By Debbie Stamper
Last summer I had the best time right in my own backyard so to speak. I spent time atBonnybrook Farms.
It’s a great place with something for everyone – and I do mean everyone! Now, let me explain that I’m a city girl, born and raised. I moved to rural America 22 years ago, but remnants of my city upbringing still live on. I do love seeing the farms all over the area, but I have little opportunity to experience farm life. I live in a subdivision, with neighbors on all sides which is a far cry from Bonnybrook’s 370 acre farm (20 minutes east of Kings Island, 40 minutes NE of Cincinnati, 50 minutes SE of Dayton, 60 minutes SW of Columbus) just 20 minutes from my home in rural suburbia.
I had heard folks talk about Bonnybrook and decided to check it out myself. After learning Bonnybrook offers Chuck Wagon Dinner Rides on Saturdays during June, July and August, I made my reservation. Upon arriving at Bonnybrook, all my senses came alive. The sight of this beautiful farm, the colorful fields and the grand barn immediately set the stage for the perfect experience. Then those smells; fresh air, mowed fields and delicious barbeque aromas. The country sounds didn’t register with me at first, but they subtly caught my attention. Singing birds, laughing children, the soft breezes and the distant animal mutterings soon had me on high alert. I decided to work up a hearty appetite before dinner with some “Fun on the Farm.”
I played a round of clodhopper golf, shot off the giant slingshots, pitched some corn hole and even accepted the challenge of Horseshoe Hill – an 80′ underground slide. I also petted friendly farm animals and fed the fish. Then I heard it! The dinner bell rang, and it was time for a delicious “made from scratch” dinner of hickory smoked pulled pork and chicken, hot dogs, locally grown salads and sides and cobblers and cookies. Yes, I was loving this comfort food. I ate in the post and beam gathering barn and met several interesting people from different places. Later I moved to the back porch overlooking the farm pond to rest a spell.
Then it was time for all to climb aboard the hay wagon for a ride down an abandoned country road. Young and old alike were on the lookout for wildlife as we seemed to travel back in time. We reached the old chuck wagon at Todd Fork Creek where we roasted marshmallows for s’mores around the campfire and tossed rocks in the creek.
I have since learned that Lantern Light Nights are also popular at Bonnybrook. Soldiers, town folk, spies and politicians are portrayed by professional theater actors and commemorate the 150 year anniversary of the Civil War in Ohio. It’s a family friendly, history-based ghost tour. I can’t wait until September and October to take this in! I’ve been warned to bring a flashlight to find my way through the shadowy rows of the Crazed Corn Maze in case I see something! And I’ve also been promised that I’ll get to enjoy another delicious “made from scratch ” farm dinner, hot chocolate, cider, apple dumplings or a fresh caramel apple from the Farm Kitchen Café. Then we’ll all gather ’round the campfire for a good ghost story. I’m looking forward to shopping at the Country Store for pumpkins, fall decorations, locally made jams, fudge, kettle corn and more. If I were a runner, I could participate in the Great Pumpkin 5k and 10k Trail on Saturday, October 26. But I’ll be honest, I’d rather be eating an apple dumpling and “playing.”
If you are as excited about Bonnybrook as I am, make a reservation today. Click this link to plan your trip at Bonnybrook Farms.
By Debbie Stamper