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The Truth About a Leaping Lamb Farm Stay with Kids

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I could tell you it's the sheep and their wooly babes. Or I could say it's silly Gillie the dog who comes calling at your cottage door when he hears the clang of dishes being washed. I might say it's the feinting goats, the donkey named Paco, the trio of horses, Pea Diddy the peacock, or the fairy-filled forest trails. But the truth is, families come again and again to Leaping Lamb Farm because of its welcoming and kindhearted owner, Scottie Jones.

Leaping Lamb Farm guest cottage with rams in the distance

Leaping Lamb Farm guest cottage with rams in the distance (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Greener pastures at Leaping Lamb Farm

Scottie has lived on these 70 acres with her husband, Greg, for 14 years. The couple decided to write a new chapter of their lives' story when entering their 50s. So they left their business careers in the Phoenix Area to pursue greener, wetter pastures in Alsea, Oregon. Their friends laid bets that the couple wouldn't last more than three years on the farm. That only spurred them on to make their farm a success.

View from the flower garden at Leaping Lamb Farm

View from the flower garden at Leaping Lamb Farm (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

At Leaping Lamb Farm, Scottie and Greg cut and bail their own hay (sometimes with help from neighbors) and chase down their runaway sheep when their livestock outsmart the fences to leap into the surrounding mountains. When the Joneses realized their farm was eating their retirement savings, the couple built a two-bedroom cottage on property and began renting it out to suburb- and city-dwellers like my family for nature-filled vacations.

Feeding chickens and ducks at Leaping Lamb Farm in Alsea, Oregon

Feeding chickens and ducks at Leaping Lamb Farm in Alsea, Oregon (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Beauty everywhere

The beauty is big in this bucolic spot of Oregon, about an hour and a half from Portland. You'll wake to the sound of a rooster (or two) crowing on your first morning. But you'll soon adapt to the mellow sounds of farm life, cock-a-doodle-doos included. Two hand-fed rams baa for their daily servings of dried corn. The hens cluck. The duck quacks as it waddles into a plastic wading pool. Green grapes grow on vines that twist their way up the deck of the cottage. It's all framed by giant evergreen trees in the distance.

Silly Gillie the dog searching for chipmunks at Leaping Lamb Farm

Silly Gillie the dog searching for chipmunks (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Love is in the details

It's the little touches that keep families coming back to Leaping Lamb Farm. Thought has been put into the details to make simple things even more memorable during a farm stay here.

The Joneses outfitted the hay barn with a basketball hoop and basketball. With parental supervision, kids are welcome to climb the hay stacks to shoot and play. Light streams in through the barn's slats, painting sunbeams across their smiling faces.

Scottie gives hand-drawn maps to fairy houses that a talented farmhand built on their property. Ahem…I mean the houses were built by fairies who find Leaping Lamb Farm as magical and welcoming as human guests do. Leave a note in the wee mailbox at one such tiny home and expect a letter mailed to your house after your vacation.

One of five fairy houses at Leaping Lamb Farm

One of five fairy houses at Leaping Lamb Farm (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

The flavors of Leaping Lamb Farm

Guests are invited to wander through the vegetable garden, flower patch and green house. You can supplement your meals with fresh tomatoes, cucumber, herbs and more. (It's not a free for all, though, people. Let's be reasonable.)

Green grapes on the vine at Leaping Lamb Farm

Green grapes on the vine at Leaping Lamb Farm (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Leaping Lamb Farm pushed my kids, especially my youngest, out of comfort zones. My son has a fear of vegetables and especially fruits. Never before had he ever tasted a berry. At Leaping Lamb Farm he didn't hesitate to pluck a mulberry from the tree and pop it into his mouth.

Freshly collected eggs for breakfast

Freshly collected eggs for breakfast (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Leaping Lamb Farm lessons

Scottie doesn't merely give guests a tour of the property. She connects. She asks questions about your family, and cares about the answers. She explains the why of farm work to children and their parents: how to find the barn swallow nests, how composting works, why it's important to pick a horse's hoof before riding it.

