Northern entry into Shelburne occurs most often from Route 7, where you’ll find easy access shopping, dining, and services. When you’ve reached the popular Archie’s Grill, followed by a conspicuous approach into Shelburne Center and out of a flurry of commercial traffic along Route 7, you know you’ve entered quite a different world. Suddenly surrounded by green space, it appears as though you’ve managed to reach the country life rather suddenly. Although surrounded by rolling hills, green space, and natural beauty, there is quite a collection of recreational opportunities, dining, and world-class attractions at your fingertips.
Travel West toward the lake and you’ll happen upon Shelburne Farms, the state’s most unique collection of massive, historic structures (each a National Historic Landmark), 1400 bucolic acres of ideal landscape, and an honorable mission to support conservation, and sustainability through an extensive curriculum of educational opportunities and events. You may dine at one the state’s premier farm-to-table restaurants at the Inn, where you may also choose to stay, in one of 24 beautifully appointed, historic, and often grand rooms. At the Inn, you will experience some of the most exquisite views of Shelburne Bay, across sweeping lawns and gardens, whether on a stroll, from the patio to the porch.
The winding roads you will have taken there (unless you’ve anchored off shore), pass the Farm Barn, Coach Barn, Old Dairy Barn, Breeding Barn and active agricultural lands, forest, and trails. The Farm Barn is the hub for the Farms’ educational programs, the main section of which is 5 stories high overlooking a two-acre courtyard, and housing O-Bread Bakery, cheesemaking facility, a furniture maker, the Renaissance School and the McClure Center for School Programs. The architectural wonders of this special place will astound. Your children will be no less entertained by the Children’s Farmyard, vacation day adventures, summer camp, and family programs. An equally developed learning program for adults, from farm-based educators to curious community members attracts many.
The Shelburne Museum is no less an impressive institution, offering a 45-acre campus with 38 exhibition buildings (25 of which are relocated, historic structures) and including the 220-ft steamboat Ticonderoga. Its recently opened Pizzagalli Center for Art and Education is the museum’s first year-round facility, offering art, music, film, workshops, lectures, and symposia. The Museum’s regular season begins early May through the end of October, where you’ll be treated to everything from the Lilac Festival (with over 400 lilac trees) to circus acts, dog show to garden parties (there are twenty gardens). World class music is hosted on the Green, and world-class exhibitions pass through its galleries every year. The Shelburne Museum is not only a tourist’s dream but a frequented retreat for Vermonters near and far.
Less than a mile south on Route 7 you’ll run into the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory, a haven for bear lovers young and old. Here you can experience these world-famous teddy bears being made, learn the story of their extra-special reputation, and build your own bear from fur to fedora. It’s a popular place to host private parties for kids, and a charming stop on any Shelburne tour. Choose a bear before you leave, and he will arrive at your doorstep in a box with an air hole and a lifetime guarantee. You’ll know right away why the Teddy Bear Factory claims to build the “Best Bears in the Universe.”
The diversions in Shelburne are countless, from the Shelburne Vineyard sustainable winery to the full-service-and-beyond Shelburne Shipyard on the western shore of Shelburne Bay. Shelburne Country Store’s massive collection of Vermont products, gifts, toys, sweets, and the best assortment of penny candy in the county continues to attract as many locals as it does passers-through. For the artist, craftsperson, and those wishing they were, the Shelburne Craft School offers a full schedule of creativity year-round, for adults and children. Art collectors revel in inspiration from every corner, with the Shelburne Museum, a plethora of home studios, and galleries including the Furchgott Sourdiffe since 1991.
Arabesque joined forces with Ink Fine Stationery to offer luxurious gifts, home décor, and full-service design for personal stationery and event paper suites. Shelburne Village Wine & Coffee offers a skillfully chosen and inspired a collection of wine, along with Vermont roasted brews, espresso drinks, and a wonderful rotating art exhibition surrounding a lively gathering space. Patina is right next door, for a smart collection antiques, perfect for the Vermont country home respectful to its old New England roots. Mendy’s offers a fresh take on women’s casual finery, and Little Luna Blue, the same sense of original for your children. Your kids will also love Jamie Two-Coats, on the Village green, chock full of quality toys and spectacles. And not to be missed by the whole family – The Flying Pig Bookstore
Your dining options are inspired, from the stylish Bearded Frog (as close to a see-and-be-seen destination in the several miles surrounding), to the Café Shelburne, recently purchased by talented Chefs Weston Nicoll and Bill Iliff (from the kitchen at the Inn at Shelburne Farms). Café Shelburne has been a staple for French fine dining since 1969, and the community is curious to learn what this slight deviation into creative new French cuisine will bring. If reviews are any indication, it will give the handful of Greater Chittenden County’s go-to establishments for creative, exquisite food experiences, a run for the locals’ bucks. On the more casual side of dining, check out Fiddlehead Brewing and Folino’s, south of the Village on Route 7. Check out the brewery, grab a growler, and head next door for some Neapolitan style wood fired pizza – a combination to love.