Maple Leaf Farm

Our plan for today was to stop by the Everglades for a fan boat tour on our way back from Ft Lauderdale to Orlando.  Beforehand, for lunch, we would finally fill the craving that Shannon and I look forward to every time we cross the Mason-Dixon Line, Chick-Fil-A.  Aaron Googled the nearest franchise, and it turned out to be located in a mall.  Not feeling up to the walk, Shannon and Aaron brought the food out to the car.  In a very classy manner we broke out our folding chairs and had lunch in the parking lot.  I couldn’t help but think of the episode of Married with Children where the Bundy family sets up camp in the grocery store to soak up their A/C.  Eventually, security came by and made Dad move the car; the rest of us stayed.  We got plenty of strange looks.

Married with Children

Picnic at the Mall

After lunch we headed to Everglades Holiday Park for a fan boat ride.  Although I would have liked to have gone deeper into the swamp, the tour was excellent with alligators, birds, and amazing vegetation.  After the boat ride, we watched the alligator wrestler’s show.  The show seemed very rehearsed, similar to SeaWorld, but it was still pretty impressive.  I noticed a picture of the wrestler with Manny from “Wild Boys.” When I asked about the photo, he said that they were good friends; he has my respect!  Inspired by the show, Dad was looking for a similar challenge.  That’s when he bought the “1st Degree Burn” flavored Doritos from the gift shop; an impressive feat!

Shannon & I from the Fan Boat

View of the Everglades

Alligator Wrestler

First Degree Burn Doritos

On the drive back to Orlando we passed a goat farm.  It immediately reminded me of our goats on Maple Leaf Farm (Peglow Rd) where we grew up. We decided to turn around and check it out; so glad we did.  They had fresh Queso Blanco (cheese), which Aaron bought to make my favorite Peruvian food huancaina.  They also allowed us to pick a sugar cane from the field next door.  Aaron had been telling us how cool it is to eat the sugar directly off the stalk; can’t wait to try it in the morning.  They also let me walk into the pasture with the goats.

Guines Farm

In the Goat Pasture

Hope He Doesn't Buck

Aaron with Sugar Cane

For dinner, Dad finally got his Cuban food at a restaurant called the Florida Cafe.  I don’t think it was quite what he was looking for, but the food was great for the price.

Day 13

More about Maple Leaf Farm.  We grew up in a rural farmhouse in Springwater, NY on Peglow Rd.   We had two goats; Pachem and Tascha.  I was really young so I don’t remember a lot about them, but I do remember that when they were killed by coyotes, my mother was really upset.  We drank the goat’s milk, but they weren’t farm animals, they were pets.

The house, located on a dirt road, was so remote that cable wasn’t even an option.  Me and my brothers, Aaron and Ryan, had to create our own entertainment; we were never bored.  We spent our free time outdoors building elaborate forts and tunnels through the hay in the haybarn, building trails through the woods, fishing and swimming in the pond, or some other activity Ryan would drum up from his book “Free Stuff for Kids.”  We fought a lot when we were young, but my brothers have always been my best friends.  There is not a thing in the world I wouldn’t do for them or their amazing families.


About bhoefen

Going on a road trip.
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25 Responses to Maple Leaf Farm

  1. Mike says:

    Visiting Peglow road is still one of my best childhood memories and it helps me define a portion of our lives, cuz. My favorite motorcycle ride is through the hills of Springwater. Peglow road also is the site of one of my favorite motorcycle memories–giving Grandma Hoefen a ride on the back!!! I gave her my helmet, so I borrowed a bicycle helmet from you guys to be “street legal”. When I find that picture–it may be at my parents house, I’ll scan and post it.

  2. Makiko says:

    I think part of the reason why I married Ryan was so that I could keep hearing more stories from his childhood memories on Peglow farm. Every kid in the world should grow up the way you guys did!

  3. Sally Leeson says:

    I love the pic from Married with Children! The Hoefens certainly made an impression at that mall as well! You guys are certainly pulling out all the stops; so fun to read about your adventures!
    I remember the Hoefen boys running into the Child Development Center in the morning- such little cuties. Your Peglow Road memories woke up some of my own memories of building forts, etc. as a child. When you grow up in the country, you think there are not many options, but in reality, I agree with Makiko, every child should grow up like you guys did!

