If you take a scenic ride 2 hours south of the Twin Cities along the Mississippi you’ll find nestled 400 feet up in the beautiful bluffs of South Western Wisconsin, rolling hilltop farmland as far as your eyes can see. Looking up at the bluffs from the road I never would’ve guessed there would ever be so much life up there.
My friend (and fellow sKIDaddler co-founder) and I went on a girls only roadtrip with our 4 daughters for a farm stay adventure at the Room to Roam Farm Guesthouse. This authentic farm stay is the real deal.
The Guesthouse is owned by a husband and wife team, Jess and Mary Veraguth, who tend to their working dairy farm from roughly 4am to past 9pm at night. The family bought a neighboring farm many years ago, and have been renting out the farmhouse that existed on the land ever since, while farming the land that it sits on. You can explore the farm around you, or head a mile down a dirt road to the farmer’s house, where you can watch and participate in their daily chores.
It was so much fun to pretend to be farmers and have the whole house to ourselves. We literally woke up to a cow roaming freely outside our window, chickens and geese in our front yard, and a sheep waiting for us to treat it with freshly picked grass.
The Guesthouse has four bedrooms, a complete kitchen, several comfortable living spaces, and even a playroom. It reminded me of staying at a grandparents’ home, with cute little figurines of kittens, ducks, and birds filling every available shelf space. Much simpler than packing if you were going to a cabin, the house was stocked with everything except for the food that we brought in – well, actually that’s not quite true. The house had coffee, spices, and inspiring cookbooks dating back to the 1970s.
This was a very hands on trip, and we all LOVED every beautiful, smelly, raw minute of it. We fed cattle, sheep, chickens, and geese. We milked cows, bottle-fed calves, pet kittens and dogs. We rode tractors, jumped on hay barrels and went on a hayrides. In the evenings we had bonfires and popped popcorn off the cob.
The price of the entire house ranges from $80-$100/night depending on how many nights you’re staying and how many people stay; cheaper than renting a whole house anywhere else I’ve seen.
Go while you still can. The Veraguth’s are planning to move away from dairy farming, and focus on their Black Angus beef. The Guesthouse will still be available, but you may lose the opportunity to milk the cows and bottle-feed the calves.
We had expected to spend some time exploring the neighboring cities, but every time we left the farm our kids would ask when we could go back to “our home.” That said, we were able to check out a couple spots.
Ecker’s Apple Farm is like an apple orchard out of a serene dream. It is not in the style of the apple orchard/amusement park; it’s much calmer than that. They have live music on the weekends and even a beer garden. They offer Pilates in the orchard classes on the weekends too. You can go on a tractor ride to the pick-your-own orchard. In the apple house they also have pre-picked apples, baked goods, cider, and honey from the beehives onsite. This is one of the most beautiful orchards that I have ever been to.
Prairie Moon Sculpture Garden is a striking sculpture garden hidden in the foothills of the bluf fs. Colorful and eclectic sculptures set against a backdrop of greenery. This free garden is open from dawn to dusk. When we got there it was nearing dusk which meant we had the garden to ourselves except for those pesky mosquitos. We made a game out of running around the sculptures to make sure the bugs couldn’t catch us. Absolutely worth a stop.
Other fun things to do while in the area:
- SunCrest Gardens Farm (Cochrane WI) – If you’re there in the summer on a Thursday or Friday night, the pizza night is not to be missed!
- Kinstone Megalithic Gardens (Fountain City WI)
- Buena Vista Park and Overlook (Alma WI)
- Lark Toys (Kellogg MN)
- Veterans Memorial Park (Winona MN)
And of course, don’t miss the tradition of stopping Nelson’s Cheese and Deli for ice cream and cheese on the way home!
Room to Roam Farm Guesthouse, W656 Veraguth Drive, Fountain City, WI 54629. Phone: (608) 687-8575