For most of the last two weeks, I’ve either started or ended my day at the most magical place on earth. Shelburne Farms is no secret to us Vermonters…but I feel like I have rediscovered it this year, or better yet, it’s helping me to rediscover myself.
I have enjoyed a send off dinner with my daughter and friend at the Inn, welcomed one of my besties into the half century club with breakfast, and said good-bye to a formidable woman who left this earth after trying to save it for 95 years.
But mostly, I’ve walked. I’ve walked with my sister recounting the hell of the last 12 months. Mom’s death last memorial day rocked our world, and it shook more violently 4 months later when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I’ve walked with friends I’ve known since our babies were born. I’ve walked with those babies now grown. And I’ve walked with myself.
It’s on those solo walks that I find myself really taking in the glory of Shelburne Farms as Ilisten to the birds sing, or my footsteps as they crunch on the gravel paths. I love visiting the animals at the Farm Barn, remembering how lucky my kids were to go to elementary school on this property and rejoicing at the foundation it gave them for building their lives.
Thank you William Seward and Lila Vanderbilt Webb for building this magical place 130 years ago, and enlisting Fredrick Law Olmsted to design the vistas. Thank you to the modern day Webbs for turning this into an educational property for all to enjoy, and forging a deal with the town of Shelburne 35 years ago that allows us to freely walk this property that once was only for a privileged few.
I look forward to continuing my sojourns this summer and basking in it’s healing powers.
I started “volunteering” at Shelburne Farms at the age of 8 or 9 and spent a large chunk of eleven summers working at the Children’s Farmyard (as well as a number of days baling hay with Donald and Marshall).
Shelburne Farms was my second home. It was where I grew up, learned how to drive (a tractor), and learned public speaking. To this day, I hardly return home to visit my parents without stopping at Shelburne Farms. (My daughter milked her first cow at the Children’s Farmyard this summer.)
Shelburne Farms, in my eyes, is an institution with a perfect mission.
After ten years of post-college training, I have finally become a full fledged physician. One of my first luxuries with the money that this has afforded me, is to make a contribution to Shelburne Farms. I hope this will be one of many future donations to your Endowment Fund to ensure Shelburne Farms exists forever.
Note: After receiving Matt’s lovely note, we hunted through our photo archives and found a few snapshots of him. We share them here with his permission.
Shelburne Farms has had a special place in our hearts since the first time we stepped on the property in the 80’s. Needless to say, the buildings and programs have evolved over the years, but the essence and soul of this remarkable place haven't changed. Our frequent walks around the property constantly inspire wonder of and appreciation for the work of Robert Law Olmsted and the many people who have protected this land.
Yet, it isn’t just the physical property that draws us; it’s also the dedicated staff and extraordinary educational programs and outreach. Also, Shelburne Farms was a perfect place to instill voluntarism in our three children – from demonstrating how to make butter and ice cream to working with families on winter gifts. They all went on to work at the Welcome Center, and one daughter at the Inn, and Shelburne Farms is a destination whenever they are home for a visit.
We are committed to supporting the educational programs and protection of this very special place, and donating stock has been a beneficial way to do this. We hope you will join us in this effort.
Bob and Joan
South Burlington, VT
We discovered Shelburne Farms in 1978 and were so impressed with the Farm’s mission and moved by the Webb family’s on-going dedication to it. We immediately became Stewards and have consistently donated at that level or above for almost 40 years. We have grown to admire and respect the people who continue to dedicate so much of themselves to making Shelburne Farms work. Over the years, we have introduced hundreds of people to the magic of the Farm and still love when we are able to share it with “newbies”. We have often used the tax-wise method of donating appreciated securities to accomplish our giving goals and would encourage anyone to look at this “smart” way to donate.
Ken & Susie
Dorothy Cole (“Mrs. Cole” to the hundreds of 8th grade English students whom she taught for many years) has been a member of Shelburne Farms for more than three decades. When asked what has inspired her loyal support of the Farm, Dot smiled and said, “I love the enthusiasm and joy that the Farm programs and experiences provide for kids of all ages.
"...the deep importance and the impact of the organization's mission of sustainability"
It was about 8 years ago that our granddaughter, upon visiting the farm, told us it was a “Beautiful castle in the woods.” We had to agree.
Since then, we have both become increasingly involved, at first by helping to feed the orphan lambs in winter, then with Sue volunteering in the market garden and as a regular tour guide for 7 years (so far), and more recently with John volunteering too, at Winterfest, and with helping to wind the clocks. We have benefitted from various courses we’ve taken. And we have always loved the Inn, it’s fine food, spectacular views, sunsets, gardens, the historical, elegant rooms, and the roaring fireplaces on late September evenings.
As our involvement has increased and evolved, so also has our appreciation for Shelburne Farms. At first captivated by the beauty of the place and by the “peaceful, easy feeling” that comes with each visit, we have become increasingly aware of the deep importance and the impact of the organization’s mission of sustainability. We are true believers.
We are so very grateful that Derek Webb’s children so generously gave this huge gift of beauty and world-betterment to all of Vermont, and to the entire world, and we look forward enthusiastically to sustaining our support of Shelburne Farms!
John and Susan
We have had the blessing of being Shelburne farms members for several years and we plan on it for the rest of our lives! It is so much more than a beautiful place we visit; Shelburne Farms is at the heart of many of our family's most treasured experiences. The opportunities our three young children have had while exploring the farm barn, trails, gardens and lake are priceless. Our 6, 4 and 2 year old children have grown up learning to walk at the farm! They have mastered the art of catching chickens and they have bottle fed goats. They have milked cows and churned butter. They have tapped maple trees and made bread over campfires. They have had countless tractor rides and have been pulled in wagons by Percheron horses! They run with butterflies and can catch salamanders.
When we walk by the dairy barn, they always stop to tell the gorgeous brown Swiss “thank you for the cheese!” We will never forget watching the cows run out to pasture for the first time this spring. It is a dream to have this be a part of their childhood!
The farm educators in the farm barn and in all the camps and children's programs are extraordinary. They inspire curiosity and wonder in us all and they do so with passion and joy! From the moment we arrive at the farm, we feel at peace as we take in the landscape, admire the animals and visit with all the fabulous people in the shelburne farms community. From the welcome center to the inn, and everything in between; Shelburne Farms offers us so many special experiences.
It is truly one of the greatest joys in our lives that Shelburne Farms is such a strong and wonderful part of our family story. We are incredibly appreciative to have the opportunity to be members and friends of the farm and we are eternally grateful that our children are growing up here. Shelburne Farms is our happy place!
Why we support Shelburne Farms
Unparalleled walking, year round.
The views of the landscape, lake and mountains.
Inspiring architecture and history.
Events and education – from birds and nature to farming and food, from art and music to seasonal celebrations.
Meals at the inn.
In short, it is a place to soothe and uplift the soul.