Shelburne Farms and I go way back. I had my first “fine dining” meal there in 1997 when I visited my brother at the University of Vermont, where we both went to college. In 1999, I spent the nights before I moved into my freshman year dorm room at the inn at Shelburne Farms. And I continued to enjoy the restaurant each time my parents came to visit.
Shelburne Farms is much more than a restaurant and hotel. It’s a 1400-acre working farm, museum, and “education center”, all perched right on the edge of Lake Champlain. When I was a regular patron of the restaurant, there was a disconnect between the restaurant and the rest of the property. The farm is a great, though historically underused, resource for produce, livestock, and cheese. But the restaurant was a very ordinary brand of fine dining. A few years ago, when Chef Rick Gencarelli took over the kitchen at Shelburne Farms, he brought with him an appreciation for eating local. He also made the food better and more interesting. So when my brother announced he was moving to the New Frontier after 12 years in Burlington, Vermont, Carlo and I decided to visit him one last time and to go there for a farewell dinner. We had a great meal. Unfortunately it was in August, right around the time we fell off the blogging wagon. We took a lot of pictures so we decided to post them, but I think it’s a little late to critique the food. I’ll just say that it’s very good, and if you’re looking for a place to go this summer (they are only open April to October), spend a weekend in Burlington and pay a visit to Shelburne Farms. Make sure to go early; part of the experience is wandering around the grounds before you eat.