Foodies of NE Fall 2012 : Page 70

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 grandfa-ther, William Booth, founded the Sal-vation 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 intro-duced son Robert to Virginia Wagoner. They clicked. Jimmie and Robert mar-ried 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 lunch-es for them starting in 1963. She har-nessed the barn across the road from the mill and decorated it with draw-ings, textile examples, and an increas-ingly eclectic range of decorative arts and objects. The meals were simple but very fresh and healthy, using ingre-dients 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 tai-loring business began to wind down, the Booths expanded their service and started offering dinner. Now they were fir-ing on all cylinders and their fame spread throughout the Northeast. For the next 45 years, Jimmie and Bob were consum-mate hosts -always welcoming, stylish, and sophisticated, but with a country nonchalance that put everyone at ease... and the meals were superb. Katie Bogert, owner of the Golden Lamb Buttery Having had the good fortune of attend-ing several dinners at the Golden Lamb, this writer can describe the delightfully entertaining experience firsthand. Dress code is jacket and tie for the men, wom-en 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. Strang-ers 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 re-sources of songs at her fingertips. Sing-alongs are common, perhaps fueled by the cocktails. 70 Foodies of New England

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