Stafford Manor – a landmark farm in Essex, New York

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Stafford Manor

Landmark Farm in Historic Essex New York

Breathtaking vistas of the Champlain Valley and Green Mountains of Vermont from this rare, pristine 1824 Federal farmhouse “Stafford Manor” on quiet rural road 15 miles from Burlington, VT. 137 acres of mature woodland, hayfields, fenced pasture, copious gravity-fed spring water, 3-stall barn and riding ring. Includes some original furniture and family portraits. Protected by conservation and architectural easements and located within the Adirondack Park. Development within the Adirondack Park is regulated to protect scenic and environmental resources.

Champlain Valley landscapes are sublime. This photo taken from the top of Coon Mountain 8-31-03. Coon Mountain is a preserve of the Adirondack Nature Conservancy. The trailhead is about 10 minutes from Stafford Manor. This view is looking west across the farm and forest lands of the Boquet River valley to the Adirondack Mountains in the distance. It’s about a thirty minute hike to the top.

  • Historic Essex Village 5 miles. Essex is one of America’s most intact historic villages and is listed in its entirety on the National Register of Historic Places. Essex has restaurants, galleries, marinas, inns and bed and breakfast establishments and the ferry to Vermont. See Essex websites here and here.
  • Burlington, Vermont. 19 miles by ferry and road. University of Vermont, Burlington International Airport, extensive shopping and dining.
  • Saratoga Springs, New York. 100 miles south. Summer home of Philadelphia Orchestra and NYC Ballet and the famed Saratoga horse race track.
  • Montreal, Quebec, Canada. 100 miles north, less than 2 hours to one of North America’s most cosmopolitan cities. In thesummer, Montreal hosts the week-long Montreal International Jazz Festival. Also, shopping, fine dining, orchestra, ballet, opera, galleries, casino.
  • New York, an easy 240 miles to Manhattan via the Adirondack Northway (I-87)
  • Adirondack Peaks and Canoe Routes approximately one hour drive. Some of the best hiking and canoeing east of the Rockies. Hundreds of miles of hiking trails and canoe routes including non-motors-allowed backcountry lakes including the St. Regis Canoe Area, Lake Lila and Little Tupper Lake.
  • Skiing at Whiteface Mountain less than one hour. Cross country skiing out your front door. Hiking and recreation on nearly 1,000 nearby acres acquired by conservation foundation including the summit of Boquet Mountain which gives spectacular views of Lake Champlain, Vermont and the Adirondack High Peaks.
  • Excellent Cell Phone reception.. Public Radio from Burlington (WVPR) and Albany (WAMC). Public TV from Burlington and Plattsburgh,
  • Airports. Burlington, Vermont 20 miles, Montreal (Dorval and Mirabele) approx. 100 miles. Albany, New York 130 miles.
  • Amtrak Station in Westport (10 miles) with daily service to New York and Montrea
    • Horse Barn – basic three stall barn set up for horses with storage for hay overhead Also a turn-out shed.
    • Spring Water – One of the best water supplies in the Champlain Valley. Stafford Manor has a spring high on the slopes of Boquet Mountain far from any possible manmade contamination. The springhouse is of wood and stone. When one opens the door one sees the clear aqua color reservoir approximately 10′ x 12′ by 7′ deep. At the bottom is white sand with fresh spring water continuously bubbling in from underground sources. The owner installed a new underground spring line to the house, and to freeze-proof hydrants and a freeze-proof livestock waterer. The overflow from the spring line runs into the pasture across the road providing constantly running pure water to horses or other livestock.
    • Frontage on Boquet River Approximately 1200′ of frontage on the Boquet River. The Boquet is designation as part of New York’s Wild, Scenic and Recreational River system and offers swimming, fishing and canoeing opportunities.
    • Guest House or Rental House. A two-story second house is included. It was built as a residence for the hired hand c. 1880. While it requires extensive renovation, when complete it could serve as a caretaker’s, guest or rental house.
    • Fields and fencing. 15 acre hayfield bordered the Boquet River. 50 acre hayfield. 10 acre hayfield. 10 acre pasture. 6 acre pasture with high tensile and white-painted board fencing. 1/2 acre riding ring with white-painted board fencing. Two one-acre fenced pastures adjacent to barn. Hay fields are currently leased to neighboring farmer. No agricultural chemicals have been used during my ownership or probably for decades.
    • Forest Land and Sugar Bush. Approximately 500 tap maple sugar bush currently leased to local farmer who provides maple syrup in payment. Approximately 60 acres of woodland. The last logging was in the 1950s and was done with horses so there is little damage from skidders. Tree species include Sugar Maple, Red Oak, Beech, Hickory, Ash, White Pine, Hemlock and some huge 300 year old White Oaks along the river.
    • Agricultural Classification and Taxation. Last year total taxes were $2,806.67 This level of taxation is based on my agricultural use assessment. I lease the farmland to a qualified farmer. My lease payment is 300 bales of hay per year which is worth about $600 depending on quality and market conditions. If you prefer cash, that can be specified in your lease with the farmer. We preferred the hay because it assured us a fixed amount of hay regardless of crop or market conditions. You can find more information about the NYS agricultural assessment program at
    • Architectural Features
      • Classic CenterHall Plan. The downstairs contains a parlor (can be used as parlor, office or bedroom), kitchen/dining/living room, full bath and pantry. The upstairs contains three bedrooms an upstairs parlor with the Palladian window giving fabulous views of the agricultural lands of the Champlain Valley and the Green Mountains of Vermont and a large bathroom (not completed).
      • Original painted wide-board pine floors throughout.
      • Original window and door architraves (moldings)
      • Original or authentic doors and windows throughout. twelve light over twelve light sash with old glass. Forged strap hinges, latches, box lock. Custom storm windows and bronze screens.
      • Most rooms contain original plaster
      • –8″ x 12″ White Oak Sills. Main carrying beam supported by massive limestone posts
      • Slate Roof
      • –Two furnaces. One burns wood, easily supplied from the farm’s 40 plus acres of woodland. Also a modern hot air oil furnace. Bear in mind that this is a 19th century farmhouse. My family has lived in the house for 23 years in relative comfort. If you demand 72 degrees in every corner of your house, this place is not for you. Installing modern, replacement windows and gutting the house would destroy its architectural character.
      • –200 amp service entrance
      • –New septic system in 1986
    • Easements. House currently protected by an architectural easement held by Essex Community Heritage Organization. This easement requies permission for changes(but not maintenance) to exterior of Stafford Manor, subdivision of land and commercial logging. Changes to the interior are not regulated. Farmland to be protected by negotiated conservation easement. This property is not suitable for additional development except for one additional residence. The easement couldpossibly be donated by purchaser who may receive significant tax benefits.
    • Zoning. Strong zoning will help protect your investment and the tranqility of Stafford Manor. Land use and development is regulated by Town of Essex and Adirondack Park Agency (APA). Land on east side of road (farmland) is in Adirondack Park Agency “Resource Management” zone. Most land that can be seen from the house is is this zone which is managed to protect farmlands and open space.


