A Full Day Visiting Shelburne, Vermont, Isn’t Enough

Our day in Shelburne, Vermont began with the "rustic breakfast" at Rustic Roots. It was two farm-fresh eggs, sausage with flavors of maple and coffee, Canadian ham, and a popover with melted butter glistening inside.

The restaurant makes just about everything from scratch, right down to its sausages.

Shelburne is only a few miles south of Burlington, Vermont’s largest city. Along with the village’s charming country store, and shops selling toys, unusual goods for the kitchen, and more, there’s the Vermont Teddy Bear factory, which is popular for its tours.

Perhaps the most famous resident of the town is Shelburne Museum. "Here, there is something for everyone," said museum director Tom Denenberg.

This summer, the museum is featuring American art from 1910 to 1960, including works by Georgia O’Keeffe and Norman Rockwell.

With a carousel, lighthouse, the steamboat Ticonderoga, and many buildings housing objects from eclectic collections, there is more at the museum than anyone could ever really see in a single day. Admission is good for two consecutive days of exploring the collections.

“And they are all very discreet experiences which can take from 15 minutes to a half hour, so you never really get museum fatigue,” Denenberg said of checking out the buildings and gardens across the museum campus.

Up the road, Fiddlehead Brewing offers samples of its popular craft beer. Beer has fast become one of Vermont’s top draws for travelers. "Sometimes folks say it’s in the water," said Fiddlehead’s Rachel Cleveland.

I told Cleveland I’m not much of a fan of dark beers, but she offered me a Hodad Porter, which she described as having notes of chocolate, toasted coconut, and vanilla. It was flavorful but not too sweet or heavy, and had me re-evaluating my stance on dark beers.

If you prefer wine, Shelburne Vineyard is right across the street.

Then, with dinner approaching, necn’s visit to Shelburne took us to Shelburne Farms.

It is a place you wish you could see for the first time again and again, because there’s something truly enchanting about the sprawling estate on Lake Champlain built by an heiress of the Vanderbilt fortune.

Today, Shelburne Farms is a non-profit dedicated to sustainability and working landscapes.

Josh Carter manages the landmark’s market garden, growing all sorts of produce choices that change with the seasons. "There’s always something new and exciting," Carter beamed.

The fruits and vegetables he picks in the morning are prepared for diners that same evening in chef David Hugo’s upscale restaurant. "We take a lot of pride in it," he said.

Hugo showed me one of his trademark creations: a salad with literally everything on the plate that was produced on the grounds, right down to the buttermilk dressing.

"If you come to my restaurant and eat something that was picked that day, you can definitely tell the difference," Hugo promised.

The search for something different was one of the very reasons we checked out Shelburne, Vermont on necn’s New England Vacation Week. 

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