Logging with Horses in Vermont | Naked Table Project | Charles Shackleton
“To fully understand the process of sustainably making furniture, you must go into the forest.   The woodlands tour describes how to identify Sugar Maples, low impact forestry principles, and demonstrations on horse-drawn logging. It will change the way you see furniture forever”   …. Charles Shackleton

Last week on my tour of luxury Vermont home decor companies I stopped to visit Charles Shackleton and his wife Miranda Thomas at their studios in Bridgewater, Vermont.  Charlie is perhaps one of Vermonts most beloved furniture makers.  He’s famous for his steadfast belief in the integrity and enduring value of true handcrafted furniture.  You won’t find cnc routers in Charlie’s shop!  Everything is traditionally carved and crafted by hand, making each piece a unique work of art. Dennis pointed out that Charlie is making the Chippendales of tomorrow.  It’s the stuff Christie’s and Sotheby’s will be competing for in years to come.

Charlie Shackleton's Naked Table Project | King Arthur Board of Directors
I arrived at Shackleton-Thomas just as a Naked Table project was beginning.  The lucky participants were the board of directors for King Arthur Flour (bet you didn’t know that was a Vermont company).  They were building tables for their conference room.

What’s a Naked Table?

“We invite businesses, friends and families to our workshops to make tables for themselves to last for ages to come. Each piece in the Naked Collection is made from the iconic Sugar Maple harvested in the forests we visit (inverse from conventional methods of deforesting and sourcing wood from anywhere in the world)…  The table has come to symbolize our community’s connection to our local environment and our ability to make something of it.”  … Charles Shackleton

 

Pete Michelinie os Shackleton Thomas Fine Furniture in Bridgewater, VT
Charlie Shackleton (left) and Pete Michelinie of Shackleton Thomas Fine Furniture in Bridgewater, VT.  Pete was trained at the renowned North Bennett Street Furniture School in Boston.  He’s part of an elite team of craftspeople who create heirloom quality furniture and pottery at Shackleton-Thomas.

The Work of Human Hands

Charlie notes that humans have a natural tendency to want to make things, using their hands in particular.  “It’s a satisfying “buzz” of creativity, comparable to baking a loaf of bread from the grains of a wheat plant.  When a finished piece expresses our creativity, either through the natural beauty of the wood, the design or the marks of shaping left by the human hand, it sends a message.  In these times when so much is mass produced in factories by automated machines on the other side of the world, many are treasuring that message and the natural resources that surround it..”

Visit the Shackleton Thomas store in Bridgewater, VT or their website to learn more and shop.  Next week:  a quiz about Miranda’s pottery.  Hint: yes it is displayed in the White House and the Vatican in addition to dozens of other prestigious locations around the world.

Related posts: Touring Vermont’s Luxury Home Decor Brands    A visit to Simon Pearce

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, a 200 year old farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

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.

Simon Pearce | Handblown Glassware | Made in Vermont

Luxury home decor aficionados:  do you long for days past when real, honest, human craftsmanship was the means of producing quality, long lasting goods for your home?  Are you tired of disposable everything and looking to add authenticity and character to your home– a few things with substance that are designed to be enjoyed forever?  Well Vermont has a treat for you.  Four of America’s top luxury home decor brands are headquartered in the middle of the Green Mountain state– all within a comfortable driving distance of each other.  I made the tour myself last week, while preparing our Stonehurst gallery to begin carrying a selection of items from each company.  Here is what I found at my first stop, Simon Pearce.

Simon Pearce Glassware

With the rich history of Irish glass blower Simon Pearce behind it, this company leads the way in high end, hand blown glass and table ware.  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”.

Simon Pearce | Glass Blower | Watch it Being Made in Windsor and Quechee Vermont
Simon Pearce high quality glass bowls, goblets and vases are hand blown by skilled artisans and designed to last a lifetime.  I took this picture in Windsor, VT but you can also see glassblowing (and pottery making) at their beautiful facility in Quechee, VT.

Simon Pearce Pottery

Simon Pearce Pottery and Stoneware
The Simon Pearce pottery and stoneware collection includes table lamps, vases, pitchers, dinnerware and gifts.  Watch it being made in Windsor and/or Quechee, VT.

Learn more about Simon Pearce, his story and products on his website.  Or better yet, come up to Vermont for a visit!  You can use Stonehurst, our fine furniture, home decor and art gallery as a launchpad to Simon Pearce and the rest of Vermont’s luxury home decor companies.

Restaurant at Simon Pearce
It takes a ton of energy to make glass so Simon Pearce located his facility on a falls and installed hydro power.  Be sure to call for reservations if you’d like to dine at that beautiful restaurant that juts out over the falls. Both food and view are spectacular.

The other three luxury home decor brands I’m thinking of?  Stay tuned, there’s more to come but you’ll find hints on Kelsey’s new Vermont luxury Pinterest board.  Let us know on our Facebook, about any other brands you’d like to learn more 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, a 200 year old farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

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.

Michelle and I are the only ones who’ve made it in to work today.  Snow is falling ever so gently, but it’s persistent!  We’ve got about 6″ and the forecast is for 6 more.  So I thought it would a good time to reprint this article that was recently published on Sotheby’s Vermont Country Properties blog.  We are grateful to President and Principal Broker Lisa Coneeny and Office Manager Melissa Olson for posting it.

Pine Top Ski Area Resort in Vernon, Vermont Circa 1960 | Now Stonehurst Fine Furniture Showroom
This is how Pine Top looked in 1960.  If the rope tows were still here, Michelle and I would be out there skiing today!

What to Do with a Lost Ski Area?

