(Published in 7 Nights 2008-09)
It's the closest thing to a palace that exists in Vermont: The crimson damask lining the walls matches the upholstery on the chairs. The floor is a checkerboard of black-and-white marble, and imposing portraits of former proprietors Lila Vanderbilt Webb and William Seward Webb grace the walls.
The same Webb family that founded the Shelburne Museum gets credit for developing Shelburne Farms, created in 1886 as a model agricultural estate. Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted envisioned the campus; architect Robert Robertson designed the buildings, including the massive, fairy-tale breeding, farm and coach barns. In its heyday, the 3800-acre farm had 300 employees. Today Shelburne Farms is an educational nonprofit practicing “rural land use that is environmentally, economically and culturally sustainable.” There’s also an inn that serves amazing food.
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