“Dear Elena, we have read about your many trips involving farm stays in Lower Austria back in 2017… would you like to come and visit our farm, too?” This is Birgit Gruber reaching out to me earlier this year, Birgit who with her family runs Ofnerhof farm, a member of the Austrian Farm Holidays association. Like a hotel, she has been awarded “four flowers” as in a distinct quality label for Austrian farms welcoming visitors. Sure enough, I am all ears! What is more, Ofnerhof farm is located only an hour’s drive south of Vienna, our home town, and likely right now among the most prominent villages across Austria: The town is indeed named Sankt Corona am Wechsel!
“Hard to imagine what the media hype around this town must have been”, I think whilst driving my little family towards Birgit’s farm. It is also our very first holiday break since the worldwide Corona pandemic! The “Wechselland” region at the foothills of the Eastern Alps lies at 840 metres above sea level, providing for much treasured fresh air as we arrive. It does already feel like coming home, as I tuck Liam under my arm and walk through the farm house’s front door, where Birgit already waits to welcome us with a smile.
Things to see & do: The local “family arena” offers mountain activities for kids and adults of virtually all age groups.
Birgit and her husband Manfred have been renting out guest rooms and holiday apartments in addition to their agricultural business for many decades. For 25 years they have been part of the Austrian Farm Holidays association called “Urlaub am Bauernhof”. The so-called family arena, which they have built up from scratch together with other local business partners, includes the so-called “Corona Coaster” (a summer toboggan run), a spacious mountain bike park, the little “Wexltrails” (a kind of mini-bike park with safe routes for even the smallest of the little ones!), a themed forest trail about ants, and much more. The local owners’ own forests and meadows have provided the land for building much of these amenities. Birgit is passionately committed to promoting regional development in the area and tells us: “The combination of agriculture and tourism offers a multitude of possibilities. In this context, we can achieve greater understanding among our guests for all aspects of local food production: Cheese, meat, juices, etc. And even smaller farms are able to provide full-time employment through this combination of income.”
Let’s take a closer look at the result of these developments, then!
More on Birgit’s farm, as we discover the farm animals and playground facilities!
Finally, it’s all about “me”! At the Ofnerhof farm, children are welcome everywhere. There is a large family room with tons of toys and games (Liam loves watching and chasing after the elder kids), a “children’s barn” with climbing and other sports facilities, several different outdoor (and indoor) playgrounds, and you can even walk right into the stables meeting all the animals there are: Chicken, rabbits, cats, cows and goats.
Check out all our family pictures from this little trip to the Ofnerhof farm:
Disclaimer: We have been invited by Birgit Gruber and her family to come and stay at their farm. All opinions are my own.