Hygge Hills offers farm-centered fun
Noonan couple grows their rural business
NOONAN – Since starting a pumpkin patch in 2016, Hank and Lucy Frandsen have been transforming their Noonan farmstead into a place for all sorts of family fun.
Hygge Hills has been a work in progress for the Frandsens since moving back to Lucy’s home community in 2015.
Hygge is Danish for a relaxing, warm atmosphere. Hank Frandsen came from Denmark to work with a custom combining crew, and he and Lucy met when she was living in Crosby. After their marriage, they lived four years in Denmark, where two of their three children were born.
Upon moving back to North Dakota and acquiring a farmstead that had been in Lucy Frandsen’s family, they opened a fall pumpkin patch as a way to create a fun activity for families who otherwise would have to drive many miles to a larger community to find something similar.
In expanding the business, the Frandsens started with a basic shop building with a dirt floor and fixed it up to house a cafe, restrooms and indoor space used during their Fall Fest on the Farm and by individuals and groups for private parties and events.
Hygge Hills can host birthdays, anniversaries and crafting parties, receptions and other events for up to about 100 people. If guests want help with food or with planning and running activities or just need a space, Hygge Hills can accommodate them.
Lucy Frandsen manages the cafe and hosts crafting classes.
“I really love the crafting part of it. I was always in 4-H so my favorite thing was all the different painting and sewing and just anything crafty,” she said.
A small section of their building serves as a boutique for selling crafted items.
The cafe has been extending its hours.
“I always wanted to get the cafe going a little more, especially in the summertime. So this wind tower project right next door to us came through and it gave me the push,” Frandsen said. “We were full-time last summer.”
The cafe re-opened this past March after taking a two-month winter break and is open Saturdays through Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. On Wednesdays until the end of summer, the cafe opens from 4 to 7 p.m. for “Cafe and Crafting.”
The highlight of the year remains the Fall Fest on the Farm. Along with having pumpkins for sale, Hygge Hills offers tunnels, a zipline, a corn pit, small playground and a corn maze for children, target shooting with paintballs and a train with seating for up to 20 people that traverses the property.
Lucy Frandsen said the development is largely due to the talents of her husband, who also runs his own business as a landscaper and builder/repairman. The activity venue reflects his creativity, she said.
Hank Frandsen had built a children’s indoor tunnel using hay bales one year. Since then he has built a unique system of tunnels in the wall, designed from a simple tunnel for the youngest visitors to a more complex, three-level tunnel for older children or even smaller adults.
Hygge Hills received an agri-tourism grant from the state to expand its operations. That led to the creation of a train that uses a tractor inside the locomotive engine to pull two boxcars. The train also is portable for use in area parades.
The Frandsen’s longer term plan is to construct a tunnel and spooky forest to create a haunted train ride.
Hygge Hills also has begun holding children’s camps. It held a Harry Potter camp with themed crafts and experiments and is looking at a possible LEGO camp. There also was a Bigfoot Day during a recent Fall Fest that provided children with a Bigfoot-hunting activity and engaged them in Bigfoot-themed crafts.
The projects keep the Frandsens plenty busy. The cafe has hired a couple of high school students to help. During the Fall Fest, Lucy Frandsen’s family helps.
“This is absolutely what I love so it couldn’t be better,” Lucy Frandsen said.
“We’re always trying to add on,” she said. “We’ve always been talking about different expansions and throwing around ideas of what we could add.”
This summer, they plan to finish the train tunnel project using the agri-tourism grant money and are working on an outdoor laser tag area. They continue to dream, too, about new Halloween haunts, rental cabins, a larger playground, a longer zipline and just more to entertain and provide service to their visitors year-round.
“We’re in a unique location out in the middle of nowhere – which is what we always called it growing up,” Frandsen laughed. “But we’re trying to see what needs there are out here and what we can fill.”