Retreat with your Valentine to the Spring Haven Farm for hot cocoa and cuddling with goats. Tucked between Chapel Hill and Hillsborough, this 10-acre farm is home to two Highland cows, six turkeys, four pigs, three rabbits, one donkey, 100 chickens, three dogs, 25 Guinea keets, three horses, seven cats, and 45 goats. Spend hours exploring the land and snuggling among the animals this Valentine’s Day.
Andrew Crihfield, a network engineer, turned agriculturer, began the Spring Haven Farm in 2016. “My son and I started growing vegetables organically, but it just wasn’t paying the bills,” explained Crihfield. “We were looking at doing different things, and I decided to do goat yoga. It exploded, and we’ve been doing every holiday with goats ever since.”
Visitors can now walk among chickens, ducks, turkeys, and pet and feed numerous animals. “We want people to be able to experience the animals close up,” said Crihfield.
Before venturing into an all-access animal retreat, Crihfield’s wife, Lori, offered private horseback riding lessons at the farm. “My wife was a horseback riding instructor for UNC for quite a while,” said Crihfield. “Then, we moved out here, and she did 100-150 lessons a week.”
Lori has since traded in her riding boots for a stethoscope, pursuing a career in medicine. Set to complete her residency in the summer of 2021, Lori will soon begin a full-time position as an emergency medicine physician. Although horseback riding lessons are no longer offered, Spring Haven guests can still spend time with the Crihfield’s three horses.
While people come to Spring Haven for the animals, they stay for the activities. Private hayrides, kids’ crafts, and the newly curated ‘love shack’ are a few of the highlights this Valentine’s day.
“I hired a couple of local artists to come in and design [the love shack, which] we had originally built for our haunted house,” said Crihfield. Trading out ghosts and goblins for hearts and cupids, guests can stroll through the shack decorated with touches of love and romance in every nook.
Requiring facemasks and adhering to the COVID-safety protocols, the Spring Haven Farm provides a low-stress, family environment. “We used to just be open for four hours a day on the weekends,” said Crihfield. “We’d have two or three hundred people here at one time. [Due to COVID] we had to start opening [Wednesday through Sunday, by appointment] to spread all those people out.” Hand sanitizing stations are positioned throughout the farm, and a hand-washing trough is located at the entrance. The Spring Haven’s Valentine’s with Goats event begins February 3 and ends February 14.