STAFFORD MANOR PHOTO GALLERY WELCOME to Stafford Manor! Porch Entrance – guarded by Molly Kitchen Window View One-Half Acre Riding Ring

View from Fields to House Stafford Manor seen across farm fields Stafford Manor from pasture Stafford Manor is located on the Leaning Road, a very quiet rural road. Three-stall horse barn (click to enlarge) Climate and soils produce great produce! From the garden Sept. 1, 2003

Inside Stafford Manor:

“R.S. 1824” Date of construction by builder Richard Stafford – in attic. Entrance – Hall (click to enlarge) Stairhall Living Room 2nd Floor – Stair Hall – wide board flooring. original plaster, Norfolk latches 2nd floor parlor “Palladian Window Room” (sorry for the poor quality photo) The kitchen is very basic. It is a 10×10 section of a 16×25 room which we use as kitchen-dining-family room. It has WoodMode Euro cabinets, a double stainless-steel sink, a Maytag dishwasher, a Kenmore side-by-side refrigerator, a MagicChef gas range and a stainless steel range hood.

Three bedroom “Hired Hand’s House” c. 1880 is included. It would make a perfect guest or caretaker’s residence. Requires extensive rennovation. Stafford Manor includes approximately 75 acres of hayfields and pasture. This is a sample. The soils are lacustrine and are excellent for horses and crops. At present they are managed by a local farmer who provives hay as rent for the property. This property includes approximately 1,200 feet of frontage on the Boquet River. The Boquet is a designated part of New York’s Wild, Scenic and Recreational River system. (Click to enlarge) View from ledges on Boquet Mountain, a 1/2 hour hike out the back door. Stafford Manor Farm fields below with Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains of Vermont in the distance Canoeing on the Boquet River. This property includes approximately 1,200 feet of frontage on the Boquet.

