Inn at Shelburne Farms

Historic Vermont estate hotel

1611 Harbor Rd. Shelburne, VT


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At a Glance

A gorgeous 1,400-acre property that appeals equally to all ages and interests.


The former estate of Lila Vanderbilt Webb (daughter of William Henry Vanderbilt) and her husband, William Seward Webb, Shelburne Farms has been a working farm since the 1800s. In the late 19th century, architect Robert H. Robertson designed a series of extraordinary buildings for the property, including the main house, set on a cliff above the lake; the enormous Breeding Barn, which has a cathedral ceiling and gabled dormers; and the five-story Farm Barn. Over the years, many of these buildings have been restored.

Today the Webbs’ great-grandchildren run the property as a nonprofit environmental education center with an emphasis on sustainable farming. In the 1980s, they turned the impressive 110-room main house, with its bay windows and carved marble panels, into the Inn at Shelburne Farms. A National Historic Landmark, the house retains most of its original furnishings, including rare books, Persian rugs and Empire sofas. The twenty-four guest rooms are simple and old-fashioned, with minimal amenities (and no air-conditioning) but marvelous charm. The best views of the lake are from Overlook (Lila’s quarters) and the White Room (her husband’s), both in the main house. Guests typically spend their days having breakfast on the terrace, playing games in hammocks by the garden and lounging in Adirondack chairs overlooking the lake.

Because the landscape is so open, it is impossible to resist taking long walks along the property’s many trails. A favorite spot, however, is the Farm Barn, which has tractors to climb on, baby animals to feed and a regular schedule of activities for children. (Throughout the summer, the farm also operates a series of camps and programs for kids of all ages.) In another wing of the barn, you can watch the farm’s award-winning cheddar cheese being made.

At the inn's excellent restaurant, kids can order a grilled cheese from the kid's menu while their parents will delight in such refined dishes as pepper-crusted rib eye with truffled spinach and pickled-red-onion gremolata. Another example of multiple divergent tastes perfectly satisfied.

Written by Eliza Harris

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