Stonehurst aka Pine Top
#TBT Some things haven’t changed since the 1940s at Stonehurst, aka Pine Top. Thanks to the stories of people who lived, worked and vacationed here, we’ve been able to preserve the property’s heritage.

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!

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.

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After this long, harsh Vermont winter–the small joys of springtime, like gardening, are cherished. Nina has been outside all morning planting Cosmos for our butterfly garden. Cosmos are annuals that are known for their showy, colorful flowers. They are treasures to look at but we adore them for another reason, because they attract birds, bees, and butterflies. We are trying to create a natural landscape that is both beautiful and wildlife friendly, as our showroom sits on more than one hundred acres of woodland and meadow; Land that many species call home.

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Liz, our company green thumb, wanted in on some of the planting and came down to assist Nina. While most of the time Liz is on the phone or computer chatting with our customers, there are some days where we just have to make time to get out in the radiant Vermont sunshine. Today is one of those days. Fotor0610132621

While the garden is just getting started, there is still a lot of beauty to be seen at Stonehurst. We’d love to invite you to visit our charming country showroom where the forest serves as the backdrop to some of Vermont’s finest natural wood furniture.

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See you soon! :)

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.

Our Modern Shaker Furniture Collection is an ultra customizable collection featuring several different options for your home office. With a handful of desk options, we’ve chosen two of our favorites that we feel define the look of a professional Vermont style office.

Our Modern Shaker Desks are handcrafted to last a lifetime. One is sleek & simple, the other sturdy and grand… which fits your style?

Modern Shaker Campaign Desk Office Set (2)

The Modern Shaker Campaign Desk & Modern Shaker Office Desk. The Modern Shaker Campaign desk is sleek and simple, shown in ultra-modern walnut wood. This desk leaves plenty of open space under the desk for you to move around or to place file cabinets. This solid wood Modern Shaker Style Campaign Writing Desk will impress clients and friends who visit your home or office. Organize everything at your fingertips in its two accessory drawers and built-in pencil drawer.

Modern Shaker Office (3)
The Modern Shaker Executive Desk is a bold but transitional piece perfect for your executive office. It’s sturdy design makes it the ideal piece for an office that gets a lot of foot traffic and a lot of use! Shown in cherry wood, this classic American made desk is a great choice for a simplistic & stylish professional office. This fine luxury furniture is crafted using premium solid wood and is designed and built to last a lifetime. Organize everything at your fingertips in its two accessory drawers and 2 file drawers (standard or legal size). Choose between a rounded or straight edge profile. This solidly built Shaker desk is handcrafted to order in Vermont in your choice of solid cherry, maple, or walnut woods with a natural, eco-friendly non-toxic oil finish that not only protects, but enhances the natural beauty of the wood.

Let us know which one of these Modern Shaker Desks you love in the comments, or check out more of our hardwood desks online!

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.

First Year at Stonehurst

One year ago this week, we moved from our little space at the post office to our beautiful headquarters and showroom, Stonehurst. We couldn’t be happier about our move and the ways in which it has inspired us as a company, as well as our customers, friends, and other visitors.  Stonehurst has allowed us to showcase Vermont made furniture in a picturesque Vermont atmosphere, where guests can enjoy the beauty of Vermont both inside and out. We’ve had guests travel to visit us from all over the Northeast and beyond, not only to see our furniture– but to get the opportunity to spend time in and explore this wonderful state. We couldn’t be any prouder of Stonehurst and all of the work that has gone into making this such a special place! So, happy one year anniversary to all of us at Stonehurst!

If you’d like to visit our showroom, feel free to contact us or just see our Stonehurst page for more information. Keep your eyes on our blog for more posts celebrating our first year at Stonehurst in the next week!

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.

All Weather Porch Furniture
Doesn’t this look like the perfect scene for you and your best friends? Our Tip: Mix & Match colors to create a look that fits with your porch, patio, or yard!

In Vermont, spring and summer slip by all too quickly so when winter finally rolls out of sight, we want to get outside and relax in the sunshine ASAP. And that’s where the beauty of Polywood All Weather Porch Furniture comes in so handy. There’s no longer any need to go schlepping downstairs to the basement and dragging heavy outdoor furniture outside before you can relax on the patio in the warm sunshine.

All Weather Porch Furniture: What is it?

Polywood is new type of American made, recycled plastic furniture that can be left outdoors all winter long! It’s basically impervious to harsh weather such as rain, snow, ice, and salt water. Made from recycled milk jugs, Polywood is a thick, heavy, dense plastic designed to replicate high quality tropical lumber like mahogany and teak. It’s maintenance free and insect, mold and mildew-proof. And Polywood is available in natural colors, plus white, black and a wide variety of vibrant contemporary colors. Best of all, Polywood colors are infused throughout the recycled plastic lumber, rather than just on the surface so there’s no need to ever refinish. Hooray!

Now your Springtime routine of lugging furniture to the patio, scrubbing it clean, scraping old paint and applying new paint pretty much boils down to this: pour wine, sit on your Polywood with a book and relax in the sunshine!

 

 

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.