For the ultimate country experience, albeit not necessarily the get-your-hands-dirty kind, Blackberry Farm has created a consummate union between a working farm and a top-notch resort in the foothills of the Great Smokey Mountains. The Relais & Chateaux property is a feast for the senses, where artisans like the cheese maker and preservationist (a.k.a. jam lady) supply homemade ingredients to onsite chefs. When not busy with equestrian outings or renewing at the Farmhouse Spa, guests can study with these masters, tracing the path food takes from farm to plate. Accommodations range from estate rooms to multi-bedroom cottages, and are packed with amenities like feather beds and plush robes. While pricey, stays include pantry snacks and three meals per day at one of two restaurants serving Southern "Foothills" cuisine.
$795-$4,500 per room, per night; open year-round; blackberryfarm.com
Great for Nature Lovers… Pagett Farm (Palermo, Maine)
When you want to get close to nature, nothing gets you closer than camping on a Maine wildlife refuge. Committed to sustainable living and the environment, Pagett Farm's 12' by 14' platform tents provide creature comforts to campers while preserving wild creatures' natural habitats. Tents are outfitted with queen-sized beds, handmade quilts, and propane fireplaces, along with running water and composting toilets. When you're not out exploring nature trails or bird watching, you're welcome to work on the 63-acre organic farm by tending chickens and turkeys or harvesting wild blueberries. A self-proclaimed "tent and breakfast," the farm, located about 25 miles east of Augusta, serves up morning fare like pancakes with maple syrup from the grounds or homemade granola.
$149 per one or two adults, per night; open Memorial Day – Columbus Day; pagettfarm.com
Great for Knitters… Juniper Moon Farm (Palmyra, Virginia)
Wannabe shepherds can get all warm and fuzzy at Juniper Moon near Charlottesville, a no-kill farm occupied by lovable sheepdogs and a flock of some of the woolliest sheep and goats around. Owner Susan Gibbs raises her flock for fleece rather than for food, and has built a craft room equipped with weaving looms and spinning machines for guests to knit sweaters or scarves on the spot. Those wanting to keep the skeins coming post-departure can buy a share of the farm's Yarn CSA. The less crafty are welcome to help out with feeding the animals or hoof trimming. Two guestrooms with views of the pastures are available in the three-year-old farmhouse, and stays include all meals.
$750 per person for three nights; open year-round; fiberfarm.com
Great for Environmentalists… S&S Homestead Farm (Lopez Island, Washington)
S&S Homestead, tucked away in the San Juan Islands, is more than a farm. It's also an educational center for sustainable agriculture. The 50-acre biodynamic, self-sufficient farm produces food by honoring nature's rhythms and cycles, while also focusing on ecology and energy. Many come just to escape urban life, while others get involved in daily activities like making butter and cheese or harvesting hay. Guests can also go on farm tours or take classes in sustainable living and food preservation. An onsite studio apartment with bathrooms and basic cooking facilities sleeps one or two people, and a straw bale bunkhouse can accommodate up to four. Farmers Henning and Elizabeth Sehmsdorf welcome visitors for dinner, but meals cost extra.