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Shelburne, Vermont | Could You Live Here?

There are some intriguing options for meeting locals, including becoming a regular at the Shelburne Farmers’ Market from mid-May to mid-October, where you can pick up everything from pickles to Pakistani treats. Or volunteer in the gardens at the Shelburne Museum, or take a class at Shelburne Farms, which also runs family programs and a summer camp for ages 4 to 17. The Field House–a full-blown athletic complex–teems with parents and kids playing soccer, baseball, and ultimate Frisbee. Aspiring artists can gather at the Shelburne Craft School, one of Vermont’s oldest craft schools, to work with metal, glass, wood, and clay.

Eating Out

Right next door to the Flying Pig, the Bearded Frog keeps the whimsy quotient high with chevre crostini and venison cigar rolls. The Inn at Shelburne Farms has the best view on any menu–Lake Champlain and the misty Adirondacks–and uses ingredients fresh from the farm. Fiddlehead Brewing Company is on a quest to brew the perfect pint; regulars often pair it with wood-fired pizza next door at Folino’s. Rustic Roots serves coffee-maple sausage and seasonal soups, and Cafe Shelburne is an award-winning little French restaurant whose owners have been julienning stuff for years.


There’s kid-friendly, and then there’s Shelburne: Shops here have the potential to ignite your inner as well as your actual child. Jamie Two-Coats’ Toy Shop, on the town’s central grassy wedge, looks like the inside of a 5-year-old’s imagination–unbridled, unhinged, with loads of lovely Waldorf paraphernalia and European playthings. It’s beautifully offset by the reading selection at the Flying Pig. “We started out as a children’s bookstore,” says Elizabeth Bluemle, and it’s still kid-centric there, with 80 percent of its 30,000 books for kids. The Vermont Teddy Bear Factory is just a mile south of the village.

Real Estate

Shipwrecks lie strewn across the bottom of Lake Champlain, so if your heart is set on waterfront, you may want to start diving for doubloons. “The market has always been good in Shelburne, but it’s definitely picking up,” according to Leanne Siffermann, an agent at Keller Williams Realty. “Inventory is low so far this year.”

That said, “there are always bargains to be had, but you have to be diligent. If something in a desirable area hits the market at a ‘bargain’ price, it can be scooped up within hours.” Homes sold last year (2013) ranged from $133,000 into the millions, with “plenty that sold in the $200s.” Truth is, you’re never very far from the water (and $20 buys a season’s pass to Shelburne Town Beach).

Resident Perks

Quirkiest Museum. Thanks to founder Electra Havemeyer Webb’s obsession with Americana, the Shelburne Museum collection includes 38 buildings, a carousel, more than 400 quilts, Impressionist masterpieces, 22 gardens, and its Ticonderoga centerpiece. “Lots of young families with kids come,” says Leslie Wright, the museum’s former marketing manager. “It’s a place to let our kids run around so they don’t keep us up at night,” grins a tall man with a small boy.

Most Elegant Farm. Shelburne Farms is a Frederick Law Olmsted masterpiece, working farm, National Historic Landmark, and model of sustainability (count 530 solar panels), but it takes top prize for best barnyard. Kids can meet and milk Delaware, “the most patient cow on earth,” who’s just one of countless critters hoping to be admired. Stewardship is imparted gently; cheese and bread are made on site; educational programs run all year; and garden-fresh meals are served at the inn overlooking Lake Champlain. The grounds are open year-round for walking or snowshoeing.

Getting Your Bearings

Between May and October, the Inn at Shelburne Farms offers guests a taste of the landed-gentry lifestyle. In town, Heart of the Village Inn rolls out nine rooms of Victorian comfort, practically inside the museum grounds.

More information at:,, For a slideshow of additional photos, go to:

Please Note: This information was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

Updated Friday, August 22nd, 2014

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5 Responses to Shelburne, Vermont | Could You Live Here?

  1. Rhiannon August 26, 2014 at 11:43 am #

    What a wonderful article about Shelburne, VT but I was surprised you forgot to mention Shelburne Vineyard! They have excellent, award winning wines from local grapes and hold a ton of free community concerts and festivals year-round. The winery and vineyards are lovely and are a great place to bring family and friends.

  2. mel allen August 26, 2014 at 7:03 pm #

    Rhiannon, because of space (4 pages in each “Could You Live Here”) it is nearly impossible to write about all of the terrific places any town may have. That is why we appreciate it so when a reader chimes in and lets readers know about the gems still to be discovered.

  3. Amy August 28, 2014 at 2:25 pm #

    Shelburne is a beautiful spot, but having lived here for more than a decade I must say I disagree with Elizabeth’s statement that there is a strong sense of community here. That only exists if you have small children or live in the retirement community. Otherwise, it is not such a friendly place to live. While Shelburne certainly has other things to offer, most other towns and cities in Vermont are much more community focused.

  4. Susan cyr August 28, 2014 at 7:12 pm #

    Had the pleasure of living in shelburne for almost 20 years, 18 of them right accross the road from the museum, could see e lighthouse light every night from my bedroom window. Beautiful town, loved it there. Not sure why someone commented it was an unfriendly town as i never saw it that way!

  5. bruce August 29, 2014 at 5:57 pm #

    vermont and shelburne used to be a great place to live and work – unfortunately they’ve raised taxes until we are in the top 3 most heavily taxed states – the state trys to sell the “quality of life” in vermont – it is a nice and picturesque state if you can afford it – unless you make a 6 figure plus income don’t come here – real estate taxes, long winters and fuel oil at $4 a gallon will make you wish you had decided to live somewhere else – I plan to move as soon as I can to south carolina where real estate is reasonable and you pay a max of $300 when you buy a car – come and visit but don’t move here

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