Whether you just want to stroll around the beautiful grounds, buy some of the cheese produced on site, or stop for a drink at the Shelburne Inn, Shelburne Farms is a great spot to enjoy the Vermont outdoors and makes for a fun family outing. It’s a working farm that produces cheese, organic fruits and vegetables, and pasture-raised veal, lamb and pork, as well as eggs and maple syrup. The products can all be purchased at the Farm Cart in the summer and at the welcome center store year round.
The farm, a national historic landmark, was started back in the late 1880’s, and famed landscape architect Frederick Olmstead (known for his work on New York’s Central Park and Mount Royal in Montreal) created the conceptual designs for the project. Today, visitors can explore the 1,400-acre farm, stopping at the farmyard to see the animals or walking the trails that meander through fields and woods and along Lake Champlain. Much of the operation shuts down in the winter, but the grounds are still open – and free — for walking or cross-country skiing, and the farm store stays open year round as well.
Summer is the main season, and a general admission price ($8 for adults, $5 for children aged 3 – 17) includes access to the walking trails, the cheesemaking and the farmyard. Visitors can also take tours of the property in an open air wagon, or chose to take a tour of the Inn and Gardens, or the historic barns.
On nice days, stop by the farm cart for some lunch (the pesto veggie sandwich is great), then find a bench or a lawn spot for a little picnic – the views of the farm grounds and the Green Mountains off in the distance are superb.
The Inn at Shelburne Farms is an attraction in its own right — a restored 19th century country home with 24 guest rooms and four guest cottages. The restaurant is excellent, with many of the meals made from food produced on the farm. It’s also a great place to grab a drink from the bar and explore the grounds or grab an Adirondack chair while enjoying the sunset over Lake Champlain.