poplar-drive
The row of poplar trees were planted at Vermont’s Shelburne Farms in the late 1800s.

The tractor-wagon ride to the Children’s Farmyard is usually the highlight of our day whenever we visit Shelburne Farms. The 15-minute ride on an old dirt road to the main Farm Barn is always fun for kids, and it’s also a treat for adults. The panoramic views, wide open meadows and somewhat bumpy ride make for a fun excursion.

What makes the wagon-ride especially enjoyable, for adults anyway, is getting up close to the row of 18 poplar trees that line the dirt road. These tall, majestic trees were planted in the late 1800s along a newly constructed carriage road called Poplar Drive, which connected other carriage roads to the northern part of the now 1,400-acre property.

Marshall Webb, woodlands manager and special projects coordinator, is the great grandson of Seward and Lila Webb, who established the farm in 1886. He isn’t sure why poplars were planted along the road instead of elms. But he explained that poplars take up much less crown space and were likely planted there because his family wanted the trees very close to the road and to each other.

Poplar Drive is new to me this year. In the past, we would use the gravel walking path or drive to the barn during our visits. Now that Phoebe is 2, we always take the tractor-wagon because she loves the ride so much. Thanks to her, I can enjoy these magnificent 19th-century trees on many days throughout the summer and fall.

**If You Go: Shelburne Farms
The tractor-drawn shuttle runs every half-hour between the Welcome Center and Farm Barn between 10 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. from May to October. This year’s last day is Oct. 21.