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Lessons Learned from Our Eco-Conscious AirBnB Inspired Grand Family Road Trip (Part 2)

Posted by on in U.S. Ecotourism Ideas
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Horse BlogWhile I know my son was having a wonderful time at his summer camp in New Hampshire, I was still so glad to be able to have this extended road trip with my daughter.

During part one of this two-part series, I talked about our adventures from Georgia up to New Hampshire. Now, at the half way point of the trip, appropriately spent riding a zip line over the Pemigewassett River and then taking a gondola up the White Mountains to explore some granite caves, we now had to continue back home.

After my son's visitation day, my daughter and I explored D Acres a bit more. We took a dip in the swimming hole, rode our bikes to some surrounding farms to visit some goats and a friendly horse, and hung out in the open-air "Summer Kitchen".

We finished the day with solar showers before heading back to our tent for a sound sleep amid the cricket song and the campfire chatter of the young farm interns who seemed to magically appear at community meals.

Sweet Corn and Sleeper Trains
The road we took out of New Hampshire brought us across lush summer mountains of New England. I tried to balance our desire to get to our last farm in Virginia in daylight with my hope of avoiding major trucking routes.

Our last destination was another farm, a more commercial operation than the others, but a good waypoint on the long drive from New Hampshire to Lorton, Virginia nonetheless. I didn't mind missing the I-95 traffic corridor.

Taking in the scenery at the farm

We arrived at dusk to find the owner, Blakslee Fredericks, waiting for us outside of her "Rustic Farm Loft" in Drums, Pennsylvania. Our lodging was a loft apartment designed to accommodate groups. Six beds lined along one wall with a small kitchen including a refrigerator stocked with the makings for S'mores.

This farm was quite different from the small, organic operations we'd been visiting. Instead of conversations about sustainability and permaculture initiatives, we had fascinating conversations about seed companies (pristine-looking crops, low water usage), the many challenges of commercial farming, and food production done at a scale we hadn't yet seen.

Large scale farming in Virginia

One last farm treasure: a feast to share from the sweet corn patch. We learned how to find and harvest the best cobs on the stalk (the perfect gift to bring home for Dad!).

We left the farm at mid-morning for our penultimate long drive to the Amtrak sleeper car train, where we grabbed two small overnight backpacks and handed over our car keys. Concluding the trip this way was an indulgence, but one I was happy to have included. I was tired of driving and the time to truly relax and be a passenger with my daughter was a terrific ending to an unforgettable trip.

Enjoying a delicious farm meal

Reflections from the Road
I can't imagine a better trip or a better time to have enjoyed an adventure with my daughter on the road. While our destination had clearly been set by my son's camp's parent weekend, it was the journey that will remain with us so strongly. Admittedly, the focus on chickens faded as we got deeper into the trip, though we did make a point at each place of finding the birds and, if we were lucky, eating a farm fresh egg or two.

More significantly, perhaps, is the kind of clarity we gained while traveling to these beautiful places. What we value and why living a bit closer to the root might be something we aspire to in our own lives. My daughter's questions about GMOs, animal welfare, healthy eating, education, lifestyle choices, and the future of our planet grew from the soil of this adventure.

I would do it all again and book with another collection of interesting places--there were plenty we had to miss because of various incompatibilities with dates. Nevertheless, we'll be on the road again soon!

 

Blog posted from Dorchester, NH, USA View larger map
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Camela Giraud teaches journalism and is the Director of Collaborative Learning and Educational Outreach at The Out-of-Door Academy in Sarasota, Florida. When school's out, Camela enjoys all kinds of expeditions near and far which she chronicles in long summer evenings. She is the mother of two school-aged children who have taught her many things from the joys of a good Little League game to the words of many songs she wouldn’t otherwise ever hear.  Tweet her @Camela

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