Charming and historic, the Heart of the Village Inn inhabits a beautiful Queen Anne Victorian built by Cyrus Van Vliet, a prosperous local merchant, in 1886. The main house included multiple rooms for a large family and a piazza wrapping around the front of the house. The carriage barn was built a year later on a pile of stones for a foundation, as many barns were in those days. The original footprint of the perennial garden graces the view from the dining room windows.
Elaborate for its day, the house included gumwood wainscoting, a paneled staircase, and a cistern to collect rainwater. A pump and gravity system brought water to the ground-floor bathroom and hall sink. Some say the house had the first flush toilet in town, located in the cellar. English tiles featuring historical scenes frame the fire grate in the library, and locally manufactured wooden blinds grace windows on the main floor. These beautiful features remain well preserved at the Inn today.
This magnificent property served as the residence for the Van Vliet Family until 1915. Dr. Walter H Ranks, a graduate of UVM medical school, lived here with his family and kept his office here until 1917. His daughter, Helen, and her husband, Rene H. Gadue resided here and ran an antique shop in the carriage house until the early 1990s.
Following extensive renovations in 1996, the property was converted into a Bed & Breakfast. The house is nearly in its original footprint and both the main building and the carriage barn retain much historic integrity. The inn immediately gained popularity among travelers to Shelburne and visitors of Shelburne Museum and Shelburne Farms. It was successfully managed by several generations of investor-owners as a typical traditional B&B until 2015 when the current proprietors and Innkeepers Rose and Anatoly turned it into a modern and vibrant yet tastefully decorated historic Vermont Inn intended for the 21st-century traveler.