Weekend escape at Penteleu Farm
– Where the hell are we going, Alina? Couldn’t we have stayed at home and relax? Why are we supposed to do that at a farm that we do not even know where it is? my husband complained over and over again while heading to Penteleu Farm.
Visibly nervous because of the bad road through the woods to the Farm, which forced us to go 20 km / h, Florin commented all the time. Indeed, it seemed we did not get out of that forest anymore. The heavy rain have ruined the road and who can fix it? Moresoever, we had neither phone network nor Waze services. Good thing that GPS indicates that we must have been on the right track.
We filmed our route for a little bit, you can find the short video in the gallery bellow, at the end of this article.
Acces to Penteleu Farm (Ferma de sub Penteleu)
Three hours after we left Bucharest, passing by the village of Vaarlam in Buzau County, we are taking a left turn on a bridge over a swampy river at the foot of Penteleu mountain. The instructions received by e-mail from the Farm were quite precise:
“When you arrive in the area, near Varlaam, turn left on the bridge and continue on the road with the Basca Mare river on the right for about 10 minutes until you see the farm sign on the right side of the river. You can see the exact location on the map here. “
But the fact that the width of the road is a bit larger than the width of a car, that you have on the right side the river Bâsca Mare without parapets and that there are no signs on the way (or we have not seen them) with the small village Gura Milii or the Farm, all that makes you wonder if you’re one the right way. Especially because you are in an uncovered area, you have no one to call, who to ask if you are on the right track. Top that with the fact that we met on that tiny road a truck coming from the opposite direction!
After the reverse of our car, until the truck passed by us, we continued driving for another 5 minutes and saw the sign on the right that the email pointed out. We went right into the farm parking lot, where Nelu was waiting for us.
He welcomed us and picked up the luggage and took them in the
luggage wheelbarrow and told us to follow him to the Farm. We initially thought we didn’t need his help with the wheelbarrow, well, how far and steep can it be?
Going over the farm bridge built by the Farmers, over the “beach” set up by the river and climbing on the actual land of the Farm (passing by the vegetable and strawberry gardens, the outdoor playground, the hens and ducks sheds), I was thankful for the wheelbarrow and Nelu’s help!
On our way up the farm, we saw the stables for the goats and cows, and the shelter of the donkey on the left, and on the right we passed by the duck and geese, most of the ducks were some bigger buds, barely giving them the finishing touch. They seemed crowded, poor!
The smell of animals, farm, freshly mown grass is here at home!
Accommodation at Penteleu Farm
Accommodation at the Farm can be made at the Main House (a 3-room villa for rent located in front of the outdoor playground) or at the Farm Building, on the 1st floor, where you have a choice between a double room, a 3-person suite and 4-person suite.
You can find the accommodation prices on Penteleu Farm website, being 4 persons we stayed in the 4-person suite, number 4. This is a small apartment (we are on a farm, not in a resort), consisting of two small rooms, a hall and a bathroom, decorated in a traditional style. We were struck by the fact that there are no keys to the door, the rooms do not have locks.
The room rate includes access to relaxation areas, indoor and outdoor play areas, activities (creative workshops for children, hiking, seasonal and weather), access to the fixed telephone, tour of the farm.
Little, simple decorations, I liked the piles of books in the rooms.
The simple bathroom, equipped with a copy wooden-sink, toilet bowl, shower cabin and a wooden bench. The current water smells like sulfur, when the children went in for a shower, I did not know why it smelled like rotten eggs. We realized the water contained sulfur, and we even tasted it when we were brushing our teeth.
Traditional Romanian restaurant (Cârciuma) and bar (Birt) at Penteleu Farm
Yes, that’s exactly what they call the restaurant and bar at Penteleu Farm, you are free to consume flat-water, mineral water, beer, wine, liquors, juice, coffee, espresso, and track your drinks by writing down in a sheet located in each of the locations (one in the Bar and one in the Birt). It goes on trust, in the end everything is paid for.
You can choose to eat at the Farm half board (breakfast and dinner) or full board (all meals). Being quite isolated, you do not have any other restaurant options, so the farm’s food remains the only option.
But the food is extremely tasty, healthy and natural (own products from the farm or the surrounding households). Alexandru, the owner, told us that he supplemented his own production of eggs and ducks from other households (until their bobs grow). The three meals of the day offer a buffet and some dishes to choose from.
