We definitely do our fair share of research and planning before we take a trip. Over the years, however, we have learned the value of being flexible. All the scheduling in the world cannot compete with a campground owner’s recommendation for BBQ or a spontaneous visit to a church pancake breakfast. So many of our wonderful experiences on the road have been the result of conversations with locals or fellow travelers. If I can offer you one piece of advice for finding special places away from home, it would be this: slow down and talk to folks. They have great things to say.
This past weekend I slowed down long enough to read the chalkboard outside the store at Camp Taylor. It mentioned the Farm Animal Frolic that was taking place that day at Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm.
Well, I had no idea what that was, but I figured we had best find out. When I looked up the farm website, it mentioned baby animals. Sold. Plans were already made for the day, but plans were easily changed.
We arrived at 10 am sharp, just the time the frolic was supposed to start. Except that nobody was there. I had read the information wrong on my phone…it was Sunday, and the farm did not open until 12 pm. After talking to some of the farm workers, we changed plans again. We spent the next two hours hitting baseballs and splashing in a creek at a nearby park. Yup, flexibility and a little bit of chatting goes a long way on the road.
At noon we returned and spent the afternoon at what was easily the most beautiful farm I have ever visited.
We ate baked beans, watermelon, and three-bean salad.
We petted rabbits, baby ducks, lambs, and calves.
We played some old fashioned farm games and sat through a spelling lesson in the old schoolhouse.
We jumped from a barn platform into big mounds of hay.
Days later, when I asked Theo what his favorite part of the weekend trip was, he answered simply: The farm.
I pressed for specifics. Was it the hay jumping, the baby goats, the baked treats?
He started to list some things…I loved petting the ducks and the rabbits, and fishing with the magnets, and… He paused and sighed. I just loved the whole thing, he decided.
I completely agree.