Every once in a while when guests come to visit they ask.... What can we do while we are at the farm? Do we have to leave the farm? Will we get bored? #travel
It's unimaginable for me that anyone could ever get board while visiting! For me, no matter how long I am there, I always feel like it's never enough time!!
This was the first year that I truly realized how different the farms looks throughout the seasons. We purchased the property in May of 2021 and opened French Lick Farms in July of 2021. While I had been through all the seasons, we spent a lot more time at the farm in 2022. The changes were amazing from how the grounds look, to the trees, the flowers, the fields, and even the stars - well and most of all the cell service! LOL
So, I thought I would take on answering this by season and provide a few of our favorite things to do when visiting. This edition is titled: SUMMER.
JUNE TO AUGUST
These were our busiest months on the farm in 2022 - Hopefully the same in 2023! I spent a lot of time in Indiana this year - some weekends with Joe and weeks with Joe's Mom. I am lucky enough to be able to work from home which is truly a blessing and gives me an opportunity to spend more time in Indiana. Joe can get away for long weekends and is more flexible in the summer when its too hot to play golf back home. #farmstay
It's amazing to me how vibrant things are on the farm in the summer. Maybe because we have different landscapes throughout? Everything from hay fields, woods, river bottom, high and even low areas. Throughout the summer the trees, flowers and fields bloom at different times, so it always feels like Mother Nature is putting on a show. We tend to notice something different every day throughout the property. Because we have hay in the fields, depending on where we are in the cutting cycle it often hides the wildlife. When the hay is high, they are bedded down and hard to spot but when we cut it, it brings then out in droves...mostly the baby deer.
Some of my favorite things in Summer:
The Sunsets and Stargazing: At night sitting on the back of the truck in the field or on the back deck of the Treehouse when the humidity is low is breathtaking. It doesn't get dark till pretty late, but we try to make it a habit to do a tour of the property between 6:30pm to 7:30pm when the deer start moving. We are late eaters so it's our pre-dinner outing! Night walks in the summer are my favorite - especially when the sky starts changing as the sun comes down. I am even brave enough now to go without a flashlight - as long as Joe is with me! That says a lot because I am a fraidy-cat! We don't have a ton of light pollution, except from the Lodge, so it’s amazing how many stars you can see on a clear night.
The Trees and Flowers: Everything is so green in the summer! Up by the Lodge, there are so many beautiful trees and flowers. I just love walking around, exploring and seeing how things change from day to day. It’s usually a little too hot and humid for hiking during the day - so lemonade and games in the corral (the front area where the firepit is) are a great daytime pastimes. We have horseshoes and corn hole boards that get a lot of use! Also, long walks on the trails are full of wildlife - birds, deer, turkey, racoons, opossums and every once in a while, you will see our resident beaver in the river! My favorite are the hummingbirds on the front porch. We have 2 feeders, and I can sit and watch them for hours! The male is overly territorial, so he tries to chase the other hummingbirds off but it’s interesting to watch!
The Deer: I am infatuated by the wildlife inlcuding the deer and even more by the fawns. I follow a guy on TikTok and he is the deer whisperer - #goals! One day I hope to look like Snow White when all the aminals surround her in the woods! We have to be careful when cutting the hay as the mamas often stash their new babies in the fields when they are hunting for food. I didn't know it until we bought the farm, where I met my first fawn up close and personal, that they are born without smell. It protects them from the predetors. They might be the cutest thing I have ever seen - and when I met my first real bambi - it was the exact scene from the movie when Bambi couldn't stand up and fell flat on his belly. Mama left her newborn for a few days and we were worried it might get hurt. She eventually came back but it was the sweetest experience I have ever had!
The Hiking: The trails in the summer depending on if we have just brush hogged can have some tall grass on them but since many were old horse trails, there are plenty of areas to explore. The woods are full of lush trees during this time of year and it makes for great cover for all the animals - birds, deer, turkey, etc. You never know what you will come across when hiking the property! Rumor has it we even have a few bobcats in the area! We like to hike in the mornings or late evenings in the summertime - just because of the humidity. It tends to be pretty high during the days in the heat of the summer. That says a lot coming from a couple of Floridians!
