SHELBURNE, Vt. - You’ve heard about the quintessential Vermont weekend: hiking mountains, hopscotching micro-breweries, and ingesting large portions of local cheese. Then there is the more elusive relaxing getaway, where nature is appreciated from a sitting position, where couples can get lost in each other away from city crowds and screeching children. Welcome to Shelburne, a historic village roughly 10 miles south of Burlington that is brimming with culture, romance, and easy adventure. One caution to night owls: This town goes to bed early. So be sure not to sleep in when you could be exploring the museum and winery.
Cheap lodging is plentiful along the main drag. But affordable bed and breakfasts offer innkeepers who serve up tasty breakfasts, homemade cookies, and insider tips. Heart of the Village Inn
(5347 Shelburne Road, www.heartofthevillage.com
, 877-808-1834; rooms $150 and up) is a charming Victorian and a convenient home base for exploring the Champlain Valley. It’s just minutes from the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory, the Shelburne Museum, and the Shelburne Vineyard. Owners Geoff and Maureen Conrad cook fine blueberry pancakes drizzled in Vermont maple syrup. If money is no object, then head for the Inn at Shelburne Farms
(1611 Harbor Road, www.shelburnefarms.org/comevisitus/inn.shtm
, 802-985-8498, $150-$395 a night spring, $160-$450 summer and fall), a beauty on the shores of Lake Champlain. Built in 1887 by William Seward and Lila Vanderbilt Webb, the 1,400-acre inn is a working farm with a restaurant and cheese-making operation among its attractions. The 24 bedrooms and spacious common areas display original furnishings and decor.
Located in a restored 1800s farmhouse, the Bearded Frog
(5247 Shelburne Road, www .thebeardedfrog.com
, 802-985-9877, entrees about $20-$30) features upscale American cuisine. Avoid the pub area if you want to converse with your dining partner. The generous menu rotates, but the daily grilled bread specials always please, along with the $27 filet mignon in a port wine reduction sauce and garlic mashed potatoes. With a pastry chef on site, dessert is a must. There is no better way to start Saturday than at Shelburne Farmers Market
(Route 7 and Church Street, Saturdays 9 a.m.-1 p.m.), an oasis of fresh Vermont vegetables, herbs, honey, maple syrup, and an eclectic assortment of other treats like root beer floats, spicy pickles, and baked goods galore. Nosh on snacks or get a full meal at restaurant stands serving up moussaka, lasagna, and Pakistani curries.
During the day
At first blush, the $20 admission for Shelburne Museum
(5555 Shelburne Road, 802-985-3346, www.shelburnemuseum.org
) seems a bit steep. But this is one of nation’s most diverse and unconventional collections of art, design, and Americana. More than 150,000 works are exhibited in 39 buildings across 45 acres. Board the 220-foot steamboat Ticonderoga, ride the 1920s-era carousel, and marvel at the Tiffany lamps and jewelry. You can easily spend a full day or more. The Shelburne Vineyard
(6308 Shelburne Road, 802-985-8222, www.shelburnevineyard.com
) specializes in organically grown Riesling, Cayuga and Vignoles wines. The $5 fee gets you a glass and a tasting of nearly 10 different wines, mostly sweet whites.
After dark Shelburne Farms
(1611 Harbor Road, 802-985-8442, www.shelburnefarms.org
) offers various summer activities; check the website for listings. On Aug. 15, they’ve scheduled a Celestial Ride ($25 a person), a three-hour outing that begins with a horse-drawn wagon ride to a lakeside picnic (bring your own), where you can enjoy the sunset over the Adirondacks. On the way back there will be a stop to view the impeccable night sky. Stop by the inn’s bar for a cocktail and sit back in one of the Adirondack chairs. This summer’s Vermont Mozart Festival
(various locations, 802-862-7352, www.vtmozart.org
) includes several performances around Shelburne. The festival has consistently been named by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce as one of the state’s top 10 summer events.
© Copyright 2009 Globe Newspaper Company.