Hometown Tourist: Pond Hill Farm Gnome Homes
Just off of the scenic tunnel of trees in Harbor Springs sits Pond Hill Farm.
They’re well-known for their farm, cafe, wines and brews and adventure, but did you know they have miles and miles of groomed trails for winter adventures?
And this year something else has taken residence on the property: gnome homes.
It’s a new kind of wintertime adventure to add to your afternoon on the trails for the whole family: a gnome house hunt. Here the crew here has made homes for the elusive gnomes on the property.
“So Steve Adelaine built, I guess, all of these houses, and they’re all made from products that were milled here on the farm. So tree stumps, and tree roots and all kinds of different stuff. And if you’re really lucky you’ll get to see a gnome, but the gnomes tend to leave when they hear people coming and you’ve got to be rally sneaky to find them,” said owner Jimmy Spencer.
Jimmy says it’s a way for adults and kids to explore just a tad off the trail.
It pretty simple, you find a post, read a little about the area and find the gnome home. They don’t mind if you open the door. You’ll find a scrambled letter that leads to a secret code to take back to the farm,” said Spencer.
“When you find all ten houses, you put the letters together, it makes two words. Right now you get back to the cafe and you get to pick from the prize bucket,” said Spencer.
Along the way, you’ll learn about the local ecosystem and about the pond hill property itself.
“So here we are. We’re at the first gnome house and when you see one of these you leave the trail and you go look for this. This is the headwaters house, so this is actually where Five Mile Creek originates. It comes out from under a tree. It’s a trickle of water and turns into a creek that flows down to Lake Michigan,” said Spencer.
It’s really not just for kids, it’s for all ages and families to get out in the woods.
“We try to pick some of the most fun places on the farm to go out and see, so you leave the trail and stand in the middle of the woods in the winter and take in the natural beauty,” said Spencer.
Whether you choose to snowshoe, fat tire bike, cross country ski or just take a hike, the gnome house hunt adds even more whimsy to the beauty of wintertime in the woods.
“We change the code once a month and this goes year round, and it’s a good way to get your kids out of the house off the sled hill. We do have a sled hill, kids get tired and really adults do and its nice in the middle of winter to you know get outside and enjoy it,” said Spencer.