Our farm is named after the cliff and barn swallows who share their habitat with us in the picturesque hills of Valley Ford, California. We are in dairy country located 15 minutes from Bodega Bay, Occidental, and Sebastopol.
Meadowlark House is a complex of three buildings: The farm stay (guest area): sitting room, two bedrooms and two baths. The Pavilion (conference room (the "great hall"): kitchen, library, Japanese furo. The East Wing: Farm office and farm personnel living space.
If you reserve the kitchen space, please leave a returnable deposit of $100 upon arrival.
Unless arrangements are made beforehand, guest access is limited to the farm stay house and the farm itself (except the barn and hoop house areas). Please let us know if you plan to walk around the farm.
We are a working ranch and farm. Ranch hands and office people sometimes take the noon meal in the conference dining room just off the kitchen
You will see sheep, goats, and cows. In the fields are gophers, field mice and other animals (keep your doors closed when away). You may hear coyotes at night, roosters in the morning and sometimes tree frogs. This is their home as much as it is ours. The house is surrounded by the countryside so bring your hiking shoes and take in the scenery. Bird watching is spectacular.
There are two beds, one in each bedroom and there are two futons in the living room that make into beds. There are extra fees for usage of the laundry washer and dryer ($25), Japanese Bath ($50 per day), kitchen and dishwasher ($100). If you would like a tour of the farm please us know, so we can schedule it in advance. Please respect our check in time of 3 pm and our check out time of 11 am, as we often have new guests checking in the same day.
Upon booking, please give us a little background about yourself. We love to hear and learn about our guests. The owner, Benjamin "Nick" Colby, lives on the property and, when not out on the farm, is available should questions arise. If you have any questions you may contact Berenice, the office manager, or Nick. Please leave a review after your stay and let us know how we did. Feel free to leave a note about your stay in our guest log, found in the Farm Stay house. We are a "farm stay" not a "bed and breakfast" (not allowed on farms in Sonoma County). As your host we are happy to provide maps, suggestions and recommendations for fine dining and other entertainment options in the area.
The farm is out in the hills of Bodega Bay. Outside the farm you will need a vehicle to get around. The farm itself is very quiet except for farm animals and wildlife.
Some pets may be okay. All we worry about is dogs chasing the chickens and other farm animals. Please check with the Berenice, the office manager first for accommodations.
There are two beds, one in each of two bedrooms and two futons (to make up with fitted sheets) in the sitting room. All other facilities are in a separate building - Japanese Bath ($50 per day), kitchen and dishwasher ($30 for breakfast and $100 for all day). If guest would like to use both the dining space adjacent to the kitchen and the kitchen it would be $150 a day. For conferences in the great hall and mezzanine floor of the library the charge by the day is variable depending on number of people. If you would like a tour of the farm please us know, so we can schedule it in advance. If you check with Nick first you are welcome to read books from the main house library featuring agriculture, nutrition, natural history, humor and the great books series. There is an upstairs area of more technical books in anthropology, the social and cognitive sciences, cognitive neurology, social psychology, Please respect our check-in time of 3 pm and our check out time of-11 am, as we often have new guests checking in the same day.
We have great neighbors who raise cattle on the other side of our fence. Other properties nearby have food gardens, sheep and dairies. Vineyards are 15 minutes away in Freestone, Redwoods in Occidental, Sebastopol about 18 minutes drive and Bodega Bay is around 15 minutes. There are two dinner restaurants and one breakfast/lunch cafe in Valley Ford. Limited groceries and other supplies are in the general store.
The farm is in dairy country in the hills just inland of Bodega Bay. Take the road to Occidental for the redwoods and eventually to the Russian River. The US 1 route is a very winding but spectacular route up and down the coast. Sebastopol is about 20 minutes inland, Petaluma 25 minutes. You will need a vehicle to get around.
Other Things to Note
Some animals may be okay. All we worry about are dogs chasing the chickens and other farm animals; however our guard dogs may be hostile toward unleashed dogs. They sometimes bark at night when coyotes are near. They stay with the sheep wherever the are day and night.
Our farm is a smoke free environment. Meadowlark House is a three-building complex. The middle building is where the Library, conference room, and kitchen are located. Using those facilities requires extra charges. For 8 people or less the conference room and kitchen are each $100/day. Over that number is to be negotiated and may require a contract agreement.
Nick was great. He was able to accommodate us despite our late arrival and our struggle to find the farm.
The farm is great. Perfect getaway to the city.
Unfortunately we were not able to enjoy it as much as we hoped due to our travel plans. Would also have loved to have time to talk more with Nick. Hopefully, we'll do that for another stay!
Nick was very welcoming and an interesting person to talk with. He greeted me and showed me around. The property is beautiful and relaxing. The amenities were nice, hot water, comfortable bed and nice breeze up the valley. The frog calls from the pond are great. My little dog really enjoyed her walks here. I've always loved this area and Nick's farm did not disappoint.
ONE NOTE: This is a working sheep farm. Sheep graze and eat a lot of grass and what goes in must come out. The sights, sounds and smells of a working farm are much more vibrant and visceral than the painting your grandmother had on the wall. Take that into account.
We had a lovely time at the farm stay. We stayed for just one night, arriving Saturday and leaving Sunday. Nick greeted us and showed us the rooms and told us the best places to walk around the farm.
The rooms and bathrooms were very nice, with all modern features.
It was so peaceful being out by the pond. The sheep were very cute, especially with lots of little ones around. They were a bit loud tho at night, so light sleepers might want to watch out. A chorus of frogs also sang all night, which I found soothing.
A morning walk around the pond (bring boots and watch for droppings) was a great end to our stay. The sounds of dozens of songbirds surround you on a beautiful day at Swallow Valley.
Nick's home was lovely & cozy - perfect for a short getaway. Nick was welcoming and gracious; we loved the frogs, sheep, and dogs!
We stopped in for a night with the family whilst on a road trip. Nice place. Lots of nature.
Nick was responsive and welcoming. We had a fun experience at his farm house. With the sound of frogs and sheep from afar, it was interesting and romantic. The place was a little hard to find after dark, so I recommend getting there before sunset.
Lovely guest house on the farm, surrounded by lush hills and grazing sheep. Nick was a friendly and hospitable host. It was a perfect getaway from city life. The place was heated and modern. Towels were available. You can sleep 4 people on the two futons in the living room. The mini fridge wasn't there as shown in the photo but we could use the kitchen fridge. The door handle was broken but it was an ongoing issue, didn't bother us that much. Hopefully it will be fixed soon! Didn't get a chance to tour the site due to our unpredictable itinerary.
Will be back again!
I am the owner, B. Nick Colby. Interest in farming goes back to childhood and now links to permaculture theory and to the use of a biochar retort on the farm for enriching the soil, adding moisture and sequestering carbon. In addition to the farm and sheep ranching I write books. See our web (email hidden). I am enthusiastic about the way airbnb brings such interesting people together. We need more community in life. Instead what we get is "austerity" and a precarious future. Favorite destination: Mondragon.