Access and Resources
Ten rooms plus 11 suites equipped with kitchenettes range from $140 to $280 per night, including breakfast.
Turning your home into a family resort is not a stretch when you have eight children age four to 21. It certainly helps if that home is a former dairy farm ringed with plush green meadows and mountains in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. Owners Jim and Mary O'Reilly converted their Federal farmhouse and three red barns atop Darling Hill into the 21-room Wildflower Inn, preserving the agrarian feel without tilling the 570 acres. Now in its 17th season, the Wildflower has become the classic outdoor getaway for Boston families who yearn for forests and fields.
A typical day starts with my three-year-old, Melanie, sucking down the chocolate-chip eyes of a teddy-bear pancake, while five-year-old Jake plays air hockey in the adjoining playroom. Then it's off to the petting barn to frolic with sheep, goats, calves, and a shaggy donkey named Poppy. On summer mornings, a kids' nature program runs for two hours, with activities like watching beavers on the Passumpsic River. Parents and older children can check out 12 miles of mountain-bike routes that link with the Kingdom Trails, arguably the finest fat-tire riding in the Northeast. Cruise past the barns on smooth singletrack and you'll soon be lost in the woods, sweeping up and down a serpentine route.
Back on the farm, play a game of horse (what else?) on the basketball courts and then a set of tennis. Kids' dinner and a movie are waiting at Daisy's Diner, a converted barn. But after a full day, my little ones are content to lie on the grass and look for OrionVermont's version of nightlife.