Chestnut Hill Farm fall programs (Updated)

Fun with goats, Moonlit hikes, Pre-K classes, and events timed to occupy kids during gaps in the NSBORO calendar

Above: Events at the farm this fall include after school programs, special hikes, and Sunday fun. (images posted by TTOR on their website event pages and Facebook)

This coming week kicks off fall programming at Chestnut Hill Farm. So, it’s time for an update on what The Trustees of Reservations have in store at the Southborough site over the next few months.

The good news is that programs help fill some of the gaps in this fall’s school calendar caused by holidays and half days.

The costs cited for events below are per member/non-member. If you plan to sign up for more than one event, it may be worth registering to become a TTOR member. You can find those details here.

(If you have trouble with any of the event links below, click here to view all of the farm’s events.)

Fun with Goats

Hike with Goats from Facebook eventHike with Goats
All ages/family

Saturdays and Sundays, 60 minute windows from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm, September 10 – November 20 but sold out**

[Note: This event kept filling up for weeks in advance last year. So, if you’re interested, book a slot while you still can!]

Take a leisurely hike through Chestnut Hill Farm’s beautiful grounds and trails, accompanied by one or more of our friendly goats! Goats are naturally playful and curious creatures. They love to follow the leader and stick together, which makes them perfect hiking companions! Hiking with goats is a fun and unique way to spend some time in nature and make some cuddly goat friends at the same time.

Your reservation gets you and your group of family or friends an hour-long experience with a friendly goat on its own harness and leash. You will first learn how to walk with the goat, and then you’ll be accompanied by a farm staff member as you and your new goat friend make your way around the farm and its trails.

Cost: $76/$95 per family up to four people
(Click here to learn more/register

All About Goats (from TTOR event website)All About Goats
Ages 4+ (These are timed for Northborough elementary schools’ half days, but may also work for older preschoolers/home schooled children in Southborough)

1:00 – 2:00 pm – September 29, October 25, October 27, and November 10

Learn about what makes these popular farm animals unique, and how they are helpful in sustainable land management. After learning all about the goats, you will get to brush them and meet them up close. Be prepared to go home covered in goat fur, with new goat facts in your brain and a smile on your face!

Cost: $15/25 per child (accompanying adult is free.)
(Click here to learn more/register)

Preschool aged programs

Preschool Explorers (from TTOR event website)Preschool Farm Explorers
For ages 2 years 9 months to 5 years old, Adult supervision required

Thursdays, 10:00 – 11:00 am, September 8 – 29

September is the time of year when fall is starting to peek around the corner, while summer still seems to be holding on.  . .

Your little farm explorers will become fully immersed in what life is like here at Chestnut Hill. Each morning will be a new learning experience.

Registration is for all 4 classes at $85/$95 per child and adult “pair”, plus $48/$60 per additional child in the age range. (For siblings 1 – 2.9 years old, an additional fee of $12/18 applies, siblings under 1 yr old can attend for free.)
(Click here to learn more/register)

Book Bugs (from TTOR event website)

Book Bugs: Farm Fun for Little Ones
For ages 2 to 5 years old, Adult supervision required 

Bi-weekly on Tuesdays, 9:30 – 10:30 am, September 13 – December 13

Bring your little bug to the farm for an interactive children’s story time. We’ll read a farm story, make a craft, and explore the farm! Each day will have a different theme such as “Goats and Sheep,” “What is a Seed,” or “How Veggies Grow.”

Cost: $9/15 per child (Accompanying adults and siblings under 2 yrs old can attend for free.)
(Click here to learn more/register)

K-5: Filling school calendar gaps

Agriculture Adventures (from TTOR event website)Agriculture Afternoons
Program for afternoons when Southborough K-5 students have half days

November 17, & November 18, 12:30 – 3:30 pm

This drop-off program is designed to give you a few more hours of adult time, while your child has an adventure on the farm.

Participants will engage in a fun-filled afternoon with activities such as visiting the farm animals, hiking the trails, creating art projects, and playing games.

Cost: $36/$45
(Click here to learn more/register, Note – Sept 22nd is no longer available)

Junior Farmer (from TTOR event website)Junior Farmer for a Day
Program when Southborough K-5 students have no school (Jewish holidays and the state election)

September 26, October 5, and November 8, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

No school today? Give your child the experience of being a junior farmer! Help care for farm animals, learn about farm-fresh food, hike the trails, create natural crafts, and explore the farm from the eyes of its most important team member: the farmer!

