The rich soil of Vermont’s idyllic Shelburne Farms provides verdant terrain for raising cattle and planting crops. But something more grows in the fertile ground of this historic teaching facility: a deep appreciation of community, ecology, and stewardship.
The hills are alive with Brown Swiss cows, chickens, sheep, and other farm animals. Historic structures dot the four corners of the vast campus, but the heart of Shelburne Farms is represented in the Farm Barn. Constructed in 1890, this building serves as the property’s headquarters, housing attractions such as the Children’s Farmyard, a bakery, a cheese-making facility, and a furniture workshop.
“Such a heavenly day,” Lila Vanderbilt Webb penned in a 1922 letter to her husband, Dr. William Seward Webb, about their sprawling country estate in northern Vermont. “My, but it was beautiful this afternoon … with the snow in Mansfield, and yet the sun so warm and bright, and no wind. There is no place in the world to me quite like Shelburne, and there never will be.”
An ambitious restoration converted Shelburne House into a hotel, open each year from March through October. The Inn at Shelburne Farms features guest rooms and cottages furnished according to the home’s original decorating schemes. Afternoon tours culminate with a delectable sampling of sweets and savories enjoyed in the Tea Room. For Vermont’s premier farm-to-table dining, the inn’s public restaurant serves a tempting array of locally harvested produce, seasonal lamb and pork, and Shelburne’s award-winning farmhouse cheddar. Hotel revenues help fund the farm’s educational programs.
Text Melissa Lester
Photography Kate Headley
To learn more about Shelburne Farms, read “Cultivating Conservation” on page 45 in the October 2013 issue of Victoria.