I have always wanted to do a farm stay and when I found one in the area we were going to be visiting I quickly booked it. The inn itself is beautiful the Rooms are nice and clean. We had the fireplace room and it was huge. The jacuzzi tub was a nice bonus. Our room was so much nicer than I expected. The property is really nice and it is so fun to be able to interact with the animals all day long. They have a golf cart that the guests are allowed to use. In the garage is full of bikes and ride on toys for the kids. My seven-year-old loved just riding around with the other kids. The baby goats were the highlight of his trip. it was a great experience for him. Each morning after breakfast Mr Benner takes the kids out on a caterpillar tractor ride. He also does pony rides and a hayride for anyone interested. This all takes place from about 9 o'clock until 11. Breakfast is served around 830 and is served family style at a large table in the dining room. My one complaint about breakfast is that it is really crowded and you're squished. The food was great and there was so much of it each day. I liked how they offer different selections each day also. My super picky seven-year-old ate a huge breakfast each day which is just amazing to me. The house can be noisy if the other guests aren't as aware. We had a couple of older boys above us who thundered up and down the stairs. They settled down by bedtime so it really wasn't a big deal. You have to interact quite a bit with other guests so your experience will definitely be influenced by who else happens to be there during your stay. We met some really nice families.
As much as I absolutely loved our stay I did have some negative experiences. Many of the other families there during our stay shared some of these same thoughts. Before I go any further I want to say that the good far outweighed the bad though.
As other people have said when we arrived there was no one there to greet us but there was a note on the door directing us where our room was located. That was fine but at no point did anybody make a point to introduce themselves. We were in the same room as the owners twice that night and they didnt even acknowledge us. even the next day at breakfast when the owners were there they didnt welcome us. We stayed for three nights and the owners never really directly spoke to us at all. It was just really strange. A few times my husband and I tried to speak to the owners in casual conversation but it was like they wanted no part of it. They were present each day at 8 o'clock for breakfast and following breakfast for the morning activities. Even during those Times there were really not any personal conversations. Mrs. Benner offered some suggestions and answered questions about the area and she was very pleasant in doing so however that was the extent of her conversations with any guests that I saw. One morning before breakfast I went in to ask her if we could possibly feed the lamb his bottle. They only feed the lamb one bottle per morning so whichever guest gets down there first gets the luxury of being able to do that. Since it was our last day I was eager to get my son up and out to do this. Mrs. Benner hardly looked up from her kitchen prep and briskly asked "is the child ready?". When I said yes she said "well where is he?" I had to bring him around the counter so she could see him before she would even give the bottle over. She acted very annoyed. I felt like a little kid who was being scolded. This was another issue. When you have nine guests rooms you will also have nine families who are interested in doing certain things. If you only have one bottle to feed the lamb maybe you should A)not allow any guess to do it or B)have a sign-up sheet so we know which morning we will have a turn. Bottle feeding the calves was the same issue. The info book in our room said to go to the barn by 7am to feed the calves. We did, and two other families also arrived. There were now 4 kids out there. The farm hand did not speak English. He brought out 2 bottles and got the calfs started. One child promptly fed the entire bottle to one calf. I asked if my son could have a turn but the mother basically ignored me. The other 2 children (siblings) were taking turns feeding the second bottle. Even though we had arrived first we were not going to get a turn. I had to ask that mom if my son could possibly get a turn before it was gone. So 3 kids had to share one bottle while the 4th kid with the selfish mom got her own. I don't understand why they didn't have more bottles. There were at least 25 calves that the farm hand would be bottle feeding. Or, again have designated days for your turn. A farm hand who spoke English and actually interacted would have been great also. This was also true of the milking. The book told us to go to the barn at 9pm to watch milking. We did and the farm hand had the staticky radio on and the music was painfully loud. He didn't speak English so there was no info given or any interaction. Again it was awkward. I understand the farm hands are hired to take care of the cows and not entertain guests but it IS a bed and breakfast and they DO offer these "activities" so maybe they need staff to oversee these things? I know it's been commented on before but the cows really do not get out to pasture. They are kept in A cave like barn. I have no doubt their living conditions are better than most large dairy farms but still sad to see. It is a true dairy business and not a few cows hand milked by old macdonald lol. The chickens are also not let out of their building. I would have expected them to be either free range or at least have an outdoor pen.
I know it seems like I have a lot of gripes but we honestly thoroughly enjoyed our experience and I would recommend it to others. The good far out weighed the bad. The Benners have been doing this for awhile and I doubt they have much interest in changing the situations I felt need changing. They are obviously pleasing many guests as you can read on other reviews.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Bring your family to experience the dairy farm. Milk the cows, feed the calves, gather eggs, pony ride, tractor rides and more. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Rocky Acre Farm Hotel Mount Joy
- Rocky Acre Farm B&B Mount Joy, Pennsylvania