Bonnybrook Farms in southwestern Ohio is a 350-acre working farm that offers programs and events to the public, as well as rental space for private events like country-themed weddings. Public events include Fall Farm Days, lantern-lit wagon rides, a corn maze and a Chuck Wagon Dinner Ride. My husband and I had tried unsuccessfully to procure a spot on the wagon dinner ride in Yellowstone several weeks earlier, so I was particularly interested in checking out this attraction a bit closer to home. So, we planned a camping trip with my niece and nephew and set off for an adventure.
We set up camp at the Thousand Trails Wilmington RV Resort which was about a 15-20-minute drive to the Bonnybrook Farms outside Clarksville. I was excited to make our reservations, but admit as the time got closer for our visit to the farm, my husband and I began to have second thoughts. Though we could arrive at the farm at 5:00 pm for some pre-dinner fun, we opted to be a little late, doubting that there would really be enough to do on the farm to keep the 8 and 9-year old entertained. Big mistake. We spent over three hours at Bonnybrook and the little ones were disappointed that we had to leave. It really was that much fun.
I was enamored with Bonnybrook Farms the moment I stepped inside the beautiful post and beam barn with charming rustically elegant décor. A large outdoor patio that wrapped around two sides of the barn provided shade from the sun and outdoor seating overlooking the property. Drinks consisted of water, sweet tea and lemonade and were available at the drink station on the back porch. If you’d rather have a beverage not on the menu, you’re welcome to bring your own.
It was a hot day, but the kids couldn’t be bothered with grabbing drinks and set off across the lawn to the 80-foot underground slide on Horseshoe Hill. I grabbed a couple water bottles and set off after them to get a few photos of them in action. Climbing to the top of Horseshoe Hill was no deterrent.
They couldn’t get enough of the slide and slid down over and over again, oblivious to the catch and release pond (if you BYO fishing poles), pet friendly farm animals in a nearby barn, Clodhopper golf and fun stagecoach photo ops.
We coaxed them into trying the giant slingshots, which was a hit. By the time the dinner bell rang, they had made friends with some of the other children who were there with their families and barely wanted to take time out to eat. Pretty typical, right?
Our BBQ dinner consisted of Bonnybrook’s own hickory smoked pulled pork and chicken, Nathan’s hot dogs, and farm-fresh sides and salads from locally grown produce. We could choose from Asian Cole slaw, potato salad or baked beans. After barely eating, out niece and nephew announced they didn’t like the food, but I know the food was great and they were just eager to play with their new friends.
It wasn’t long after dinner when we heard the tractors start up and saw our wagon approaching the barn from across the field. We boarded one of the two wagons and made our way down an abandoned road to the Old Chuck Wagon. Along the way, we passed the barns, the pond, fields with deer and old wagon trail and remnants of a deserted railroad. The sound of the tractor and slight bumps along the path were relaxing.
It took about 15-20 minutes to reach the site of the Chuck Wagon gathering and we were greeted with the smell of campfires as we picked up our choice of desserts- cookies, apple cake with fresh whip cream or s’mores, the ingredients to make them carefully packed inside an enamel mug.
Water and soft drinks were available or you could sip coffee from a tin can- true chuck wagon style. Unfortunately, our bug spray wasn’t much help against the mosquitos so it wasn’t quite as relaxing as I imagined it to be and after about 15-minutes we were ready to return to the Gathering Barn. We boarded the wagons as the sun began to set and made our way back with two tuckered out little ones. Our original fears of the evening, proven unfounded.
Tips for Visiting the Chuck Wagon Dinner Experience at Bonnybrook Farms
- Advance reservations are required so make yours before you plan to visit.
- Chuck Wagon Dinner Rides are only offered on Saturday nights in the summer and end by October when the Lantern Light Wagon Rides & Corn Maze begins.
- Don’t worry that you won’t have enough to do-you really won’t have enough time to do everything. Arrive on time or you’ll regret it.
- Take your own fishing pole. The pond is well-stocked and you will catch fish.
- If you have little ones, make sure they go to the restroom after dinner. There are no restrooms available at the Chuck Wagon site.
- Dress comfortably and wear comfortable shoes.
- Pack a light sweatshirt- even in the summer it can get chilly in the evening as the sun begins to set.
- Pack mosquito spray for the after-dinner Chuck Wagon experience. I was told that they do spray for mosquitos, but the camp location is near a creek so there are plenty of mosquitoes to fend off.
Plan your Chuck Wagon Dinner Experience at Bonnybrook Farms in Clinton County
Address: 3779 State Route 132 Clarksville, OH 45113
Cost: Adults: $40, Children (ages 5-12): $28 Children 4 & under: Free
Looking for more activities in the area? Visit http://clintoncountyohio.com/