The Vermont Wood Manufacturers Association stopped by Stonehurst today on their Forest to Furniture tour. Peggy gave them a tour around Stonehurst and told the story of how this property transformed from an old ski area to the perfect place to display Vermont Wood Furniture. The tour included a guided walk through the showroom with Peggy, as she talked about all of the unique furniture, art, and decor pieces we have on display.
From the showroom we gathered outside, introduced ourselves, then trecked into the forest for a conversation about responsible forest and land management. We learned about the problems with our deer population, responsible forestry, buffer zones, and so much more!
Summer in Vermont is a time to relax and enjoy the natural world around us. Visitors to our home decor showroom at Stonehurst often spend as much time outside in our meadows & woodlands as they do inside the store. Birds, bees, butterflies and bunnies are frequent visitors here, making the Laura Zindel dinnerware that bears their likeness a favorite Stonehurst souvenir.
Whether you’re looking to bring a bit of summer into your own kitchen or searching for a unique gift for someone special, check out our Laura Zindel Dinnerware Collection. Each of Laura’s designs is inspired by nature, hand drawn and then printed onto high quality handmade ceramic or china.
Laura is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design where she earned a BFA in Ceramics. Later she went on to achieve an MFA in Ceramics from the University of Massachusetts. Laura’s artwork is inspired by both the Arts and Crafts Movement of the early 20th century and the “Cabinets of Curiosities” encyclopedic collections of the Victorian era. Her process of hand drawing, silk screening and enamel transfer printing shows off the intricate nature of her designs.
Ranging from Bumblebee Cereal Bowls to Large Rooster Serving Platters, Laura’s collections are bound to include the special gift you’ve been looking for. Stop by Stonehurst or purchase one of these collectibles online.
It’s looking like an all hands on deck operation right now in the showroom as we organize and unload our first shipment of Simon Pearce Luxury Glassware. We have been looking forward to this day for quite a while, and are more sure than ever that these beautiful heirloom glass designs will make the perfect accessory to our handcrafted Vermont furniture. Although currently only available in our showroom,we plan to eventually have Simon Pearce glass available online as well!
Simon Pearce Luxury Glassware…crafted to last a lifetime.
If you are a luxury home decor aficionado who gets nostalgic about the days past when real, honest human craftsmanship was the norm for decorating and furnishing your home, we hope this is a great treat for you. Simon Pearce glass is built to last a lifetime, and it has the authenticity and character you may have been craving.
The company’s founder, Simon Pearce himself, began glass blowing in the seventies in Ireland and then moved his work to the United States–the town of Quechee, Vermont– in 1981. The glass blowers at Simon Pearce spend years mastering the art of glass blowing before they begin producing hand-blown glass for the company.
Now headquartered in Windsor Vermont, Simon Pearce creates glass and ceramic “products that are beautifully designed, produced with premium quality materials and time-honored techniques and intended for a lifetime of everyday use”.
At Stonehurst, this expertly hand blown glass decor will complement our fine Vermont made wood furniture. The naturally beautiful wood paired with the sleek, heirloom glass makes for a picture perfect match. We love what we see already, and we haven’t even finished unpacking yet.
If you’d like to see what we have at Stonehurst, or get a look at Simon Pearce luxury glassware in person… we invite you to visit us at Stonehurst.
Pine Top fans: Throwback Thursday TBT brings another treat to revive your memories of the good ol’ days in South Vernon, Vermont. Last Thursday we posted Part 1 of Sandy Stoddard’s memories and today we bring Part 2. Enjoy!
At Pine Top, Pelley Hill was a beginner/novice slope and the first to be opened with a rop tow
The second rope tow provided access later to Tobey Slope (intermediate) and then also to Stoddards’ Run, when it was added a few years later
Romey also designed and built a very unique portable “tiny tot” rope tow, possibly first of its kind. It was operated on the gentle grade below the “old” warming hut in the direction of the base of Pelley Hill. Romey also very generously took it into Brattleboro periodically, setting it up at Memorial Park on the west side of town for use by the children of Brattleboro
One summer, when I was working for the Racines at Stonehurst, I was responsible for tearing down the historic old barn on the property, slate by slate, board by board
Romey built the “new” warming hut above Pelley Hill to better accommodate the ski crowds. The “old” hut was still used occasionally to serve house guests bowls of fresh snow with heated Vermont maple syrup
Elsie had a large collection of bells, which were traditionally rung by house guests on the front and side porches to bid other guests farewell, as they drove down the hill
There was an old swimming hole, behind a small dam, which was reached by walking along a narrow dirt road that started next to the foot of Stoddard Run and the tow house for Tobey Slope
That same rough road lead to a small dump site. I learned to drive a 1947 pickup truck as a 14 year old and periodically made dump runs
Summer guests used to gather on the front lawn to play croquet and there was a cement shuffle board court close to the driveway entrance
Mr. Marsden, who was a farmer living up the road, used Stonehurst property in summertime for grazing his cows. I was responsible for their care and feeding
Romey supplemented their revenue from Pine Top/Stonehurst by being the Town Road Commissioner for Vernon
Elsie often helped out at the town library
Along with these notes was a reference to Rich Racine, Elsie and Romey’s nephew. I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to connect with Rich. Anybody know home I might reach him? Give us a call or join us on Facebook if you do. Thanks!