Little farmers will come home with stories of adventure, a deeper understanding of where their food comes from, a sense of responsibility, and memories made with new friends (people and animals!).

Cost: $80/$100
(Click here to learn more/register)

Chestnut Hill by Moonlight

Corn Moon (from TTOR event website)A Compass and the Corn Moon
All ages/family

Saturday, September 10, 7:00 – 8:30 pm

September’s full moon is called the “corn moon”, because it occurs around the time that corn is ready for harvesting before fall frost sets in. Learn to navigate by compass in the waning daylight hours as we approach the autumn equinox, then practice your navigation skills on a guided moonlit hike.

(Inclusion of a campfire for the TTOR night hikes through November will depend on weather and drought conditions.)

Cost: $20/$25 per adult, $10/$15 per child
(Click here to learn more/register)

Spooky Hunters of the NightBats from Chestnut Hill Farm website event
All ages/family

Saturday, October 8, 6:30 – 8:00 pm

The “hunters moon” in October traditionally signaled that it was time to hunt for meat so it could be preserved for the cold winter ahead. On this spooky moonlit evening, we will search for nocturnal hunters. Search for bat silhouettes against a glowing orange harvest moon and learn about owl calls in hopes that you’ll hear a feathered hunter on your hike.

(Inclusion of a campfire for the TTOR night hikes through November will depend on weather and drought conditions.)

Cost: $20/$25 per adult, $10/$15 per child
(Click here to learn more/register)

Beaver Moon (from TTOR event website)Hunkering Down for Winter
All ages/family

Saturday, November 12, 6:00 – 7:30 pm (Moved from November 5th)

The November moon is called the “beaver moon” because it traditionally signaled the time when beavers began to hole up in their lodges in preparation for the long winter ahead. While the fur trade was happening, this also signaled that the beavers had plush pelts for the impending cold. On this moonlit evening, ranger Bob will share winter preparedness tips, and teach about building emergency shelters before a moonlit hike under the bare winter trees.

(Inclusion of a campfire for the TTOR night hikes through November will depend on weather and drought conditions.)

Cost: $20/$25 per adult, $10/$15 per child
(Click here to learn more/register)

Campfire Cooking (from TTOR event website)Campfire Cooking
All ages/family

Saturday, December 10, 4:30 – 6:00 pm

Huddle around a cozy fire under December’s cold moon. Ranger Bob has a wealth of campfire cooking methods to share. Have a warm treat near a crackling fire and go home with that wonderful woodsmoke scent in your hair. . . Marvel as the sky swirls with color while day turns into night, as the sun sets and the moon rises. 

Cost: $20/$25 per adult, $10/$15 per child
(Click here to learn more/register)

Winter Solstice (from TTOR event)Solstice Celebration
All ages/family

Sunday, December 18, 2022, 3:00 – 5:00 pm

When you arrive, you’ll start welcoming winter by making upcycled tin can lanterns. At dusk we’ll light the lanterns and embark on a guided walk along the trails that will include presented passages from the story, “The Shortest Day,” by Wendy Pfeffer. After our hike, we’ll gather back in the orchard to warm up by a campfire and enjoy hot drinks, cookies, and s’mores as we welcome the new season under the stars.

Cost: $24/$30 per adult, $12/$15 per child
(Click here to learn more/register)

*For each of the programs:

  • Pre-registration is required, and online registration usually closes two days prior to the event. (If it is within two days and you wish to register, please email or call 508-658-3112 to find out if there is space remaining.)
  • For the most up-to-date information or weather cancellations for this and other programs, follow Chestnut Hill Farm’s Facebook page.
  • Because it is a working farm, dogs aren’t permitted on the property. 

Updated (9/10/22 12:45 pm): TTOR expanded the Hike with Goats program to add Sundays and extended listed dates through the end of October.

Updated (10/28/22 10:55 am): TTOR apparently moved the date of the Hunkering Down for Winter event.

Updated (11/5/22 12:46 pm): TTOR extended the Hike with Goats events again, to November 20th, but it appears to be fully sold out at this time.

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