If you’ve driven Vermont Route 100 in Rochester, you may know this barn. It’s the five-story “cathedral of the countryside” seen at a distance south of town. Beth and Bob Kennett first learned of the place when they were on their honeymoon in 1975. They purchased the farm and began dairy farming in 1979, and have been hosting farm-stay guests since 1984.
“Our barn is a working barn with cows and hay, not just a museum piece,” says Beth Kennett. “For our family, we are committed to caring for and being stewards of the whole farm. The building is a piece of it. It is the heart of our farm.”
Built in 1889 by Dr. Charles Wesley Emerson, founder of Emerson College in Boston, the barn is topped by a historic bronze weathervane manufactured in 1888 by the E. G. Washburne Company of Cambridge, MA.
Out-of-town visitors, as well as elementary school groups, summer camps, Girl Scouts, and other community groups, frequently visit. High school students work in the summer to help bring in the hay. Grandparents bring their grandchildren to see the cows. “We are the place where people feel they can come,” Beth says.
With the support of a PTV Barn Assessment Grant, timber framer Eliot Lothrop provided guidance on necessary repairs to their cupola. A Vermont Division for Historic Preservation Barn Grant helped Chad Richardson of Traditions LLC finish the work in 2021.