About Dennis Shanoff

Dennis Shanoff
Dennis moved from Connecticut to south western New Hampshire 12 years ago to be closer to the outdoor recreational opportunities northern New England offers. His hobbies include regional travel, motorcycling, hiking, camping & woodworking. Dennis' main inspiration for writing is to share the great things he discovers about northern New England while out exploring the small cities & countryside.

Walk-talk-vt By Dennis Shanoff

An irony of our love of the outdoors and our great appreciation of nature and natural environments is that we at Vermont Woods Studios Furniture spend quite a bit of time each day indoors in front of a computer! That’s just the nature of a web business I suppose. We sure do need to be “hard wired” or “connected” for a lot of our eCommerce business functions.

 

 

Manjula, Kendall and Dennis on a Walk and Talk by The Brown Farm on West Road in Vernon

 

Peg-manjula-dennisBut for a lot of us these days, our work days are much less physical then they use to be. Some days it just seems that you could spend the entire day in your chair as everything you need either comes in or goes out via the computer. We don’t even have to get up out of our chair to send or receive faxes anymore! But then what about times where you don’t need the computer like meetings and discussions? Times when we can work unplugged? Just everyone roll your chairs a little closer together?

Well we have found a better alternative that works great for us and gets us up, out & about! You see in our office we have taken to walking meetings, or what we like to call our “Walk & Talks”. Near our office we have the luxury of having some great scenic, and quiet rural roads. So most days of the week we take to the streets and conduct our “non computer” work during our walk. Just a quick divided road crossing and then under the railroad bridge to the right and we are in perfect walking territory!

Dennis, Peggy and Manjula at Annette's Malhanna Farm on Pond Road in Vernon

 

Annettes-colt These quiet tree lined streets lead us past dairy & horse farms, corn fields, and into some nice residential neighborhoods. Ringing phones replaced by singing birds and rustling leaves! Moving more then just your hands and fingers! And if we time it right the cows will be by the fence waiting for us or my favorite black & white pony will be in view. It seems most of our best ideas and problem solving takes place out on these walks. We hope you work in an area that provides a quiet and safe walking area. If so give walking meetings a try! It just feels great to get some fresh air, real light, stretch the legs and just be up, out & about!

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Vt-arts-festivals By Dennis Shanoff

 

I’m not sure what the official count of craftspeople & artisans (making some or all of their income from their crafts) in the state of Vermont is but if I had to guess I would say it is easily in the thousands? Vermont certainly has to be one of the top states for high quality, fine arts & crafts work. Studios, workshops, and galleries can be found in practically every Vermont city and town. I suppose it could take months to visit even half of them.  The diversity of the media choice these talented artisans choose is equally overwhelming! Clay, fiber, paper, wood, glass, jewelry, and metal works are all well represented. And expect to find not only traditional type works but plenty of one of a kind pieces. Saying one could build a vast and eclectic collection of Vermont art pieces is absolutely an understatement.

 

Hildene-vt So from now through the fall is about the time we start to see the larger organized craft festivals and open studio weekends in Vermont. I will highlight a few popular August ones below and no doubt a quick web search would yield many more.

 

 

The first weekend in August brings the very popular Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival held at the historical Hildene's Meadow in Manchester, VT  (Hildene, as shown here was the summer home of Robert Todd Lincoln and his wife Mary Harlan Lincoln– Robert was the eldest son of President Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln). At the Hildene festival you will be able to meet and see the work of 150 artisans plus take in some great food and music. This long running juried festival is a must attend for the arts & crafts aficionado.

 

 

 

 

 

Fletcher-Farm-VT

 

Moving up to the middle of the state and the middle of the month (Aug 13 & 14) is an “Art in the Park” event hosted by the Chaffee Art Center in Rutland, VT.  Fifty years running, this event brings in juried, high quality craftsman as well as fine art, great food and live music. The estimated 7000 – 9000 attendees suggests that this event is worth the trip!

