Monarch Butterfly on Milkweed
A Monarch butterfly on milkweed.  Photo by Elizabeth Howard, founder of Journey North.

The Mind-Boggling, Magical Journey of a Monarch

Monarch butterflies migrate from Vermont (and other northern regions) 2500 miles south to Mexico every year at this time.  In the spring and summer they return- that’s an annual journey of 5000 miles! The butterflies migrate to the exact same tree each and every year.  In order to make the trip without literally falling apart, they reproduce 4 times en-route so it’s actually the 4th generation that returns to Mexico every winter.

The Monarch Population is in Free Fall

Last month I wrote about monarchs and the 90% drop in their population over the last few years.  “In human-population terms it would be like losing every living person in the United States except those in Florida and Ohio” according to Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity.  The free fall is largely due to recent decimation of the butterfly’s habitat and food source, milkweed.

Milkweed and Monarch Butterflies | Vernon, Vermont
I recruited (somewhat skeptical) staff members at Vermont Woods Studios to help collect milkweed seeds.  We gathered over 1000 seedpods and separated the seeds from their fuzzy parachutes.

A Milkweed SeedBank is Born in Vermont

After researching the Monarch’s plight, I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t at least try to do something to help.  So last weekend I spent much of my time wandering through an empty lot on Rt 142 in Vernon, collecting milkweed seeds.  I recruited Dennis, Kelsey and Nina to help me.  Realtor, David Berrie of Berrie Real Estate in Newfane, VT owns the lot and he was kind enough to allow us to “take all the milkweed you want!”  I think that ended up being about 1000 seedpods.  The Nature Institute estimates there are an average of 226 seeds in each milkweed pod so we probably harvested around a quarter of a million seeds.  We’ll keep them on hand for awhile in case anyone in the area would like to plant some.  Otherwise we’ll donate the seeds to Monarch Watch, an organization that maintains a free milkweed seed bank.

Milkweed Seed Bank at Stonehurst
Even Pepper pitched in as we worked well into the night hours separating seeds.

Sowing the Seeds:  A Trial Run

Sowing Milkweed Seeds at Malhana Farm
Annette and Fia helped me with a trial run at Malhana Farm.  It was a beautiful Fall day for planting milkweed!

Annette volunteered to sow milkweed seeds in a couple of her pastures at Malhana farm and I did the same in the meadows at Stonehurst.  Now we wait until the spring to see what comes up.

I hope you’ll think the monarch’s mind-boggling, magical phenomenon is worth conserving!  Please spread the word and join scientists, conservationists, teachers, road crews and nature lovers in planting milkweed in backyards, gardens, fields and highway medians. Need seeds?  Let me know on Facebook, or email me (

To learn more, visit the Journey North website, founded by Elizabeth Howard of Norwich, VT or any of these organizations that are working hard to keep the Monarch alive:

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.

Wood Dinette Sets

Whether you’re sipping on your favorite hot coffee and filling out a crossword puzzle on a rainy weekday, or gathering with your family for eggs & toast on a Sunday morning, a breakfast nook is the perfect place to start your day. There are plenty of ways to create the cozy, comfortable look of a breakfast nook, but we’ve made it even easier. Our solid wood dinette sets are made to upgrade your dining experience from being simply food focused, to having a chic, intimate atmosphere while you relax and enjoy yourself.

Make meals a time that everyone in the family looks forward to all day long by adding one of our small kitchen dinette sets to the mix. Casual dining is a part of every-day life so why not enjoy it in style? Each set is finely crafted in Vermont using sustainably harvested, eco-friendly materials and built to last a lifetime.

Ordering your dinette furniture set together affords you our best discounts and very lowest discount prices. All sets are available in natural solid cherry hardwood and and in a selection of high quality wood stains. Some are also available in maple hardwood. Our new selection of small wood dinette sets, ranging from traditional to modern contemporary, offer something to suit everyone’s needs while providing a versatile seating area.

Browse our dinette sets and create a great place to enjoy your morning breakfast, read a book, or sit down and help your kids with their homework!

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.


Autumn Dining Room SaleAutumn is a wonderful season; a time for apple picking, festival-going, and sharing pumpkin pie with your family around the dinner table.  We know how important these special moments are, and we’re happy to announce our Autumn Dining Room Sale, giving you the chance to save on beautiful wood furniture worthy of making memories around. 

Entertain your guests in a luxurious setting with elegant, American-made dining furniture, built to order right here in Vermont. Our high-end dining room and kitchen furniture is handmade from real solid wood. Select traditional Shaker-style furniture, Mission or Craftsman-style furniture, or modern, contemporary furnishings, made from your choice of natural solid cherry, maple, oak or walnut hardwoods.

Whether you’re shopping for a unique ultra-luxury custom artisan piece to complement an existing dining room set or starting afresh, browse through our handmade dining furniture collections and select the best natural hardwood furniture for your home.

Here’s how the Autumn Dining Room Sale works: 

Buy one piece and save 10%, buy two pieces and save 15%, or buy three or more pieces and save 20%. Plus free shipping and a lifetime guarantee! *Copeland, Polywood, Artisan, Clearance, and Home Decor pieces are not eligible for this sale.  Shop The Sale >>

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.

|Today’s post is part 4 of a series on Vermont Woods Studios written by Vermont author, Peggy McKay Shinn. Peggy writes full-time and lives in Rutland, Vermont, with her husband, daughter, and one remaining cat. Visit her website and check out Peggy Shinn’s books, including Deluge: Tropical Storm Irene, Vermont’s Flash Floods, and How One Small State Saved Itself. |

Steve Holman works on a unique artisan furniture piece.

