The first night, a volley of excited words shoots across the room as we recap our first day at East Hill Farm in Troy, NH. We ended up here after a spur of the moment decision to get away for the weekend. We threw the backpacks in the car and drove towards this quaint New England oasis at the foot of Mt. Monadnock and settled in for two days of mountain views, fresh food, and chickens...lots of chickens.
The countless positive reviews directed our sights and a last minute cancelation gave us the opportunity to take our wee ones to a place that is part day camp, part farm, part family reunion and part home.
There is a sense of solidarity just walking onto the property. Friends new and old embrace and greet outside the office- a large colonial building that functions as a gift shop and leads into the large dining hall which, in only a few hours, will be filled with hundreds of guests anxiously awaiting their homemade bread; the kind that is still warm when you grab it from the wooden cutting board.
Kids run free, claiming their title from a pamphlet boasting "Where kids are kings." They swarm from the giant sandbox littered with Tonka trucks, to one of the in-ground pools, or perhaps down to the pond with paddle boats and row boats. Others mingle with the farm animals, laughing when the goats nibble pieces of bread from little hands. Still others are perched proudly atop Adam the pony, or one of the other horses for their first ride.
Families meander in and out of their rooms, enjoying the scheduled activities like morning hikes or arts and crafts while others enjoy the simple fact that this particular weekend had a special order of a quiet breeze and air temps hovering in the mid-70's. Really, it was hard to ask for better weather as puffy clouds drifted across a deep blue sky and people took time back from the hustle and bustle of life.
Folks are just kind here. It's one of those places where people say hello when you walk by and if you had a wide-brimmed hat, you might just tip it to your neighbor as a greeting. There's no cell reception in the shadow of Mt. Monadnock and computers and TV's are scarce, I hear it helps with the airflow.
Sam, our youngest at 20 months old, ran free on the dirt paths leading us to the chicken coop where Eli and I would gather eggs for breakfast the next morning. All the food was tremendous as I tasted everything from roast beef doused in gravy to mussels cooked in minced garlic and butter.
For those who like green things on their plate, there were carefully selected options of quinoa salad and fresh leafy greens and mounds of blackberries blueberries and other seasonal fruits. You're never hungry here and if you're looking for a mid-day treat, you can always sneak into the cookie jar full of fresh baked goodness during the day (in the back of the dining hall).
When talking with Eli tonight, I asked what other families should do on the farm and he said you should go with the farmer to see the pigs (mostly because our guide pretended to pick the pigs nose!) and take a boat out onto the pond where you can skim across the shallow waters under a wide sky.
The only drawback to this trip was that we couldn't stay longer and we didn't take any cookies with us for the road. The boys wanted to hang but as we drove home we started planning our next trip back to the farm to play in the giant sandbox, to feed the animals, and to meet new friends. People book in advance here, as evidenced by the couple booking their trip in November when I was first checking in.
Do yourself a favor: look at your schedule and book a few days to take back your time at the Inn at East Hill Farm. Who knows, you just might end up going on the same week 25 years in a row like some of the other guests who found their home-away beneath the mountain.