The Friendly Farm in Dublin, NH
Last weekend two of my best friends, Melissa and Kayte, made a pilgrimage from Brooklyn to my new hometown of Keene, New Hampshire. Because they are both native New Englanders, I wanted to make sure their visit included some of the things they couldn’t get in Brooklyn.
After a leisurely breakfast of eggs and homemade sweet potato and onion hash, we piled into my car and took off for a scenic drive through the Monadnock region’s rolling hills and tranquil ponds. Our journey inevitably led to a stop at Kimball Farm in Jaffrey (a 2012 Yankee Best Bargain pick) for ice cream and (for the girls) a plate of fried clams. I spent many summers working at the Kimball’s Westford location, so I knew which flavor I wanted before we even arrived — the delightfully sweet and salty caramel cashew chip, in a cup with a sugar cone on top.
Our stomachs full, we headed back towards Keene by way of Dublin. The Friendly Farm has been located on Route 101, just a few minutes from the Yankee offices, and family-owned since 1965. Much more than a petting zoo, The Friendly Farm is five acres of lawns, pastures, and pens with happy residents that cluck, moo, oink, baa, and quack their greetings. I drive by the farm every day, but since it’s only open from Memorial Day through mid-September, this was my first chance to visit since moving to the area in November.
The girls were game, so we pulled over, paid the entrance fee, and collected bags of grain to feed the animals for an extra dollar.
The first thing we visited was the chicken coop, home to hundreds of chicks, chickens, and roosters in both familiar and unusual breeds. Some were in roomy cages, while others roamed free. Visitors are even allowed to (gently!) pick up a baby chick and feel for themselves the softness of its downy feathers.
Nearby was another enclosure with rabbits, and a pen that was home to honking geese that angled for attention when they spotted our paper bags of grain.
My favorite “attraction” at The Friendly Farm by far was the pen housing the goats. I am not sure what breed they were, but they were petite and curious and climbed all over us like ants on a fallen lollipop.
Just look at those ears!
After the goat love-fest, we wandered down towards a large, open pen full of sheep. A quick look back up the hill towards the farm buildings painted a pretty picture.
The sheep, both large and small, wooly and shorn, had free reign and made galloping beelines for us when they saw us carrying the telltale paper bags. Their throaty “baaaa’s” were plentiful, and sometimes startlingly loud.
Also nearby were a pair of pigs, llamas, and a turkey (which gobbled with hearty gusto).
After the fresh air, ice cream, and animals it was time to head home. A quart of fresh, seasonal strawberries were on my counter, just begging to be made into a deep dish strawberry rhubarb pie.
A little on the juicy side, but still delicious.
With ice cream and pie as bookends, a day at The Friendly Farm made for a fun afternoon, proving that acting like a kid should not only be acceptable, but actively encouraged!
Where do you go to get your cute animal fix?