Our mission at High Acres Farm is to create a thriving symbiosis of human culture and the natural world — bringing life to the buildings and landscape, while preserving the atmosphere of peace and possibility that makes this place such a wonderful refuge.
High Acres Farm is a 176-acre homestead in Shelburne, Vermont — perched along the eastern shores of Lake Champlain, looking out across the water at the Adirondack Mountains of New York.
High Acres Farm is located within Shelburne Farms, a 1,400-acre nonprofit organization offering a range of educational programming focused around sustainability.
The landscape at High Acres Farm is a mix of gardens, fields, forests, streams, a pond, and a private beach on Lake Champlain. In the fields, we grow hay and wildflowers for Shelburne Farms to feed to its cows. In the forests, the trees are mostly maple, cedar, ash, and pine, with seasonal streams and a small pond that vary in shape and size depending on precipitation. A network of informal walking trails provide easy access to different parts of the land.
The buildings at High Acres Farm are grouped along a ridgeline, looking over hills and fields below, and to the lake and mountains beyond. At the center of the campus is the historic Main House — with eight private bedrooms, a sparkling farmhouse kitchen, a yoga loft, and beautiful common spaces for many kinds of gatherings.
The other buildings include a gambrel-roofed wooden cow barn with a soaring hayloft, an old horse stables, an art studio, a children’s playhouse, a lakeside boathouse, a tennis court, working sheds, and one of the oldest swimming pools in the State of Vermont.
Over the coming years, we hope to restore and adapt the various buildings at High Acres Farm — filling them with new life.
The land at High Acres Farm was occupied by Missiquoi Abenaki until the mid-1700s, when it was colonized for agricultural use.
In 1886, it was acquired by Dr. William Seward and Lila Vanderbilt Webb, as a part of their 3,800-acre agricultural estate, Shelburne Farms, which was landscape-designed by Frederick Law Olmsted.
In 1948, Electra Havemeyer Webb, the founder of Shelburne Museum, established High Acres Farm as a home for her youngest son, Harry Webb, and his wife, Kate Prentice Jennings. The historic Main House was completed in 1952, and Harry lived there until his death in 1975.
For the next forty years, High Acres Farm was home to Harry’s eldest daughter, Kate Webb Harris, who lived there until her death in 2016.
Kate entrusted the stewardship of High Acres Farm to her children, Jonathan Harris and Amanda Herzberger, along with their cousin, Michael Darling. In 2017, they began a major renovation of the historic Main House, working with Selin + Selin Architecture and Smith & McClain builders to create a beautiful contemporary gathering place.
Today, High Acres Farm is managed by Jonathan, Amanda, and Michael, along with Jeff Herzberger and Frank Galipeau, who manage the buildings and grounds.
In the coming years, they hope to evolve High Acres Farm into a vibrant center of learning and making: a resource for the town of Shelburne, the state of Vermont, and visitors from near and far.
At High Acres Farm, we communicate our mission through the simple mantra: “Human Nature” — which has three core elements:
When these elements combine, a fertile symbiosis can occur: