Pond Hill Farm in Harbor Springs started small. First, Jimmy Spencer had a self-serve vegetable stand with an honesty box for the money. Then there was a small farm market, built by Spencer and his parents, Sharon and Jim.
Apparently, if you build it, they will come. The market attracted families, who came to pick berries or feed the animals. Pond Hill expanded with simple lunch selections, then farm-to-table dinners.
Next came the vineyard, producing the grapes that go into Pond Hill Farm’s wine selection. Did you know that cider and beer is also made on site, along with fresh, hot pizzas in the café?
Now, Pond Hill Farm is a beloved venue for food, seasonal celebrations, live music, weddings, and other events. And the fabulous thing about it all? They don’t close up shop in winter. Nope, Pond Hill is there for you all year round. You can frolic outdoors in the snow, or stay cozy and bundled up indoors while noshing a fistful of pizza. Whichever option you choose, we won’t judge you. Read on for fun ways to enjoy the winter wonderland at an iconic Harbor Springs destination.
Pond Hill Outdoors
First, you should know that there’s sledding behind the main building, along with tubes and sleds to use for free. Many a happy hour has been spent climbing the path to the top of the sledding hill just to fly back down it again.
Want more exercise than sledding can offer? Their cross-country ski and snowshoe trails get groomed every day they’re in operation. Folks come out regularly to hike and take in the beautiful wintery landscape. Got a fat-tire bike? Bring it along!
Another popular family activity is the Gnome House Hunt. The hunt takes place along the 1.5 mile Farm Loop Trail. Kids can spot the whimsical gnome houses, record letters hidden inside their doors, rearrange them to reveal the secret code, and turn in the code at the market to win a special prize. Make sure to check in at the market and grab a map before you embark on your magical hunt.
Also available in winter: cute farm animals. Take a trip into the barn, where your family will be greeted by goats, bunnies, and chickens. You can even feed the goats—just make sure to bring some quarters for the feed dispenser. They love visitors and, most of all, food.
Stay Cozy Indoors
Pond Hill Farm is famous for fresh farm-to-table meals. Enjoy brick oven pizza, hearty soups, and delicious sandwiches in the brightly-lit café with beautiful views of the farm. And there are always seasonal specials in rotation. In winter, expect to see hearty soups from squash grown on the farm. Drink specials include favorites like mulled wine and the occasional hot cocoa bar for kids and adults alike.
Don’t overlook the winter Sunday brunch—staff raved about the cinnamon dream French toast and veggie hash. Bread from Alanson bakery Dutch Oven, farm-fresh local eggs, and smoked rainbow trout make special guest appearances on the menu.
Pond Hill Farm also boasts an impressive array of taps for craft beers and ciders, along with a healthy selection of wine from their very own grapes.
Don’t have time for a drink with your meal? That’s no problem. The Farm Store in the lower level of the main building is stocked with bottled beverages, artisanal foods, and gifts.
Live music is in your future with the weekend Winter Music Series. You can expect to see local acts and musicians from afar who come to enjoy the good vibes of our winter wonderland. Acts have included rock, funk, blues, bluegrass, country, and folk musicians. You’ll always be able to find something to suit your musical tastes. And you won’t even get a chill while dancing to some sweet tunes; Pond Hill Farm has a sizable heated tent to keep you cozy and warm. So sip some cider, relax with your friends, and enjoy the music while the snow falls softly outside the tent.
If you’re visiting over the holiday season, there are a couple of events you won’t want to miss. In late November, bring the whole fam to the Holiday Fest with Santa. If you’re looking for holiday gifts, keep your eyes on the farm’s calendar of events for December’s Holiday Market, featuring local artisans. And don’t forget the Farm Market sells gift boxes and loads of Michigan-made products—they make great presents.
A lot of visitors just come to the Petoskey area during the summer months. They’re missing out! We’ve got so much to offer the whole year round. With Pond Hill Farm and other local businesses celebrating winter, you’ll be sure to enjoy our dining and entertainment options. Instead of heading south, take a trip up north and join us in paradise!
About the Author: Jen DeMoss is a newcomer to the Petoskey area and loves northern Michigan. You can catch her paddling a canoe, hiking a trail, or swimming in Lake Michigan as often as the weather cooperates. She’d love to help you make the most of your time in this paradise she now calls home.