Most farms in America have a rich history of providing food for the community, with many dating back hundreds of years and several generations of workers, but did you know these farms open their barns and scenic pastures to planners for unique events?
Randy Howat, vice president of the Glasbern Country Inn in Fogelsville, says its history can be traced back more than 150 years and they still operate a 150-acre organic farm. “The property was deeded as a farm back in 1797 and is loaded with history,” he says. “It was a working farm in the 1800s and is still a working farm today with dairy products, chickens and eggs coming from the land, as well as our vegetables and herbs. A lot of our food is locally sourced.”
There are 36 guest rooms on the property, making it ideal for events or corporate outings that want to add an overnight component.
“We may get a medical group in or a large company who wants their whole team here, and we offer the option to rent out the entire facility so it’s private for them,” Howat says. “Our meeting space can handle 150 people banquet-style, we have another space that can handle banquet-style for 70, another for 40, and a couple of smaller rooms for about 20.”
Each meeting room provides a rustic look with beamed ceilings; many constructed by the Amish using peg technique. Outside, guests can stroll past cows, vegetable fields or visit the chicken coop.
“Our place is unique, peaceful and easy to get to,” Howat says. “We are an hour from Philadelphia, less than two hours from New York and less than two from Harrisburg.”
The Glasbern Country Inn has its own chef and on-site catering team, and utilizes a great deal of the food that comes from the property. There’s even a spa.
“We have a number of trails for people to walk on and there’s a lot of solitude,” Howat says. “Many companies come for strategy sessions and enjoy being out of the stuffy hotels and taking advantage of the great outdoors.”
MEET AT THE BARN
Kent Strock, CEO of Strock Enterprises, Inc., says The Catering Barn’s 170-year-old barn is a great place to put aside the pressures of the workplace environment and hold a meeting in a tranquil setting. The property is located on the edge of Mechanicsburg and is surrounded by farmland that is in land preservation.
“Whether you are planning a corporate event, a nonprofit fundraiser or a family function, our recently renovated barn will provide you with the space you need and the professional staff to exceed all of your expectations,” he says. “The barn has been beautifully restored and is surrounded by classic Pennsylvania agriculture.”
The bank barn, built in 1845, has a warm, inviting atmosphere. The barn has all the original beams and posts, which were locally logged, and windows were added where the louvers were to brighten the inside look.
For meetings and events, the barn rents on an hourly rate, depending on the day of the week. The property is air-conditioned, heated, ADA accessible and has modern bathrooms. “We have capacity for 150 people,” Strock says.
As its name implies, The Catering Barn provides catering services, including its famous pig roast, which it has been offering for more than three decades.
Guests can take advantage of hayrides, a fire pit and loads of outside space for yard games or teambuilding activities. They can also stroll around the farm and enjoy the fresh air.
“We are an 80-acre working farm, raising pigs and turkeys. The turkeys are a seasonal business at Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Strock says. “The remaining acreage is corn, soybeans and wheat.”
A MEETING IN SHEEP ’S CLOTHING
Set amongst a working sheep farm, the Ash Mill Farm and its private conference center, located in Holicong, offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity for offsite meetings, parties and retreats.
“The farm is set on a 10-acre piece of property boasting fields, trees and walking paths. Our open atmosphere, multibuilding facility and serene landscape make it an ideal location for getting away from the office,” says Amanda Lincoln, a manager at the Ash Mill Farm. “We’re set up perfectly to offer the peace needed to focus and accomplish or relax, decompress and reconnect.”
Because of the way the property is set up with multiple buildings and spaces, the farm has the flexibility to offer options that accommodate a range of group sizes. Small groups of 14 or less are invited to book the Manor House, with its dining area, living room and front and side porches for training, reviews, retreats or meetings. Larger groups of up to 75 can be accommodated in the barn’s conference center, overlooking the sheep pasture.
