After forty-two years of living away, John Howland is currently managing his family's ancestral land, the Howland Farm. Returning to his childhood home conjures many memories as a child: "There is a bridge over the creek we called the 'old swimming hole.' In the days before public swimming pools, busloads of kids would arrive and be taught swimming lessons here. Countless neighbor kids grew up jumping off that bridge!"
Today, the Howland Farm is available as a short-term vacation rental. Working closely with other family members, John says the biggest draw for guests and relatives alike "is the peace and quiet." Whether guests visit for a few days or over a month, "Magic tends to happen." And that magic might be as simple as enjoying a home-cooked meal in a large, open and breezy country kitchen or on one of the three country porches. Rich cherry cabinets with white porcelain knobs accented with pretty, tie-back curtains make the perfect picture of restorative farm life.
A formal dining room that is more comfortable than formal, this sun-filled room has soft apple-green walls reaching down to a creamy chair rail trim. A corner hutch holds heirloom serving dishes, lovingly passed down over the generations. Set with New England Windsor chairs, the dining room speaks simple, traditional family dining.
The carved, paneled fireplace mantel reveals just a touch of the brick underneath. Chairs are placed for conversation and cozy interactions. As the autumn chills set in, a hand-stitched blanket is within reach for those cozy nights by the fire.
Upstairs, a four-poster bed holds a sweep of canopy, framed in warm cherry wood. A white, ruffled antique bedspread is accented with just a pop of color and butterflies on the decorative pillows.
Another four-poster bed, with rich cherry stain, is complemented by the nineteenth century whatnot on the side wall. Like a decorated wedding cake, the winter white antique chenille bedspread adds a touch of romantic, American country style.
A pint-sized model of the grownup beds, this little one's crib is stylized like the other country four-poster beds, its canopy arching and ruffled like the miniature bed skirt below.
Bring out the lemonade and apple pie! There are more than enough white porch chairs and benches for everyone to have a seat and enjoy a blissful summer afternoon in the fresh air, with only the sounds of birds and playing children to punctuate the quietude.
With revived summer traditions like creek swimming or winter pursuits like enjoying the rustic beauty of a snowy landscape, the traditional family farm is alive and well in upstate New York. "We, as a family in this remote but accessible upstate New York location, are bringing this old place back to life," muses John Howland. "Fourteen generations of farming in America, on both sides of the family, guide us in the direction of both modern imagination and honoring New England farm traditions. What we do best, though, is help our guests on their way to re-inventing their lives."