South Farm Administrative Offices
Renovated in 2012 as part of Flanders’ long-term strategic plan, the South Farm Welcome Center is located at 596 Flanders Road. The property is part of the Van Vleck Farm and Nature Sanctuary. The building houses the administrative offices of Flanders Nature Center & Land Trust, and serves as a public information center. The structure is an 1830-era farmhouse, sitting on a knoll overlooking hay fields to the south and meadows to the north. Its interior has a country feel with a country kitchen and large, long windows with excellent natural lighting. It is situated next to an early American post and beam Connecticut barn, which used to be a part of Natalie Van Vleck’s sheep farm. The Van Vleck family acquired both the house and barn when they originally purchased the 200-acre site. Public parking is available in The Studio parking lot, off Church Hill Road in Woodbury with a short walk through a meadow to the South Farm Welcome Center. Additional short-term parking will be available at the Welcome Center.
An historic Connecticut red barn, dating from the 19th century, the North Barn on Flanders Road is used for agricultural education and exhibits on New England rural traditions and serves as a home for Flanders’ many farm animals. With a large, three-season open space, the Barn easily accommodates the Nature Center’s numerous farm-based group programs and workshops for children and adults.
Buz Russell Museum of Antique Tools and Farm Life
Housed in the North Barn, the Buz Russell Museum showcases a Bethlehem, Connecticut resident’s intriguing collection of historic farm and dairy tools and implements, as well as antique toys, which he donated to Flanders Nature Center, in 2002. The displays, which are labeled as to function and origin, provide fascinating information on the agricultural history of the Woodbury region.
Located on the Van Vleck Farm and Nature Sanctuary at the intersection of Flanders and Church Hill Roads in Woodbury, the Studio is used for educational programs and workshops for all ages. A two-level building of classic post-and-beam design, featuring a north-facing wall of windows and natural light, it was designed by and built for Natalie Van Vleck in 1928 as an art studio. It is situated next to the farmhouse, which was the home of Natalie’s parents. The Studio is one of the larger and more actively used public spaces at the Van Vleck Farm, accommodating group meetings, lectures, nature programs and art classes. Public parking is available in the lot across from the Studio, on the south side of Flanders Road.
Located to the east of the Studio on Church Hill Road, the Trail House is situated at the entrance to the Van Vleck Farm and Nature Sanctuary’s Wilderness Trails and the marsh. Built in 1964 specifically for the Nature Center, the Trail House is used for children’s and summer programs and other nature-oriented workshops and festivals.
Across Church Hill Road from the Trail House and adjacent to a public parking area near the Botany Trail is the Sugar House. Constructed as a new post-and-beam structure in 2002 and set back from the road, the Sugar House is the hub of the Nature Center’s maple sugaring operations and the center of Flanders’ annual maple sugaring program. One area of the building contains the sugar processing equipment, while another large room hosts public gatherings, educational activities and children’s summer programs. Within the public space of the Sugar House, wildlife habitats and the ecology of Sanctuary lands are explained in exhibits, used in youth education programs.
Natalie Van Vleck House
In 1926, Natalie’s parents bought a farm and farmhouse along Flanders Road in Woodbury, Connecticut and decided to move there from New York City, permanently, the next year. The house is now used for educational programs, as well as a meeting place. In the winter, Flanders holds its Artisan Marketplace here, where local artisans can sell their beautiful works of art for holiday gifts.