The Power of Sanctuary
Watkins Glen, NY
If heaven is a place on earth, then Farm Sanctuary qualifies. And as wonderful as that is to say as a guest, it is the heaven that it provides for hundreds of farm animals that makes a visit such a powerful experience. There is the peace and stillness of not having a television or cell service. The gift of waking up in the morning, sitting on the porch of your tiny house, and watching the pigs come down from the barn to start a day of rooting in the pasture. But by far the most profound experience I wish for everyone visiting this magical place is to make a special connection, with an animal, that with stay with you and in your heart that you can take back into everyday life with the feeling that these animals are just as special and unique, some with heartbreaking stories, just as the cats and dogs we have in our lives.
For me, it was a goat named Dotty. She poked her head around a fence post while I was on a peaceful walk around the grounds and stole my heart in that very moment. We chatted for a while, and then I watched her start to walk along the fence line. My heart sank and the tears rolled down my face. As she limped along, her back legs told a story of some sort of past trauma. Her gait was similar to my youngest child, a cat named Wubbikins. Her story, I would come to find out, was beyond heartbreaking, even having worked on animal rescue and cruelty cases much like hers. Because “farm” animals don’t have the same protections that companion animals do. And yet, like so many cats and dogs, she was a survivor, with a will to live and to love. And Dotty, by the grace of everything that is right with the world, ended up in the care of Farm Sanctuary.
There are so many amazing animals (and people!) at Farm Sanctuary. I hope you get to make fun and happy memories of your own by visiting this peaceful place. We are already planning our next visit!
ALL THE DEETS
Tiny House Living…
Staying in the tiny houses on the grounds of Farm Sanctuary is a magical experience. It will calm your mind and rejuvenate your soul. While there is wifi, cellular service doesn’t work well if at all, and there is no television, unless you want to watch DVD’s. There are three tiny houses on the property, and they overlook the barns and pastures. While the houses are tiny, they have a full bedroom, bathroom, tiny but very well equipped kitchen (that includes a washer/dryer) and a living room that leads out to large porch with a spectacular view of the grounds. One of our favorite experiences was living in the moment, enjoying our morning coffee in our pjs on the porch while watching the pigs come down from the barn for a day of rooting in the fields.
Touring the Sanctuary…
Farm Sanctuary is open to the public and has tours on most days. If you are staying in a tiny house, there is a tour especially for overnight guests. You also can walk the grounds between posted hours on your own and you can also volunteer for a work shift to help with all kinds of chores. *Please note that volunteer shifts usually do not involve direct animal care, but the work that is done in vital to helping care for them! It had rained the day before we arrived and during the night of our stay, and I highly recommend brining muck boots if you want to walk into the fields during the tour. Also pack some garbage bags to have to pack you boots when you leave. You’ll be able to give them a good rinse outside of the tiny houses and barn, but if you want to get up close and personal with the animals you may get your feet muddy.
If staying in a tiny house at Farm Sanctuary, you may decide to grocery shop because you have a kitchen (fridge, toaster oven, stove top, cookware, coffee maker) to create your own vegan meals. There are also complimentary breakfast items (including coffee) available to overnight guests in the main barn each morning. *Please note that out of respect to the animals, Farm Sanctuary asks that you refrain from bringing any food products onto sanctuary grounds that are not vegan. If you are looking for some tasty vegan grocery store provisions, check out our growing list of food and beverage items in the Kind Finds section of Vegan FunHouse.
Farm Sanctuary also provides a helpful and detailed list of restaurants (that have vegan options), all within a 15 minutes to about an hour drive of the sanctuary. Here are three places on their list that we got to try (and very much enjoyed) during our time in the area :
Upscale dining with breathtaking views and several vegan options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Our favorite dishes were the Cauliflower Steak and the Vegan Cheese Board.
Lively and casual pan-Asian cuisine with several vegan options. Our favorite plates were the Lotus Root Fritters and the Smoked Tofu Buns.