Have you ever been kept up at night by cows mooing outside your door? We have, and we loved it (however, had they woken Little Bird we may not feel the same!). On our most recent stay through Harvest Hosts, we visited Walnut Hollow Ranch in western North Carolina where they raise black angus cattle in the most scenic and picturesque valley.
Of the Harvest Hosts locations we have visited, this one was the most like a formal campground, in that they have several spots available (for a fee) with both full and partial hookups. These sites are situated up on a hill slightly behind the ranch operations. Because we opted to boondock, we were able to park right next to one of the pens, so the cattle could literally come within a few feet of our front door (super cool at 3 PM, a little disconcerting at 11 PM).
Our drive to the ranch was eventful in that we drove through multiple rain systems without working windshield wipers. We have no idea what the issue was, but they worked the day before and the day after…just not on a day when we needed them. Thankfully, we had ALL the RainX, which really does do a fabulous job repelling water.
When we arrived, we were met by the host, who directed us to our spot and left us to get settled. Because Will is our resident meat connoisseur, he ventured up to the farm store once we were settled to get us a few things. As with any Harvest Hosts stay, the parking is free, but it is expected that you make a purchase from the host. Will came back with farm fresh eggs, ground beef, ground sausage, and a beautiful ribeye steak.
After Little Bird’s very short nap, we all donned our rain gear and took a walk around the ranch. We wandered around the pen nearest to the camper where Daisy was very curious (and the feeling was mutual). From there, we made our way up around one of the fields where we could see a few mamas and their calves. Bird has quite a repertoire of animal noises, including a very enthusiastic moo, and she was not afraid to use it…every time we saw a new cow!
Will grilled up our steak for dinner, and it was truly one of the best steaks I have eaten (and I am not a huge steak eater). After dinner, we took another walk, this time up toward the hills behind the main ranch buildings and around the 2 ponds on the property.
Giving Little Bird these experiences where she can see operating farms, interact with animals up close and personal, and have a safe environment to run and play are truly my favorite things about staying at Harvest Hosts locations. She is always so curious and up for any adventure, as long as it is outside. I love watching her mind work as she takes everything in.
Throughout the evening, the cows were rather vocal, which surprised us quite a bit. However, it was so much fun to hear the different intonations and rhythms of their conversations. Thankfully they did eventually settle down!
Upon waking, Bird immediately inquired about the cows and asked to go outside, which we eventually did after breakfast and getting everything ready to move. She could have stood and watched the cows all day, and quite frankly, she made it pretty clear that is what she wanted as she stubbornly sat down a few times by the fence then writhed around in my arms like a mad octopus when we had to leave.
Our experience at Walnut Hollow was an absolute delight, and we highly recommend checking them out if you are traveling through North Carolina. We always leave these places feeling like we have been on a multi-day vacation! They are always so peaceful and rejuvenating.
As we begin planning our summer adventures, we know that there will be many more Harvest Hosts locations in our future. For now, we will continue to practice our moos and enjoy the delicious meats while they last.