Oh, the great outdoors—we hear you calling. With the warmer months just around the corner, we can’t wait to rediscover the pleasures of “getting away.” (Getaway… it’s almost a forgotten word, isn’t it?) We’re looking forward to experiencing our favourite getaway destinations this summer and to trying new ones. Here in YDH, we want you to consider experiencing one of our unique getaway locations that you might not have thought of. For example: Do you like horses?
Silly question—who doesn’t, right? But how many people out there can say they’ve vacationed on a real, working thoroughbred horse farm? Jecara Farms in Schomberg is an active, 86-acre operation complete with an authentic barn and paddocks. Owners Emma Jones and Brett Delmas breed and race their horses, and have opened their home up to guests who want to get away from it all. “We’ve been here for 17 years, and have chipped away slowly at our list of goals,” Emma says. “We started with gardens and chickens, then added paddocks for horses, cattle and sheep.” In addition to their farming and breeding, the couple have planted thousands of trees, both by themselves and with the help of the Environmental Farm Plan and the Lake Simcoe Conservation Authority. In 2007, the farm was recognized as Environmental Giants for Water Conservation.
And if that isn’t awesome enough, “Jecara” comes from the first two letters of Emma and Brett’s children’s names: Jesse, Carter and Raven. How cute is that?!
Jecara Farms offers three cabins and a studio apartment, allowing guests to immerse themselves in farm life as much (or as little) as they want. “I think people are excited that the cabins are off the grid and in a farm setting,” Emma explains. “The majority of our guests are from the Toronto area, so it is only a 45-minute drive for most of them. We have had visitors from ten different countries here, too! We have fields and forests and paths throughout the property, and guests can come up to the paddocks and barn and see the animals.” The cabins are situated a good distance from one another to maintain privacy for each group of visitors. Each cabin is on the water and has an outdoor fire pit as well as a wood stove inside. And, in keeping with Jecara’s efforts at environmental responsibility, each cabin has an indoor composting toilet, and power is generated by solar panels and a small wind turbine.
One more thing you need to know: pets are allowed at Jecara Farms! That’s a huge draw for visitors who don’t want to leave their fur-babies behind.
Emma and Brett decided to share their property as a getaway experience because of how much they love it themselves. “We would walk the property, and realize how happy it made us feel,” Emma says. “We are extremely lucky to live here, and we wanted to share that with others. We knew it would be a lot of work, but we were fine with that.” Brett’s job is to keep the outdoor spaces well-groomed, while Emma manages and prepares the cabins, making sure her guests want for nothing. “I meet all the guests to show them the cabin and give them a short orientation on things like how the solar power works and where they can find extra fire wood,” she says. “Then they are left to themselves. But we are always a text or a call away. I love seeing our visitors pointing at the chickens and the bull, and smiling when they see the horses.”
For your stay at Jecara Farms, you can choose from three different cabins which all have their own unique charm. Raven Cabin, which sleeps two people, is situated high on the property and overlooks the marsh, as well as a lovely old neighbouring farmhouse. “Raven cabin has a pond out front that has bass and sunfish and is a watering hole for the deer and coyotes,” Emma says. “We see many footprints in the clay around the edge of the water.” Snake cabin, which also sleeps two people, is situated close to a 30-plus-acre marshland, with swans that arrive as early as February and stay as late as November. The marshland is also home to many species of ducks, geese, herons, muskrats, hundreds of birds, crickets, frogs and even a beaver one spring.
Bear cabin is larger and sleeps five people. “It is situated on the swim pond,” Emma says. “It has its own large dock—the other two cabins have their own docks on the swim pond as well.” Bear cabin has a sand volleyball court, a tetherball site and horseshoe pits. And of course, all guests can make use of the property’s canoe to explore the marshland, as well as recreational activity items like horse shoes, badminton rackets, volleyballs, soccer balls, bocce balls, and pond floaties. This summer, Emma and Brett hope to add a yurt to their complement of accommodations!
Jecara Farms is open all year round, and surprisingly, winter is a very busy time… or maybe that’s not so surprising to us Canadians (we do love our winter, after all). In the wintertime, guests can skate on the ponds, snowshoe, cross country ski, or just stay inside the cozy cabins with a good wood fire. Emma and Brett have hosted weddings and other events, and have even had a few commercials and videos filmed on their property. In the coming years, they are eager to introduce new ideas like Easter egg hunts, Santa at the Cabin, and Yoga on the Dock. “The options are endless,” Emma exclaims. “We are hoping our kids may become interested in helping us run the operation, or we are thinking of hiring employees so we can start looking into what we want to try first.”
If you’re interested in booking your stay at a working horse farm, visit Jecara Farms online, at www.jecarafarms.ca, or call (905) 859-2337.
15580 10th Concession,
Story by Katherine Ryalen