A little history - the Booth family came into ownership of the 1,000 acre spread around 1940, naming it Hillandale Farms. Robert Booth’s great grandfather, William Booth, founded the Salvation Army in 1865. Robert’s father Henry was a textile magnate. Virginia Wagoner was an engineering and ﬁne arts student at Syracuse University. After a stint as an engineer at Pratt & Whitney during WW2, she became a bridal consultant at a Hartford, CT ﬁrm in 1945. Through her collaborations with various top designers and textile manufacturers in New York City, Jimmie encountered Henry Booth of Hillandale Weavers, who made frequent trips to the city for business and Henry introduced son Robert to Virginia Wagoner. They clicked. Jimmie and Robert married in 1956 and Bob took over the farm and textile operations in 1960. Since customers usually traveled far to Brooklyn and eateries were many miles away, Mrs. Booth began offering lunches for them starting in 1963. She harnessed the barn across the road from the mill and decorated it with drawings, textile examples, and an increasingly eclectic range of decorative arts and objects. The meals were simple but very fresh and healthy, using ingredients from their farm and other local meat and produce. Patrons tended to take their time and relax, exploring the barn, views, and grounds. This basic formula laid the groundwork for what was - and is - the Golden Lamb Buttery experience. By the early 1970s, as the custom tailoring business began to wind down, the Booths expanded their service and started offering dinner. Now they were ﬁring on all cylinders and their fame spread throughout the Northeast. For the next 45 years, Jimmie and Bob were consummate hosts - always welcoming, stylish, and sophisticated, but with a country nonchalance that put everyone at ease... and the meals were superb.
Foodies of New England
Katie Bogert, owner of the Golden Lamb Buttery
Having had the good fortune of attending several dinners at the Golden Lamb, this writer can describe the delightfully entertaining experience ﬁrsthand. Dress code is jacket and tie for the men, women are on their own, but typically follow suit with more formal garb, dresses and good shoes being popular. After your cocktail is delivered, one can wander around the massive barn and back deck and take in all the memorabilia gracing the walls and hand-hewn posts. Strangers greet one another and a convivial at-
mosphere ensues. Weather permitting, the hay wagon pulls up to the barn door and guests are encouraged to hop on and enjoy a ride around the grounds, while serenaded by a musician with a guitar... usually Susan Lamb, whose name no doubt helped during the job interview, but can more than hold her own with musical talent and deep resources of songs at her ﬁngertips. Singalongs are common, perhaps fueled by the cocktails.
Published on Sep 1, 2012