This 60-acre Oregon Farm Stay Has Stargazing, Baby Goats You Can Bottle-feed, and a Stunning Waterfall

The farm makes it easy to connect with nature.

Exterior front view with garden of the cabin at Leaping Lamb Farm

Courtesy of Leaping Lamb Farm

Dense fog danced atop the mountains as I drove on winding coastal roads lined with towering Douglas fir trees. I was headed to my first agritourism experience at Leaping Lamb Farm & Farm Stay, a small sheep farm in Alsea, Oregon.

Leaping Lamb Farm & Farm Stay was originally a homestead back in 1896. The current owners, Scottie and Greg Jones, bought the property in 2003 and started operating it as a farm stay in 2006. The agritourism experience offers guests a chance to isolate themselves from people — Alsea is a community with only 220 residents — and connect with nature. But Scottie Jones told Travel + Leisure that the farm stay is also a great way for families to connect: She has seen guests bridge generational gaps (say, between grandparents and grandchildren) as they embraced the slower pace on the farm.

Leaping Lamb Farm landscape view of lush green grass and trees

Courtesy of Leaping Lamb Farm

Agritourism is not a new concept: It has been trending in Europe since the 1980s to help farmers earn extra income to sustain their farms. According to the U.S. Census of Agriculture, there's a similar upward trend in agritourism in the U.S. (You can enjoy this type of experience no matter where you live through Farm Stay USA, a nonprofit created by Scottie Jones to connect guests with authentic working farms, ranches, and vineyards.)

Having grown up in the tri-state area suburbs, I didn't interact with the world of agriculture and farming. In fact, the closest I got to agriculture was the produce section of my local Whole Foods. All that changed seven years ago when I moved to the bucolic countryside in Oregon's Willamette Valley. Here, I started to frequent my local farmers market, which was chock full of meats, vegetables, jams, and other locally harvested delights. I learned the virtues of shopping seasonally — the first time I bought blueberries felt as if I were tasting the fruit for the first time.

Exterior view of two story wooden cabin at Leaping Lamb Farm

Courtesy of Leaping Lamb Farm

At Leaping Lamb Farm & Farm Stay, I stayed in an upstairs corner room in the 4,000-square-foot farmhouse. Though the building is more than 120 years old, it received a few upgrades to offer modern conveniences: a washer and dryer, central heat and air conditioning, and a large deck with a grill. The five-bedroom three-bathroom farmhouse accommodates up to 12 guests.

Interior view of stair way and living room in the cabin at Leaping Lamb Farm

Courtesy of Leaping Lamb Farm

Den with wood burning stove and kitchen in the cabin at Leaping Lamb Farm

Courtesy of Leaping Lamb Farm

The barn has an assortment of animals for guests to interact with: 24 ewes, 32 lambs, two rams, chickens, a turkey, a horse named Tater, an adorable miniature donkey named Chip, and a handful of goats. You can go on an educational guided barn tour or partake in chores, like feeding the animals, collecting eggs, and bottle-feeding baby goats. And for those down to get a little dirty, you can even help scoop the animal poop.

The farm also has a garden and a greenhouse where guests can contribute to gardening or harvest ingredients for their meals. In fact, the farm stay experience includes a DIY continental breakfast for guests to whip up a meal of their liking using garden produce and fresh eggs. Along with basics (like sugar, salt, pepper, seasonings, honey, flour, and oils), the kitchen is stocked with cereals, fruits, bread, and milk. Should you want to prepare a lamb dish, the farm sells its pasture-raised lamb directly to customers.

Entry door and dining nook in the cabin at Leaping Lamb Farm

Courtesy of Leaping Lamb Farm

Other farm stay activities include berry picking; foraging for mushrooms; hiking or biking on the forest trails; seasonal fishing in the Alsea River; picnicking at Alsea Falls (a nearby waterfall); splashing in the Honey Grove Creek, which crosses through the farm; and stargazing on clear nights.

To end my stay at Leaping Lamb Farm, I opted for a 20-minute morning hike up the mountain to a special spot in the woods called Merlin's Tree, where I was rewarded with quiet stillness in an old-growth forest. Before heading back to the farmhouse, I picked up two freshly laid eggs at the barn to enjoy with the bread the hosts had set out for me. Suffice it to say, my first farm stay experience did not disappoint — I had come a long way from the produce section of Whole Foods.

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