We’re always looking for an excuse to celebrate at Vermont Woods Studios and– lucky us– this week we had several good reasons. So last night we gathered at the Whetstone Brewery in Brattleboro to welcome Martin Corbin and Kelsey Eaton into the Woods and also… to observe American Craft Beer Week (yes, there is such such a thing).
I’ll post a couple short bios about Martin and Kelsey in the coming weeks but today I thought I should talk up Vermont’s fabulous craft beers so you’ll be able to get out and try them during Craft Beer Weekend.
According to the Vermont Brewers Association there are over 30 brewers in the Green Mountain State, from small specialty brewers like Lawson’s Finest Liquids in Warren,Vermont to nationally recognized brands like Long Trail in Bridgewater Corners, Vermont. “Maybe there’s something in the water. Maybe there’s something in the air. Maybe….. there’s something up here in the mountains. Vermont’s brewers are making magic with it.”
Let us know what your favorite Vermont beer is in the comments section below or on our Facebook!
Foodies throughout Vermont are celebrating this weekend because Saturday is opening day for many of our farmers markets, including our favorite one– in Brattleboro. I tag along with Chef Annette who visits the market religiously every week to fill her fridge with fresh, organic fruits and veggies. I haven’t been cooking much lately so I just go for the freshly baked breads, local gourmet cheeses and… oh yes… lunch!
Lunch is the best part of Bratt’s Farmers Market. Take your pick: Indian, Malian, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, wood-fired pizza– you name it. Wash it down with steamy country coffee or a glass of the world’s best freshly squeezed lemonade.
The Brattleboro Farmers Market is located on Rte 9 in West Brattleboro. It’s open rain or shine, every Saturday from 9am to 2pm. Farmers will have “springtime harvests of new maple syrup, fresh greens, herbs, rhubarb, eggs and meats, garden plants and flowers, plus well-stored apples, root crops, preserves and jams. Artisans and bakers offer sourdough breads, pastries and treats (many gluten-free choices), granola, fruit wines and sparkling juices, jewelry, pottery, fabric arts, and soaps.”
This Saturday on opening day, there will be music and Maypole dancing by Andy Davis. There’s something for everyone. Call 802-254-8885 for more information. Hope to see you there!
I am happy to report that Ken and I finally closed on our purchase of Stonehurst today… woohoo! We've got much work ahead in renovating and transforming it into a fine furniture gallery, nature center and destination shopping experience but this is an exciting first step.
Today I just wanted to make a quick entry to thank all the professionals who helped us with the property purchase. Our gratitude goes out to our wonderful real estate agent, Suzanne King of Masiello Realty in Brattleboro, Peter Carvell our (ever so thorough) banker from, Brattleboro Savings and Loan and Rich Carroll, our attorney from Potter Stewart Law who has managed to keep us in good humor throughout the process.
We are also grateful to Elaine and Bill Ellis the people who stewarded this historic property over the last 30 years and transferred care of it to us today. We are looking forward to the day we can welcome them back to see the renovations– hopefully in 6 months or so.
Stay tuned for periodic updates, including reports about our new friend Stoney who (we just discovered) currently resides at Stonehurst.
If you've traveled through Vermont, you've no doubt noticed that the Green Mountain State has no billboards. None. Not a single one. They're illegal here. It's true.
So the way many Vermont businesses reach out to visitors and customers is through our Information and Welcome Centers. These respites are strategically located along our most traveled roads, particularly routes I-89 and I-91. I'll post some photos of their unique Vermont architecture another day but today I wanted to show you something on the inside: Art Galleries!
I took this picture at the I-91 Welcome Center just north of the Massachusetts line in Guilford, VT. It's part of a collection of paintings by Caryn King of Newfane, VT. You can't help but smile at Caryn's paintings of farm animals– so much personality shines through. She also does breath-taking floral paintings and commissions of your favorite pets. Her blog, A Chicken Painting Every Day is a cheerful way to start the day!
Vermont's information and welcome centers also offer tons of information and brochures on local, regional and state-wide events, activities, hotels, inns, restaurants, ski areas, outdoor recreation, shopping, sight-seeing and much more. Stop by and have a look!
What do you think about replacing billboards with Welcome Centers? Let us know below or on our Facebook.
Peggy Farabaugh owns Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture. She travels around the Green Mountain State collaborating with woodworkers and feeling very lucky to live and work in a place where nature and creativity are flourishing.
It's been well over a year now since we began our search for a new home for Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture. Our amazing realtor, Suzanne King of Masiello Realty in Brattleboro VT has been incredibly patient and helpful. She's showed us dozens of possible properties and lived through the whole disappointing saga of Skyline, a property we fell in love with last year which did not work out for us.
Now we're working on acquiring Stonehurst, a beautiful old farmhouse property located right here in Vernon VT (that's just part of the backyard shown on the left. Here's a photo of the main house). It's on 109 acres of forested land with scenic views all the way down to the Connecticut River. It used to be a ski area, Pine Top.
Our plan is to do a green renovation of the property and transform it into a luxury, destination shopping experience for customers seeking Vermont's handcrafted, sustainable furniture. What do you think? Is this the kind of place you'd be interested in if you were shopping for fine wood furniture? Let me know in the comments section below or on our Facebook.
