time, and great about letting us know when an opportunity to help was at hand.

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Bed and breakfast:

Think a B&B can’t be for kids? Well, sometimes (and some places) that’s true, but not at Belle Meade. Kids are welcome, but as with any B&B, I only recommend bringing kids who are old enough to be respectful of other guests. During our stay, we enjoyed the company of two other couples, so we certainly weren’t solo at the farm. A stay at Belle Meade includes a full cooked breakfast, made by talented chef Anna (who lives on-site). Anna inquired about any allergies or preferences, then surprised us each morning with a feast (many of the ingredients directly from the farm or locally sourced). Each morning, breakfast was fantastic.

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Room amenities:

Each room at Belle Meade is different. We had a group of four (one teen, two kids, and one adult) and had two rooms. Rooms have modern, new bathrooms with showers and tubs, and comfortable beds with wonderful views out the windows. We brought a cooler for our lunch and snack foods, and the kitchen was able to keep us supplied with ice. We brought our own drinks, and eat dinner in town (the staff has great recommendations).

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What to do nearby:

As noted above, Belle Meade is located close to Shenandoah National Park. We drove to the Old Rag Mountain trailhead in 10 minutes (where there’s a small kiosk to pay park admission), and the larger entrance at Thorton Gap is only 20 minutes away. Ask about kid-friendly hikes nearby, or try Skyline Drive in the park. Families able to bring bikes can meander along the country roads, and dining choices are abundant in the nearby towns. For a casual meal, we recommend Burgers ‘N Things in Sperryville. Their burgers, fries, and shakes are great!

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Note: Belle Meade is far more than just a farm: it’s an educational community. In addition to teaching B&B guests about sustainable farming by example, it also runs a school, day camp, and many retreats and events. If you visit during the summer, expect day camp kids to be on the farm during weekdays. Beware: your kids will want to join in the fun!

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Date last visited:

June 2014

Distance from the interstate:

Belle Meade is located within easy driving distance of I-66 or I-15.

Rates:

Room rates (for single or double) range from $160-$220 night, and include breakfast. Rates may vary.

Directions:

The farm is located at 353 F.T. Valley Road, Sperryville Virginia. Follow directions listed on the website.

As disclosed whenever applicable, we experienced Belle Meade Farm as guests of Mike and Susan. Without their hospitality, we’d be unable to bring farm stay reviews like this one to Pit Stops for Kids. All opinions are our own.

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.

Comments

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Comments

  1. Love this idea. Can’t wait to try a farm stay!!

  2. I really want to try this in Europe next year. We did an agriturismo last time we were in Europe, but it was November and the farm was about the close down for the season.

  3. Very cool! I’ve never done anything like this before, but my kids would love it!

  4. This looks like a lovely family stay!

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