With its reclaimed structure and working small farm; Broadlands is a home for a very special restaurant, Clyde’s – Willow Creek Farm.
When Clyde’s decided to grow some of their own fruits along with heirloom and speciality vegetables, and with permission from Van Metre to use the old barns and land behind the restaurant, established a 1.5 acre boutique garden with raised beds by the barns at Willow Creek Farm. Tim MacLean, known as Farmer Tim, has been maintaining the garden for Clyde’s since April of 2008.
This garden includes two barns that are original structures to the farm and the large barn with silos was for raising dairy cattle and the smaller barn was used to store hay and feed for the cows.
The garden also includes a large composting area and it gets the kitchen scraps, cardboard boxes, egg shells, tea and coffee grinds and newspapers. Usually a pile of fresh humus compost can be made within 45-60 days and they use it for the herbs, vegetables and fruits on the farm.
How about the bees?
The farm has two colonies of bees. Each colony will produce about 60-100 lbs of honey this year. The bees need about 70 lbs of honey to over winter and any axcess is used at the restaurant.
Farmer Tim says working outside and learning something new each day about farming and gardening is the best part of his job.
At Willow Creek Farm harvesting starts in spring when overwintered kale is ready to be picked. Farmer Tim grows cool weather crops like radishes, kale, mustard greens, peas and lettuces. From June till September he grows tomatoes, hot and sweet peppers, green beans, yellow wax beans, summer squash, different types of basil, swiss chard. June through August is when the fresh blueberries and raspberries are picked. From September to December he will grow broccoli raab, mustard greens, kale, swiss chard, turnips and other cool weather crops.
The work at the farm starts at the beginning of March until mid December it takes about 40 hours a week to grow and maintain this operation.
Farmer Tim may work alone but he likes his wild friends for sure. He often spots many of them during the day and especially at dusk. Deer, rabbits, black snakes, water fowl, red foxes, his ‘buddies’ the groundhogs plus turtles, owls, hawks and other four legged critters keep him company.
Farmer Tim keeps busy during the winter by working as a handyman and he says he always wishes for an early spring.
More about Clyde’s and how reclaimed historic buildings were used to build the restaurant.
The primary inn structure is a 43’ x 34’ hand hewn, post and beam, ‘Georgian frame’, with a classic dining room ell and a large stable/bar. It has a pilastered entrance, 12 over 12 doubleh ung windows, and heavily molded cornice. Inside, there are many original rooms, seven fireplaces and soapstone bake oven, with antique paneling, mantles, wainscot, chair rails, wide beaded sheathing, and paneled doors. The old plank floors are very wide. There are parlors, a keeping room, and a museum-quality paneled taproom. The main building, the historic Samuel French Tavern, was a classic 2-½-story Federal country inn, built in 1804, and added to in 1821. It had two ells and a large barn. The builder and first owner, Samuel French, was a captain in the Militia (officially commissioned in 1824), and was reputed to be a well-known bridge builder and ‘bon vivant’. His inn was a significant center for social and political gatherings for almost two centuries.
Off the back of the Tavern is a secondary historic building, the Roxbury House, first built in 1810. Hand hewn from massive timber, the old 30’ x 93’ structure with the original ‘farmer’s porch’ now houses two paneled dining rooms, warmed by three fireplaces. The larger room displays hunt country oil paintings and the original mantel. The wing of the wider original front house is adorned with prints from the late 18th century, and overlooks the outdoor garden.
Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm also includes a large attached barn, the Chandler Barn, built c.1885. This amazing Victorian beauty is a 40’ x 84’ post and beam, with two elliptical cupolas, and was originally built for hay, feed, and stock. It had milking cows, horse stalls and a chicken coop on the first floor. Laytham commissioned and assembled a magnificent collection of American folk art to fill this room: whimsical weathervanes in the shapes of a rooster, a ram, a herald, an Indian, and a dog, to name a few, were created by New England artist Mark Perry; Vermont sculptor Will Kautz’s hand-carved life-sized women, Indian mermaid, Rhode Island Red rooster and a painted pine and maple billy goat define and divide the open space; sweeping panoramas of a metaphysical early America by East Coast artists David Wiggins and Kevin Paulsen hang high on the walls; tavern signs, trade signs, and gameboards by vintage sign maker.
The eye will delight in the outrageous collection of art found at Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm the antique carriages from the late nineteenth century hanging from the ceiling of the Carriage Bar; the life-sized horse, made in France and once the mascot of the famous 21 Club in New York city, pulling an antique carriage; the complete collection of “Audubon’s Fifty Best” from the Original Havell Engravings of John James Audubon’s Birds of America featured in the front dining room and adjacent bar; and the two beautiful sleighs poised outside the entrance, restored to their original splendor. Murals by Wiggins & Paulsen cover the walls of the long interior hallway and the small Samuel French Tavern dining room, and several of their paintings are found at the entrance.
An outdoor garden, with beautiful trees surrounded by teak benches for relaxing and a koifilled pond with swan fountains, creates a delightful seasonal dining area, and is partially covered with seating for 125. As a final touch, an old Virginia farmhouse, the Richmond House, c.1780, has been relocated and restored as a warm little bar in the garden, where it sits radiating welcome with priceless original hand dressed and beaded beams, paneled wainscot, early mantle, and, of course, a wonderful old bar.
And upstairs, two private rooms accommodate boardroom-style business meetings as well as social and business celebrations. Both with antique wide plank flooring, the horse-country themed Fox and Hounds room accommodates up to 28 seated, and the Audubon print-filled Sanctuary up to 18 seated. Pre-dinner receptions may take place in one room, with dinner following in the other.
Brian Laurich hang from the ceiling in the barn and on the walls of the bar; and a 23K gold leaf grasshopper weathervane above the bar is Perry’s interpretation of the well-known original, found at Boston’s famous Faneuil Hall. Fourteen massive 3-tier iron chandeliers light the room; designed by John Russell Pope, noted architect of the West Building of the National Gallery of Art and the National Archives, they were reproduced from an original, found in Georgetown’s 1789 Restaurant. Handmade botanical shades by Adirondack artist Shirl Ireland adorn the chandeliers and the small table lamps.