When I was younger, one of my favorite events of the year was the local hot air balloon festival that took place in my town (Pittsfield, New Hampshire) each year. While it wasn’t the Quechee balloon festival, it was a hot air balloon festival all the same. I loved the way that it would bring the whole community together for a day of fun and celebration, despite whatever else was going on in the world and on the news. It seemed like even the busiest people in town always made time to come down to the festival to watch the hot air balloons or to just be in the presence of friends, family, and community members. Kids loved it too, because they’d get to come and run around and go on rides with their friends (plus there is usually cotton candy and all sorts of other goodies too). And there really is just something special about hot air balloons. They are whimsical, and magical in a way. Magical in that they never fail to give you that feeling of childhood excitement, wonder, and awe as you watch them rise. Maybe its the way their colors light up in the sky, or the fact that they get to float amongst the clouds…either way, a hot air balloon festival is a spectacular event that every person should get to experience at least once in their life (but hopefully more)!
This weekend is the 34th annual Quechee Hot Air Balloon festival, taking place in Quechee, Vermont! The weekend festivities include music from a bunch of great bands that will be playing continuously throughout the weekend, tasty food, a kiddie zone for the children, a beer and wine garden for the adults, tons of talented Vermont artists and crafters, vendors of all sorts, and hot air balloons of course!
I truly hope that you get to enjoy the unique and heartwarming experience that a small town hot air balloon festival provides– and if not this year, maybe next year!
For more information on the festival, check out their official website and Facebook page.
Strolling of the Heifers Weekend
They came. They strolled. And they looked fabulous. This weekend, a few members of the Green Team represented VWS at the Strolling of the Heifers parade. This being my first “stroll”, I was excited to see what sights and antics Brattleboro had in store.
The parade featured floats and displays from local businesses and organizations from around southeastern Vermont. Each one had a unique theme that tied into the agricultural theme of the event. One of my favorite ideas was from Edward Jones Investments with the slogan “How’s Your Nest Egg Doing?” with a float that was decorated with some live chickens and eggs. There was also a float for an organization that is near and dear to my heart: a local FFA chapter. And of course, there were plenty of heifers. Their handlers dressed each heifer in beads, flowers and bright colors to match this years Strolling of the Heifers theme, “Running of the Bulls meets Mardi Gras.”Representing the FFA! I walked in many parades and shows as a member, but never in a cow suit!
After the parade was over, the crowd all flooded to The Common to scored some “Strolling Swag” and free gifts from more local businesses. One exhibit in the event was the Woodlands exhibit, which we were a part of. Groups offered educational exhibits and demonstrations about forestry, logging, conservation, invasive species and, of course, the final product of effective forest harvesting, furniture. Vermont Woods Studios shared a tent with Wood-Net, represented by woodworker Rick Gravelin. We showcased our sustainable outdoor PolyWood furniture, while Rick displayed a beautiful assortment of handmade, wooden clocks and watches. Michelle, Peggy and I had so much fun talking with local residents about our furniture and where it comes from and boasting about our new Vernon showroom. Michelle even got to talk about our solid wood dining furniture with Peter Welch, a Vermont Congressman.
Did you attend the Stroll this weekend? Or does your town have a local agricultural fair you enjoy? Tell us about it here or on our Facebook wall!Every year, the stroll has special “sweepers” that follow the end of the parade to clean up the inevitable messes that heifers make. I thought it would be fitting for the sweepers to follow this blog too.
Summertime in Vermont is unlike anything else. I went to college here for 4 years before getting to enjoy a Vermont summer, and it certainly changed my perspective of this state. I’ve always known that Vermont was great for a variety of reasons: the sense of community, the foliage, the beer… but what I didn’t recognize before was the beautiful shift that happens when the weather transitions from the springtime rain (or snow) to the summertime sun. Anyone whose spent time here in the summer months knows what I’m talking about.
Vermont really comes alive in the summer. Besides the fact that you get to see your friends and neighbors that you might not have seen in a while (Vermonters are a lot like bears in that they love to hibernate through the colder months), you also get to do so many fun things that you can’t do here in the winter. You can even go outside without having to layer on your hat, boots, fuzzy mittens, parka, and snowsuit! ; )
‘Vermont Days’ is a reminder of just that. During ‘Vermont Days,’ which runs from June 8th to June 9th, Vermonters get to enjoy 2 days of free access to all of the things that make summers here so awesome: fishing, swimming, state parks, historical sites, and the VT history museum! You can’t really beat that.
For more information on Vermont Days 2013 (such as help finding a local fishing hot-spot, state park, or historical site near you) visit: www.vermontdays.com
Now gather your family or your friends, get moving, and get outside! : )
Looking for something exciting to do in Southern Vermont today? How about heading to the Southern Vermont Natural History Museum on Hogback Mountain to meet their newest resident, an American Bald Eagle?
Thanks to the efforts of the conservationists at the Marlboro Elementary School, the Vermont Community Foundation, the Deerfield Valley Rotary Club, the Marlboro Alliance and museum director Ed Metcalf, an eagle who is injured and unable to return to the wild now has a plush new home. She just arrived from the Ironside Bird Rescue facility in Wyoming where she was cared for after receiving a permanent wing injury rendering her unable to fly.
Vermont maple lovers rejoice! This weekend is the 47th Annual Vermont Maple Festival in St. Albans, Vermont! Maple syrup fiends from around the country flock to this three day event, and for good reason. The list of events seem to be endless. There is an opportunity for everyone in your family to enjoy themselves. Many of the events during the weekend are free of charge, too!
Here’s a short categorized run-down for the weekend events.
Relating to maple food:
- Maple Cooking Contest
- Maple Products Contest
- Craft and Specialty Foods Show
- Pancake Breakfast
- Vermont Maple Buffet Dinner
- Craft and Specialty Food Show
- Antique Show
- Youth Talent Show
- Fiddlers’ Variety Show
- Music Shows
- Annual Maple Festival Parade
- Annual Sap Run: 8.5 mile run
- Sugarhouse Tours
Seems like a lot, doesn’t it? That’s not even a list of half of the things you can do during the Vermont Maple Festival! To see a full list of events happening during April 26th, 27th and 28th, visit the Vermont Maple Festival website. Be a part of a great Vermont tradition by heading to St. Albans this weekend! This event has been named a “Top 10 Summer Event” for 2013 by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce.
Having grown up in Brattleboro, I vividly remember a field trip to Rudyard Kipling’s Naulakha House. Even at the ripe age of 7 I knew that visiting this historical landmark was pretty special. The Naulakha House is where Rudyard Kipling, Nobel Prize winning author, wrote The Jungle Book, Captain’s Courageous, The Seven Seas, and The Day’s Work.
The Naulakha House was acquired by the Landmark Trust USA in 1992 after it had been unoccupied since 1942. The Landmark Trust USA restored the home to be as it was when Kipling occupied the property. However, some modern conveniences, such as electricity, have been added to the home, which is now available as a Vermont vacation rental. When the house is not being rented by tourists or writers looking for some inspiration, it is open for school programs. More than 6,000 performances of the Just So Stories have been given to school programs.
On April 4 there will be a rare open house for the public at the Naulakha House to raise money for the school programs. The event will include a full property tour, coffee, and desert. Tickets for this event are by reservation only, and are available by calling 802-254-6868.
If you are interested in staying in the Naulaka House, which is nestled into the woods of Dummerston, Vermont, you can book your stay online. Perhaps when you visit us at Stonehurst this summer you’ll opt out of staying at a bed and breakfast, instead renting Rudyard Kipling’s home. To learn more about this National Historic Landmark visit the Landmark Trust USA’s website.
