View from Agnes Room - 22 Sep 2023

A perfect weekend at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary

The Gregory J. Reiter Memorial Fund has been a Woodstock Farm Sanctuary supporter since 2018 — the year I first visited this 150-acre High Falls, New York refuge for 400 cows, pigs, goats, sheep, rabbits, turkeys, chickens, ducks, and geese.

Finally, after five years, I returned this month — treating myself to a full weekend at The Gray Barn on the Sanctuary grounds. Every stay at this modern boutique inn — with its floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a goat pasture, Rondout Creek, and the Shawangunk Mountains — also features gourmet vegan breakfast and a private Sanctuary tour.

Determined to meet as many of the Sanctuary’s resident animals as possible, I joined not only that private tour on the evening of my arrival, but also a public mid-day tour the following day.

In the cow barn, I enjoyed a reunion with Colin and Woody — who I had met on my first visit to the Sanctuary in June 2018, soon after they were rescued as calves from a large New York dairy. Male calves are worthless to the dairy industry — and without the Sanctuary’s intervention, Colin and Woody would almost certainly have been killed in their first few months of life.

Woodstock Farm Sanctuary has not only provided lifelong refuge for these and currently ten other cows, but also works to end the worst abuses in the dairy industry with initiatives like the Fair Coalition, which the Greg Fund supports.

In one of the Sanctuary goat barns, I met Longfellow — rescued in early 2022 through the collaboration of some 15 sanctuaries, after he and hundreds of other animals were found abandoned on a single farm near my own current Pennsylvania home.

Then there was Claire, who lost part of one hind leg in an accident, but gets around amazingly well on her three good legs. Woodstock’s animal care team has extensive experience with aging and special needs animals — and welcomed Claire to the sanctuary in late 2022, along with three of her goat friends.

Almost 200 of Woodstock Farm Sanctuary’s residents are birds, and I met many of them — including a gorgeous rooster named Mel, with hens Emma, Blondie, and Reese Featherspoon. Like so many chickens each year, they were purchased on impulse from a Tractor Supply for a backyard flock — and then abandoned when their human owners realized they required more care than expected.

I also met Drew the turkey, rescued by a compassionate New York City resident who spotted him at a live market just before Thanksgiving 2022, where he was about to become someone’s dinner.

I met dozens of others, too — and their stories are all detailed, with photos, on the Sanctuary website Meet the Animals page.

I encourage everyone living in or passing through the Ulster County, New York area to consider a day visit or overnight stay at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary. “Healing,” “heart-opening,” “idyllic,” “magical,” and “soul-filling” are just a few of the adjectives others have used to describe their stays here — and not just longtime vegans like me, but many others seeking respite from city life, and the opportunity to connect with animals.

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