Do you get tired of the grind of everyday life? Maybe stepping away and reconnecting with simpler, slower things is just what you need.
If you go
21123 Grade School Road, Caledonia
Two-night weekday (arrival Tuesday, departure Thursday): 0 plus taxes and food; Two-night weekend (arrival Friday, departure Sunday): 0 plus taxes and food
There are a few weekday spots available at presstime, but the farm encourages families to sign up for its waiting list because spots do open up.
Just 90 minutes from Chicago in Caledonia, Kinnikinnick Farm is an experience like none other. Not only is it a certified organic farm that sells produce directly to Chicago chefs and farmers market customers, but it also offers families a getaway.
Kinnikinnick Farm became a reality in 1994 when David and Susan Cleverdon left their city lives behind in Hyde Park and began to make a living on the farm. Since 2010, families have been welcomed to spend a weekend or mid-week stay in the FeatherDown Farm tents while reconnecting with each other and nature.
“Susan and I learned quickly Kinnikinnick Farm was a magical place,” David Cleverdon says.
“We love to share that magic with others. Over the years, it has become a gathering place and a retreat for family and new farm friends.”
Each tent has a kitchen, three sleeping areas, and a dining table and chairs. Only oil lamps and candles provide light after dark. There are two full baths and showers in a communal bathhouse.
With freshly picked items or produce from the Farm Shop, guests make their own farm
breakfast by grinding coffee, starting a fire in the woodstove and easing into the day.
“Children help me every morning and evening do chores,” says Cleverdon. “When I toot the horn at 10 a.m., they drop what they are doing and jump on the wagon. They grab a feed bucket and we head off to the pasture to feed the broiler chickens and pigs, collect the hen eggs and milk the goats.”
While there are no planned activities, there is plenty for children to do. Children can feed and brush the animals, ride bikes, help with farm chores or just connect with nature.
“When families come to Kinnikinnick Farm, they have time to be together,” he says. “They can experience life lived at a more fundamental level than it is lived in their own homes. They slow down, unplug and decompress while getting a glimpse of the complexities and rhythms of life on a small working farm.”
Jen Faust, of Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, and her family have spent time at Kinnikinnick Farm the past three years.
“Kinnikinnick Farm is what the modern family craves: time together without the distractions and expectations of everyday life,” she says. The family plans to return every year.
“It’s a great place to slow down the pace of life, remind your kids the fun of imaginative, spontaneous play, wean yourselves all off your dependence on electronics, learn about a farm and the places food comes from, all while eating great food and spending time with old friends or family that don’t quite fit around your dining room table,” she says.