Posts Tagged ‘farm’

Stamford Museum and Nature Center

May 20, 2012

Spring is not only the season for growth of the green variety, it is also the season for baby animals!  As city dwellers, we tend to forget this other half of nature’s equation.  Ducklings?  Calves? What are those?  If you would like to get up close and personal with the cycle of life, pay a visit to a farm right now!  For those of you who don’t want to leave the city, we have the Queens County Farm.  In Westchester, we have Stone Barns with its own collection of farm animals.  I’ve covered both in previous posts. This time around, I’d like to introduce you to the farm at the Stamford Museum and Nature Center.  It is about an hour’s drive from the city and not only does it have a farm and an art museum, it also contains a number of short and easy hiking trails.

Without further ado, here were some star attractions this weekend:

Kids, no, not the little humans, the other kind…
Stamford Nature Center

Ducklings
Stamford Nature Center

Lambs
Stamford Nature Center

Calf and alpacas!
Stamford Nature Center

Lest we not forget, the grownups are also worthy of a visit.  These river otters are very popular and unusual for a farm.  Meet Edie and Bert!
Stamford Nature Center

This Clydesdale horse was easily the largest horse I had ever seen – towering over all of us like a genetic experiment gone bad. Before I went into the stable to see it in profile, I had to ask whether the horse was standing on some sort of platform.  My friends who come here often with their kids got a chuckle out of that one.
Stamford Nature Center

In addition to these cast of characters, you will find the other usual suspects – rabbits, chicken, pigs, and llamas.  Do you remember a time when llamas were considered exotic enough NOT to be farm animals?  I vaguely do.

As I mentioned earlier, there is also an art museum and hiking trails.  The trails are all wooded, and many of them intersect each other.  None of them are more than half a mile, but some require uphill climbing, so those are probably not good for kids under 3.   The art museum is tiny, and depending on the subject matter, could probably be covered in 15 minutes.  The current exhibit is interesting and is appropriate given the fact that we are currently celebrating the young at the farm – it is showcasing the work of an artist who illustrated a number of famous children’s books, the most famous being Puss In Boots.

To get to the Center, go on I-95 and take Exit 7 – Turn left at the 2nd traffic light onto Washington Boulevard.  Continue on Washington Boulevard crossing Long Ridge Road, ending at High Ridge Road.  Take a left onto High Ridge Rd (Route 137), and continue – crossing under the Merritt Parkway.  The Center is at High Ridge Rd and Scofieldtown Rd, 3/4 of a mile north of the Merritt Parkway.  At this time of year, the center is open from 9am to 5pm.  Admission for adults is $10; for children, it’s $5.

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Stone Barns

November 6, 2011

Stone Barns

I would wager that a lot of folks from the city go to Stone Barns for the multi-course “Farmer’s Feast” at Blue Hill, the highly reputable restaurant on the farm that does away with a menu and instead, offers whatever was just picked for the day. There are several price points, ranging from $88 for the 4-course lunch to $208 for the 12-course dinner. The restaurant is only open on Sundays. Although we enjoy a good meal now and again, we did not go to Stone Barns on this particular weekend to partake in an extravagant meal. We went for the fresh air, open space, and animals.

The name of this place fits very well with the cluster of stone buildings in the center of the farm. The restaurant is here, along with a take-out cafe, a gift shop, and the farm market that sells fresh produce and baked treats. We bought lunch at the cafe and ate it under the eaves in the courtyard. It was quite chilly but the lunch was very tasty – we had a roast beef sandwich, a bruschetta-like open face sandwich, and butternut squash soup.

Stone Barns

You are free to walk the grounds, with the exception of some places that are closed off to the public. You can either do a paid guided tour or self-guided tour with a map. You will need to consult the program calendar to see what tours are available on any given day.  We opted to just roam around. Near the buildings are a cluster of immense greenhouses. They were growing kale, chard, and some other vegetables I could not identify in their native state.