I haven’t had the time I’d like to understand all the history of Stonehurst (aka Pine Top), but every now and then something pops up to add another piece to the puzzle. Recently Dennis has been chatting back and forth with Jeremy Davis, author of “Lost Ski Areas of Southern Vermont“. In researching his book, Jeremy connected with a number of people who grew up skiing at Pine Top. One of those people was Sandy Stoddard who offered these fond memories:
I am writing to add information on a wonderful old ski area, Pine Top, which was located in South Vernon, VT, about ten miles south of Brattleboro, close to the tri-state corner (MA, NH & VT). Your great website was brought to my attention by a cousin, Jack Stoddard, who lives in Connecticut. I currently live in Santa Rosa, CA, but I was raised in the Northeast and have very strong family and emotional ties to Pine Top (and its summer/winter lodging name, Stonehurst.) The Stonehurst farm house was built in the 1700s, and it was purchased in the early 1940s by Oliver & Elsie Racine. Oliver (nicknamed Romey) was a business associate of my grandfather, Howard W. Stoddard, in Northern New Jersey. Romey and Elsie became tired of the Metropolitan New York area, and decided during WW II to move north to rural Vermont (Romey was originally French-Canadian and was born in Quebec, just across the border from Vermont). They were in their 40s, when they took possession of the old farmhouse, barn and about 100 acres of rolling countryside, which sat above the Connecticut River Valley.
Romey was a wonderfully ingenious handyman, who could do absolutely amazing things with his mind and hands. He renovated the house and the immediate surrounding property, with plans to open the place as a small inn. Elsie was the gracious hostess, who ran the house and the kitchen, with the help of several local gals (Marge Cotter and Barbara Moseley). They opened the lodging in the mid-40s, and among the first guests were my grandparents, Howard & Edna Stoddard, my parents, Don & Molly Stoddard, and my uncle and Aunt, Vinnie and Jane Stoddard.
Romey then began to clear the surrounding hills to create the future Pine Top’s ski slopes. He did much of the clearing of the trees and brush himself, with some local help, and with some summertime help from my dad and uncle. The first two slopes he created were Pelley Hill (beginner/intermediate) and Toby Slope (intermediate/advanced). Romey then designed and built two rope tows, using old Ford Model A engines as the power sources.
The area officially opened in the winter of 1946/47. Actually the first guests to the area came a year earlier, before the rope tows were in place. My grandparents, parents, older brother Donald-8 years old at the time and my aunt & uncle made their first winter visit to Stonehust, and I believe they were the first skiers to test the newly cleared slopes. A farmer up the road by the name of Marsden brought down a work horse to which he attached a “rope tow.” The horse towed a string of my relatives up the hill.
An aside: Romey also designed a fun way to get down the hill, attaching a seat to two parallel wooden skis. My grandfather scared the daylights out of my grandmother by schussing down Toby Slope in this uncontrollable device. My first year as a visiting skier was in 1947, as a six year old. Every year after that through my senior year in high school, I spent my mid-winter school vacation (over Washington’s Birthday) at Pine Top. Those were wonderful years, as I and my brothers (younger brother Jim followed Don and me) learned to ski from local ski patrol/instructors Ed Dunklee and Bud Bigelow. Romey opened a new trail off the top of Toby Hill and named it “Stoddard Run”. My mother had a shortcut at the bottom of Toby named for her, “Molly’s Alley,” and I had a nearby ski bridge named for me, “Sandy’s Trestle.” Romey and Elsie Racine were like second parents to me (they had no children of their own). I spent two summers in my high school years working on the property, doing chores and taking care of the dairy cattle that grazed on the ski slopes in the summer (from a local farm). They sold the property in the mid-1960s and moved to a newly built home down the hill (the new owners sadly closed the ski area). We outgrew Pine Top as our skiing improved, but it was a truly wonderful part of our family for many many years.
We’ve been in touch with the Stoddard family since receiving Sandy’s memories and are hoping they’ll come back for a visit some time this summer! If you have memories of Pine Top, give us a call, send us an email or join us on Facebook. We’d love to have you stop by when you’re in the area!