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Shelburne, Vermont | Could You Live Here?

Shelburne, Vermont | Could You Live Here?
4 votes, 4.50 avg. rating (87% score)

The sky cracks open, spilling blue. We’re ready to push on, deeper into this weird and wonderful landscape.

The Setting

Busy U.S. Route 7 flows down from Burlington, seven miles away, past shopping centers and mom-and-pop shops that back onto fertile Vermont fields. The commercial congestion thins out closer to Shelburne, and then the road swings into town past a dense concentration of appealing cafes and shops, skimming along the border of the Shelburne Museum, with tantalizing glimpses inside–like a drive-by museum. You can’t see Lake Champlain from the village, but the town hugs Shelburne Bay, and there are wide water views from nearby Shelburne Farms (tucked away, off the beaten path, with a sign so discreet you can easily miss the turnoff). Shelburne Bay Park conceals a pretty one-mile path along the lake, with more trails to be found in town at La Platte Nature Park.

Social Scene

“There’s a strong sense of community here,” says Elizabeth Bluemle, a children’s author who’s been the welcoming face behind the Flying Pig Bookstore for 17 years. She points across the street to Village Wine and Coffee, noting, “That’s a real community gathering place, and they have incredible scones and muffins.”

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.

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.

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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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