  4. Carol burke says:

    Me too ! Me too! Grew up on a farm in N.J. Had a goat named Daisy Mae that I drove around in the back of my Gold 1967 Ford Falcon station wagon. And yes there were curtains in the windows! Thanks for the stories! Brings good memories for me. Your journal will be made into a book right?! Your a great writer. I look forward to these everyday!

  5. Daniel Schey says:

    Hey Bret!
    I know that a third tattoo would be might be construed as somewhat ostentatious but should you be game, I humbly suggest “Ride in A Goat Direction”! Your journey has been a rich culinary one indeed. I can’t wait to see where you visit (and eat) next.

  6. Lynn FitzPatrick says:

    Bret……. I must confess I too have become addicted to your blog. I can’t read it while brushing my teeth but I can during every meal (sorry Dan) and I am enjoying reading about your incredible journey. It allows me and everyone that reads it to feel close to you and wonderful your family. I don’t have any restaurant recommendations but I have a couple Bret Hoefen stories I would like to share. You see many many years ago as a very protective mother of 5 daughters I was lucky enough to have you as our families first official “Boyfriend”! WOW did we luck out there, you made that milestone in our lives fun and oh so easy. What a prefect gentleman you always were. Oh, btw I owe you a long overdue apology for having you bring Erin home by midnight from your Senior Ball, hey what did we know we were new at the game, lol! The other story is about Courtney. She was a very impressionable 5 yr old when you were a Sr in high school. Your senior art display made such an impression on her that she came home and started creating drawings to sell. To my knowledge she had the first ever and perhaps the only roadside art show Springwater has even seen.
    Enjoy your journey Bret and know we are all praying for you and your family!
    May the road rise up to meet you.
    May the wind always be at your back.
    May the sun shine warm upon your face,
    and rains fall soft upon your fields.
    And until we meet again,
    May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
    Lynn FitzPatrick

  7. Aaron says:

    Likewise, Bret, there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for my two brothers and their amazing families! Wow, there is quite an arsenal of great stories from the Peglow days! I’ve seen a few Comments referring to the infamous ZIP Line! It makes me laugh everytime I replay it my mind. The look of you hitting the ground (hard) and rolling into the muck at the edge of the pond. Then, priceless, was Mom screaming and running toward her Baby! I knew you were going to do your best to freak her out, but man, that looked like it hurt!

    M80 thrown into the camp fire…

    The Green chair…

    Snowmobile Weekends…

    Unbelievably high snowboard jump (originally a bike jump that none of us had the guts to execute)…

    Paintball in the woods (you really nailed Jason Cox when he got caught up in the thorns!)…

    Carrying wood in the winter, mowing endless achres in the summer…

    Three brothers that were NEVER bored and NEVER minded being told “Boys, go outside and play!”…..

    • Mike says:

      Hmmm… random Peglow road memories….
      Snowmobile weekends, Bills/Giants superbowl, Xmas eve, the Triathlon (bike to the pond, swim across the pond, run through the trail), hanging out on the roof, the barn, hiking trails, hiking up the hill felt like the top of the world to look at the clouds and feeling like we could touch them, DJing a pond party by driving my car through the yard out back and opening the trunk, fireworks, summer picnics, begging to spend the night, drying out by the heater in the living room, bike rides, “the long way or the short and potentially dangerous way” (I always took the short way–weather be darned), falling through the ice into knee deep water, trying to get up the driveway in the winter, going to visit the neighbors about a mile down the road… man, I gotta get back there sometime soon.

  8. Aunt Bo says:

    you guys fight??? I do not believe it and you can never make me believe that one. you guys always got along whenever I was around.
    But the memories of Peglow Rd are fond! I do not remember the coyote story and the goats. Of course I remember the goats and chickens….sad ending for the goats though. sorry Bets. Very sad.

    I wondered how security let you stay in your folding chairs (priceless picture along with married with children picture) and the car had to be moved!

    Keep the great stories going. Love to hear them.

  9. Debbie says:

    Good morning Road Warriors!

    So glad you guys took “Alligator Alley” towards the Everglades (that was a long STRAIGHT road, huh? Not a single curve–anyhoo). I never got the chance to do the fan boat tour while I lived in Fort Myers so I’m envious. But I did manage to run over an alligator while on that back road. BUMP! BUMP! Ooo–that wasn’t a log was it?

