A Step Back in History
Living on an old hillside farm brings an awareness of the hard work and love that past generations have poured into it. Grand View Farm, one of the earliest farms in the town of Washington, dates back to its initial purchase by Asa Bacon in January of 1794. According to family tradition, Asa and a brother came to Washington from Brookfield, Massachusetts, built a log cabin, sowed and planted a few crops, fenced them in, and returned to Massachusetts to gather their families. When they returned, they found that an animal had broken down the fence and destroyed all their crops except the potatoes, which were all they had to eat that winter except for the game the men could kill.
The left, original side of the current house was constructed before there was a circular saw mill in the village of Chelsea, around 1820. The farm remained in the Bacon family until 1858, when it was sold to Charles Abbott, passing later to his granddaughter and husband, Mac Royce. Under the stewardship of the Abbott and Royce families, the farm grew into a diverse agricultural homestead. In 1875, a sugar house was added to a growing number of barns and out buildings. The following year, they produced the first maple syrup, much of which was sold to a hotel in Portland, Maine. Other sources of income came from apples, potatoes, turkeys, hay, wool and butter. They also hired out for logging, mowing, plowing, grave digging and the use of machinery.
In 1885, the Abbotts began accumulating materials to build a new house. Logs were taken to the mill in Chelsea, and they began to quarry and split granite blocks for the cellar walls, which were dragged to the building site by oxen team. With the new house finished, they attached the old house by its side and used it mainly for storage of firewood and grain for the animals. With the completion of the house in 1887, they named the property Grand View Farm.
The farm sold as a vacation home in 1960, sold again in 1985, and finely, in 2004, the Goodling family purchased the farm.
Grand View Farm Today
As the fourth family to own Grand View Farm in the past 220 years, we have worked hard to reestablish some of its rich agricultural history. When we moved in, the barn had not seen animals for over 50 years. Gardens, apple trees and fencing had been neglected, although the fields had been hayed for many decades, leaving lush open pasture………..just waiting for our sheep to arrive.
Today, our homestead helps feed our family as well as a few neighbors and our bed & breakfast guests. We grow our own meat, both poultry and pork, as well as eggs, and vegetables. The focus of our farming centers upon fiber animals. We raise Romney sheep, llamas, and angora rabbits for their wool and fiber, which we have spun into yarn. Our yarn sells mostly as a yarn CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share worldwide.
Who's Your Farmer?
Kim and Chuck say they are “Vermonter’s by choice.” They fell in love with the Green Mountain State over 25 years ago. Grand View Farm provides them with the joy and challenge of participating in Vermont’s rich agricultural history. Kim manages the farm, and brings vision to every activity she touches, from 15 years of home-schooling, to raising beautiful Romney sheep, to welcoming B&B guests from around the world. In her down time, she knits, gardens, and dyes yarn. Chuck, a Civil Engineer by day, cares for the buildings and grounds on the farm in his spare time. He also provides vet tech assistance when needed. Emily, focused on rigorous academic pursuits in Classics and German, spends summers leading fiber art classes, stocking her Vermont Fairies store, and leading a summer camp on the farm with her two siblings. Anna, ballet dancer, photographer, shepherdess, and farm camp leader, often recites poetry around the camp fire when the sun sets and dances with the meadow fairies. Luke, our family “swine herd” loves raising pigs and eating all natural bacon. He also enjoys fiddling and playing soccer.