Shelburne Farms: Growing up there, and what it’s like to “go home”.


Hi! My name is Tessa and I was born and raised on Shelburne Farms. For 24 years my parents managed the Market Garden on the Farm, which is the 5 acres of gardens that produces all kinds of delicious organic vegetables for the Inn at Shelburne Farms and surrounding area stores. My mother also raised organic chickens and ducks for our family. And besides eating our vegetables and berries during the growing season, we stored them in the root cellar and a large freezer for winter use.

Nearly 7 years ago, my parents moved off “The Farm” to their own land, while I moved down south to Maryland, and eventually to Virginia Beach where I call home. When I visit my parents, Shelburne Farms is definitely on my list of places to stop by. Driving through “The Farm’s” stone gates, a sense of calm and relaxation sets in, and a part of me is home.

Tessa Shelburne Farms

Growing up, I knew “The Farm” inside and out. The 1200 acres were my backyard. I always looked forward to summertime, especially when I was a kid. 6 weeks of it was spent at the beloved Shelburne Farms Day Camp, collecting sea glass, skipping wishing rocks, and building beach towel driftwood forts. The Mozart Festival concerts at the Inn were one of the highlights of the summer, where we would catch lightning bugs in the beautiful gardens while eating Ben & Jerry’s, and even sometimes there would be fireworks.

Tessa Shelburne Farms 2

I loved racing with my sister down the long green pathways in the garden, twisting out a lettuce heart as a treat at the furthest end. In the late Fall of every year, I often joined in to help with the potato and carrot harvest, and the 1800 feet of garlic planting. The dusty dirt roads are where I learned how to ride a bike, and when I was a teenager, I’d slowly work my way around the potholes trying to make curfew coming home from telling ghost stories around the campfire at the Ballfield. One time, my date came to pick me up, as my mother and sister were slaughtering the chickens. How’s that for a first impression? 

Tessa Shelburne Farms 3

One of my early real jobs was working at “The Farm” Welcome Center, selling cheese & tickets, and sharing with tourists my knowledge and love of “The Farm”. And to this day, I can still walk you through a cheese tasting of the many ages of Shelburne Farms Cheddar Cheese, which we keep a stock in our fridge year round.

Tessa Shelburne Farms 4

As a mother of two small boys, I am absolutely thrilled that I can share Shelburne Farms with them time and time again. I can’t wait for them to attend a summer camp, explore the walking trails, and swim at Indian Rock Beach. As members of The Farm, we will hopefully continue to support this amazing place for the rest of our lives.

Thanks for taking a trip down memory lane with me!


Tessa Bio PhotoTessa Miskell Duquette is from Shelburne, Vermont, and attended the University of Vermont. She now resides in Virginia Beach with her tennis crazed husband and their young sons.  They have two small raised bed gardens in their backyard, where they work on growing a few of their favorite vegetables. She is a stay at home mom and in her free time {does that even exist?}, she maintains a baby blog ~ She misses real Vermont maple syrup, SNOW, sunsets over Lake Champlain, and being able to see the stars at night from our home.



  1. Lovely! I taught at Ren for 3 years and driving on the farm feels like driving home. It’s such a magical place and a true gem. The staff on the Farm is out of this world! Thanks for sharing your story!

  2. Thank you for sharing!
    I have family in Shelburne, and although I live in Upstate NY, I send my daughter to Shelburne Farms summer camp (for the past 2 years now). I love it there and we always bring home the best memories!


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