One of the best ways to spend a day outside is on a farm – or in a vineyard. And despite the area’s growth, we’re happy to note that you don’t have to travel far for either.
Many of the farms welcome visitors for special farm tour days, field trips, summer camps, eco-tourism or just a good meal.
The vineyards offer wine tastings and tours.
Here are a few to get you started. Find out more about annual area farm tours – the next one in the Triangle is Sept. 20 and 21 – at www.carolinafarmstewards.org/
Schedule a tour, take a cheese-making class or send your kid to camp at this farm that sits on 21 acres on Hampton Road in Rougemont, north of Durham.
It’s owned and operated by Dave Artigues, who named it after his mom.
The farm sells cheese to the public at the Durham Farmers Market and area restaurants, and Artigues teaches private Sunday cheese-making classes to groups of eight to 12 people. The cost is $35 a person and includes a farm tour.
Just want the tour? You can arrange one for your family, your out-of-town guests or your church group. Just call ahead to arrange a time. Groups of seven or more pay $5 a person.
Depending on the time of the tour or the season, you may be able to watch the goats being milked (and possibly help) or see how cheese is made. Tours take about 45 minutes and end with a cheese tasting. Bring a picnic lunch and stay and enjoy the farm afterward.
If all that sounds too strenuous, just come for dinner. Once a month, you can enjoy “Dinner on the Porch” with a meal prepared by an area chef. Cost is $65 a person and you’re welcome to bring a bottle of wine. Check their website for updates on who’s cooking and when.
Details: 919-479-4606 or www.elodiefarms.com
Fickle Creek Farm
Chickens, cows, pigs and sheep are in abundance at this Efland farm. You can tour, or stay the night in a passive solar home. The efficiency has a garden view and you can make your own meals using seasonal produce and fruits from the farm.
Tours are offered at 1 p.m. the first Sunday of each month and cost $8 a person. You can arrange a two-hour tour customized around what’s important to you for the same price. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Getting there: From the East via Interstate 40 west/85 south, take exit 160 to Efland. Turn left at bottom of exit ramp onto Mt. Willing Road and drive southwest for 3.8 miles. At stop sign, turn left onto Buckhorn Road. Go 1.7 miles. Look for black mailbox 4122 on right. Opposite the mailbox, turn left into gravel drive. Bear left at first fork. Bear right at second fork.
There are several throughout the state that offer tastings and tours; here are two local ones. For a more complete list, go to N.C. Travel and Tourism’s visitnc.com.
• In Apex, the Cloer family grows muscadine grapes on their 18 acres and offer tastings, tours and monthly “toasts and tunes” with area musicians.
• In Willow Spring, there’s Adams Vineyards, which not only has tours and tastings but allows you to pick your own grapes in September and has a Grape Stomp Festival on Sept. 20 from 1 to 5 p.m. There’s a stomping competition for adults (bare feet only), and activities for kids. There’s no admission charged.
The vineyards are at 3390 John Adams Road, Willow Spring.
Details: 919-567-1010 or www.adamsvineyards.com/