Here in northern New Hampshire where Garnet Hill is based, we’re inspired by the scenery around us: the stately White Mountains, densely wooded state parks, rolling farmlands. So it doesn’t surprise us that more people are interested in getaways that put them in touch with America’s rural beauty.
According to a study by Homeaway, an online vacation rental marketplace, barns were among the most popular accommodations Americans sought last year.
Kingsley Barn, South Woodstock VT
You won’t be sharing sleeping space with livestock or climbing a rope ladder to get into bed at these lodgings, however. “Barn-to-bed” stays are a rustic twist on glamping, a getaway trend that brings a bit of luxury to outdoor experiences.
“People want to stay someplace different and get away from urban life,” says Melanie Fish, a travel expert with Homeaway. “Barns are unique. The owners make them super-sophisticated. They’re lovely vacation or second homes that make cozy getaways.”
Farm at Woods Hill, Bath, NH
Jessica Armstrong, partnership manager at Glamping Hub, an online booking platform for unique lodging with a focus on the outdoors, agrees. “Owners are taking barns that are connected to a beautiful landscape, like a river or valley, and reinventing the space,” she says. “People looking for barn stays want a unique experience that connects them with the great outdoors without roughing it.” Locations near ski trails, wineries, hiking trails, shopping, or quaint towns help complete the experience.
Lodge at Woods Hill, Bath NH
There’s a barn for every taste and type of getaway. Interested in staying on a working farm? Try the Farm at Woods Hill, a farm that produces all of the meat for Woods Hill Table, a Concord, MA, restaurant. Located in Bath, NH, about 30 minutes from Garnet Hill’s Franconia headquarters, the Farm at Woods Hill was once the stunning mountain getaway of 1950s country-western singer Patti Page. The 265-acre farm includes The Lodge at Woods Hill, a spectacular 3200 square foot log cabin overlooking a pond, that’s available for overnight stays. “Patti didn’t like the farming life,” says restaurateur and Farm at Woods Hill owner Kristin Canty. “The lodge was her waterfront home.”
Kingsley Barn, South Woodstock, VT
There’s also a seven-bedroom farm house available for larger parties that sleeps 20 comfortably. Themed packages include spa and maple stays as well as a farm stay where guests can help with select farm chores while mingling with the farm’s permanent residents: pigs, cows, chickens, sheep, ducks, dogs and a llama. “Visitors love the animals and dogs,” says Canty. Miles of hiking trails and easy access to area ski resorts Loon Mountain and Cannon Mountain add to the Farm’s year-round appeal.
Tivoli, NY Barn
For another dose of New England charm, there’s a five-star-rated “destination barn” in South Woodstock, VT. Built in 1850, the Kingsley Barn, overlooking a brook, was recently renovated and is within easy walking distance of town. With a fully-equipped kitchen, child-friendly spaces, and an outdoor grill—and easy accessible to swimming, hiking trails, foliage gazing and winter activities at ski areas Killington, Suicide Six, and Okemo—it’s a perfect destination for a family vacation or girls’ weekend.
Tivoli, NY Barn
In Tivoli, NY, not far from the Hudson River and a little over two hours north of New York City, is a beautiful four-season rustic barn that sleeps six. Surrounded by gardens, the recently renovated barn is located on four-plus acres, near a pond and stream. Unique features include a small yoga deck, custom-made picnic table and fire pits. Sleeping areas are distributed over three different levels.
Barndominum, Waco, TX
Glampers will delight in amenities that include an outdoor shower, organic linens, a wood-burning stove, water views, and a well-equipped kitchen. There’s even a piano for spontaneous singalongs.
Barndominum, Waco, TX
A little further afield, in Waco, TX, there’s the Barndominium, a remodeled barn featured on the popular HGTV program “Fixer Upper.” Located on 16 acres, on its own private pond and lake, the charming property epitomizes farmhouse chic with its open kitchen (complete with wooden kitchen island), a “grand dining hall” with a massive barn door, five bedrooms, and 2,000 square feet of outdoor living space, including a covered patio and outdoor kitchen with gas grill.
If you’re looking for a vacation that’s a truly unique getaway, a barn stay may be just the solution.
Debbie Kane is a freelance Garnet Hill writer based in Exeter, NH.