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Shelburne Farms: Something for everyone

SHELBURNE When William Seward Webb and his wife Lila Vanderbilt Webb founded Shelburne Farms, their estate on 3,800 spectacular acres on the east shore of Lake Champlain in Shelburne in the 1880s, their vision was of a model agricultural estate that would combine the most modern of agricultural technology with a park-like landscape and a home designed for entertaining family and friends from around the world. Today, their vision lives on with Shelburne Farms as a 1,400 working farm, National Historic Landmark and environmental education center where visitors of every age enjoy gracious hospitality at the Inn, the calm of the beautiful landscape as they explore eight miles of walking trails, and participate in programs that make a vital link to the importance of agriculture and its sustainable future. A visit to Shelburne Farms is an ideal day trip, whether for people interested in history and the transformation of Shelburne Farms to its identity today as a non-profit membership organization, or families who want to share the joy on the faces of their little ones as they meet the animals at the Childrens Farmyard. The mission of Shelburne Farms is to cultivate a conservation ethic by teaching and demonstrating the conservation and stewardship of natural and agricultural resources. The teaching and demonstrating is fun, family friendly and even delicious. A visit to Shelburne Farms could include exploring the miles of walking trails that loop through the spectacular landscape, designed by the famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. At the Childrens Farmyard traditional farm animals, from lambs and kids to turkeys and chickens illustrate the connection between agriculture and the meals we eat. In the Farm Barn vistors can watch the cheesemakers making cheddar cheese every day using the milk of the Farms purebred herd of Brown Swiss cattle. And in the courtyard of the Farm Barn, the Farm Cart serves delicious sandwiches, salads, paninis, cold drinks and smoothies to hungry hikers and strollers. There are property tours four times a day beginning with an excellent introductory slide show at the Welcome Center and including a wagon-ride through the property with stops at the historic buildings including the Inn at Shelburne Farms, once the home of the Webb family on the shores of Lake Champlain and now in its 21st season as a luxury seasonal Inn with a dining room that showcases the best of Vermont agricultural produce. The Inn is open from mid-May through mid-October and the dining room is open for breakfast, dinner and Sunday brunch by reservation. Call 802-985-8498 for reservations. Admission to the property for the walking trails and Childrens Farmyard is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and $4 for children 3 to 17. For information about tours, including special Tea Tours of the Inn on Tuesdays and Thursdays, call the Welcome Center at 802-985-8442. For information about the property, special programs, and the Inn go to www.shelburnefarms.org. General information about Shelburne Farms is also at 802-985-8686. The Farms is also the site of many festivals, special programs and events that could be the focus for a day visit. Green Mountain Draft Horse Field Day Traditional farming methods will be demonstrated in the fields of historic Shelburne Farms as draft horse teams and their drivers gather for the annual Green Mountain Draft Horse Field Day on Saturday, July 26. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. there will be demonstrations of traditional farming methods an easy walk from the Welcome Center. The mighty Clydesdales, Belgians and Percherons, bred for power and strength, pull plows, reaper mowers, rakes, tedders, and balers in the hay and grain fields. There will also be horse-drawn hayrides, and demonstrations of draft horses pulling logs, spreading manure and moving huge round bales. And there are lots of chances to talk about the gentle giants with the people who raise them and love them and use them on their home farms. There will be food for sale at the site of the Field Day demonstrations, and also from the Farm Cart at the Farm Barn nearby. Admission to the Green Mountain Draft Horse Field Day is free with admission to the Shelburne Farms property. VFNF: Connecting the Dots On Sunday, August 3, celebrate Vermonts vibrant agricultural community and rich culinary heritage. Following a guest speaker enjoy a spectacular grazing dinner showcasing local foods raised by Vermont Fresh Network farm partners and prepared by more than 20 of Vermonts finest chefs. Bats in the Barn On Friday, July 25 from 7 to 9 p.m., come celebrate the best bug zappers around! Well learn about the benefits of bats, then venture out with Barry the Bat Guy to watch the flight of the bats from the Farm Barn as they leave for their evening hunt. This is a Shelburne Farms family program for children and accompanying adult. Fee: Members $10 for a parent and child, $5 for each additional child. Nonmembers: $12/$6. Registration: 802-985-8686 ext 341. Other events: Celestial Evening: Horse Drawn Wagon Ride Saturday, Aug. 16 6 to 9 p.m. Ride a horse-drawn wagon to a lakeside picnic site (bring your own picnic), enjoy the sunset over the Adirondack Mountains while you dine, then watch the full moon rising over the Green Mountains as you return. Fee: $20 per person. Registration: 802-985-8686 ext 341. Harvest Festival at Shelburne Farms Saturday, Sept. 20 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 29th annual Harvest Festival in the Farm Barn Courtyard. Celebrate Vermonts traditions of agriculture and forestry. Marvelous music, delicious seasonal foods, animals in the Childrens Farmyard, educational displays, hands on fun for children. Hayrides. Demonstrations. An energy information tent by Green Mountain Power. Rain or shine. Admission $6/adults, $4/children, children under three are free. Shelburne Farms members free. Information: 802-985-8686. Art exhibition an autumn tradition Friday, Sept. 26 through Sunday, Oct. 19 Shelburne Farms twenty-first annual Art Exhibition and Sale, Envisioned in a Pastoral Setting. Primarily New England artists in mediums including oil, watercolor, pastel, acrylic, graphite, etching, photography, collage, sculpture and fiber. At the Coach Barn. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $5; free for members of Shelburne Farms. Tickets are available at the Welcome Center at the entrance to Shelburne Farms. Information: 802-985-8686 or www.shelburnefarms.org Lenses on the Land: Photography at Shelburne Farms Friday-Sunday, Oct. 17-19 Friday at 5 p.m. to Sunday at 9:30 a.m. With Naturalist Matt Kolan and Photographer and Shelburne Farms Woodlands Manager Marshall Webb as your guides, and Shelburne Farms as your subject, explore the possibilities of using photography to tell stories that tie humans to the land or unlock secrets of nature. Learn photography that moves beyond technique to demand a relationship with the subject.

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