Mama sheep and their baby lambs at Leaping Lamb Farm

Mama sheep and their baby lambs (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Finding balance at Leaping Lamb Farm

The Joneses have fashioned a tightrope on which children can play while parents watch from the cottage deck, glass of wine in hand. The rope is a couple of feet above ground, strung between two trees. When my 8-year-old son started bouncing on it, Scottie said in her soft way, “I might ask you not to jump there. The rope is meant for balancing. It's not a trampoline. Can you show me how far you can balance on it walking from one end to the other?”

Finding balance at Leaping Lamb Farm

Finding balance at Leaping Lamb Farm (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Childhood, how it should be

Usually my children avoid and whine about chores of any sort. Not so on the farm. I gave them free-reign to explore here…the only rule being not to go into the forest or hay barn without an adult. This newfound freedom turned my lazybones kiddos into productive farmers that gleefully collected eggs, fed the horses and even mucked out stalls.

There's a trust here; trust that children will follow the farm rules and act responsibly. Trust, for example, that the kids can take the mama goat for a walk on a rope lead with her two babies following behind. And that children will, “steer the goats away from my flowers and berries, but encourage them to eat the weeds instead.”

A hen and Pearl, a baby feinting goat

A hen and Pearl, a baby feinting goat (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

When I was a kid, I played for hours outdoors, without adult supervision. Today, with fears of kidnappers and molesters, my children sadly don't have that same freedom to explore and scrape up their knees and come home when the street lamps light up. It was such a joy to call out my children's names at dinnertime from the cottage door and watch them scramble in from the world of play for a family meal. How wonderful it was to let them live a few days of innocence, free from my helicopter love and unburdened by their own obsession with technology.

My kids posing with Scottie on our last day at Leaping Lamb Farm

My kids posing with Leaping Lamb Farm co-owner, Scottie, on our last day on the farm (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

A farmer is born

We all mourned a little the day of our departure from Leaping Lamb Farm. My 11-year-old daughter, Karissa, made her rounds to ensure she snapped a photo of all of the animals, and get an extra snuggle with Paco the donkey. Then Karissa declared she wants to be a farmer when she grows up. I'm not sure if she'll follow through on that dream. But I do know who she can call for patient and gentle advice if she ever does.

Tempted to book a stay? Read reviews and learn more about Leaping Lamb Farm on Trip Advisor.

Would you like to unplug and reconnect during a stay at Leaping Lamb Farm? Let us know in the comments below!

Paco the donkey was my daughter's second favorite Leaping Lamb Farm resident, after Scottie

Paco the donkey was my daughter's favorite Leaping Lamb Farm animal resident (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Even if you can't visit, you can share a little slice of this sweet farm with your children with Scottie's book, Paco the Dusty Donkey.

A Note from The Travel Mama: My family paid a media rate to stay at Leaping Lamb Farm. All opinions are mine, as always. 

About Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama

Colleen Lanin is the founder/editor-in-chief of TravelMamas.com. As the author of her book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents not only how to survive a trip with children, but also how to love exploring the world with their offspring. Her stories have appeared online and in print for such outlets as the "Today" show, NBCNews.com, Parenting Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, Expedia, San Diego Family Magazine, and more. Colleen gives tips on television, radio, and as a public speaker. She has a master’s degree in business administration with a background in marketing. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

Comments

  1. Ellen Lanin says:

    It takes a special kind of person to welcome guests to stay at their farm. The knowledge gained from a visit like this is impossible to measure.

  2. Oh wow. I would love to take the family to stay at Leaping Lamb. We live in the south, so we love animals and working with them. I think this would be so much fun!

