We have a small farmhouse about 1.5 hours from Philadelphia, in the southeast corner of Pennsylvania. Jeff has a background in land preservation, and in his spare time is a photographer, plays guitar, volunteers for a new farmer development program and for our local environmental advisory council and loves to forage for wild edibles. Nitya has travelled a lot, loves working with plants and animals, building things, cooking and learning new things (currently learning French). We both enjoy travelling and hosting travellers, and outdoor activities like hiking, cycling and cross-country skiing.
Cooking / shopping
Help in the house
If you are interested in learning about growing/foraging for food, the best times to come are spring, summer and fall. There are also opportunities to visit other farms in the area, and there may also be workshops and field days in this region that may be of interest. There may also be opportunities for part-time/casual farmwork in the area if you are interested in learning about organic farming. We also have an extensive library of farming, gardening, philosophy, spirituality and sustainability-related books that you can browse and read during your stay.
We speak English and Nitya speaks a smattering of Hindi, and is working on learning French, so if you speak French she would love to learn from and practice with you, and are also happy to help you with your English if you are learning.
We are in a very out-of-the-way, peaceful location and yet only a 10 minute drive to local towns and highways. There are lots of quiet country roads for walking and cycling (we have bikes that you can borrow if you enjoy cycling) and we are surrounded by woods with lots of wildlife and birds, and we have a very active arts and music community in the area with lots of music events, art galleries and studios, as well as interesting historical sites and museums. Lancaster county, Hawk Mountain, the Poconos and the Delaware River are all easy day trips from here.
We enjoy taking advantage of these great resources and you are welcome to join us, or to explore on your own depending on what you prefer - we are happy to cover gas, tolls etc, but we appreciate if you pay for your own meals, snacks, drinks, entrance fees etc on outings. There is a lovely swimming hole nearby - on a hot day we often go for a swim and then go for ice cream at the dairy!
We are working on restoring farm buildings and our house so folks with renovation experience and skills are particularly welcome. We are also both passionate about landscape restoration/permaculture using native and food plants to create bird and pollinator-friendly habitat, to combat and replace invasive plant species, and provide some perennial food sources. We also have a small veggie garden for our own use.
English, a very small smattering of French and Hindi
We have plenty of space for folks with a tent or camper (when the weather is warm enough for camping!), and our guest room may also be available depending on time of year and who else is staying here. Our guest room is small, so while we can accommodate an individual or couple, we can generally only host families who have their own accommodation (tent, camper etc). We do occasionally host helpers with canine companions, however we do have three cats, so this only works with cat-friendly dogs. We do expect doggie workawayers to be on groundhog patrol!
Our minimum stay is usually a week, however we do occasionally welcome helpers for a day or a weekend for the sort of projects where many hands make light work. At certain times of the year we do give preference to people looking for a longer stay as although we enjoy the energy and enthusiasm that each new visitor brings, we find that there is a sense of collaboration and teamwork that comes from a deeper understanding of the farm and the activities here that visitors develop when they stay for a longer period. Our experience has been that most people also find that a longer stay is more rewarding for similar reasons.
Sorry, but nightowls who sleep late don't fit into our household routine so if you are a late sleeper, this is not the place for you.
There is public transport to Allentown from NY City, or to Pottstown from Philadelphia, and we can pick someone up from Allentown or Pottstown.
Please keep in mind that a lot of rural areas in the US have a problem with ticks and lyme disease at certain times of the year. Some precautions you can take to minimise the likliehood of being bitten by ticks include wearing long rubber boots in the field, strategic use of insect repellant, inspecting yourself all over for ticks when you come inside after being in the field or woods, or after going for a hike. Biting gnats/midges can also be an issue for some people in late summer/early fall - fine fly nets and insect repellant work well for them.
If you have allergy issues, please note that we do have cats in the house, and there are certain times of the year when pollen and other seasonal factors may affect you. If you are allergic to cats this may not be the right place for you, or you may find that camping is a better option than sleeping in the house.
We are omnivores but can usually accommodate lacto-ovo vegetarians if you don't mind cooking your own meal when we are eating a meat-based meal. When you contact us, please be sure to include a phone number, and some information about yourself - what your interests are, previous farm experience, relevant skills, what you hope to learn etc. Thanks.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
flexible, around 20hrs/wk, weekends are usually quiet and are a good time to take some time to explore, take a trip to Philly or NYC etc.