New England Travel

This boutique agritourism destination offers a full-blown Vermont experience

Hill Farm by Sagra debuted this fall following 10 years of renovations.

Hill Farm by Sagra in Sunderland, Vermont. Hill Farm by Sagra

An 18th century farm in Vermont was transformed into an agritourism destination where travelers can experience a sustainable vegetable farm, hands-on classes, and farm-to-table dining.

The owners of Hill Farm Inn in Sunderland, nestled in the Equinox Mountain Valley in southern Vermont along the Battenkill River, teamed up with hospitality company Sagra to create Hill Farm by Sagra, which opened on Sept. 23. A new restaurant, Grange at Hill Farm, is slated to open on Nov. 26.

“Hill Farm offers travelers a wonderful opportunity to connect with the agricultural history of Vermont while taking in the beautiful views, hiking or fishing along the historic Battenkill river, and experiencing the nearby town of Manchester,” said David Rust, CEO of Sagra, in a statement. “We hope everyone leaves with a deeper connection to the land and how our food is grown.”

A bedroom at Hill Farm by Sagra. Oliver Parini

The property, which sits on 70 bucolic acres, began as a dairy farm in 1779 and started welcoming overnight guests in the mid-1800s, according to the company. Its current owners, the Pollard family, have spent the last 10 years restoring and renovating the farm’s historic inn, cottages, and barns.

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Guests stay in 11 rooms in the inn and among the four three- and four-bedroom private cottages on the property, which are all equipped with kitchens. The rooms are a blend of modern and rustic, and they’re designed with pieces sourced from local and sustainable artisans such as Cieri Fabrication ceramics and Vermont Heritage Wool Company.

Amenities include guidebooks, food and farming books, and seeds for planting at home.

Inside Hill Farm by Sagra. Oliver Parini

Grange at Hill Farm will open in a new lofted barn with an open kitchen and wood-fired oven. It will replace the property’s current on-site restaurant and be open to the public. Guests can sit at a chef’s counter overlooking the mountains and on a wrap-around patio with 360-degree views of the Equinox Mountain Valley and farm, according to the company.

Native Vermonter Chef Austin Poulin, formerly of Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York and Albi in Washington, D.C., heads the culinary team at Hill Farm by Sagra. Poulin creates wood-fired dishes “that encapsulate the surrounding foodshed,” according to the company.

Diners will experience a-la-carte food and beverage service and communal pre-fixe farm dinners monthly. The menu will change daily and feature dishes such as Fried Chicken of the Woods with black garlic, lemon, and burnt baba, Studio Hill Farm Lamb with stuffed Tropea onion, celery leaf gremolata, zaatar, and pepperhini, and Whole Brook Trout with sprouting brassicas, tomato water, and rotating grain tabouli. There will be a curated artisanal beverage menu.

A dish at Hill Farm by Sagra. Oliver Parini

Farm manager Nicole Duch, who has 15 years of farming experience in New England, “brings new life” to Hill Farm’s soil using regenerative practices and a market garden.

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“The new Hill Farm rotation of crops is key to balancing nutrients in the ground and keeping the ecosystem healthy,” according to the company. “This includes the application of compost and other natural amendments, making sure heavy feeding crops, like tomatoes and cabbage, are followed by lighter feeding crops, like lettuces and peas, and growing cover crops whose purpose is to feed the soil.”

A farm tour at Farm Hill by Sagra. Oliver Parini

Guests at Hill Farm by Sagra can choose from many activities that connect them to the land, including farm tours, culinary classes, feeding the alpacas, harvesting activities, fly-fishing, hiking, natural dyeing, and yoga. They can also relax at the property’s pool or around a fire pit.

Guests around a fire pit at Hill Farm by Sagra. Oliver Parini

Hill Farm at Sagra is the company’s second location. Its inaugural property opened last year at Stemple Creek Ranch in California and a third property is planned for the Catskills region in New York in 2023.

Rates at Hill Farm by Sagra begin at $279.

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