At breakfast you can enjoy the specialties made at the farm, eggplant salad, salad of fish eggs, homemade pudding, assorted raw vegetables, farm goat cheese, mesh, simple omelette or omelette with vegetables, boiled eggs, smoked pork ham, house butter and various jams / jams, natural cereals and cow or goat milk, tea, coffee.
At lunch you can order soups (with beans, with or without smoked meat, poultry, vegetables, mushroom soup) and cooked dishes of choice (cabbage duck – delicious, sarmale – Traditional Romanian dish, chicken broth with puree, green beans, beaten beans etc, plus salad buffet and garnish.
For dinner, besides the salad and garnish buffet, you have the option of a barbecue (Florin ate a tender pork steak, the children ate grilled sausages – a kind of Romanian sausages called Plescoi, probably thin, drier and a bit spicy, and I ate a trout the first evening) or in the oven (the second evening they had goats or pork muscles in the oven – the pork was very tasty and tender). We have not tried the goat, we are not so brave.
The desserts made at the Farm enjoyed my taste buds and I’m convinced that they were laid on my hips, but I enjoyed them anyway: cheese pies, homemade cakes, homemade donuts, noodles with milk and cinnamon.
Entertainment for children and grown ups at Penteleu Farm
For the children is heaven on earth, ours were so sad when we left, partly because of the activities that have kept them outside for as long as possible, partly because of the friends they have made.
From visiting the stables, feeding the goats, cows and donkeys, hens and ducks, playing football with friends at the playground, riding the miniature tyrolean, firing the target bow and running on the plains and the surrounding lawns, playing with the river water and the splash on the set beach, the mowing they had learned from Ionut, the farmer’s base man helper, at the campfire, and savored a glass of milk and donuts on the patio in front of the evening tavern, while the vinyl played old school music, all are activities that we and the kids did with utmost pleasure and which contributed to us feeling sorry that we were leaving.
The farm also features an indoor playground where kids had fun with their friends.
People at Penteleu Farm
Alexandru and Vali, the owners, are two ambitious and warm young people, parents of two cute boys (we only met Cezar, a funny and friendly child), who built the Penteleu Farm for their own use, initially. Alexandru told us that it was only in 2015 that he opened the farmhouse for tourists, in the desire to share with others the experience and the values of living on a farm in the mountains.
With the help of the people in the area, they raise animals, cultivate the land and care for the fruit trees, handle the farm and guests as and when they can (they both took orders at the table, served us, talked to us) and were friendly and hard workers.
Ionut is a hard-working and charismatic 21-year-old, working at the Penteleu Farm for some years already, he is the tourist guide of the Farm (he leads the guests in the Farm Tour), teaches us to cut the grass, he is in charge with the grill, teaches children to shoot with the bow. An unfortunate accident 6 months ago fractured his tibia and the paw from one of his legs, but he did not beat himself. He recovered and works day by day at the Farm, when they have guests, from morning till evening.
Nea Nelu is a native villager, a kind of good craftsman at all, he is the one who picked us up with the luggage from the car, he repairs things that broke, gives instructions to seasonal workers. Both him, Ionut and Dani, and Alexandru were present at the mini-Tyrolean, equip and secure the children who enjoyed the experience.
Although it is recommended on the site that visits to or staying at the Farm should be done for families with children over 4 years of age, probably due to the “bumpy natural” land on the Farm, all places were occupied by families with children of all ages, mostly up to 5 years. Many families, many children. Some were leaving, others came. This only proves that Alex and Vali had a fair instinct, that such a traditional tourist experience comes to the audience and that people want to escape in the midst of nature, animals and household products, away from distractions, sometimes unnecessary, of our modern world.
The Penteleu farm is a corner of tradition, a place that I really wanted my boys to know, stepped by the fact that they do not have a “countryside house” where to go, do not have grandparents in the province or a place where to spend the summer holidays, as I spent each year during my childhood, in the middle of nature and children, from morning till evening.
If you know other traditional farmhouses or hostels in Romania, relatively close to Bucharest (about 3 hours), please leave a comment with your suggestions.
The children loved the Penteleu Farm, you can see that from the pictures below, but also a video from the cascade near the Farm, with the fish that actually jump out of the water downstream.