Jeremy Davis, author of “Lost Ski Areas of Southern Vermont” estimates there were 119 ski areas in the Green Mountain state during the mid 20th century.  It seems that 2/3 of Vermont’s towns had their own ski area!  Of course they were a far cry from today’s luxury resorts like Mount Snow, Stratton, Killington and Stowe.  But back in the day, they were the center of winter activity in the communities they served.  Now what has become of them?

A group of local enthusiasts at Vermont Woods Studios has recently transformed the former Pine Top ski area in Vernon, Vermont into a showcase for Vermont’s handcrafted, fine furniture and home décor products.  The 220 year old farmhouse that used to welcome Nordic and alpine skiers has been lovingly restored.  Known as “Stonehurst” since c1870 when it was sold to Lucretia Kendall for a sum of $2000, it is now home to a high end interior design gallery.

Stonehurst Today | A Fine Furniture Showroom and Luxury Home Decor Gallery
Here’s the same scene today.  Pine Top, the little lost ski area in Vermont is beckoning Michelle and me to bring our sleds out and play.  On days like this the mountain longs for the good old days of the 1940s, 50s and 60s when skiers packed the slopes.

“With all it’s rich history we thought Stonehurst would be the perfect place to showcase the high quality home décor products coming out of Vermont”, said Peggy Farabaugh, new owner of the property.  “The homestead is situated on a hundred acre wood with beautiful views of the mountains, forests and Connecticut River Valley.  Customers can look out our windows and see Vermont’s sustainable working lands in action.  Stonehurst gives us a way to show and tell the story of Vermont’s high quality, handcrafted products:  where they come from and how they’re made.”

The lovely view at Stonehurst | Fine Furniture and Home Decor Gallery
Here’s what Pine Top looks like today.  The farmhouse that’s been know as Stonehurst for over 2 centuries has been lovingly restored.  It now houses the finest handmade furniture America has to offer along with many luxury brands of home decor.  And everything here is made in Vermont.  Come visit us before the snow melts!

The gallery features a revolving selection of fine furniture from Vermont’s iconic brands including Copeland, Lyndon and many custom and specialty furniture makers.   Original artwork by Linda Marcille, Susan Osgood, Donna Scully, Georgie Runkle and other local artists accents the furniture and is offered for sale.

“We’re adding new products daily and hope to soon have a consummate collection of Vermont home goods with glassware by Simon Pearce, lighting by Hubbardton Forge, kitchen accessories by JK Adams, pottery by Laura Zindel and a creative selection of specialty handmade items from the area’s top craftspeople,” said Farabaugh.

Visitors are warmly welcomed at Stonehurst.  Hours of operation are 9am-5pm, Mon-Sat.  Details and directions to the gallery on Huckle Hill Road in Vernon can be found on our website.  Be sure to bring your sled, skis or snowshoes!

For more Stonehurst photos, visit our Pinterest board.

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.

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.

Vermont Celebrates Martin Luther King Day with African American Heritage Trail
Celebrate Martin Luther King Day with a tour of Vermont’s African American Heritage TrailLearn more and generate a google map with directions to the historical places that interest you.

Vermonters are celebrating Martin Luther King day in many ways and in many towns and villages across the Green Mountain state.  Here are a few of the many events you might be interested in.

  • The Making of A Peacemaker is sponsored by the Brattleboro Area Interfaith Clergy Association takes place tonight at the Centre Congregational Church on Main Street. A spagetti dinner at 6 will be followed by a celebration 7-8 pm with local choruses.
  • In Burlington the University of Vermont UVM is hosting an MLK birthday party, a civil rights film series, a speech by Julian Bond a special tribute to Nelson Mandela and many other events centered around the issues near and dear to Martin Luther King.
  • Yesterday Burlingtonians were treated to a speech by Sharon Robinson, the daughter of baseball great Jackie Robinson at the Unitarian Church.  Sharon shared memories of her father at a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela.  She said while much has been written about her father’s career with the Brooklyn Dodgers, he should be remembered for his ongoing fight for equal rights both in the baseball world and the world outside.

Did you know that Vermonters penned the first constitution in America prohibiting slavery?  The year was 1777, just one year after the American Revolution, and the place was a roadside tavern in Windsor. Preserved for visitors today, it is the Old Constitution House State Historic Site.  While a large part of Vermont’s role in our culture is widely known, it is the Green Mountain State’s place in African American history that is not as familiar to many.

Catherine Brooks of Vermont Tourism,  Curtiss Reed of the Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity and Jane Beck, former director of the Vermont Folklife Center in Middlebury are trying to change that with the African American Heritage Trail.  The Heritage Trail comprises 11 sites including nine museums with exhibits featuring video, audio, and guided, or self-guided tours. It celebrates the accomplishments of Vermont’s early African-American residents and historic places that chronicle eras, people, and events significant to the journey of all African-Americans.  Learn more at VermontVacation.com

The Vermont Furniture 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, a 200 year old farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

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.

Vermont Cheese Destination

Alongside such romantic places as France, Spain, and Italy– humble Vermont stands strong as one of the top 10 destinations for cheese lovers! Like with most parts of our creative heritage, Vermont prides itself on the high quality product (in this case, Cheddars, Fetas, Gorgonzolas and more!) that cannot be found anywhere else in the United States.

Seriously, we love our cheese. So much that we have a map highlighting  45 different Vermont cheesemakers who “produce over 150 varieties of award winning artisan and farmstead cheese.”

Vermont Cheese
Starting your VT Cheese Weekend Vacation? Stop by Grafton Cheese (#14) after your visit to Stonehurst! Mention this blog & get a free cutting board (for your VT cheese!) just for visiting.

This map from VTCheese.com illustrates the 45 Vermont Cheese Council members and their locations. Click on the map for more detail, and links to individual members!

Do you have any other cheese destinations that you think should have been included in this list? Let us know in the comments section!

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.