Sometimes good intentions are abandoned for better plans. We intended to spend our few days at a lovely Charlotte, Vermont AirBnB resting and reading. Then we talked to our host and discovered that, just a few miles down the road, the neighboring town of Shelburne, Vermont has two fabulous destinations that must be seen.
Dr. William Seward Webb and Eliza Osgood Vanderbilt and their descendants owned Shelburne Farms from 1886 until 1972. An inheritance from Vanderbilt money allowed them to create an “ornamental” farm, complete with numerous barns and Brown Swiss cows to graze on the picturesque land. Frederick Law Olmsted guided the Webbs in the design and landscaping of their 3,800 acres (1,500 ha). Since 1972, the farm has become a nonprofit organization.
Walking back along the paths through the landscaped woods and rolling lawns, we admired Olmstead’s work.
The next two days we spent visiting the other “Shelburne” in town, the Shelburne Museum. The Webbs, of Shelburne Farms, had a son who married Electra Havemeyer, a women of great wealth.
Electra became an avid collector of all things related to arts and crafts in America, and the museum she founded was the repository for her extensive collection. Her collection was housed in a series of smaller buildings, many of historic note, which had been moved to the site. We toured through her collections of Early American and Impressionist paintings, weathervanes, quilts, trivets, dolls, hatboxes, duck decoys, pottery, and so much more.
We passed a little lighthouse that had been moved to the museum grounds and placed on a small hill. Nearby, in a sea of grass, …
Our time at that lovely AirBnB in Charlotte was entirely devoted to seeing both Shelburne Farm and Museum, and we never did get even a moment to read or relax. We couldn’t have asked for anything better!