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Greener Pastures: The Globe’s Top Five Luxury Farm Stays

May 1, 2014 OTA News No Comments Email Email

As the farm-to-table movement grows in popularity, people are becoming more mindful about how food – the very soul of our existence – ultimately gets to our plates.

Recognizing this surge of interest in sustainable produce and cultivation, a number of working farms around the world have created unique travel experiences that provide guests with the chance not only to relax, but also to learn about and connect with local food sources., the award-winning hotel price comparison site, recently combed through its database of more than 800,000 properties to select five truly outstanding farm stays offering the ultimate in both luxury and agritourism:

Blackberry Farm, Tennessee, USA

The way the story goes is that back in 1939, Mrs. Florida Lasier of Chicago snagged her silk stocking on a blackberry bramble whilst exploring the idyllic Smoky Mountain Foothills – thus the name of Blackberry Farm was born. Today the farm’s 4,200 acres is home to one of the most luxurious hotels the world over. Guests can enjoy all the trappings of a high-end property while indulging in the ambrosial simplicities of the farm: on the menu, there’s wildflower honey, fresh eggs, artisan cheeses and a variety of heirloom vegetables galore. In addition to the beautiful suites, cottages and dining venue, the 18th century Amish barn hosts several culinary programs including cheese and wine tastings and cooking demonstrations. Guests can be as hands-on as they wish, getting their hands dirty in the gardens or simply lounging around in the comfort of the property’s sumptuous lodgings.

Eckington Manor, UK

This charming, award-winning restored property encompasses a farm, orchard and vegetable and herb gardens. The fifteen en-suite boutique bedrooms available to guests are furnished with designer furniture, elegant light fittings and large, comfortable beds dressed in Italian cotton linens. The manor lies along 260-acres of water meadow pasture and boasts a stunning natural landscape. Visitors can roam the surrounding footpaths to spot a multitude of colourful bird species or can even be present at the births of resident lambs and calves. The property’s onsite restaurant sources most of its ingredients, including grass-fed beef, directly from the farm.

Wharekauhau Lodge and Country Estate, New Zealand

Set upon 5,000 acres of breathtaking New Zealand countryside, the Wharekauhau Lodge and Country Estate has operated as a working farm since the mid-1800s. Large herds of sheep, cattle and lamb roam the grounds and the various rooms in the main lodge offer up unique experiences – from open, breezy lounges to more intimate areas decked with over-sized fireplaces. In the Main Lounge, guests can cozy up on plush couches or plop into an armchair with a good book. Thirteen cottages offer dramatic vistas of the farm and are appointed with deep sofas, heated marble floors and pebble mosaics. Plenty of explorations are available to guests as well and range from touring the orchard and gardens to hiking and mountain biking.

Morgan’s Rock Hacienda and Ecolodge, Nicaragua

Few hotels will connect you to nature’s simplicities like Morgan’s Rock. This 4,000-acre expanse of Nicaraguan jungle houses a low-impact working farm, which produces vegetables, meat, dairy and even shrimp. Guests can lend a hand collecting eggs and milking cows or can simply enjoy a rustic meal overlooking the sea. Fifteen beach bungalows constructed from natural materials rest privately under the jungle’s thick foliage and offer beautiful ocean views. The lodge has a variety of adventurous excursions to choose from, but for those who are most interested in the workings of the farm, the “Breakfast at the Farm” tour is a great option. Guests get to participate in every step of preparation for the morning meal – from pounding the freshly-picked corn into homemade tortillas, to sourcing milk and eggs from the respective animals.

Babylonstoren, South Africa

This charming property houses 12 luxurious guest suites reminiscent of Cape Dutch farm buildings. Whitewashed walls adorned with ornate gables and thatched roofs exude a sense of calm on this peaceful 200-hectare working farm. Guests are welcome to join in on the harvesting, pruning, planting and picking of fruits, vegetables, nuts, herbs and spices. Guided (or unguided) tours of the property run daily. Whether canoeing on the farm dam, cycling through the estate’s vineyards and orchards or strolling along the property’s stream flanked with 7,000 bush lilies, this South African gem serves up a truly serene holiday experience. A highlight and must-do for anyone staying at Babylonstoren is to dine at the onsite restaurant. The food here is farm-fresh and impeccably prepared. Breakfast is a treat in itself with fresh fruit and pressed juices, homemade mueslis, creamy yoghurts and farm honey.

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