  3. This would be a dream vacation for me and my family. I have lived in the city all my life, and raised my kids in the same fast paced environment I grew up in. I would love to stay for a week (or two) at Leaping Lamb. It would be truly relaxing to be this close to nature and enjoy a more laid back lifestyle, even only temporarily.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      A farm stay really was incredible for my family. I wish had stayed longer than just a couple of nights. I hope to go back to Leaping Lamb Farm someday and/or stay at another farm. I hope you get the opportunity to try this kind of vacation, too!

  4. Catherine Sargent says:

    This looks like a wonderful family activity. This would be a fun experience for my family we were all born and raised in the city.

  5. This sounds like a great vacation for city-dwellers. There’s nothing like spending time on a farm to change your perspective.

  6. This is such a beautiful farm. I loved the tree!

  7. This is awesome. We live in the City so something like this would be so much fun for our whole family. I know my kids would enjoy it just as much as I would, and think it would be a lot of fun and a great learning experience!

  8. Leaping Lamb Farm looks like the most beautiful serene place to visit with the family. I can only imagine the photos and memories we’d have. I love the flower garden and all the animals.

  9. What an absolutely gorgeous place to visit. I think my kids would love to check this out.

  10. This place looks absolutely amazing! Definitely a place I would visit with my family!

  11. Dear Colleen, I can’t thank you enough for such a wonderful article about our farm. All your kind words rather choked me up on reading them. I’m so glad you could bring your kids for a visit, and that the stay was not only informative for all but nostalgic for your own childhood and the freedom we were allowed as kids. While we would love all your followers to visit us, Oregon is a bit far for some. I just want families to know there are farm stays in every state and you can easily find them by checking out Farm Stay U.S. (www.farmstayus.com). Farm stays are as different as their landscapes, but I can promise the food will be good, the scenery pastoral, and the farmers welcoming. It really is foreign travel in your own country, making a leap from urban to rural often in as little as 2 hours. BTW, Colleen, your photos are gorgeous. My personal favorite: Pearl the goat with the chicken looking on LOL! Thank you, thank you!!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Oh, I’m so glad to hear you like the story, Scottie! Thank YOU for such hospitality and wonderful memories. I hope we will return to beautiful Leaping Lamb Farm someday…soon!

  12. What an amazingly unique vacation idea. Between the adorable animals, stunning scenery and important lessons to be learned, I am already sold.

  13. I can definitely see why this is such a great destination for families. I love that your kids can get such novel experiences there!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Liz – Leaping Lamb Farm does such a fabulous job of making the simple things extra special!

  14. It looks like you guys had so much fun! I would love to bring my family here sometime!

  15. That looks so pretty and like a lot of fun. Interacting with all the animals would be so great. And it is so naturally beautiful. I could understand why you had a great time there.

  16. Ann Bacciaglia says:

    I would love to spend the day here with the kids. I grew up around farms and always loved all the animals.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Hopefully you could stay for more than just a day. It takes a while to really unplug and enjoy!

  17. Gorgeous photos and gorgeous place! I love that fairy tree house! My girls would love it!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      I’m so bummed that my kids forgot to leave a note for the fairies in the mailbox! If you go, I hope your girls will remember!

  18. What a great place. I am going to pin this and hopefully we can find the time to check it out. Our girls would love it!

  19. Looks like a fun exploration spot for kids! I love the flowers and so many cute lambs!!

  20. Aww, I love farms and teaching my kids about wildlife. I grew up on a farm as a kid and would love for my kids to have that experience.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      It would be a wonderful thing to share with your kids, especially since you could share this slice of your childhood with them!

  21. There really is beauty everywhere. And oh my goodness to those grapes! 🙂

  22. Robin Rue says:

    This looks like such a beautiful place. I love that there are learning activities for the kids too.

  23. Mellissa Williams says:

    I would love to visit somewhere like this. I have always loved farm life and so this would be a great experience.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      I enjoyed it much more than I expected, Mellissa. I hope you get a chance to experience a farm stay someday!

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