“The large air-conditioned room is adjoined by a buffet-style breakout space, as well as additional barn space below,” Lincoln says. “Any group booking with us will have use of the outdoor spaces as well—optional for breaks, picnicking, team-building or just enjoying the fresh air.”
“We can include any range of catering options to suit the needs of the group. We can connect groups with other local vendors or take care of any rentals directly,” Lincoln says. “Free use of the property and outdoor areas are excellent perks and really open the doors to a variety of possibilities for your meeting or event. We also have seven guest rooms on-site.”
THE BREW CREW
Wyndridge Farm is a 77-acre property that offers picturesque views of green fields and sweet-smelling orchards in Dallastown. The farmland features a 120-year-old barn, cidery and brewery, along with a tasting room, which is open to guests six days a week. Its open space lends itself to fun-filled team-building activities, outside corporate events and large group gatherings.
“We are a unique craft beverage destination with an 8,000-square-foot renovated barn, which can accommodate 275 people for a meeting or event,” says Molly Blymire, corporate sales manager. “We also have a 12,000-square-foot addition where guests are able to dine and experience our brewery. Smaller meeting space is available beneath the barn, which can accommodate 35-60 people, depending on your set-up needs.”
“Complimentary with reserving space at Wyndridge Farm, you receive an event manager who works with you to coordinate your event, in-house linen, glassware, chinaware, centerpieces (flameless), setup, teardown, tables, chairs, free parking, Wi-Fi, etc.,” Blymire says. “We offer audio-visual packages, which include sound, microphones, screens, extension cords, podium and music.”
A technology cart features an LCD projector and projection screen, and catering is also available.
Originally built in 1860, the Ironstone Ranch is a 97-acre farm in Elizabethtown that originally functioned as a dairy farm and has been operating as a fruit farm since 1928, with many of its original apple trees still producing fruit.
David Abel, owner of the family-run ranch, says the farm has been transformed into a working ranch that hosts Events with a Purpose and regularly hosts receptions, corporate events, fundraisers, and even Civil War re-enactments.
“Ironstone Ranch is truly a one-of-a-kind venue where guests can enjoy the outdoor nature of a ranch, complete with outdoor riding arena, horses, ponies, donkeys, long horn steer and plenty of room to explore,” he says. “We have over 250 acres of pastures, woodlands and trails. Plus, each meeting space is a complete reproduction or restoration of an 1800s vintage barn or farm house.”
Its 1860s white pine barn was meticulously restored to its former glory and exemplifies the craftsmanship of that era. Also, the ranch has an original 1860s brick farmhouse that has been completely restored. Its original pine floors, brick interior walls and wood-paneled walls were preserved and brought back to life. Outside the front door, there is a 58-foot-deep hand-dug ironstone well, which is fully functional and actually still has 8 feet of water at its depths with an underwater light illuminating the bottom.
“Our main barn is fully restored and climate controlled and has the old look and feel of its natural beauty with the modern conveniences hidden within the barn,” Abel says.
“Handicapped entrances and restrooms, prep kitchens and breakout rooms are all a part of the Main Barn, which can host up to 180 people seated at tables and more in theater style.”
The mini barn can hold up to 150 people in an open air atmosphere, while its Farm House has meeting spaces, bedrooms and a complete kitchen where companies can have a few breakout sessions or have up to eight people stay overnight.
“We can host events indoors or out and provide special programming for corporate, family or special events,” Abel says. “Teambuilding exercises, leadership training and all kinds of social or nonprofit events happen at the ranch.”
Each building is equipped with high-speed Wi-Fi and hard-wired Internet connections, and Ironstone’s technology partner will supply guests with professional sound, lighting and projection equipment that can be designed and built for anything clients need. Food services are provided by the ranch’s partner caterer and available on-site for indoor or outdoor activities.
“Ironstone Ranch is easy to get to, situated in a small college town in Central Pennsylvania, just minutes off the interstate,” Abel says. “But when you’re on the ranch, you’ll feel like you’re miles away from everything.”