Wow! When we started our trip south (back in November) we thought we’d be posting one blog and one video a week. Now it’s ten weeks later, and we’ve got so many great things to share. But for now, this blog/video is about our first day on the road! A day with a couple of dumb mistakes, and a bunch of great memories.
The scenery on the eastern shore of Maryland was so beautiful that we actually missed the turn into Cabin Creek Heritage Farm. Also, we had entered the wrong address—off by one digit is all it takes!
So, for the first but not the last time, we had to unhook our car, turn the RV around in a driveway, and backtrack to the farm.
Cabin Creek is part a club called Harvest Hosts, a group of farms, wineries, and museums that offer free overnight stays to RVers. It’s $49/year to join, after which there’s no charge to stay for one night at any member property, and there’s no limit to how many places you stay. There are usually no hookups for water/electric/sewer, but most RVs are self-contained and that’s no problem. Even though campers are not required to buy anything, it’s been a great part of our experience to sample wines, cheeses, and other produce, and buy something that we’ll enjoy down the road. Building good, unique camping memories is a primary reason for staying with Harvest Hosts—as well as no fee. Each Harvest Host experience is different.
Here are a few of the reasons we loved our one-night stay at Cabin Creek Heritage Farm:
The rural setting is gorgeous. Rolling hills and colorful woodlands are not what you’d picture just east of Washington, DC. And the rustic farmhouse, barns, farm animals, and grazing sheep create a serene setting for a peaceful overnight stay.
The warm welcome and hospitality we received when we arrived, and throughout our visit, was very special. Lori and Doug Hill own and run the farm, along with help from their three grown children when they are able. We were also greeted by guinea hens, chickens and roosters, their dog, and a curious cat or two.
- We learned about the sustainable farming methods that preserve the land and allow their animals freedom to graze in fields and woods and their fowl to eat grubs from the ground. They use no hormones, antibiotics, or pesticides. They go as far as Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to purchase the best grains possible to feed their animals. As Lori said, “If you are what you eat, then you are what your food eats, too!”
Lori is very accustomed to talking about their farm, and spent half an hour explaining their method of farming and answering our questions. Some highlights of our conversation are recorded on the video.
The most fascinating aspect was how the woodland pigs are raised, fed, and mated. They are given as natural a life as possible while being organized into age-groups to eventually become tasty meat. They don’t name the animals (except for the boar and a couple of sows, whose main jobs are mating rather than becoming meat. Nice job if you can get it!) or it would too hard to say goodbye; it is a business, after all.
3. They welcome groups throughout the year for visits to their farm—from schools, colleges, senior centers, and more—and are committed to educating others about eco-friendly farming methods.
4. They have delicious meats and produce at their farm store! Store hours are 10 am–2 pm on Saturdays, or by appointment. They raise and “process” their own chicken, and send the rest out to carefully chosen and humane processing houses. In the store you’ll find various cuts of beef, pork, and chicken, along with bacon, sausage, and fresh eggs. (Lori also gave me a half a dozen quail eggs to try. Tiny but delicious!)
That being said, the meats at Cabin Creek were so inviting that we ended up buying over a hundred dollars’ worth! Although camping was free, it has ended up being our most expensive stay! Of course we enjoyed our meats, chicken, bacon and sausage, and eggs for many meals to come and were reminded each time of our wonderful visit to Cabin Creek.
By the way, Lori offered to run an extension cord from their barn so that we could, in fact, have electricity for the night, which we graciously accepted. When we asked what time we needed to leave, we were told we could stay as long as we want. I suspect we could have even stayed another night, but as much as we hated to leave, we were eager to keep moving south, and Harvest Hosts discourages club members from overstaying our welcome.
Before we left, we were curious about their house, and Lori gave us a little tour. The original house was facing sideways, so they had it turned ninety degrees, and then moved a log cabin up from Tennessee and connected the two. We were delighted to discover a wall hanging that mentioned God and to learn that they are faithful Christians and that their passion for sustainable farming grows from their dedication to caring for God’s creation.
We loved Cabin Creek Heritage Farm and would definitely stay there again. RVing is an adventure, and this was a great way to begin our trip. Stay tuned for highlights of our journey, both good and bad, coming up soon in our blogs and vlogs. We know we are way behind, but hope you will join us as we travel and explore.
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Remember: Life’s a journey. Make every mile count!
If you happen to join Harvest Hosts, please let them know that Jeff & Kathy Wildrick sent you.