Gardening: I am going to leave a little about this one for spring but guests get to reap the rewards in summer so it’s good to mention - this year we planted a salsa garden and I had a secret weapon to help me. One of our amazing friends and his sons helped me keep water on everything while we weren't there! But this meant that guests could pick fresh tomatoes, jalapenos, hot peppers, squash and zucchini throughout their stay!
The Firepits: We love sitting by the fire at night, roasting marshmallows and making s'mores. It’s a great hangout space after dinner to wind down as a group before everyone heads back to their area to decompress from the day. The property works so well for bigger groups – even those with kids. We love being able to spend quality time together in the dining area and around the campfire at night but also have private bedroom space, with a TV for the last 30 min before we sign in for the night.
Summer Events: Off Property: There are a number of things to do nearby in the summer - my summer list includes: Farmers Markets, Patoka Lake, 4th of July Fireworks!
Farmers Markets: There are a few in the area all summer long. Typically on Saturdays but just check and confirm in advance. The best part about these markets is the ability to pick up fruts, veggies, meat and desserts from some of the area businesses - if we are planning meals, its the perfect place to eat fresh!
Ole Show Barn: 8272 W County Road 25 S, French Lick - Jun/Jul/Aug Saturdays 9:30am to 2pm.
Orleans Farmers Market: Congress Square Park, Orleans - May 21-Oct 29 Satrudays 9am to 1pm.
Orleans Evening Market: Congress Square Park, Orleans - Jun 8-Sept 28 Tuesdays 4pm to 7pm.
French Lick Market: The Green, Downtown French Lick - Jun 7-Sept 20 Tuesdays 9 am to 1pm.
Fireworks: There are a slew of area fireworks for those looking for 4th of July activities. THe area hotels have events as well as Orleans and French Lick.
Thunder of Patoka: July 1st - Patoka Lake - 812-685-2464
French Lick Resort: TDB
Orleans, Indiana: TBD
Patoka Lake: 26,000 acres of unspoiled beauty combined with 8,800 acres of water wonderland create the perfect vacation getaway. Patoka abounds with opportunities to enjoy water sports, fishing and much more. Facilities include a modern 455-site campground, nine boat-launching ramps, hiking trails, 17 miles of paved bike trails, an exercise trail, disc golf course, archery range, swimming beach and visitors center. #patokalake
Patoka Lake Marina: Whether you're looking to zip around the lake or just have some fun relaxing or fishing, Patoka Lake Marina has a rental boat for you. This full-service marina offers everything from pontoon boats for the whole family to fishing boats for those looking to make that big catch. Year-round slip and buoy rental and an on-duty mechanic are also available. Check the tours page for more information on lake cruises.
If you are headed to the lake, there are plenty of things to do in that area:
Patoka Lake Winery: Patoka Lake Winery features a tasting room that is open daily to the public. It also offers a large gift shop, wine sales, and nice places to sit and sip. With more than 20 different wines varying from sweet to dry, and multiple flavors of wine slushies, there is something for everyone. Winery facility tours are also available by appointment. Open seven days a week. #patokalakewinery
Patoka Lake Nature Center: The Center features numerous displays about the area's rich natural resources and cultural history. The staff presents programs and special events featuring the reconstructed Moery Cabin, a non-releasable red-tailed hawk, bald eagle, eastern screech owl and other natural and cultural history features of the area. Programs on kayaking, Dutch oven cooking, nature hiking and other outdoor skills are also offered. Four hiking trails start at the Nature Center and the paved bike trail meanders directly in front of the building.
As unwrap this past up, I can't stop signing - "And these are a few of my favorite things..." While this on was fun, I have to admit this one sure took a long time to write... so maybe next time, I willl be a little more brief. But hopefully you get the just of it - there is a lot to explore on the farm and in the area!! So why don't you plan a visit sometime soon? We would love to host you - In the summer! #frenchlickfarms