Heads Up: Bed and Breakfast, Goats and Pigs

I ALMOST wanted to sleep right there in the barn, snuggling with Judy and Patsy. The 700-pound pigs, sisters abandoned as piglets, were living out their days on the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary with a couple of hundred other creatures.

Get right in there and rub their bellies, Jenny Brown, the sanctuary director, suggested while leading about a dozen visitors on a tour this spring. They love it.

So there I was, down in the hay, hands on warm pink tummies. It was the closest Id ever been to a pig, and I wasnt eager to leave.

Luckily, I didnt have to go far: I would be staying right across the sheep meadow at the Guesthouse at Woodstock Sanctuary (woodstocksanctuary.org), a handsomely renovated pre-Civil War farmhouse with four airy bedrooms (from $140, plus a $30 membership fee), mountain views and, naturally, vegan breakfasts. We feel like the B&B is part of our advocacy, to allow people to wake up to happy, peaceful animals, Ms. Brown said.

Woodstock Sanctuary (actually in Willow, N.Y.) is not the only haven for rescued animals that gives a chance to visit, volunteer and stay overnight. While a handful of such accommodations are scattered throughout the country, upstate New York is home to a concentration of them: in addition to Woodstock, the nearby Catskill Animal Sanctuary has opened a B&B as well and, in Watkins Glen, Farm Sanctuary has operated one for years.

Woodstock Sanctuary opened the Guesthouse in April, part of a natural evolution for Ms. Brown, who chronicles her animal-rights career, which began with undercover filmmaking for the advocacy group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in a memoir, The Lucky Ones, to be published in August.

She and her husband, the film editor Doug Abel, opened the sanctuary in 2004 on their sprawling 23-acre property. Since then, the animal population has grown from a handful of chickens from a factory farm and a rooster found in a New York City schoolyard to pigs, turkeys, goats, sheep, geese, cows and ducks. On her tour, Ms. Brown shares anecdotes about the animals as well as disturbing facts about meat and dairy production.

Theres an agenda behind what we do here, she said. The B&B is part of that mission; its proceeds benefit Woodstock Sanctuary, potentially creating a much-needed source of revenue.

Visitors contribute more than just money. At least half of them volunteer for tasks ranging from shoveling dung from barns to helping with feedings. (During my stay, I dutifully brushed dreadlocks out of some friendly matted goats.) But others stay just to experience the rarity of farm animals whose purpose is neither to entertain in a petting zoo nor to be slaughtered for food.

Thats also the case just 20 miles east in Saugerties, at the 110-acre Catskill Animal Sanctuary, which opened its own inn, the Homestead, in May (casanctuary.org). That guesthouse, which dates back to the 1700s and has undergone an impressive gut renovation, offers three spacious rooms and one apartment (from $115 a night, plus a $40 membership fee), vegan breakfasts made with produce from an organic garden out back, and a cooking-demonstration space for the sanctuarys Compassionate Cuisine classes.

See the rest here:

(1) Heads Up: Bed and Breakfast, Goats and Pigs
URL: http://travel.nytimes.com/2012/06/10/travel/bed-and-breakfast-goats-and-pigs.html?partner=rss&emc=rss



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