High Acres Farm is a 176-acre working farm in Shelburne, Vermont, perched along the eastern shores of Lake Champlain, looking out across the water at the Adirondacks. It is located within Shelburne Farms, a 1,400-acre nonprofit organization, offering a range of educational programming.
The landscape at High Acres Farm is mostly open farmland, where we grow wildflowers and hay for Shelburne Farms to feed to its cows. There are also woods, consisting mostly of sugar maple and pine, and several small ponds whose size and shape vary with rainfall. A network of walking trails opens up access to different parts of our land, and a gravel road leads to a stony beach on Lake Champlain.
The buildings at High Acres Farm are grouped along a ridgeline, looking over hills and fields below, and to the lake and mountains beyond. The lovingly restored historic main house offers seven private bedroom suites, plus an eighth bedroom with shared bath. It also includes a state-of-the-art farmhouse kitchen, a library, a working loft, and gracious common spaces with fireplaces, a wood stove, and a ten-foot table made from the fabled Vermont Elm — and much more. The other buildings include a wooden barn with a soaring hayloft, horse stables, a boathouse, a children’s playhouse, a yoga studio, and the third oldest swimming pool in Vermont.
The land at High Acres Farm was occupied by the Missiquoi Abenaki until the 1700s, when it was settled 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. In 1953, Electra Havemeyer Webb, the founder of Shelburne Museum, established High Acres Farm as a home for her son, Harry Webb, who lived there until his death in 1975. For the next forty years, it was home to Harry’s eldest daughter, Kate Webb Harris. In 2017, Kate’s children, Jonathan Harris and Amanda Herzberger, along with their cousin, Michael Darling, began a major renovation of the main house, working with Selin + Selin Architecture and Smith & McLain builders. In the coming years, they hope to transform High Acres Farm into a center of learning and making that they can share with others — a resource for the town of Shelburne, the state of Vermont, and visitors from near and far.
High Acres Farm is managed by a small family team. Jonathan Harris manages programs; Amanda Herzberger manages rentals; Michael Darling offers financial advice; Jeff Herzberger and Frank Galipeau care for the buildings and grounds. We love to collaborate with likeminded folks, so please get in touch!
Our work at High Acres Farm is inspired by the writing of architect Christopher Alexander, who describes a process for creating life in space, which he calls “the unfolding process.” Rather than following a predetermined plan, the unfolding process responds to the context that exists at each moment, doing whatever feels most clear and alive. When this process is followed repeatedly for thousands of iterations, places come to life, people feel more complete, and communities flourish and thrive. Alexander offers the example of Venice, a city that never could have been planned as it is, but which “grew” organically over hundreds of years, through many small, individual actions, each responding to a specific imminent need: a bench here, a tree there, a fountain between them. The result is one of the most beloved cities on earth, a marvel of human potential. The unfolding process allows us to harmonize with nature, so that life can unfold with natural flow, as we discover the outcomes that naturally want to emerge. We believe this process, collectively embraced, is the best way to heal and improve ourselves, our communities, and the world — slowly, one step at a time.
Please see our contact page for more information.