There are many reasons why my family frequents our local agritourism attraction, Fair Oaks Farm. First off, it’s nearby…and we live in a place where really NOTHING is nearby. Their features change seasonally so it can often feel like a new experience or the best of that particular season each time we visit. Our family would like to keep the one, large, family-centered rural establishment in business to help employ our rural friends and neighbors. From our understanding, Fair Oaks exists to bring transparency to the process of procuring meat and dairy from animals. Which, if you are inclined to eat out/eat meat/animal products…you should probably know something about. And last of all, our friends also have memberships. It ends up being the place we bring our NWI crew together since we all live pretty spread out lives…and we love each other so making time for each other is a must. Especially, at the start of the holidays!
It started out as quite a rainy and blustery winter evening where it took some convincing for our crew (aka: my sister, Kelly – see image below) to don their rainboots and give it a go.
The “braving” part of the evening was unnecessary since it rained only long enough to clear all other folks off the lit trail so we could proceed along the path worry-free.
As a maker of play and doer of things. I’ve dragged the family along to quite an array of holiday light experiences and I am so happy to report that this experience goes down in the books as a keeper! It’s on foot, which a nice hike is always a welcome treat after a hearty dinner. About a mile or so long…so it didn’t feel like it was over when it started. The company alone would have been enough for us but the trail kept our interest by intertwining the lovely spectacle with bits of farm humor, in true Fair Oaks form.
Yes, that is a team of cows pulling a Santa tractor. Speaking of tractors…
We found ourselves stopping in awe. Stopping for pictures. Sippin’ on our Christmas cocktails….
and stopping for s’mores!
Stuck in the mud?
In the same way you want to put your kids on a leash in a corn maze (which I haven’t done but have wanted to…my sense of direction is suspect), you may want to establish the rule of running to the next light experience then running right back. The “no running” concept doesn’t fly with this mom when kids are outside and have been cooped up all day. So just make the most of it! Plan for them to run. Give them a task that involves optimal gross motor and they (usually) comply without any problem, whatsoever. Unless you have 2 year olds…then I recommend wearing your own running shoes!
Did you grub?
Members get 20% off their meal + a “free” dessert at the Farmhouse restaurant so of course we grubbed! We had quite a large group. Even though I called in advance…and then again 2 days before to communicate our arrival, they were a bit flummoxed by our arrival. They don’t have a good plan for large groups unless you pay $150 to rent out a private room. As a group of friends just coming to eat and play right before the holiday…we weren’t looking for that. We just needed to feed the crew…
and get to the lights!
We were split up, which was fine. The place is spacious and it cleared out early so we had room to mix and mingle and nurse our $4 Moscow Mules.
The kids headed out to burn off some steam!
What did we dig the most?
The unique carved out lanterns and tents were so very beautiful.
The shadows they cast were almost as lovely as the works of art the illuminations were.
Then we headed over to the Snack Barn to buy snacks/tickets for the adventures ahead.
When your eating your snacks at the Snack Barn and your sister tries to get you to smile by saying, “say icicles!”
My nephew, niece and I tried to show her the logic of “cheese.”
That being said, she might have been onto something.
On this particular visit. On this particular day. The weather was wrong. The group was large. The timing was tricky. And, none of it mattered. We held out to see the faces of the people we love and seldom get to see. We didn’t let a little rain get in our way, we let it clear the way. It was a nice to time to circle back with the kiddos about life being 10% what happens and 90% what you make of it. We decided it was going to be a good evening. The evening didn’t need very much convincing.
Here are the up to date details. Have fun!