Resting at the base of Mount Nittany, the beautiful Apple Pony Inn offers guests breathtaking views, farmhouse details and equine-inspired style in a beautiful country setting.
The inn is owned and operated by Tom and Rachel Foster, who extensively renovated and took over management of the bed & breakfast in 2022. They also gave it a memorable new name.
The name “Apple Pony Inn” was inspired by the large apple trees on the property – and the Pennsylvania Dutch apple dumplings that Rachel prepares for guests for Sunday breakfast.
Located in historic Boalsburg, PA on a 17-acre working farm, just four miles from Penn State University, Apple Pony Inn draws its style from farmhouse details and equine-inspired decor. The home offers lodging in seven different rooms. Each suite is named and decorated after a specific breed of horse, including the Shire, Clydesdale and Quarter Horse suites that showcase pictures of the family’s horses.
“I come from a long history of equestrian enthusiasts, starting with my grandfather who broke horses for 10 cents a head during the Great Depression,” Rachel said. “I’ve been owning and successfully showing horses most of my life.”
The modern farmhouse also boasts hardwood floors, an open-concept kitchen, wood-burning fireplace and scenic countryside views from every vantage point. Farm-to-table dining to make visitors feel more at home. Much of the food prepared for guests comes from the farm’s own chickens, apples from their orchards, and greens from the garden and greenhouse.
Tom, a computer engineer, and Rachel, who works in the health care field, decided to take on the project because they fell in love with the idea of always being on vacation. Even though being an innkeeper and owner is a lot of work, they say it is worth it.
“We love owning and enjoying something beautiful and working from home on a farm where we can keep our horses,” Rachel said.
The couple spent nearly a decade searching for the right location and creating a financially successful business plan before purchasing the Apple Pony Inn in 2021. For the next year, Tom, Rachel and their two daughters, Allison, 11, and Abigail, 9, lived in the inn while building a new house and horse barn. Their summer was filled with painting, refinishing, cleaning, refurnishing, framing, appointing, and purchasing all of the items to open and operate in the Inn.
“Running an inn as a family is a lot of fun,” they said.
Allison enjoys cooking and serving guests, some of which even mention her in their reviews. Rachel currently serves as the Rural COVID-19 Program Manager with the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health at Penn State, she will become a full-time innkeeper in 2023.
Abigail likes doing more behind-the-scenes work, such as flower arranging and decorating.
The Apple Pony Inn offers guests a number of locally inspired packages to enhance their stay, including local wine selections from University Wine Company and Mount Nittany Vineyard & Winery; a romance and celebration package with local wine, flowers and chocolates from Chocolates by Leopold; and a tailgater rental with a table, chairs and cooler.
The bed & breakfast even offers a “Pony Club” feature to Penn State parents so they can visit their children while attending Penn State, gain access to a reservation for their child's graduation year and have reservation priority for all the big events.
Tom and Rachel plan to host open house events in the spring, and begin offering small indoor events such as bridal showers, baby showers, bachelor/bachelorette weekends, as well as corporate retreats.
Reservations are now open for full-time operation July 1, 2023 and onward. They are also accepting reservations for Carrie Underwood (Feb. 10), Bruce Springsteen (March 18), Kenny Chesney (March 25), the Penn State Blue/White Game (April 14) and Grier School Graduation and Memorial Day (May 26-29) through appleponyinn.com.