Peaceful pond views, gentle farm animals, and top it all off with a big cone full of homemade ice cream? Umm….yes please! Send me over to Gillis Hill Farm any day!
As if the mention of ice cream isn’t enough, here are four reasons to visit Gillis Hill Farm!
4 Reasons to Visit Gillis Hill Farm
Homemade Ice Cream
This weekend, tired of sitting at home, we loaded up and headed for Gillis Hill Farm to mark another item off of our Fort Bragg Bucket List. Our kids could hardly contain their excitement when they read the sign that says Ice Cream Shoppe. So, our first stop on the farm was for a heaping waffle cone full of delicious homemade ice cream.
For the price of an ice cream purchase, you get a free walking tour of the farm. The tour is self-guided, but there are plenty of informational signs along the way. They give you an explanation of the equipment and outbuildings on display and provide historical context for the farm throughout the years. This farm has belonged to the Gillis family for more than 200 years!
[It’s important to note that the farm only offers ice cream and tours from April to October and they are closed on Sundays. Make sure you check Gillis Hill Farm’s website or Facebook page before you go to check their hours.]
You can eat your ice cream in a rocking chair on the front porch, in the back yard seating area, or take it with you on your tour. We ate ours in the back yard before petting the animals and seeing the rest of the farm, I figured it would be cleaner that way.
After finishing every sticky sweet drop of our ice cream, we started off on our tour of the farm. Pet food is available for sale by the handful from a dispenser near the goat pen. You can use it to feed the goats, turkeys, horse, and chickens. Our girls loved letting the chickens peck the corn right out of their hands and petting all the animals. The bunnies were every bit as adorable as expected, the resident horse was friendly and beautiful, the goats and sheep gentle, and the chickens curious.
But the real show stoppers were the turkeys. As soon as we were near their pen, they came running. A whole crowd of them rushing over with their wobbly gait was a sight to see. The girls were one big giggle! The turkeys were very eager for food and would stretch their necks out through the fence and peck at our hands, our toes, and my phone as I was trying to take a picture. The kids squealed and laughed for a solid 15 minutes just playing with the turkeys.
The Gristmill & Pond
After loving on all of the animals and looking through the displays, we walked down to the pond. Where we found a bunch of geese and a beautiful view.
The gristmill pond at Gillis Hill Farm is so still you can see a perfect reflection of the trees and sky.
You can read an educational plaque at the gristmill that explains it’s history and purpose. The mill’s building isn’t open, except for special occasions and events, but you can walk down to the waterwheel. The rocky stream and the giant wooden wheel make you feel like you’ve stepped back in another time.
A trip to Gillis Hill Farm was not only a lot of fun for our girls, but it turned out to be quite educational. They learned about different crops and life on the farm many years ago. They also learned about the gristmill and what it was used for. I didn’t take any pictures of the displays or their informational signs, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t find them interesting.
Gillis Hill Farm was the perfect spot to spend our Saturday afternoon. It truly is one of Fayetteville’s best hidden gems!