Country ease meets Gilded Age opulence. Many guestrooms in the Tudor-style mansion overlooking Lake Champlain feature furnishings original to the Webb family, who summered here on a 1,400-acre model farm that today supplies meats, dairy, and produce to the inn’s elegant restaurant. Voted Best Lakeside Luxury. You could buy the recipe book Cooking With Shelburne Farms and prepare all those house favorites, such as the bacon-and-goat-cheese tart, but then you’d miss the stellar views of Lake Champlain and the thriving 1,400-acre National Historic Landmark just outside the door.Yankee Magazine, May/June 2010802-985-8498. 1611 Harbor Rd., Shelburne 05482. Open mid-May to mid-Oct. Rates: $95-$300. Wheelchair accessible.“Welcome to Shelburne Farms,” the gatekeeper says, advising that it’s still two miles to the inn. The road snakes through park-like woods and meadows suggesting an English estate-but the herds are cows, not deer. Vermont’s largest house bursts into view as I emerge from a tunnel of maples. Multi-chimneyed and turreted, it’s set above lawns and against the sweep of Lake Champlain. Children play tag in formal gardens while, inside, guests gather around baronial hearths and in the velvet depths of the Main Hall and library. Others play billiards in a richly paneled game room hung with deer and buffalo heads. It’s like stepping into a Gilded Era house party. Shelburne Farms is now a public place with a visitors center, guided tours, special programs, and events. The inn, however, retains its unusually private feel. The 24 highly individualized rooms vary from cozy to palatial, and four cottages are sequestered by the lake, looking out to the purplish peaks of the Adirondacks beyond.
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