by Amanda Geronikos
The Inn at Shelburne Farms is one of the most — if not the most — beautiful hotels we’ve ever visited. The drive, alone, to the historic hotel — down a dirt road, past green pastures and farm animals — feels like it could be featured in a movie. And that’s just the drive. Once you arrive, you’ll be treated to an even better view of Lake Champlain; it actually reminds us of Lake Maggiore in Italy.
Most rooms accommodate single travelers or couples for romantic getaways, but there are two cottages for families — both with fully equipped kitchens. The Inn at Shelburne Farms is perfect for families who want to immerse themselves in farm life and escape the real world for a few days.
Our Editor Loves
- Historic hotel on 1,400-acre farm
- Onsite restaurant with farm fare
- Lovely views of Lake Champlain
- Free Breakfast
- Free Wi-Fi
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Meal Plan
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
None of the guestrooms are truly suitable for families, with just one king, one queen, one double, or one to three twin beds in all of the units; you'd need to reserve two rooms (or more) for your family. The better option for families is the hotel's cottages and houses. Two of them are still only suitable for single travelers or couples, but the other two are perfect for families:
The Vineyard Cottage
This cottage has a king bed (one room) and three twin beds (two in one room and a single twin bed in another), accommodating a family of five. It also has a fully equipped kitchen -- purchase fresh produce and more at the farm to prep a meal in your cottage! Best of all, The Vineyard Cottage faces Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains. Note: The Vineyard Cottage requires a three-night minimum stay.
The Glass House
The Glass House offers three bedrooms; one has a queen bed and a private bathroom, and the other two rooms have two twin beds each. Six people can sleep comfortably in this cottage, which also has a fully equipped kitchen and a deck overlooking Lake Champlain. Note: The Glass House requires a three-night minimum stay.
Not joking, if I could live at Shelburne Farms I would. We stayed in the white room with a beautiful sitting area overlooking the back lawn and the lake. We took the farm tour and the horse barn tour that were offered to us as guests. Both were super interesting. The house is beautiful and the staff was very nice. We enjoyed visiting with them. The breakfasts were good and getting to sit by the fireplace for breakfast just made it all the more special. I would go back in a heartbeat.
We’d been before for dinner on a trip to Burlington and loved the restaurant, its food and the beautiful gardens overlooking Lake Champlain. This time we stayed the night in Pottery Cottage which is in the grounds of the Inn. The cottage is very pretty, the library in the Inn has a wonderful collection of books, the food at the restaurant was once again outstanding - and the portions are robust. You could share the skillet chocolate chip cookie with milk ice cream amongst a family of four - or, you could do as I did and eat the whole thing yourself. We would have loved to stay longer but unfortunately the Inn closes for the winter.
You won't find any activities right at the inn, per se (though the farm's green spaces are great for play time), but Shelburne Farms itself offers a wide array of hands-on activities that let kids learn about sustainable farm life. Programs are tailored to every age group, with family programs also offered.
The inn's restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and on weekends, a lavish brunch, with 75 percent of the menu sourced from Shelburne Farms and other local farms. For that reason, the menu changes often.
Both indoor and outdoor seating are available (don't worry if the temps drop; wool blankets are provided). While families are welcome, kids' menus are not provided. We recommend a visit for breakfast, when you'll find melt-in-your-mouth buttermilk pancakes, eggs served with potatoes and organic toast, and other kid-pleasers on the menu.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Wi-Fi is complimentary and works well.
The Art of Smart Timing
The Inn at Shelburne Farms is a seasonal hotel, open May to October (which coincides with the busy season for all the towns along the Lake Champlain Byway).
You can fly into Burlington International Airport, which services mostly regional flights. Other alternatives are Montreal-Pierre Elliott International Airport in Canada (two hours away) or Albany International Airport in New York.
It's fun to explore Shelburne Farms via paved walkways that lead to the Market Garden, Breeding Barn, Farm Cart and other onsite attractions.
For Mom and Dad
Buy a bottle of wine at Shelburne Vineyard (we recommend the Marquette), and settle into some Adirondack chairs as you look out onto Lake Champlain. If it's chilly, enjoy your wine at the cozy library inside.