In 1886, Dr. William Seward and Lila Vanderbilt Webb began acquiring farmland on the shores of Lake Champlain to create a model agricultural estate. Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr. created conceptual designs for the landscape. Prominent architect Robert H. Robertson designed four major buildings: The Farm Barn, Breeding Barn, Coach Barn and Shelburne House. By the early 1900s, the Webb’s 3,800-acre farm was renowned for its innovative practices, hackney horse breeding enterprise, and grand family residence.
The heyday was short-lived. Beginning around 1910, farming operations and other activities began to shrink, and subsequent generations struggled to find a workable future for this singular farm.
Shelburne Farms began a rebirth in 1972, when family descendants founded a nonprofit organization of the same name, dedicated to conservation education. For 40 years, the organization has offered educational opportunities for children of all ages to learn about sustainability and their connections to the natural and agricultural world. As stewards of the property, the nonprofit has placed much of the land under conservation easements, and preserved and rehabilitated the buildings to new uses. In 2001 the property became a National Historic Landmark
The grounds, inn, and gardens are breath-taking! The view of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks from the gardens are absolutely gorgeous! The tours at 10:30, 12:30, and 2:30 are fantastic! Such a great way to see the farm, learn about the history, and learn about their sustainable education programs. Our tour guide, Pat, was extremely knowledgeable about each aspect of the farm's current endeavors and its history in the Vanderbilt/Webb family.
Took the cheese tour, it was fun and educational. The guide did a good job and was able to answer questions. The cheese tasting was delicious, I would have loved some wine with it. We got to see lots of cows and even helped feed them and watch the milking. Plus, at the end, 1/2 lb of cheese for free. Win!
Wesley G. Kenney
One of my favorite places in the state. The walking trails are well maintained, and the views are gorgeous. The old barn, Inn, and coach house are remarkable set into the rolling hills of the property. During the off-season, you can bring your dog's hear, and do some snowshoeing too. Great year round entertainment
We had an awesome day at the farm. We learned so much about how cheddar cheese is made. We did a tasting and bought some cheese to take home. We visited the animals and I had fun holding Pearl the chicken. We had a great lunch made from farm products. Try the lamb pastrami sandwich. The bacon cheeseburger was so yummy. Also there is a bakery that makes incredible croissants.
These guys don't put a foot wrong – set in 1400 acres of woodlands, immaculately maintained, a working farm where you can get up close to the animals (including miniature donkeys!), bakery, cheesemaking. Even the food from the on-site food truck was delicious.