The Rowland Agricultural Center at Hildene Farm is located in Manchester in the heart of
The Shires of Vermont on the 412 acre estate of Robert T. Lincoln, son of President Abraham
Lincoln and wife, Mary. Robert built his home in 1905 and named it Hildene, an old English
term that means hill and valley with stream. This mountain retreat would be home to three
generations of Lincolns for 70 years. Until construction of the center in 2009, however, the
family’s agricultural heritage was little known.
The entire agricultural initiative now falls within the context of the historical interpretation of
The Lincoln Family Home. Research indicates that generations of Lincolns including Robert,
and his granddaughter Peggy, one of the last three Lincoln descendants, raised a dairy herd and
chickens that produced the eggs, milk and butter that were used on the estate and shared with friends.
Hildene Farm also connects the family’s legacy to the sustainable and green practices necessary
for the 21st century and important to the environmental education that takes place on
property. The 40 by 100 foot post and beam barn is built with timber felled and milled on the
estate. It utilizes renewable energy resources from solar panels and wood fuel. This solar
installation, coupled with a heating system which uses cord wood from the property, provides
a unique opportunity to both teach about the importance of clean renewable energy, a forest
management plan and the value of sustainable small scale farming.
The barn is designed specifically to house Hildene’s herd of Nubian goats and for public
viewing of cheese production from milking to small batch processing, pasteurization, aging and
packaging of Hildene Farm Artisanal Cheeses. This is a micro operation with our cheesemakers,
making and banking cheese year round using cow’s milk from local farms to produce havarti.
After the annual kidding season, production turns to the making of fresh chevre. Goat’s milk
havarti is also produced during the spring and summer seasons. The goat farming operation
clearly broadens the focus of Hildene, beyond its designation as a historic home, and is now an
integral part of the thriving agricultural education component of the institution.
Hildene Artisanal Farm Cheeses are available in The Museum Store at Hildene, open daily
9:30 to 4:30. These cheeses are also available through, the wholesale purveyor, Provisions