As you know, we’re always snooping around for fun family activities that are nearby and… well, cheap. Farm markets are the big stars this time of year and offer a fun and inexpensive way to spend a day out and about with your family. Recently we’ve reviewed a good number of local markets, but there were still a few on our list. Saturday we took a drive up north looking for the well publicized “Red Ridge Ranch” near Mauston.., we ended up at the much less publicized “Happy Acres Farm” farm near Lyndon Station. Country drives can do that to you.
When we pulled up to Happy Acres Farm, we were the only people in the place. (That was surprising considering the beautiful teams of horses and buckboard wagons hitched up near the road.) After we parked and walked over to the stand, we could find no one around and decided to visit with the horses for awhile. They all seemed strong, happy and healthy and certainly didn’t mind the attention. After a few minutes the owner came down from the house to see if we wanted anything. I talked to him a few moments about life, the universe and the lack of customers, but he told me they don’t really advertise and are happy with the small number of folks who tend to show up by word of mouth. Being family owned and operated they staff the market themselves and simply could not handle large crowds.
Like many area farm markets and pumpkin patches, Happy Acres sells pumpkins out front or offers wagon rides out to pick your own. They also have a small petting zoo where they handed us a bucket full of feed instead of a paper cup! Prices are average or a bit cheaper than other farm markets in the area. Bring cash because they are not set up to take credit cards. What caught our interest was that they also offered horseback rides for just $7 each. That’s certainly affordable. For your $7 you get about a half hour ride around their farm. While not as scenic as some trails in the area, it’s still an enjoyable ride through a slice of rural Wisconsin. The half hour timing makes it perfect as an introduction to horseback riding or if you simply don’t have a lot of time but want to take in the experience.
Our guides were a couple of the family’s teenagers who were not particularly talkative, but seemed happy to be out for a ride. The horses were well behaved, yet full of personality. We quickly knew who would rather graze or who preferred to be in the lead. For our nine year old this was his first time on a horse and once be became comfortable with the commands he had no problem controlling the horse for the half hour we were on the trail. In truth, the horses know the trail and need little to no coaching to make their way around the farm and back to their food and water.
Upon our return we took a bit more time looking over the decorations and taking in the atmosphere before moving on to explore more of the Lyndon Station area. More on that another time.
Happy Acres Farm is about 8 miles north of Wisconsin Dells on Hwy. 12/16. Keep an eye to the left about a mile before you hit Lyndon Station. The address is 311 Pine St but they are right on the corner with the main highway and easy to spot. The phone number is (608)548-2521. For what it’s worth Happy Acres Farm is not the biggest or most convenient farm markets in our area. What it is, is one of those unique back road stops that gives visitors an opportunity to immerse themselves in an idyllic image of rural Wisconsin life. (If only for about 25 minutes or so.)