This property has been sold.

For information about real estate in Essex, New York and the Champlain Valley contact Lauren Murphy.

Heritage Properties of the Adirondacks

Heritage Properties of the Adirondacks
is located just outside Historic Essex, New York.
Phone/Fax: 518 963 7876
US Mail: PO Box 351, Essex NY 12936

More information about Historic Essex: click here Revised July 1, 2007, June, 2011

All contents copyright Carolina Hammerslag 2011

Comments (7) Write a comment

  1. As a kid we would play in this house when it was empty (1970’s). My mom was a Leaning and she always talked about going up to sit with an older woman that lived in the house…probably late 1940’s. It was always such a cool place.


    • Steve,

      I’ve heard other stories of kids playing in the “haunted” house. My wife and I bought the place in 1980 and moved away in 2004. We had 20+ great years there. Both my sons grew up at Stafford Manor. Arline and Gerry Leaning were our neighbors and Stella and Kirk were just across the river. The older woman living there was Ruth Stafford, great-granddaughter of the builder, Richard Stafford. I have some great photos of Ruth. I’ll have to scan and post them.

      It was an adventure living there. We moved there from Seattle in late September 2004. The place was pretty run down, not having been lived in for years and rented out before that. For a photo see There was no working plumbing and no heat. That first winter we huddled around a wood stove in one room. It was an exceptionally cold winter, but, we were young. It was a big adventure.

      Bob Hammerslag


  2. I visited this place with my mother in summer 2010. She was the daughter of Ester Stafford, who lived in the house originally until the 1930’s. I am the g.g.g. grandson of Charles Stafford who wrote his name in the attic and the g.grandson of John Stafford.

    It is nice to be able to see your roots in this place, and if I ever build something out here in California, I will make it try to look a little like this house. This is the second house on the property, the original being built around 1780 by Richard Stafford. He was from the Staffords of Rhode Island, a very old family.

    I would like to visit it ahgain in a few years and stay longer in Essex.


    • Hi Karre,

      My wife and I bought Stafford Manor in 1980 and lived there until 2004. When we moved there from Seattle in Sept. 1980, there was no heating system and no plumbing. We put in a wood stove. We heated water for in pails and took our baths in a tub we stored under the bed. That first winter especially, was an adventure! I have lots of photos. I’ll have to post a photo gallery when I have time.

      We too have heard stories about a house from the 1780s but we were never able to find any evidence. Richard Stafford was a cooper. One story says he lived in a barrel before he built the house. This seem dubious. The Staffords were not indigent. Maybe he lived with his father before building Stafford Manor. We still have quite a lot of old photos and genealogical information on the Staffords, if you are interested.



      • I am more interested in details about the actual property and how the farm ran. I have a decent idea of the acerage size and how much of it was cleared. I think a lot of the stuff I am most interested in resides with the other side of the family with the children of my great aunt Polly.

        I don’t discount that Richard Stafford may have lived in the barrel now and then, and it makes a great tale. He may have done it more to protect the tools and work he was doing on the place, Yes, he could have lived with his the other people in his extended family, but they may have mostly been in Essex.

        I wondered where all the rocks in the front came from and if this was used in the construction of the original house. The Staffords married through the Green-Sayers family and I think they were influenced a lot by them. One of the things the Green family did in Rhode Island was build a mostly “stone house” to protect from indians and others.

        The Staffords have their share of tall tales, but I think the barrel story is believeable. One of the things my family had was a Charlieville musket that was supposedly dug up on Valcour Island. It had be rearseneled for the Civil War for percussion and was probably a parade weapon when we got it, maybe used at one time by a New York regiment during the Civil War.

        The other house could have been there up until the 1850’s, perhaps on the other side of the road near the barn. There was a story that during the Gold Rush, the families of the two Stafford brothers who went to California had their wives move into it and stay together.


  3. Bob, you are so lucky to have lived in such a beautiful place. The few times that I went with friends driving 2 to 3 hours upstate NY, not even that far north, I can not forget. The scenery is so beautiful, it stays with me forever. The feeling it brought was so profound, joyful but serene, I felt like crying. It is one of those places I go to, in my mind, when I sometimes feel troubled. If only I can live in one of those mountains and water edges for one season each, at least…

    I hope Iloilo can enhance and preserve its natural beauty side by side with progress. Bald Ilongos are OK, bald mountains are not OK.


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