    By the way–if you’re traveling in the direction of St. Petersburg back towards Orlando –you’re going to cross the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Lord–just thinking about that bridge still makes my stomach drop. I always wondered at the motorcyclists who would cross that bridge on how brave they were because there was NO WAY I would ever do it. Its a beautiful bridge but that steep climb–I guess I’ve just thrown out a challenge 🙂 Are you guys up for it?

    And soooo happy you guys got your Chick Filet on 🙂 I know Shannon was a happy camper with her waffle fries. And I can definitely see the picnic in the mall parking lot. Its the little things like that–that make the most fun memories.

    Heck–now there is a tat for Shannon. That Chick Filet Cow 🙂

    Love you guys so much and cannot wait until tomorrow to read the next installment of the Hoefen Clan and where they are next. Keep riding in a good direction and as always, my heart rides along with you!


  10. Dad says:

    Bret – I laughed at mention of Free Stuff for Kids – picturing Ryan leading you and Aaron through each activity in alphabetical, numerical, or some other order and checking them off in the book when completed. Today he has guides for local hikes and for local waterfalls to explore and check off with his family. Truly a beautiful thing.

    All parents fervently hope their children will be life-long best friends. In this your Mom and I have been extremely fortunate. This couldn’t be more in evidence than the last 6 months as Ryan and Aaron have let nothing interfere with being side by side with you through this challenge.

    • Makiko says:

      Hey Bret. This morning, I told Ryan that I really wish Evan and Owen will become as good friends as you are with your brothers.

  11. Rebecca Rector Lauriault says:

    Bret I love reading your blog. It is very inspiring. I wish you the best. Say “hi” to your mom for me. BTW Chick-Fil-A is the BEST fast food south of the Mason- Dixon Line!

  12. Cousin Mark says:

    What a great property that peglow rd was…..used to love making the trips out there for family get togethers…I will never forget how my wondeful cousins convinced me at such a young and impressionable age that a creature lived in the basement and only a SPOON could be used in defense hahahahah I really hope you guys all remember these stories as well as I still do!!!! if not your attempts at leaving a lasting impression worked!!! stay strong bret

  13. Jeff says:

    Peglow was always my favorite place to go throughout my childhood. The drive there was always an adventure in the winter – I nervously anticipated the decision to go the long way or to daringly attempt to navigate the ‘short cut’. I remember one X-mas Eve taking the road less traveled and sliding backward down a long steep hill narrowly escaping a drop down into the gulley. Good thing Uncle Kevin knows a thing or two about handling a vehicle.

    There was always an adventure happening at the farm upon arrival, too. Bikes / Ziplines / Swimming / Hay tunnels / Camp fires / etc. in the summer, Snowboards (still can’t believe you got me to go off that 8 ft. jump, Bret!) / Sleds / Snowmobiles / Ice Skating etc. in the winter. Most trips to the Hoefen’s involved formulating a plan among the cousins to coax the parents into letting us (Mike, Michelle & I) stay overnight. These plots often worked, but usually involved intricate plans to coordinate pick up / drop off to get us back to York / Hemlock the next day. Well worth the detailed logistics everytime!

    Many of the best times of my life have been with you guys on Peglow Rd! I miss those days!

    Guys – Can’t wait to see what you do next! Enjoy every minute! We’re with you every mile!

  14. Uncle Kevin & Aunt Judy says:

    Peglow Road has soooo many memories. My most vived memore of the goats is that everytime we came to the house I had to bring milk, as Jeff would ask if he had to drink Aunt Betsy’s milk! Maple Leaf farm was my ‘calming place’. Everytime I got out of the car I would take a deep breath and feel the peace. So glad you had a chance to relive the memories down there. Ride on, Bret. We can’t wait to read your adventures everyday.
    Love AJ & UK

  15. JoEllen Fahy Schubmehl says:

    Reading of your childhood made me smile! We also had pet goats….they were the best! I agree, there is something about growing up in the country that is amazing. It appears we have much more in common than I knew!

    While on the subject of memories, I also have fond memories of art class with your mom. I am certainly not a gifted artist, but she made me feel like one! I still remember winning a best in show with a piece created in one of your mom’s classes… idea how that happened, but I know Mrs. Hoefen’s input was key!

  16. Grandma Hoefen says:

    Happy to see that you took a ride on the fan boats. Something I always wanted to do..your grandfather and I were too busy playing golf to get there.

