Stevens Farm Bed & Breakfast
It was not surprising thirty years ago for many people to turn their noses up, when I had mentioned that I had decided to vacation on a farm with my wife and kids. How can you think of visiting a farm? Isn’t it smelly? The rooms must be tiny, stuffy, and in all probability next to the barn or cow pasture. This is just a sampling of the reactions I sometimes had to endure.
How things have changed over the years. "Agri-tourism" seems to be the new phenomena, where farmers and their local chambers of commerce have joined hands in promoting the understanding of farming and rural lifestyles. This new kind of tourism also provides farmers with an additional source of income, enabling them to survive and keep on working the land.
In all probability, the same people, who would never consider a farm vacation several years ago, are now flocking to enjoy romantic farm getaways. Weddings are also celebrated on some of these farms. They now realize that the unsophisticated enjoyment, kind hosts and the closeness to nature are what make farm vacations unique, and at the same time romantic.
One such farm that opened up their doors many years ago is the Stevens Farm Inn Bed & Breakfast located on a hill sprawled over 350-acres overlooking Barre & Rutland, Massachusetts. It definitely has much to recommend, particularly its setting, with its beautiful country roads and rolling hills, that are perfect for biking, hiking, artists, and photographers. Moreover, it is a place where you can get away and relax without having to worry about overdrawing your bank account.
In 2002 the farm was deservedly the winner of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism hospitality award. This was certainly in part recognition of the farm owners faithful adherence to their motto-"where people come as strangers and leave as friends."
They are only too happy to answer all of your questions pertaining to their family and farming. Ever devoted to their visitors’ well being, they will provide a wealth of tourist information, directions, and advice on the best events and sights to see. It seems that something is always taking place in and around Barre such as: antique car shows, flea markets, state expositions, live theatre, back road’s artisan tours, music concerts, and many more. Be sure to ask the Stevens what is on when you are visiting the farm.
What is amazing about this farm is that since the late 18th-century, nine generations of the same family have been operating the farm! Proud of their heritage, owners Richard and Irene Stevens, make sure that each of their guests receives a short resumé of the farm’s history.
Probably the farm’s biggest asset is its intimacy, as it only has six bedrooms, so that at anyone time the group is congenial and never large. In fact, the only time where you may encounter other guests is during the breakfast, which is included, or perhaps, in season, around its outdoor swimming pool.
Guest rooms may be on the small size, however they are nonetheless very cozy, warm and intimate. The best room in the house is Neva’s room with its antique brass bed, antiques collectibles, private bath, and a magnificent view of the meadows below.
Incidentally, all of the rooms are named after members of the family.
There have been weddings celebrated at the farm, and in fact, to satisfy my curiosity, I asked Irene to describe some of them- here is what she had to say: "the bride wore a Victorian gown and was married in my Gazebo. We did a stand up hot and cold hors d’oeuvres reception; she had a four-piece string orchestra playing throughout and I made all of her flowers for her wedding party from my garden. We floated flowers in the pool, and I made her wedding cake with all fresh flowers on it. It was one of the most wonderful weddings. Another involved "a young couple, very simple completely vegetarian meal and no cake just desserts."
As for romantic getaways, Irene indicated to me that she has prepared intimate dinners for two and anniversary parties up to 35 people complete with a cake. She also offers special romantic packages with candy, flowers, wine and fruit in the room. If you wish, you could rent a horse drawn carriage for intimate rides or a wagon for a country hay- ride. There is also a pond with a bridge on the property, and during the Christmas season, Victorian romance is present in every room.
Can you really enjoy your stay in the countryside without ending your day with a delicious farm meal? We don’t think so.
A few minutes away from the farm is Hartman’s Herb Farm & Bed & Breakfast, where we had the pleasure of dining one evening. This is likewise a working farm where they grow hundreds of varieties of herbs, perennials, dried flowers, bedding and vegetable plants. You can purchase from their gift shop herbs and spices, as well as other items.
Dinner is served in their main dining room, and although the menu is small, it nevertheless is dependable and tasty. Dependent upon the season, most of the food is grown on the farm, particularly the herbs. As is the case of most New England farm dining, the portions will have you loosening your belts, especially after you taste the fresh salads, breads, and main course. Don’t forget to leave room for the home- made desserts!