The following Saturday (August 20th) and just down the street from Rutland in Ludlow, VT is the Fletcher Farm School Annual Arts & Crafts Festival. Over 90 fine artist and craftsman will be exhibiting top quality works across all medias. And if seeing all this beautiful handiwork inspires your creative side you are in the right place! The Fletcher Farm just happens to be a school for the arts and crafts. Their course program covers just about every type of art or craft!

And if you can’t make these dates you can always visit one or more of the Vermont State Craft Centers. Open year round, these centers are state approved and they showcase exclusively Vermont made works that meet high quality, uniqueness and variety standards. 

We at Vermont Woods Studios Furniture hope you get the chance to travel to and discover the incredible Vermont arts & craft scene soon. We know you will find something you just can’t live without! And so you know, our connection to the Vermont artisan scene is our representation and marketing of the works of over 20 highly skilled and acclaimed fine wood furniture makers. We like to think of these craftsman as creators of functional art!

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Vt-july-vacation By Dennis Shanoff

 

Looking for things to do in Vermont this July? There are always a bunch of fun summer things to do in Vermont but if you are looking for some organized themed events let me run some of the more “tasty” ones by you! 

 

 

 

 

 

Vermont-brewers-festival The first event on tap (pun intended!) brings the Vermont’s Brewers Festival. Here you will find 40 craft beer brewers not only from Vermont but from New York, New Hampshire, Mass, Maine, California, Ottawa and Quebec as well. Each summer and fall New England hosts dozens of brew festivals but this one up in Burlington is tops. And here’s some interesting Vermont beer trivia… MSNBC listed Burlington, VT as the best city in the US for beer lovers and according to the Brewers Association’s Vermont has more breweries per capita than any other state!

 

 

 

 

 

Vermont-artisan-cheese Ok, here we go again… well it seems that Vermont is also the premium artisanal cheese state with the highest number of cheesemakers per capita: over 40 of them! Who knew! So now you must be wondering when the Cheese fesitval is and this one is hard to resist! Check out the Vermont Cheesmakers Festival held at Shelburne Farms. And it’s not just cheese, but also 20 of Vermonts breweries and wineries plus 15 artisan food producers. This farm is an ideal setting for the event where additional activities include walking trails, wagon rides and a farmyard for children. A big part of Vermont Woods Studios reason for exsistance and our main mission is forest conservation. So we would like to point out that Shelburne Farms manages about 400 acres of woodlands filled with all types of beneficial trees. Their sustainable forest provides heating fuel for their buildings, lumber for wood products and habitat for wildlife. We applaud their "green forestry" practices and environmental stewardship!

 

 

Vermont-blueberry-festival How about dessert? There is always room for dessert, right? Head up to the Deerfield Valley Blueberry Festival. This is a 10 day event starting in late July with dozens of “Blue” themed events across the area. In addition to all things blueberry there will be vintage cars, music and plenty of great food. Head over to the Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce in Wilmington to see all the fun happenings.

If you are looking for an “all under one roof” type of event (and in this case under a big tent!) The Taste of Stowe Arts Festival is a unique event which offers a market for artisan crafts, original art, music, and an array of gourmet eats. It’s one of Vermont’s many excellent handcrafts events. There is plenty to see at this festival and it’s a great way to support local handcrafted products.

So that’s a rundown of some of the main Vermont events this July. We hope you get to experience and enjoy some of the sights, sounds, and tastes of Vermont this summer!

Vermont Vacation photo courtesy of WilloughVale Inn and Cottages

Vermont Brewers Festival Illustration courtesy of The Vermont Brewer's Association

Vermont Artisan Cheese photo courtesy of the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese

 

 

 

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Vt-vacation

By Dennis Shanoff

Where did Spring go? It seems like suddenly it is summer! So have you planned your summer family vacation yet? Or are you still looking for vacation ideas?

Well if you haven’t planned your summer vacation you just might want to consider a Vermont Vacation. We might be a tad biased but we think Vermont is one of the best vacation spots. And if you like fresh air, rolling green hills, arts & crafts and artisan foods Vermont is absolutely one of the best places to vacation!

