Farms play many roles in our communities, from food production to environmental stewardship. And at the Inn at East Hill Farm in Troy, the farm is also a classroom, a community gathering place and a tranquil getaway.
The unique farm vacation resort has been operating in Troy since 1947, says Farm School Director Jennifer Adams, whose family is now in its third generation of running the business. The sweeping property with views of Mt. Monadnock offers 170 guest rooms and a full slate of family-friendly recreational activities, from contra dances and goat milking to horseback riding lessons and crafting projects.
Guests travel from around the country to stay at the resort, Adams says, and many return every year around the same time. In the winter, visitors can enjoy cross country skiing, snowshoeing and ice skating, while the warmer months offer activities like swimming and water skiing on Silver Lake, nature scavenger hunts and hiking outings.
No matter the season, the animals at East Hill Farm are a fixture of the experience, whether guests are visiting rabbits in the barn or helping out with farm chores. Guests can even collect their own eggs from the chicken coop and deliver them to the kitchen to be cooked up for breakfast.
“You’re getting a farm education without even knowing it. When you’re out there milking the cow, the farmers are talking to you and you learn about dairy cows versus beef cows, because they look very different,” Adams says. “ … So education has always been an important part, but so has relaxation.”
The farm also offers tours for student groups as well as “Barn School,” an overnight field trip where middle schoolers learn about caring for and grooming the animals, help out with farm chores, learn about where their food comes from and participate in workshops on topics like pond ecology.
“They are fully immersed in farm life, so they’re working in small groups of farmers and they’re learning about animal husbandry,” Adams says. “They do different units on feeding the goats, cows and horses.”
Though the COVID-19 pandemic shut everything down last spring, Adams said the farm was relatively busy last summer while operating at reduced capacity. And as the resort heads into a packed summer and early fall, the staff are looking forward to seeing some familiar faces in the barn again.
“We’re just really trying to get back to our normal traditions, because traditions are very important to our guests here. For example, if you change the wallpaper or the paint in the room that they’ve stayed in forever, they’re like, what did you do to my room?” Adams says, laughing.
Returning guests often collect and proudly show off their “Top of the Mountain Club” pins, specially made by the farm to commemorate weekly hikes to the summit of Mt. Monadnock. Adams says Saturday night bingo is another favorite tradition visitors look forward to, and the resort anticipates this summer will feel a bit like a homecoming.
“I think getting back to tradition for people is going to be what’s most exciting,” Adams says. “Year after year, they come at the same time, they see their ‘farm families,’ they call it. So they’ll be happy to see each other.”
For more information, visit east-hill-farm.com.