    Speaking of alligators, did I ever tell you about the time when grandpa and I were playing golf in the carolinas. we were in a cart, grandpa teed off and drove down the hill a few yards…then I went to tee off and there was an alligator…was I scared!

    I loved Peglow Rd too..I remember how eager you were to show me all the new trails in the woods. reminded me of my childhood in Leicester. Wonderful memories.

    Love to all. Miss you.

  17. jeanarlenel says:

    “For Happiness, Spend Money On Experiences: A few duds under the tree? Return them for cash and go to dinner. Psychologists say people report feeling happier when they spend their money on experiences rather than objects.”

    Science has finally figured out what you apparently have known since you were 2. e. The above is from an NPR edition of “science friday”. I’m enjoying your experiences greatly on this freezing-rain buffalo day. thanks.

  18. Mark Edmond says:

    Your story and journey with your family is amazing. Looking through your posts brings back so many great memories of back home. We all had some good times growing up together; I wouldn’t expect anything other than you enjoying every moment. Keep it going!
    Mark and Lauren

  19. Jessica says:

    Do you remember the time that Ryan and I tried to make thistle “candy”??? Yuck – it was like chewing on crispy, sugar-coated sticks! We probably got the recipe from that book! We also probably tried to teach a seminar on the subject while you, Aaron and Chad ran amok in the barns… or jumped off the roof… or watched to see what happened to the cat that you “nudged” off the porch… Those were great summer vacations!

    • Marianne says:

      Awwww… Peglow Rd. a beautiful place. A little secret I never told your parents… I thought I almost killed the goats when I was feeding them grass over the electric fence and one of them grabbed the fence in their mouth… I thought I’d fried him…. I took off running back to the house looking for Fred…HE came back to tell me they were both running around and looked ok so I left it at that!

      Driving to Peglow rd. was one of the first places Eric drove to from Palmyra after he got his driving permit…. THen he refused to drive again for months….. never could figure out why!!!!!!

      I loved the transformation of that house. All the work that your parents did to it. Never knew your Dad was so handy or maybe that’s how he learned how to do things by doing!!!

      As for you boys fighting…. it ‘s not so… I used to always say to my kids when they faught….. Why can’t you two be like Ryan , AAron and Bret!!!!! Eric and Caroline had to tell Aaron that line……. last time we were together!!!! We also talked about how there was no TV on Peglow Rd. Not something most kids could have dealt with! Glad I could say to my kids ” Go Outside and play ” too!

      It’s truly a testament to your parents how close you all are as a family. Family means the world to me ….and you are part of it. Keep riding in a good direction! I think about all of you daily and can’t wait to read your blog.

      Love Auntie Cuz,

  20. Uncle Lee and Aunt Sharon says:

    So many neat memories of Peglow Road…….. snowmobiling weekends and all you kids (the cousins) getting up at 5 am and running around wildly upstairs to the point we adults thought the ceiling was going to cave in; sledding and playing in the snow, skating on the pond, warming up and drying mittens, hats and socks by the woodstove; summer picnics and hikes through the trails in the woods, swimming and campfires by the pond; Christmas Eves. with the family; Halloween parties when you kids were little and graduation parties in the barn when you were older! Such special times. No matter what the season, nature and Maple Leaf Farm always provided beautiful and awe inspiring scenery, a feeling of peacefulness and special times with family. PRICELESS!

  21. Sandy and Red says:

    Brought back great memories of visiting with your Mom at the farm. I actually learned how to milk your goats and did it when you were away!

  22. Nickel the Pickle says:

    At least you had a Nintendo and some barns!! We had an outhouse..Peglow Rd is a very special place. For those who have been fortunate enough to spent time there you would understand how it becomes a part of your soul and defines a large part of your character. Although, it might be unfortunate that one of my earliest childhood memories has to do with chickens. Bret your friendship since infancy is one my most valued treasures. I have been trying to think of what to write here for a few days and there is one word that just keeps coming to mind about you “Exceptional”. You have been exceptional in everything you do and your handling of this disease is yet another example. You are teaching many people how to live life to the fullest and be grateful for our blessings. Thanks Man. Give my Peglow Mom a hug and kiss from me. And tell the whole family especially Shan You are all in our thoughts and prayers everyday.

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