USP: Invigorating farm stay
Some goats, a cow and a labrador watch solemnly as we holler out for the Acres Wild people — Mansur and Tina Khan. Already well-known for the cheese they make, they have now opened up their farm to people who want to share their love for the good earth, especially the 22 acres that they own.
Acres Wild Coonoor is so accessible and protected at the same time in great part because of residents like Mansoor Khan. The filmmaker, who says a life in the country was all he has ever wanted, opened his 22-acre property, just a five-min drive from the heart of Upper Connoor, in April this year. Mansoor and his charming wife Tina also provide their guests with two-hour guided tours (at a nominal Rs 100 per person above 16 years) or two-day hands-on make-and-take your own gourmet cheese-making classes for house guests.
With only three rooms on offer, the tidy and comfy first cottage (from Rs 1,500 per night with breakfast for two) is perched independently on top of the windswept property. The new two-room cottage that’s a bit further away from the main homestead has splendid woodwork, lovely bay windows, a spacious common area and a sit-out with fantastic views (from Rs 3,000 per room). All cottages come with fully equipped kitchens; meals are also delivered to the rooms. Dedicated to organic living, Mansoor and Tina make their own adobe bricks and power the kitchens and the cheese-making unit with gobar gas. Don’t leave without sampling their delicious herb-spiced soft cheeses and signature Camembert. See www.acres-wild.com.
Munching still-warm-from-the-oven banana bread we accompany the Khans on a tour of their property. There is the main house, besides two cottages. A cow shed perches prettily on the slope as does the place where they make the cheese.
The fact that the setting is picture-perfect and the weather magnificent, is a given. It is the Nilgiris, after all. But, what makes Acres Wild different is the lifestyle they offer. You are invited to help out on their farm. Serve the ducks their lunch as they swim in the pond that is plopping with fish, feed the animals, or, even milk the cows. “We would love it if our guests would help us plant trees and vegetables,” they say. Everything is organically grown. The cheerfully done up cottages have big picture windows framing the scenic world outside.
Here is the best bit. Acres Wild offers a cheese-making course, where you learn how to make at least two varieties of cheese. The course costs extra and the duration depends on how long you can stay.
Bed and breakfast is the deal, and what a breakfast it is! Freshly drawn milk, home-made muesli, fruits, bread and eggs all served with pats of creamy butter and a selection of cheese. It is seriously wholesome!
There is no TV at Acres Wild, yet. Personally, I hope it stays that way. Only some bird chatter and the odd mooing breaks the perfect quiet. A stay at Acres Wild is guaranteed to put the roses back in your cheek. You may put on some weight which you can work off on the farm.
How to get there
From the Coonoor Bus Stand take Barlows Road. Hundred metres up the road is a fork on the right. Take the Manni Mariamman Kovil Street and carry on for about a kilometre (past a temple and a small bridge) till you come to a three-pronged fork in the road. From there, follow the bright yellow Acres Wild Farm signboard.
How to reach Acres Wild: We are 3 km from Coonoor Bus Stand and within Coonoor Town Limits. Best to reach Coonoor Bus stand and call Mansoor – 94432-32621 for further directions to Acres Wild Farm.
Mansoor & Tina Khan
Acres Wild Cheesemaking Farm
No. 1, Tiger Hill,
Coonoor 643 101
Depending on the cottages, (rates range from Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 3,000 in season and Rs. 1,500 to Rs. 2,500 off-season). Children under 10 are admitted free.
(In Season: April 1 to June 15 / Oct 1 to Jan 31 and Off Season: Feb 01 to March 31 / June 16 to Sept 30).
The tariff includes breakfast. Other meals cost extra.
To know more, log on to www.acres-wild.com or call 0944323262.
Things to do
Make cheese; watch birds; work the land; enjoy the clean and quiet ambience.
Source: The hindu
Labels: Tamil Nadu