Fruitlands is located 1,800' on the top of Thistle Hill seen here in the upper right.
Fruitlands B&B is located at the top of the mountain in the center of this photo.
Fruitlands is a small, diversified bed and breakfast / farm sitting almost 1900’ atop Thistle Hill in Marshfield, Vermont. Our farm is a bicentennial farm, built in 1976. We practice organic methods. We believe that a quality life calls for planting trees and settling down long enough to watch those trees bear fruit.
Many of you who have visited Fruitlands B&B / Berry Farm have inquired about the origins of our farm's name.
The original Fruitlands was a 19th Century experiment undertaken by Bronson Alcott, his family and a very few "friends." A red farmhouse set upon ninety acres in Harvard, Massachusetts was to be a utopian refuge from the gathering storm of the Industrial Revolution. Louisa May Alcott would later write that, "Plenteous orchards were soon to be evoked from their inner consciousness."
From the very first seed, whether vegetable or philosophical, there began a struggle between ideology and practicality. They were not to enslave anyone or anything. Then who, or what, would pull the plow? They would not rob the cow of its milk or the sheep of its wool. Some argued that only "aspiring" vegetables would be grown. Root crops pointed towards hell.
And they were not alone in their wishes to redefine human existence. Just north of Fruitlands were the Shakers. There were sprinkled around New England hydropathists, who looked for salvation in pure water; Grahamites, who were to be saved through whole wheat; and Millerites, who expected the Second Coming in 1844.
Our experiment began in 1976, here on Thistle Hill. We were just out of college, a small school a few miles down the road from Alcott's Fruitlands. We began our teaching careers, built our home, and then, our Fruitlands began. As with many experiments, we are not quite sure how or even why. At first there came the sugarhouse, then the acre of raspberries. There was always room for more fruit trees. How about blueberries? We could make preserves and vinegars.Our experiment continued with raising llamas and now has taken on a new course with the opening of our home for a bed and breakfast.
We were recently asked if it were wise naming our farm and bed and breakfast after a "failure." After all, Alcotts had to leave their farm in a year. Perhaps...but isn't any experiment in many ways a success? As Emerson wrote, "The voyage of the best ship is a zig-zag course."
We invite you to visit our farm / bed and breakfast atop Thistle Hill. In many ways the true remedy for our hurried 21st Century routines can be found in turning off the beaten path to find new places and to make new friends... if only for a while.