Shelburne Farms, and its historic landscape and buildings dedicated to teaching and demonstrating stewardship of natural resources, opens this weekend. The busy 2013 summer season kicks off Saturday, May 11 with the Inn open for breakfast, dinner and overnight stays, guided tours of the property throughout the day, seven days a week until mid-October. Tractor-drawn wagons return again to carry excited children and their families to visit farm animals at the Children’s Farmyard. There children of all ages can learn to milk a cow or find a warm newly-laid egg in a chicken’s nest.
The property tours take place daily. Following an 18-minute introductory slide show at the Welcome Center, everyone climbs aboard the truck-drawn wagon for a tour of the 1,400-acre farm and many of its historic buildings, hearing the story of Shelburne Farms, its history, and its mission from a knowledgeable tour guide. There are also special tours, one every Monday that visits the spectacular Breeding Barn, and Tea and Garden Tours on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons that focus on the Inn at Shelburne Farms, its beautifully restored rooms and the flower gardens on the shores of Lake Champlain.
It is 40 years since the historic estate, founded in the 1880s by Dr. William Seward Webb and his wife Lila Vanderbilt Webb, became a non-profit organization committed to keeping the land in agriculture and encouraging a sense of connection to the land.
The Welcome Center and Farm Store at the main entrance to Shelburne Farms at 1611 Harbor Rd. is the starting point for tours, wagon-rides, and walking trails. It is open from 9 am to 5:30 pm. General admission is $8 adults, $6 seniors, $5 children 3 to 17. Property tours are daily at 9:30 and 11:30 am, and 1:30 and 3:30 pm. Tickets are $11 for adults, $9 for seniors and $7 for children three to 17. Free for Shelburne Farms members. There are special tours of the historic Breeding Barn on Mondays at 1:30 pm for $11, and House and Garden Tea Tours on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2:30 pm for $18. Reservations are required for the Tea Tours. For general information about Shelburne Farms call 985-8686 or go to the website: www.shelburnefarms.org.