Some girls dream of becoming lawyers, doctors, astronauts, even president of the United States. Growing up in the Crestwood section of Yonkers, Meagan Frederick wanted to be Snow White. Not that she was waiting for a prince to rescue her. Rather, she wanted to do the rescuing and, like Snow, surround herself with woodland creatures.
Over time, Meagan found that — in the words of another Disney princess, Cinderella — “the dream that you wish will come true.” Today she runs Frederick Farm Goat Rescue and Sanctuary in Napanoch, an Ulster County hamlet 35 minutes west of New Paltz. The 10-acre farm is home to eight rescue goats named Marvin, Zachary, Zoe, Ginger, Eva, Suki, Pumpkin and Peanut, along with 19 rescue chickens, three rescue dogs, a vegetable garden, an orchard, bee hives — her prince, toy designer Warren Frederick, is the beekeeper — and their two boys, ages 9 and 7. It’s also the site of two Airbnb rentals. About a year and a half ago, Meagan started renting out the spaces with great success, joining Airbnb last October. She also gives popular tours that include a 30-minute hike and one-on-one time with the goats, who, she says, enjoy the attention as much as the two-legged creatures savor lavishing it.
“They love it,” she says. “All of our goats are extremely affectionate.”
At the moment, the farm is closed to visitors and Meagan is busy with online tours for her enterprise, which began seven years ago when a stray sheep and goat wandered onto the property. When we interviewed her on May 1, there were about 1,290 cases of COVID-19 in Ulster, “a lot more than in other counties,” she says. Meagan, who checks the count every day, is no stranger to infectious diseases. She is by training an art and horticultural therapist, working with critically ill children. She serves as director of development and public relations for Incarnation Children’s Center, a skilled nursing facility in Manhattan for children and teenagers living with HIV/AIDS.
These kids come from abusive situations with no support systems and often stop taking their medications, Meagan says. Some go on to live “normal” lives. Because they are immunosuppressed, they’ve all been in lockdown, which, she adds, is a challenge for the teenagers.
“Working in health care, you learn to roll up your sleeves and do what you have to do to keep the kids safe.”
The kids visit virtually with the other kids — goats, that is. It helps keep everyone connected to nature and to one another. “The goats bring joy to people.”
And so does Meagan. Visiting with her by phone is like a tonic as she exudes a soothing warmth. Her secret: “I keep telling my kids, be kind and respectful.”
It’s no wonder that she’s doing 40 virtual tours daily for visitors from around the world, everywhere from New York City to London to Singapore. She is booking actual tours for July and August but doesn’t know yet if they will happen. Safety is paramount.
One day, though, things will return to normal, or at least the new normal, and we will take Meagan up on her gracious invitation for a visit. We’re sure, too, she’ll keep adding to her menagerie.
“One day, I’ll say, ‘Enough,’” she says with a laugh.
We doubt it.
For more, visit frederickfarmgoats.com. And for virtual experiences ranging from meditating with Buddhist monks in Japan to cooking with a Moroccan family to visiting the former Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, site of one of the worst nuclear reactor disasters in history, visit airbnb.com.