Vermont may be best known as a leaf-peeping destination in fall, but summer is also enchanting. During our June visit, temperatures ranged from the 50s to the 70s, perfect for hiking and biking. Along with the consistent friendliness of the locals, it was the quaint flower stands, farmers markets, old-fashioned general stores and covered bridges that brought us back to a simpler time. On this trip, we visited six inns, which took us just shy of the Canadian border and less than an hour’s drive north of Massachusetts.
The Inn at Shelburne Farms
A grand-scale working farm that is celebrating its 50th year as an educational nonprofit, Shelburne Farms lies 7 miles south of Burlington. The 1,400-acre estate, created from 32 individual farms between 1886 and 1902 by William Seward and Lila Vanderbilt Webb, extends along the eastern shore of Lake Champlain and surveys the Adirondacks just across it. In 1972, heirs to the Webb family launched the nonprofit and later gifted the land and buildings to the organization. Today, the immense turreted Farm Barn includes a bakery, a cheesemaking shop, a farmyard, a woodworking shop and an education center. Some of its products — 170,000 pounds of cheddar and maple syrup from 1,500 taps — are sold at the Farm Store.
For those who want to experience the farm as overnight guests, The Inn at Shelburne Farms is less than a mile away. Driving there, we passed open meadows and hikers traversing the 10 miles of walking paths. The imposing red-brick manor, set on a promontory overlooking the lake, looks much the way it did a century ago. And great pains have been taken to keep as much of the original furnishings and interior décor intact.