My visit to Farm Sanctuary, Watkins Glen, NY ....
My number one highlight of 2016 was visiting Farm Sanctuary Watkins Glen, NY.
Ever since I became vegan around five years ago and started reading about Farm Sanctuary USA, it's been top of my list!
I flew from NYC to Rochester and hired a car, which was fun and it was a pretty easy drive to Farm Sanctuary (thanks to GPS). Bit crazy at times driving on the other side of the road but worth it and I can't wait to do it all again!
I stayed in one of their three cabins (they were still building the new cabins when I was there, so now they have six).
I stayed in Angie's cabin. I loved the little cabins, they have everything you need and are super cozy, as it was still a little fresh at night when I was there in early May.
So after arriving and popping in at The Visitor Barn to collect my cabin keys, I then joined the volunteer group that starts around midday.
Volunteer work is anything they need done on the day, which in this case was some gardening in an area that needed a bit of a tidy up. We were assisted by the hens who were very interested in our digging.
I was lucky that everyone on the tour were also staying in the other cabins, so it was a great way to get to know the other guests. As a thank you for our volunteer efforts, we were able to hang with the sweet and funny goats.
Next came the tour! They walk you around to meet all the residents and you hear a little of how they came to be there and why. You get to meet the cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, goats, geese and even the local squirrels! Bliss!
The staff at Farm Sanctuary are all incredibly welcoming and friendly. There is a little gift shop open after every tour and I had trouble limiting myself to just a few things. I did snap up these ones though ...
You can also buy these online through their website if you can't get to the Sanctuary. Simply click on the images above to be taken directly to their website. I think they are great for gifts and that sort of thing as not only are they all great quality, they also support the Farm Sanctuary.
Back to my stay .... I was lucky enough to have one of their cats, Sorrell I think his name was, join me in my cabin for the night. He reminded me of my own little black cat, Tabatha, so I was more than pleased to have him, not that I had much choice! Though if you really didn't want him inside, you can always say no .... I'm sure he'll simply go to the next cabin.
It’s a B&B, so breakfast is included the following morning and you have plenty to choose from …. from memory it included things like waffles, pastries, granola, bagels, porridge, fruit, coffee, juice, etc. By the way, you don't need to be vegan to visit Farm Sanctuary, however no animal products are allowed on the property for obvious reasons.
I wished pretty much as soon as I drove into the Sanctuary that I had stayed more than one night. I highly recommend two nights, that way you can do the tour more than once. The rest of the time you really just relax. The Sanctuary is so beautiful, so it's a really tranquil place to chill out.
If you get itchy feet though, there is plenty to do and explore in the surrounding areas and I wished I had allocated more time for that too …. from what I could see, there are plenty of wineries to visit, the lakes are pretty special, there are little towns dotted everywhere and I'm told some big car event each year in Watkins Glen if that interests you.
Farm Sanctuary provides a list of local accommodation and restaurants/cafes too, which makes it easy.
It’s hard to describe just how positive an experience it was …. it’s a really special place because although the animals have known terrible times, they are all happy now and safe. Every person you meet there is about making positive change and there for the animal residents.
On a side note, I went out for dinner with my lovely new friends from New York, Karen and Lauren. We had an amazing vegan dinner at The Crooked Rooster Brew Pub where I had these amazing vegan seitan tacos! I then preceded to leave my bag behind at the vegan ice cream place down the road from there ... yeeeeees .... and only realised when were were almost back at the Sanctuary .... yep .... passport, cabin room keys, car rental keys, the works! So my ever patient and did I say lovely new friends, that I had only just met and had also just bought the Aussie in town dinner ... had to drive me back to collect my bag and then make our way back to the Sanctuary with us all on the look out for deer, who were everywhere! Needless to say, you meet some amazing people at a Farm Sanctuary.
I also have to mention that I did also stay in Watkins Glen the night before I visited Farm Sanctuary. Watkins Glen is a really cute little town right on the lake and I picked a little B&B called The Blackberry Inn Bed & Breakfast …. while not vegan themselves, they served me an amazing three course vegan breakfast (pictured below) and were really lovely hosts. They were also handy with advice on where to go for dinner, local walks and that sort of thing.
They have a couple of cute rescue dogs that were always up for a hello too. Highly recommend!
I will definitely be visiting again one day, though my next trip will probably be to visit their California shelter, which is a little closer for me! Only a 14 hour plane ride! Nothing.
For more information on how to stay at Farm Sanctuary USA, please click the link. Note they book out really quickly, so you'll need to get in fast.