Whether your idea of getting out in the country means petting a goat, walking in the woods, or relaxing at a luxury resort, farms in the area have something to offer. Many farmers are turning to agritourism to supplement their incomes, and along with petting zoos, pumpkin patches, and you-pick berries is a range of accommodations for overnight stays.
Here's a quick roundup of places you can go for a weekend in the country.
Bonnie Blue Farm (bonniebluefarm.com) sells their cheeses at the Memphis Farmers Market, but you might not know you can also spend the night in a log cabin near the goat barn. If that sounds a bit too rustic, it also has a fully stocked kitchen and wireless internet — just right for two people. You can tour the farm, watch the cheese being made, eat samples, hunt crawdads in the creek, and help milk the goats if you want. Just don't bring your pets. Cost: $95 per night. Drive: about three hours to Waynesboro, Tennessee.
Whits End Ranch says it lies "where nature meets the contemporary camper." That means seven cabins hewn from local cedar, each one equipped for all your needs. With 307 acres, spring-fed creeks, and woods full of deer, turkey, and fireflies, this place is also a base of operations in the area. The Tennessee River is nearby, with the whole range of water sports, and the nearby town of Clifton has a Jack Nicklaus golf course, antique shops, and horse stables with rentals available. Cost: $75-$100 (whitsendranch.com). Drive: about three hours east to Clifton, Tennessee.
Stillwaters Farm (stillwaters-tn.com) aims a little higher on the scale but stresses the educational aspect and animal contact of time on a farm. Their "cottage" is a 1,000-square-foot guest house on a 131-acre farm that produces hay and also calls itself a hunting-free nature preserve; birding is particularly popular. Guests are welcome to jump into farm activities or just hang out with the donkeys, sheep, dogs, cats, cows, goats, chickens, and turkeys. Cost: $179-$199 with a two-night minimum. Drive: about two hours east to Henderson, Tennessee.
Todd Farm (toddfarmtn.com) is a bed-and-breakfast setup on a 650-acre farm. Each of three suites comes with whirlpool, fireplace, and wireless internet, but otherwise it's pretty rustic. On the farm, which produces trees for paper and lumber, you can walk 10 miles of trails to see wetlands and a beaver dam. The main attractions are the Civil War battlefields at Parker's Crossroads and Shiloh, as well as a slew of antique shops. They even put on murder mysteries where everybody's a character. Cost: $99-$149. Drive: about two hours northeast to Cedar Grove, Tennessee.
Cumberland Mountain Lodge
(cumberlandmountainlodge.com) sits on a 700-acre cattle ranch near Crossville and offers access to hiking, biking, fishing, and bird watching. It's a lodge that sleeps up to six people, and the cost will come down considerably if there's that many of you. While there, you can help on the farm; roam the property; take advantage of a nearby resort and country club for golf and tennis; rent a boat; fish in the stocked ponds; and enjoy a range of parks. Cost: $200 for the first couple, $50 per adult for parties up to six. Drive: five hours east to Crossville, Tennessee.
Rose Dale Farm is a bed-and-breakfast on a working tree farm, with two queen beds in a 1917 farm home surrounded by 16 acres and filled with period furniture. The owners keep the house, which you'll have to yourself, stocked with games and other distractions, and the town of Piggott (which is on the Crowley's Ridge Scenic Byway) offers a park, pool, and the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum where Ernest Hemingway wrote A Farewell to Arms. Their main emphasis is on families looking for quality time. Cost: $125 for two people, $145 for four (rosedalefarmbedandbreakfast.blogspot.com). Drive: two hours north to Piggott, Arkansas.