Stone Barns

Stone Barns

We were very happy to see huge swaths of open space here. There are some hilly parts, but they are not that bad to climb. There are also some wooded trails that surround the farm.  In the interest of time, we did not do any of the trails but may come back another weekend to do them.

Stone Barns

Stone Barns

Stone Barns

The main attraction, at least for me, are the animals. Farm animals are entertaining, even the not-so-cute ones.  These pigs live a life of luxury in their hay-padded shelter.

Stone Barns

The sheep had the run of two pastures, one next to the other.  In each pasture was a genuine sheepdog guarding its flock.  This dog seemed friendly enough, but when I walked several yards away from it to take a picture from another angle, it immediately stood up, walked up to me at the fence and stood in front of me as if to say that if I wanted to steal any of his sheep, I would have to go through him first!

Stone Barns

I don’t know if you can see this very clearly, but some of these chicken have very sad bald spots.  I have heard of chicken plucking their own feathers from stress, but have never really seen it.  I don’t know why they would be stressed here.  This seems like comfy living to me!

Stone Barns

Our seasonal favorite, the turkey, times 200.  There was a fight among the turkeys where one would jump and flap its wings quite suddenly and then another would do the same.  At one point, one would gobble and the rest would gobble in chorus.  It was very odd and soothing at the same time.

Stone Barns

Stone Barns is located at 630 Bedford Road in Tarrytown, NY. You can either drive or take the Metro North to Tarrytown and then hail a taxi from there. Parking is $5, but it is reimbursable if you spend over $15 on food or at the gift shop. Just make sure to give the cashier your parking receipt. Dogs are allowed on the grounds, but not in all places. There are signs that clearly tell you when you can’t take your dog past a certain point. Also, note that the fencing around the animals are electrified, so keep a tight grip on the smaller ones around these areas.

Queens County Farm Museum

October 22, 2010

How many people know there is actual farmland in the city?  Raise your hands.  If you were brought up in the NYC public school system, you bet your nickel you would be raising that hand.  I remember doing field trips here to pet the farm animals.  All you needed was a nickel bag of feed and the goats were suddenly your best friends.  From what I can tell, not much has changed about this place over the decades.  In operation since the 1600’s, it remains today as the only historical working farm in the city.  It spans over 45 acres and includes a greenhouse, some fields, an orchard, and an herb garden.  As a sign of the times, they now sell fresh produce at their farmstand and wine from their greenhouse.

Here are some animals you’ll find at the farm:

Queens County Farm

Queens County Farm

Queens County Farm

Queens County Farm

Queens County Farm

Queens County Farm

In the fall, this month especially, the main attractions are the pumpkin patch and corn maze.  This is the only place in the city where you can pretend you’re Charlie Brown waiting for his epic encounter with the Great Pumpkin.

IMG_3525s

The corn maze is a bit cheesy but still fun for adults.  You can choose to do it during the day or at night. Unfortunately, the weekends when you could do it at night have already passed.  I would recommend doing the maze anyway – cross it off your list of things that you’ve been meaning to do once in your life.
Queens County Farm

The farm is at 73-50 Little Neck Parkway in Floral Park, Queens.  It is open 7 days a week from 10am to 5pm. Admission is free, unless there is a special event.  You can pick pumpkins and do the corn maze on weekends from 11am to 4pm.  Pumpkins vary in price depending on the size.  The corn maze is $8 for adults and $5 for kids (free for those 3 years and younger).  There are also hayrides for $2.

You can reach the farm by taking the E or F Train to Kew Gardens/Union Turnpike Station, then the Q46 Bus (eastbound on Union Turnpike) to the Little Neck Parkway stop.  Cross at Union Turnpike and walk North on Little Neck Parkway three blocks to the entrance.   If you’re driving, take the Grand Central Parkway East to Exit 24 (Little Neck Parkway), then make a right onto Little Neck Parkway and drive three blocks to the entrance.  Parking is on the street.