Just got off the phone with the owners of Taylor Farm in Peacham, Vermont, who have been happily there for the full pandemic, joined with family and friends over the course of the last year. Here are some highlights:
So, what was your experience being on the farm over the last year?
We’ve lived here for years, but this was our first pandemic! We definitely stuck close to home and focused on our family and friends — our extended household. Together, we found great ways to have fun safely, and we even established some new traditions.
We knew that we could host multiple households here — privacy for guests (and hosts) was one of the things that we have always loved about this property. But we didn’t know that it could work so well for such an extended time.
My brother, his wife, and two daughters, 7 and 9, have basically been here the whole time. We call them our “Covid refugees” — and what a year to get out of Washington, D.C. We would never have thought it would be necessary for there to be 5 adults, 2 kids, plus periodically our own 2 college-age children, all with demanding jobs and school, living and working here together. Luckily, we have great broadband so everyone can be online getting it done.
This year together wasn’t planned and everyone has been working, but something really special about this property is that it feels like vacation all the time. You have your house, you fry some eggs, you do your thing; you go outside or to the gym to exercise — 3 hilly miles of snowshoeing around the perimeter will snap you right into shape (or you can Zoom your trainer); you text the neighbor — who happens to be your sister-in-law — and take an impromptu dog walk with the kids; you all gather up around the fire in the evening for dinner and a movie. It’s been an amazing year in that way — we feel very connected to this family (our family) who haven’t lived near us for a long time.
Our nieces have had a blast and have tried a bunch of new things. They love the lake with boating, paddleboarding, fishing, and swimming. They learned to ski this winter, and have gained tremendous confidence on the snow. These will be life-long memories for them.
Our adult kids, needless to say, took full advantage of the hilltop cabin for “study time in the country” with their college pods. We were delighted that they were well out of earshot (we only heard the rumors of beer pong). And judging by the amount of steak that disappeared from our freezers, they did some good eating as well. We thought they would never leave!
A true discovery for us was how fun outdoor entertaining can be. (It’s hard for everyone to end up in the kitchen when they are actually required by law to stay outside.) Last summer, we set up an outdoor music pavilion for a local band to practice, and where we could all hang out and listen to live music. This winter we discovered that if you light enough fires outside, you can hang out for hours even if it’s below freezing. The mountain cabin is a delightful location for such outings. Plus, snow is a great beer fridge.
The pandemic year has been so terrible in so many ways. We are truly grateful that our farm in the Northeast Kingdom has provided us such sweet refuge.