Farm, set in the rolling hills of southwestern Pennsylvania, takes its name
from the most pastoral of Thomas Hardy's novels, Far from the Madding Crowd.
Innkeepers Marcy and Dale Tudor discovered the joys of staying at bed and
breakfasts and pensiones while on assignment for Dale's company in Germany.
They loved the feeling of being treated as one of the family on their weekend
and vacation stays throughout Europe and decided to start their own farm B&B
in the United States. The bucolic setting of this 200-acre farm just three
miles from the West Virginia border and 45 miles southwest of Pittsburgh is
indeed far from crowded life. I arrived late in the afternoon on a frigid
December Sunday and, soon after pulling into the farmyard, Dale and son Nigel
met me at the gate. This welcoming gesture, extended to all guests no matter
the weather conditions, was the start of easily feeling at home with the
is a no-frills, kid-friendly, working farm where children are invited to help
feed a lamb or calf with a Perrier bottle filled with milk. Or they can
accompany Farmer Dale on his rounds of feeding the goats, guineas, ducks, gees
a, and a small flock of those amazing Araucana chickens that lay blue, green
and pink eggs. In colder weather, they can help feed hay to the sheep and
Scottish Highland cattle in the pasture. The Tudors dipped into literature for
more than the name of their farm with a sheep named Jacob Marley and goats
Billy Goat Gruff and Sleeping Beauty. Even the barn cats are named for
storybook characters--Cinderella, Prince Charming , and Thumbelina.
plenty of books and magazines in their rooms, but not TV or radios. The only
television is located in the music room. Unlike accommodations filled with
antiques and breakables, you don't have to worry about Johnny climbing on the
couch or precious china being knocked off a table in this room.
expanded the number of guest rooms by renovation the original summer kitchen,
which had stood idle for more than 50 years. They call the room on the lower
level Sariah's Kitchen, to honor Sariah Murdock, a member of the family who
first owned the farm. The walk-in fireplace used for cooking the 180s remains.
A Victorian bedstead, decorative tole lamp, and touches of mauve in the quilt
and flowered pillows dress up the room. I found a copy of Hardy's novel on the
antique chopping block that serves as an end table. For a family stay, the
sofa converts to a double bed. On the second floor of the summer kitchen,
Mother's Sewing Room has blue-and-white gingham accents, and a genuine Singer
sewing machine. The king bed can be converted to twin beds and the daybed
sleeps one. Windows from a 1790s brick home in West Middletown were used in
the restoration. Jane's Bedroom, the only guest room in the farmhouse,
features a flower-stenciled border with the flower motif repeated on the
continues to be a work in progress. You might find the Tudors working on a
building or involved in a painting project during your stay. The newest
accommodation is the Livery Stable, an old barn they found in Washington,
Pennsylvania. After being dismantled and moved to the farm, this building now
stands as a fine example of adaptive reuse. It will offer three suites with a
living room on the first floor and a bedroom and bath upstairs. The spacious
new suites can sleep five or six and a second-story balcony will look out to
the meadow. Plans for the Livery include a wheelchair-accessible room and a
large room on the lower level of the bank barn where breakfast will be served.
Plan for a
hearty country breakfast with kid-pleaser items like Green Eggs, No Ham and
banana pancakes. Breakfast at Weatherbury Farm is more than about
filling the stomach for the day ahead of work and play on the farm. The Tudor
family sit down with their guests at a table set with colorful Fiestaware, as
they remember this time of sharing experiences as what they liked most about
their European bed and breakfast stays.
Kids who come to
stay for two days or more receive their own red packet with Weatherbury Farm's
"Official Farm Kid Workbook." It's filled with educationally sound activities
and safety advice, which is essential for a stay on a rural spread with
animals and farm machinery.
Marcy Tudor observes that while many guests arrive armed with a list of
places to visit, many end up staying on the farm. As one young guest noted in
large block letters in the guestbook, "I don't ever want to leave."
Weatherbury also offers on-site
events like the Sheep Fest celebrating the heritage of wool and sheep in
Washington County. With a resident blacksmith, Nigel Tudor, living on the
farm, Weatherbury host the first Hammer-In with blacksmith demonstrations in
Many families stay two or three
days and may want a afternoon of exploring nearby attractions. The Meadowcroft
Museum of Rural Life, a reconstructed 19th-century village in nearby Avella,
offers a full slate of workshops and celebrations. The kids will love the
Pennsylvanian Trolley Museum in Arden where you can take a ride on a vintage
streetcar. On a return trip to Ohio, stop ate Homer Laughlin China Company and
retail outlet for Fiestaware in Newell, West Virginia.
It's only a mile to find lunch or
dinner Breezy Heights Tavern, a delightful eatery cum miniature golf course.
To top it all off, the owner as filled the place with stuffed game animals.
Breezy Heights offers, ribs, barbecued chicken and a kid's menu. Another meal
option is to pick up the makings for a picnic at the Avella Market."