Vermont Tourism, Travel well informed with guide in hand
Planning a trip to Vermont? We at Vermont Woods Studios like to promote all the great things about Vermont and help our showroom visitors get the most out of their visit to Vermont. So, we’ll tell you what we tell them: get a copy of Vermont: An Explorer’s Guide. This aptly named guidebook is the definitive Vermont travel resource for anyone interested in exploring Vermont. First published 30 years ago and recently refreshed, this 13th edition will take you through the entire state and highlight the best of what Vermont has to offer. It is the work of veteran travel writer, Christina Tree, and coauthor, Rachel Carter who had the enviable task of traveling all over the state to experience first hand all the best in Vermont lodging, dining, recreation, and sightseeing. What else will you find in the guide? Over 100 inspiring photographs, detailed maps, popular event and festival listings, plus essential travel information. To quote Yankee Magazine, “Our #1 travel tip: get this guide.”
You can order the book or learn more about this comprehensive guide book and it’s authors by visiting their website. In Vermont’s buy local spirit, I decided to purchase my copy of this book from a Brattleboro, Vermont independent bookseller, Everyone’s Books.
This video shows the Vermont landscape for an entire year from the view at the top of Mt. Philo in Charlotte, Vermont. Everyday, for an entire year, Timothy Cummings climbed to the exact same spot at the top of Mt. Philo to capture this beautiful timelapse. The 10 minute video moves slowly, but is continuously changing. Watch as the seasons change with a show-stopping view of Lake Champlain in the distance.
Mark Twain once said, “If you don’t like the weather in New England, just wait a few minutes.” His words come to life in the video as you can see the ground switch from snow covered, to brown, back to snow covered in a short period of time. This video shows some of the most beautiful days in each season, where the grass is as green as a crayon, the trees are sprinkled with golden leaves, or the landscape has turned into a winter wonderland.
If you’re anything like us, you can’t see enough beautiful videos and photographs of the Vermont landscape. For more gorgeous photos of Vermont’s four seasons, take a look at our “Vermont Beautiful” board on Pinterest.
What’s your favorite season in Vermont? Let us know in the comments!
Love Vermont Maple Syrup?
So do we! This weekend is the Vermont Maple Open House Weekend. It is a perfect time to visit some Vermont sugar houses to see how nature’s candy is made. There are over 100 farms and sugar makers opening their doors to the public this weekend, giving you a chance to watch the maple sugaring process no matter where you are in Vermont.
Take a tour of a single sugar house or several this weekend (March 23-24). There are sugar makers both large and small scattered through out the state, so you can witness traditional techniques like boiling sap over a wood fire or new high-tech practices. No matter where you go, you will see an exciting process and get to taste some of the best maple syrup in the world.
March and April are prime sugaring months in Vermont, so this is a great time for the Vermont Maple Open House. If you can’t make the trip, or you want to do a little homework before this weekend, visit the Vermont Maple website to learn how maple syrup is made.
See you at the sugar house!
Wags to Riches Auction
As Heather blogged last week, this past weekend was the annual Wags to Riches Auction to benefit the Windham County Humane Society. Peggy, Douglas and I were in attendance to show our support and represent Vermont Woods Studios.
The night started at 6:00pm with the silent auction, which was broken out into three sections, which allowed people to move around and see everything there was to offer. And with close to 200 items in the auction, there was a lot to see! Light hor d’oeuvres were served as WCHS supporters mingled and bid on their items. Throughout the evening, staff pulled numbers for door prizes and kept everyone updated on when tables would be closing. After the silent auction ended, everyone was seated and the live auction began. It was amazing to see how many people were willing to spend money on multiple items to benefit WCHS. After the live auction, three 50/50 raffle tickets were pulled, in which both Douglas and our friend Annette managed to profit from. We each walked away having donated something to the humane society, either by bidding on an item or making a monetary donation. Annette walked away with a beautiful new Raleigh bicycle, Douglas managed to outbid Peggy on some flowers from Linden Gardens and I was able to score a spa and gym membership.
WCHS managed to sell every item on the list, plus raise an additional $4,000 to buy new computers for their office. We were so happy to be able to donate one of our cutting boards and a vacation trip to such a great organization. Overall, it was a great night and we look forward to the next time we can help out our friends at WCHS.