A "Mane" Attraction in Lakeville, Mass.
Local Farm Features Stunning Clydesdale Horses
Article and photo by Eric H.
Editor's note: Barry Farm is currently not open for the public to see the Clydesdale horses. If anything changes, we'll update you here.
Sometimes, the most special travel attractions in New England are the most simple, as well as barely known amongst travelers.
The gate was indeed open and the hours posted correlated with our Sunday afternoon visit to the Barry family farm. With a classic New England scene featuring open fields of white snow, shadows of tree branches gracing the pristine grounds, and an attractive gazebo, the introductory setting gave way to something even more special: bigger fields of scenic farm land with Clydesdale horses eating, playing and eventually galloping with fervor and ambition to chow down even more in the horse stables.
The horses weigh over a ton and, to us, really put into pespective what these amazing animals really look like -- as opposed to what you see within the visual confines of television (Clydesdales in parades, state fairs and beer commercials). It turns out, in fact, that these particular Clydesdales have played a major role in the Eastern States Exhibition (Big E) state fair that occurs annually every September in Springfield, Mass., as well as the Topsfield Fair, Topsfield, Mass. every October.
To see the Clydesdale horses in their natural habitat at a farm near so-called "civilization" (urban Taunton and surrounding strip malls) made this impromptu visit even more memorable. There is ultimately, I believe, a special connection amongst us New England people, the scenic lands, and farm owners that continue to work their traditional profession in a modern-day world. This scenario gently reminds us of the way the working wolrd was many years ago, and the art and science behind making a family-run agricultural business work. And it helps matters even more when those farmers offer us visitors something so special on diplay as Clydesdales horses. What an instant memory -- seeing those mammoth horses -- and one that we hope you can enjoy when visiting the beautiful town of Lakeville.
Editor's note: Here is some important information from the owners of Barry Farm -- please be sure to read before considering a trip to their special oasis:
The Hallamore Eight-Horse Clydesdale Hitch can be seen in the daily parade at either the Eastern States Exhibition in Springfield, Mass. ("The Big E") or at the Topsfield Fair in Topsfield, Mass. In addition to the daily parade, at Topsfield, the driver, Ned Niemiec, puts on a driving demonstration daily throughout the fair in the Main Arena. Dates for these two back-to-back fairs vary annually, but can be found on the website for either event. Generally, the dates extend from mid-September to mid-October. The hitch can also be seen in Boston's St Patrick's Day parade, and the annual fourth of July Parade in Bristol, RI, as well as various other parades throughout New England right up through December each year.
At present, there are 19 Clydesdale horses in residence at the farm, located at 138 Bedford Street (Route 18) in Lakeville, MA. Heading south from Exit 5 off Route 495, the farm, which has no sign, can easily be missed: a good landmark is the low stone walls at the entrance to 138 Bedford ST on the left as you head south on Route 18. If you come to the traffic lights at the intersection of Route 18 and Route 79, you have just missed it.
The owners of the horses, Dennis and Marilyn Barry, welcome visitors who wish to see the horses when they are home at their Lakeville farm. It is also the Barry's home, and they request that visitors respect the posted visiting hours: 9 AM to noon, and 1PM to 3PM daily, 7 days a week.
Please park on pavement, avoiding the grass, but park also off to one side, to accommodate any horses or wagons that may need the space for turning in front of either barn. The Barrys also request that you leave your pets at home, or, if you do have your dog with you, you leave him in your car. Please keep your children safe and quiet around the horses, and stand clear when one is led or driven past you. Please do not feed them.
Training typically takes place in the mornings between 9 a.m. and noon, year-round, barring adverse weather conditions. During the summer hours, the horses are indoors during the heat of the day, and outside during the cooler night hours. At winter, this is reversed. The horses run in from the fields during late fall through early spring around 1:30 ~ 2:00 p.m., which is a sight worth seeing!
When you arrive, if the farm gates across the driveway are open, but barn doors closed, please feel free to enter either barn if you would like to see the interior: the barn doors are closed in the winter to keep the heat in, not to keep people out! Please re-close the big doors firmly once you are in, however. In summer, of course, the barn doors will be open.
If the gates are closed, however, please understand and do not enter, but please do return another time. This is the exception, however, and, unless gates are closed, visitors are always welcome, seven days a week.
The farm is private property, and not a commercial enterprise, so there are no facilities or refreshments: however, if you have a group and wish to arrange for a "guided tour", please contact the driver and trainer, Ned Niemiec, who will be happy to set a date where he or another member of the crew will be able to escort you and answer any questions. Messages (before 9 p.m., please) may be left at (508) 946-3496.
Larger-than-life Clydesdale Horses (photo by Katie H.)
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