View Full Version : Farm Locations in Upstate New York and Pennsylvania

Dan B
11-Feb-2008, 11:22

I'm coming to the US from London, UK and I was wondering if anyone could recommend me any farms to shoot on in Pennsylvania (within 100 miles of Lancaster) or in Upstate New York - preferably ones with a 'New England' style about their buildings with red barns etc. A friendly, co-operative farmer would be great - obviously we'll come to a financial arrangement too. If in-turn I can help anyone out with information about shooting in London, please feel free to ask.

Kind regards

Mark Sampson
11-Feb-2008, 13:35
this is a big question about some big places. Offhand, the farms in SE Pennsylvania are different than New England types; think "Pennsylvania Dutch", hex-signs on the gables, etc. The actual barn architecture is different, too; and the countryside is more open and rolling near Lancaster than in NE. Upstate New York is a very large place, with varying topography. There are red barns all over NY State; again, the farther west you go, the less like New England it becomes. People who live in New York City think 'upstate' is anywhere more than 20 miles north of Times Square... but I live 325 miles from NY City and I'm not even near the far end. Be aware that it's the dead of winter up here now, and spring will come in late April (a little sooner in SE PA).

11-Feb-2008, 14:14
I am from Pennsylvania and the farms are allot different there then they are here in Vermont which is in New England.

David A. Goldfarb
11-Feb-2008, 14:26
I just drove from New York to Cincinnati last week, and there are some really beautiful spots along the Pennsylvania Turnpike, some of them much photographed, so it's well worked territory. I'd have been tempted to stop if I didn't have someplace to be and if the light had been better (it was snow and fog much of the way there, and overcast the way back). I'd definitely like to revisit someday when I've got more time, maybe late summer or fall.

11-Feb-2008, 15:15
Go to google.maps.com and use satellite imagery to locate farm rich areas. However you can't go wrong traveling north from New York along routes 9 and 22. Once you get north of I-84 there is rich agricultural land.

Frank Petronio
11-Feb-2008, 15:47
Vermont really doesn't have farms, it has pastures with a lot of rocks. They're pretty but...

Really Pennsylvania has quite beautiful farm land not far from Lancaster itself.

If you want to come up towards Rochester I can introduce you to a pari of lesbian organic farmers with free range chickens and huge ramshackle barns... but they might draft you to do work.

11-Feb-2008, 17:43

If you want New England architecture, the problem is that Pennsylvania and upper New York State aren't part of New England.

Nevertheless, Lancaster County and nearby Bucks County in Pennsylvania are beautiful. I'm more familiar with Buck's County, so let me just warn you that if you think you are going to walk into rural romance, much of Buck's County has become quite gentrified. For example, New Hope, the home of the Buck's County Playhouse, is a very nice town on the Delaware River, but it is quite upscale, and a zoo on the weekends. In your terms, Bucks County is a bit like New Forest, except with an increasing amount of new, sort of modern, expensive, architecture, and no common grazing areas. If you happen to get to New Hope, which is just under 100 miles from the town of Lancaster, and have any interest at all in fine furniture, you might want to make an advance appointment to go to the nearby George Nakashima workshop: http://www.nakashimawoodworker.com/

Pennsylvania is noted for its Dutch and Amish influence. If you want to get a handle on that kind of subect matter, there is no shortage of books of photography that cover both subjects. However, before you get speeded up at the thought of finding an Amish community that will co-operate with you, even on a paid basis (since you mention it), realize that they may not be keen. That is probably an understatement.

In New York State, there are remnants of Dutch architectural influence, but English influence is vastly more prevalent. As someone else pointed out, if you don't know it already, upper New York State is in the midst of winter at the moment - real winter, not London winter :) If you get to the upper reaches of the state, you will run up against Quebec, which has distinct architectural and cultural influences that may or may not interest you.

There are some people on this forum who run workshops in New England (I'm not aware of anything in rural Pennsylvania or upper New York State). If New England is what you want, you may be able to work out something with them, kind of like hiring a first rate fly fishing guide. Sorry, I have fly fishing on the brain right now :)

11-Feb-2008, 18:22
central NY has farms you are looking for. look for route 28 out of kingston NY and follow it along. miles and miles of farms to shoot.

i am 90 miles N of NYC. exit 19 on the NY state thruway. stop by if you are in the neighborhood.


11-Feb-2008, 18:32
In central NYS, route 5 also has some very nice photogenic barns and farmland. exit 29A off the NYS Thruway is right in the middle of it (as well as being in the middle of nowhere - I grew up there). For satellite shots, you can start from Little Falls and look around. Salisbury is nearby and very rural. Western Massachusetts (which is in in New England) has a lot of pretty spots and barns, too.

Louie Powell
11-Feb-2008, 19:06
Dan -

It might be possible for us to be more helpful if you could say when you are planning your trip. As others have noted, it's currently winter, and where I live in upstate New York, that means very cold weather with snow on the ground. Lots of it.

Likewise, it would be helpful to know you have specifically asked about Pennsylvania and upstate New York. Both are very large areas. Frankly, you could probably find many photographically interesting farms in both areas, but to be specific, we really need to know where you expect to be in Pennsylvania and upstate NY.

I know of one area that has a number of abandoned farms, and with an arts center that sponsors photography workshops, so photography is a very common thing. And it happens to be close to both Pennsylvania and upstate New York - but not in either.

So if you could tell us more about your plans, we could probably provide better responses to your question.

18-Feb-2008, 21:21
Find John Coffer

18-Feb-2008, 21:30
I don't know any of the farmers, but I drive from Massachusetts to about 40min from Philly going back and forth from school (did that today actually, weather was crappy) and I must say that there are a few farms on rt 100 between Pottstown and Allentown that I have been quite tempted to stop and shoot.

Peter Lewin
22-Feb-2008, 10:42
Depending on how you want to do this, there are networks of farms in all the places you mentioned which combine the farm with a Bed & Breakfast, which would give you the option of an overnight stay, and probably greater access to the farm for photography than you would get shooting from the road, or knocking on the door. I would suggest googling "Farm stays xx" where "xx" is the state abbreviation (PA for Pennsylvania, NY for New York).