If you live in Manhattan or elsewhere in New York and need to escape the crowds and concrete this weekend, grab a copy of Rebecca Dalzell's latest article in NY Magazine and head 3 hours north of the City on I-91 to quirky Brattleboro, Vermont.
Rebecca's done all the research for your last minute get-away, outlining the Where to Stay, Where to Eat and What to Do. She's even included some insider secrets on Southern Vermont's best swimming holes, antique stores and Farmer's markets.
If that's not enough to get you up here, I'll throw in a couple bonus ideas to whet your appetite:
- Breakfast of all natural super-cinnamon bagels and organic fair trade coffee from The Works Bakery Cafe
- Fresh noodle bowls and local strawberry rhubarb or pear pies for lunch at the Vietnamese Humble Kitchen
- Outdoor waterfront Happy Hour cocktails or local brews at The Marina, where locals hang out for the best sunsets in town.
So, what are you waiting for? Vermont's laid back, artsy town of Brattleboro is ready to welcome you for a weekend of unwinding in the foothills of the Green Mountains. Hurry up and get here so you can relax.
Peggy Farabaugh, co-founder of Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture lives and works in Vernon, Vermont- what we like to call a suburb of Brattleboro, and another place of quiet respite from the city life.
Yesterday Shannon suggested take-out food from Brattleboro's newest restaurant, The Humble Kitchen. It's a food cart in the Harmony parking lot that serves Vietnamese street food, sourced locally where ever possible.
Wow, is it delicious and worth the trip, even if you're travelling from NH, MA or anywhere in Southern Vermont.
Fried mango wontons with a sugar lime sauce might sound a little exotic but you have to try them. I can't even begin to describe how wonderful they are.
In addition they have specialty dishes for meat lovers, vegetarians and vegans, like the Banh Mi sandwich, Hot Noodle Soup, Summer Noodle Bowl and a salad with local greens & ginger-lime or toasted sesame vinaigrette.
Today was opening day for The Humble Kitchen and by all accounts they had a nice turnout of support from the community. If you live in the Southern Vermont area, be sure to take advantage of this great opportunity to enjoy authentic fresh, Vietnamese cuisine. I guarantee you'll be glad you did.
There are only about 2200 of us here in Vernon Vermont, the home of Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture. So we typcially run into Brattleboro a couple times a week to get our necessities in terms of food, arts, movies, music, shopping and such. It's an artsy town with a decidedly green personality.
Brattleboro's Food Co-op is one of the biggest and best in our state, as is the local Farmer's Market. Many restaurants like The Works and The Marina serve local, organic food. And of course the area is full of small organic farms like Malhana Farm, Relly Bubs and Lilac Ridge.
I wasn't a bit surprised to see Brattleboro make #11 on a list of the “20 Best Small Towns in America” in Smithsonian Magazine's May issue. The editor said the number one criteria for making the list was culture: "a high concentrations of museums, historic sites, botanic gardens, resident orchestras, art galleries and other cultural assets common to big cities". But they were looking for small towns with populations less than 25,000, "so travelers could experience what might be called enlightened good times in an unhurried, charming setting".
When you're heading north into Vermont from New York, Connecticut or Massachusetts, Brattleboro is the first Vermont exit off I-91. And Vernon is just a few miles South on Route 142. Stop in, stroll around downtown, have a cup of Mocha Joe's coffee and see if you agree with the Smithsonian. We think you will!
Since Earth Day is on Sunday this year, we decided to have our Vermont Woods Studios Earth Day party today. Here are a few photos of the crew indulging in local, organic food from The Works, a cafe, bakery and deli in Brattleboro.
We love the food and the people at the Works but we also like their green brand.
This sign on the wall at the back of the deli tells where all the recycled materials that make up the store came from. Furniture and cabinetry were made by our friend Chad Woodruff of Woodruff Custom Furniture here in Vernon, VT. Chad used old tractor seats and scythe handles for chairs.
The vintage steel lighting at the Works was salvaged from from an old amusement park in Rye, New York.
The menu is written on an old slate chalkboard reclaimed from Northfield Mount Hermon School, in Northfield MA.
They just used a lot of imagination in designing and building the Works and everyone in Brattleboro loves going there for the good green vibe.
So here's another idea for our "Greening Up Your Workplace" Challenge on Facebook– have an Earth Day lunch with natural food from a local restaurant or deli.
Happy Easter from all of us at Vermont Woods Studios!
I thought I'd share a few scenes from Vermont's pastoral landscape this Spring. We've got all the signs of Easter:
Lambs at The Billings Farm
Crocuses at the Vermont Wildflower Farm
One week old baby horses at Malhana Farm.
bunnies, chicks… you name it (thanks to 123rf.com/freeimages for this photo)
And of course, many local churches (this one is St Michael's Roman Catholic Church in Brattleboro) where you can participate in the all of the religious traditions and spirituality of Easter.
Maybe you should jump in the car right now and buzz up to Vermont for Easter? Our Inn owners have a cozy place for you to take respite.