This is something I’m not proud of: evicting tenants in the middle of the winter. Kicking them out of a nice cozy home into the snowy woods of Vermont. But the fact that they are red squirrels does help ease my guilt.
Ken started to notice them last month as he was working in Stonehurst, getting it ready for renovations. Scratch, scratch and pitter patter sounds kept coming out of the walls in the main part of the house. He wasn’t sure if it was mice, voles, squirrels or what, so he borrowed a couple HavaHart traps from Annette (Queen of humane animal trapping and relocation) and baited them with acorns and peanut butter.
Next day, Red Squirrel #1 showed up. Trapped. Ken brought the trap home and released the squirrel behind our home in the boys tree house. It doesn’t have heat or the comforts of their old home at Stonehurst, but we figured it was pretty decent digs for a squirrel.
Well, the scratching sounds continued, of course so Ken set the trap a few more times and reunited the whole family in the treehouse. Now Stonehurst is free of squirrel noises but bustling with the clamor of construction vehicles and excavators.
Does anyone know how red squirrels get along with gray squirrels though? I guess we’ll soon find out as our yard has been home to dozens of grays who have lived there for generations. Yes… this is what keeps life exciting in rural Vermont. Always a fun new challenge everyday! Join us on Facebook to see more about our adventures with wildlife at Stonehurst, our fine furniture gallery and nature center in Vernon, Vermont.
It seems like we’ve been talking and planning renovations at Stonehurst (our circa 1800 Vermont farmhouse and future fine furniture showroom) for a very long time. But now that Bob Furlone’s American Construction and Karey Tyler’s Excavation crews have arrived on site, things are beginning to move and shake (literally).
The past few weeks have been filled with activity. The middle section of the Stonehurst buildings (what we call the barn) has been unfinished for many years. In order to renovate, the guys had to dig underneath it and create a stable foundation where formerly there was just dirt and rocks. Then Carroll Concrete came in and poured a cement foundation.
In order to connect the middle section to the apartment building, we had to dig some more because the apartment floor was 2 feet higher that the barn floor. Since we want to make the property wheelchair accessible, we need to make all the floors the same height.
So progress is going well at Stonehurst, even though we’re up against winter’s elements. Today we had a snowstorm but still the crews from Tyler Excavation and American Construction were onsite and working in a tent they built for the occasion. Follow their work and the evolution of Stonehurst on our Facebook. Once it’s complete we hope you’ll join us for an open house!
Life as a sustainable fine furniture showroom and nature center isn’t the first makeover for Vernon, Vermont’s iconic Stonehurst property. In the early 1940s the circa 1800 Stonehurst farm was dubbed “Pine Top” and transformed into one of Vermont’s many small local ski areas (back in the day about 2/3 of Vermont’s towns had their own ski areas). A couple from New Jersey, Elsie and Romey Racine, had moved to Vermont to pursue their dream and Stonehurst was the recipient of their ambition and hard work.
Stonehurst, with both rolling hills and steep mountainous terrain became a skiing mecca for Vernon townspeople and visitors alike. Three rope tows were installed, powered originally by horse and later by car engines. “Tobey Slope” was for expert skiers, “Pelley Hill” served intermediates and “Tiny Tot” kept the little ones occupied. The whole family could enjoy skiing together, with kids as young as 3 becoming experts on the gentle slope closest to the farmhouse.
The Racines promoted Pine Top to visitors from New Jersey, New York, Boston and beyond. They also attracted the families of students at nearby boarding schools like Deerfield Academy and Northfield Mount Hermon. Visitors could board at Pine Top in winter, spring, summer or fall. It had room to accommodate up to 26 guests and was often rented out to large groups for family reunions.
The Vernon Historians created a DVD featuring Pine Top along with other Vernon landmarks. Copies and further information can be obtained at the Town Hall, Library or from Barbara Moseley, the town historian (and former staffer at Pine Top). There is also a book by Jeremy K Davis, Lost Ski Areas of Southern Vermont which provides Pine Top history and a companion website, New England Lost Ski Areas Project NELSAP.
If you ever skied at Pine Top, let us know in the comments section or on our Facebook. And stay tuned for an open house this summer, once renovations are complete. We’re hoping to get a Pine Top reunion going. Are you game?
The construction team has been at Stonehurst for just over a week, and despite sub-zero temperatures, they have made significant progress! The foundation site work has begun. A trench and a hole needed to be excavated before anything else could happen. The frozen ground was no match for our local excavating company, Tyler Excavating Inc, based in Vernon.
The hole needed to be excavated to make space for the new addition’s foundation. This new addition is the what will connect the two current structures, creating our L-shape showroom.
At the same time, a trench was created to bury the water lines to our new outdoor wood boiler. This will be our primary heating system for the building.
Next week the construction team will build the forms for the footings and foundation walls, and pour the concrete. The team is excited for the next week’s forecast of warmer weather.
Continue to follow our blog for construction updates on the Vermont Woods Studios Showroom, Stonehurst.
Happy 2013! We hope this year brings you all the best of good health, happiness and success. And we hope you’ll come share some of that with us in our new home at Stonehurst in Vernon, Vermont. 2013 will be a year of renovations at this 200 year old Vermont farmhouse as we work with J Coleman + Company Architects and Bob Furlone of American Construction to transform the property into a fine furniture showroom and nature center.
Our goal this year is to provide the destination shopping experience our customers (from Boston, New York and beyond) have been longing for. Stonehurst will become a place where eco-conscious homeowners can experience all aspects of Vermont handcrafted furniture, including the natural forests where it originates.
Check our blog and Facebook now and then as 2013 unfolds a new life for this iconic Vermont property. We’re planning to complete construction by June, just in time for a mid-summer Grand Opening. In the meantime, if you’re in the neighborhood, stop by with your toboggan this winter. We’ve got about a foot of snow now with more in the forecast. Either way, don’t let 2013 go by without a trip to Vermont!