Where to stay? The choice is yours. Vermont accommodations range from quiet campgrounds and cozy cabins to luxury inns and classy resorts. You can make one area your base camp while you work the region or hop scotch the state on a theme vacation such as following a cheese, wine, or micro brewed beer trail.

What to do? Here are a few of our favorite Vermont vacation ideas and popular destinations:

It’s hard to beat the quaintness of Woodstock, a postcard picture perfect New England Village. Be sure to visit the Gillingham & Sons General Store. You will be amazed at the diversity of products they carry! Nearby Queeche Gorge offers great scenic opportunities, antiquing, and fine dining. You might consider lunch or dinner at the Simon Pearce restaurant where you will have the added treat of dining on a balcony overlooking a dramatic waterfall. Prefer your activities to be a little more strenuous? Try hiking or mountain biking in the Killington area.

Or visit our big city of Burlington where we don’t quite have skyscrapers but you might find a building more then a few stories tall. Burlington is not only a great pedestrian town, but very dog friendly. Take a Lake Champlain tour (Americas 6th largest lake) or wander about Church Street where outside dining and unique shops abound.

Need more ideas? When it comes to finding Vermont vacation attractions the official Vermont tourism website has a great search feature to help you discover fun and interesting things to do. And if your route brings you in the southeastern area of Vermont and you have an interest in seeing some of Vermont’s best wood furniture please stop by and visit our showroom in Vernon.

So this year take a Vermont family vacation! Oh, and bring an empty suitcase… you are going to find a lot of goodies you’ll want to bring back!

Photo courtesy of Vermont State Parks.

 

 

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

NestboxFor years I've been trying to either cajole or coerce some of the creative people at Vermont Woods Studios to guest blog for me.  Our team members' lives are infinitely more exciting than mine so naturally I am ecstatic to finally report that I've recruited a guest blogger, Dennis Shanoff.  Woohoo!

 

Dennis is an ace online marketing genie and an avid outdoorsman and naturalist.  I'm excited to welcome him to this forum and I look forward to reading his posts.  Here is the first:

 

"My weekends discovery has reminded us at Vermont Woods Studios to thank our customers who have “feathered their nests” with our cozy Vermont Made furniture.

You might be interested to know that other families are beneficiaries of the Vermont Furniture you chose for your home! It’s just that these families happened to be feathered! You see the small lumber cutoffs from some of our craftsman I turn into nesting boxes for birds, specifically the Eastern Bluebird and the equally beautiful and graceful Tree Swallow. These guys eat pesky bugs and they eat up lots of bugs when their young arrive!

I maintain about a dozen boxes in my yard and some of my neighbors that have the right terrain have placed our nest boxes in their yards. I monitor these boxes every few days to see how things are going. As usual this year I have full occupancy. Mostly Tree Swallows but I have observed 3 boxes taken by Bluebirds. This past Saturday I found eggs in all the boxes and in one box a Momma Bluebird was sitting tight.

 So Sunday morning when Momma bluebird flew out to get some breakfast I checked into the nest box and discovered tiny hatchlings that couldn’t have been more then a day old! Perfect timing! This is the soonest I have seen them after hatching. About the size of a Nickel!

 

 

 

 

 

Baby bluebirds

 

The Tree Swallows should be hatching very soon too. While the Swallows will hatch, fledge, and hang out a bit, they will eventually move on. The bluebirds on the other hand will repeat this process 2 or 3 more times this summer. And the young from the first Bluebird hatch will stay around to help Mom & Dad take care of the next batch! And so it goes on my land year after year. It’s such a great feeling knowing each year you helped nature put 60 or more beneficial birds on the planet and in the skies!

So we thank you and a big thank you from our appreciative feathered friends! They just love these nest boxes! And we hope you are loving your newly furnished nest too!"

Contributed by guest blogger Dennis Shanoff

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.