My father, brother, and I all have birthdays at the end of October, which is probably the prettiest time of year to have a birthday. Anyone who knows me wouldn’t be surprised to learn that my favorite way to celebrate my birthday is to head to the mountains and photograph the fall foliage.

      Last year, the four of us headed to Nelson County and rented a posh log cabin on a lake. This year, while searching for mountain cabins online, we found a listing for a farmhouse that we could rent. On a working farm. With lots of animals. We were sold, obviously. And it was even more fun than I’d expected!

      We stayed at Cardinal Springs Farm in Sperryville, Virginia, which is only about an hour and a half from our home in Reston. It certainly felt like we were much farther from the DC mayhem than that, though! Look at how blissfully peaceful this farm is.

      Cardinal Springs Farm sits on a gorgeous piece of land in the foothills outside Shenandoah National Park. The rolling hills and colorful fall landscape were a complete marvel.

      This was our rental farmhouse, nestled in colorful trees with a big yard for the kids to play in. You can see my family lounging by the fire pit in this picture.

      Directly across from the farmhouse is a house for ducks, geese, and guineas. The kids loved collecting eggs! I’m pretty sure it was my first time collecting eggs, too, and it was like a thrilling treasure hunt for me.

      This is T.J., one of the very friendly barn cats who lived near our rental house. He was a total sweetheart and one of the highlights of our trip.

      The kids adored T.J., and I’m pretty sure the feeling was mutual. He followed Katie all the way up to the top of the hill on one of our walks.

      That Saturday was my dad’s birthday, and this farm was such a fun way to spend his day. Later that evening, we had a nice dinner in the town of Sperryville nearby, but we spent the day exploring and lounging at the farm.

      We learned that goats love to eat peanuts in the shell. They were so sweet and gentle with the kids.

      Just some more details from a farm day.

      And here’s a selfie, because I should be in the pictures once in a while, and I keep forgetting.

      After exploring the farm and meeting all the animals, we drank wine and beer by the fire as the kids played in the yard.

      I also loved the other fire pit on the property — this is the one at the top of the hill. What a view!

      On Sunday morning, we headed to town for lattes and enjoyed one final walk through the farm. I wasn’t ready to go yet.

      Cardinal Springs Farm, we’ll be back!

      Related posts:

      Nelson County, Virginia: My birthday weekend at the coziest fall mountain cabin

      Scenes from our trip to exquisite, historic, and charming Somerset, England

      I finally got to see Cornwall, and it was even better than I’d imagined

      Scenes from my whirlwind trip through New York City

      Some of my favorite scenic photos of 2017

      Even more astonishing than I imagined: My trip to the solar eclipse totality zone

      Our epic American road trip, part 1: The paradise of Colorado

      Our epic American road trip, part 2: The magic of Montana

      Corolla, NC: Outer Banks, part 1

      Corolla, NC: Outer Banks, part 2

      Charlotte Geary


      Lifestyle, event, and portrait photographer with a vibrant, joyful style and 17 years of professional experience.

      Located in Reston, Virginia near Washington, D.C. and available for travel.