Smaller furniture makers like Dan Mosheim and Steve Holman are equally impressed with Farabaugh and her company.

They appreciate that Vermont Woods Studios has helped them with outreach. Most have their own websites but don’t have the time or resources to keep their names at the forefront of Internet searches. As Steve Holman points out, “Living in Vermont, almost all my market is elsewhere. Reaching that market has been an issue.” Holman is grateful to Farabaugh for her marketing efforts.

Chad Woodruff likes the two-way relationship he has with Vermont Woods Studios. He can ask Farabaugh to sell some of his furniture or she can ask him for a custom piece. The craftsmen are also happy that Vermont Woods Studios offers their furniture without any upfront cost.

“Peggy doesn’t charge me anything unless she sells something so, what the hey, I’ll let her have at it,” commented Dan Mosheim.


Holman is especially impressed with Stonehurst, which he first visited last fall when it opened. On a steep hill in Vernon, with a view of the Connecticut River, the 100-acre property has served many purposes, including as a ski area called Pinetop in the mid-20th century. Now, in the renovated barn, cherry and oak dining sets, maple side tables with walnut inlaid leaves, Shaker-style beds, walnut desks, and landscape paintings by local artists decorate three airy, bright rooms. Vermont Woods Studios staffers work in the attached restored farmhouse — on computer tables made by Ken Farabaugh. The property was restored in part with a Vermont Working Lands Initiative, which helped pay for the bluestone walkway, among other features.

Outside, customers can sit overlooking the hillside field/old ski slope with iPad (for shopping) in one hand, picnic lunch in the other. Or they can hike a forest trail that Farabaugh wants to turn into an interpretative walk about the Vermont woods. Inside, customers can touch the tables, sit in the chairs, measure the entertainment consoles, debate over style, and covet every piece of furniture on display.

“They made an effort to make it a destination, not just a place to sell furniture,” said Holman.

That statement perhaps best sums up the company’s real mission: that purchasing from Vermont Woods Studios is as much about experiencing Vermont and its culture of neighbor helping neighbor as it is about acquiring new furniture.


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.

Right Dining Table Shape
Our Sarah Trestle Dining Table is a great choice for a rectangle dining table shape!

Selecting the Right Dining Table Shape for your Home Décor

With the holidays around the corner (can you believe it?) I figured what better time to talk about dining tables! We have all of these shapes and sizes, but how does that apply to your dining space? What will look best in your room and will you be able to accommodate the right amount of guests? There’s lots to consider when considering the right dining table shapre, and I’ll admit, it can get a little confusing trying to guess what kind of table is best for your situation. Hopefully this post can help to remove some of the mystery about what you’re getting when you order one of our fine, hardwood dining tables.

Rectangular Dining Tables

Rectangle tables are the most common dining table shape since they are ideal for accommodating large numbers of people for dinner parties and fit best in most dining rooms. Whether choosing a solid top or extension rectangle table, you’re sure to always have space for that extra guest. My favorite rectangle dining table would be the Sarah Shaker Trestle table. I love the curved leg work and simple shaker style, plus the added benefit of it being an extension table.




Walnut Hardwood
Catalina Walnut Solid Top Dining Table

Square Dining Tables

Square tables create a more intimate dining experience. Perfect for small dining rooms or eat-in kitchens, a square table allows you room to entertain small dinners and conserve much needed space. My pick for a square table is our Catalina 40×40 Solid Top Dining Table. It’s elegant, simple and looks great in walnut wood. What more do you need?




Solid Cherry Wood
Vermont Shaker Cherry Round Dining Set

Round Dining Tables

Round tables are also great for small spaces or modest dining rooms. Round tables are my favorite option for entertaining guests. A round table allows everyone to sit comfortably and also maintain eye contact with other guests. I would pick our Vermont-made Shaker Custom Round Table. It has an extension option, it is simple and durable and comes discounted in our Vermont Shaker Cherry Round Dining Set!




Oval Dining Tables

An oval table incorporates the best parts of a rectangle and round table. You can still accommodate large groups, like that of a rectangle table, while saving space with the rounded corners. An oval table can also be created by opting for a round extension table, which gives you the most versatility. I choose the Cherry Blossom Double Pedestal table. It can be dressed up or dressed down, but no matter what, it always looks classy and is sure to be a conversation piece.

One factor that all of our table shapes have in common is that they are completely green and made from sustainably harvested hardwoods. No matter what dining table shape you choose, you want it to last a lifetime and here at Vermont Woods Studios, we promise just that.

So there you have it! Our four traditional dining shapes, broken down and analyzed so you can find the perfect one for you. In addition to these, you can also find boat shape tables, live edge slab tables and glass top tables on our site, so be sure to check out all of your options before purchasing. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call our sales team and have someone work with you on dimensions and help you build your dream dining room with the perfect dining table shape!

Let us know in the comments what table shape works best for you and how it’s helped to bring your friends and family together.

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.