Vermont Furniture Showroom
We built an addition to bridge the two existing buildings, creating an “L” shape showroom.

The last time we updated you on the progress of our showroom remodel, we were still in a demolition phase. In our post Digging Up The Future, we shared that a large hole had been excavated to make space for the new addition’s foundation. When we purchased Stonehurst, there were two buildings: the main house and the detached accessory building. In order to create our planned “L” shape showroom, we needed to build an addition to bridge the existing buildings.

It’s been an unusual winter with the grounds going back and forth between mud and frozen. Through snow, rain, and heavy winds our construction team managed to join the old with the new. The addition has been framed and roofed. It fits perfect, and we expect it to look like it has always been a part of the building. Some other exciting progress is that some floor boards have been reclaimed to become the ceiling surface in one of the rooms of the showroom.

In the next few weeks we will see windows and doors going in, siding being put up, and roofing. Once the building is weather-tight, the construction team will begin the interior work. After six weeks, we’re all excited about the progress and seeing it take shape!

Continue to follow our blog for construction updates on the this Vermont Furniture Showroom– Stonehurst.

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.

Pine Top Ski Area
Our future fine furniture showroom has many previous lives, incuding that of a Southern Vermont ski area called Pine Top.  We found these old Pine Top signs in the rafters of the workshop.  When was the last time you got to ski for $1.25? 

Winter has come to Vermont!  The air at Stonehurst is… well let’s say “crisp”.  OK, it was -3F this morning.  Ken and I were huddling in the workshop next to the wood stove and we spied these old Pine Top Ski Area signs in the rafters.  All day skiing for $1.25?  Count me in!

We decided to clean up these great artifacts and display them once renovations are complete and our new fine furniture showroom is open.  By any chance, did you ever ski at Pine Top during it’s heyday (the 1940s-1960s)?  If so I hope you’ll stop by our shop or connect with us on Facebook to share your memories of back in the day.

For example, how is it that the skier in this old Pine Top Ski Area sign isn’t bundled up in a Michelin Man suit?  We didn’t have high tech outdoor clothing back then so did people just suck it up and freeze out there on the slopes?  I was looking at old photos of Pine Top skiers yesterday and the people do indeed look just like the guy in the sign’s silhouette.  No down parkas, no Gore Tex.  Just your basic wool sweaters and coats.

I started skiing in the late 60s and I remember being pretty well bundled myself.  Maybe in the decades preceding that people only skied on nice days?  Or maybe they were tougher and more determined than we are?  Got any answers or theories?  Share them below or on Facebook.  And if you’re wanting to stop by and do a little skiing yourself, let me know.  There’s presently nowhere to park because construction vehicles are everywhere but hopefully renovations will be complete before the end of the season.  I’ll keep you updated here on the blog.

 

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.

Red Squirrels at Stonehurst Get Evicted
The jig is up for these red squirrel residents of Stonehurst.  After (probably) generations of free rent at Stonehurst, Ken trapped them and relocated them to the tree house in our back yard.  Hopefully they’ll find a way to co-exist with the gray squirrels already living there.

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.

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.

Stonehurst: Vermont Fine Furniture Showroom Takes Shape
Stonehurst: Vermont’s new Fine Furniture Showroom is Taking Shape.  Heather Barrett snaps a photo of Scott Strong and his crew from American Construction as they pour concrete footings for this 200 year old section of Stonehurst.

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).

Digging out for a Foundation at Stonehurst
Digging out for a Foundation at Stonehurst.  Karey Tyler is making Ken and the other guys very jealous, with all his fancy Tonka trucks.  We decided Karey is the answer to every little boy’s dream of “what do you want to be when you grow up?”

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.

This is why they've called it Stonehurst for 200 years
I guess this is why the name Stonehurst had lasted at the property for some 200 years.  But huge as they are, these boulders were no match for Karey and his excavators.

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.

Digging the View at Stonehurst
Digging the View at Stonehurst.  From left:  Martha Ratcliffe of American Construction, Scott Strong of American Construction, Ken, Jeremy Coleman of J Coleman Architects and Bob Furlone of American construction.

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!

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.

Pine Top Memorabilia
We came across a treasure trove of  Pine Top memorabilia in a trunk in the attic of the old dormitory at Stonehurst.  These are just a few of the flyers that were distributed throughout the Northeast.   Pine Top had a vertical drop of a whopping 400 feet, with 4 slopes and 3 rope tows.  It pioneered skiing for the entire family including “Tiny Tots”.

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?

 

 

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.