Vermont Woods Studios Handmade Furniture

lost ski areas

From Lost Ski Area to Showroom for Green Home Decor

February 5th, 2014 by Peggy Farabaugh

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.


Finding a Beautiful Vermont View After Nemo

February 10th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh

Finding a Beautiful Vermont View After Nemo

We found a beautiful Vermont view after Nemo blew through Vernon yesterday.  The storm made for great skiing and sledding on Vernon’s lost ski area, Pine Top and throughout the state.

Like most Vermonters we were lucky to find Nemo pretty tolerable– for a winter storm, that is.  Vernon got about a foot of fluffy white snow and our dedicated road crew was out pushing it around in no time.  Finally it’s winter in Vermont!

When I was a kid, storms like this were routine throughout the winter.  We grabbed our skis and happily headed towards the slopes.  So today I thought it fitting to give the snowy slopes of Pine Top, aka Stonehurst a try.  I found the old toboggan my parents gave my siblings and me for Christmas many years ago and pulled it up to the top of the hill (fortunately Ken had re-conditioned it when Kendall and Riley were little and it’s still in great shape).

I found a spectacular Vermont view on the knob where the old Pine Top warming shed used to be!  Today was a beautiful day for sledding and the snow was dry and fast.  I made a few trips up and down the slope before I started pining away for the ancient rope tow that used to be installed at Vernon’s former ski area.  Or even the old horse tow that preceded that.

Ken Enjoying the View at Pine Top | A Lost Ski Area in Vernon, VT

Ken’s version of sledding.

Then I saw that Ken had finished plowing and had found an alternative way to enjoy the view, so I wrapped up my sledding and joined him for a drink.  After all the winter weather watches and warnings, it turns out Nemo wasn’t so bad after all.

If you’re in the area, stop by Pine Top, take a sleigh ride and enjoy the view before the snow melts!  We’ll supply the drinks.


Stonehurst Former Life: Pine Top Ski Area

January 6th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh

Pine Top Memorabilia

We came across a treasure trove of  Pine Top memorabilia in a trunk in the attic of the old dormitory at Stonehurst.  These are just a few of the flyers that were distributed throughout the Northeast.   Pine Top had a vertical drop of a whopping 400 feet, with 4 slopes and 3 rope tows.  It pioneered skiing for the entire family including “Tiny Tots”.

Life as a sustainable fine furniture showroom and nature center isn’t the first makeover for Vernon, Vermont’s iconic Stonehurst property.  In the early 1940s the circa 1800 Stonehurst farm was dubbed “Pine Top” and transformed into one of Vermont’s many small local ski areas (back in the day about 2/3 of Vermont’s towns had their own ski areas).  A couple from New Jersey, Elsie and Romey Racine, had moved to Vermont to pursue their dream and Stonehurst was the recipient of their ambition and hard work.

Stonehurst, with both rolling hills and steep mountainous terrain became a skiing mecca for Vernon townspeople and visitors alike.  Three rope tows were installed, powered originally by horse and later by car engines.  “Tobey Slope” was for expert skiers, “Pelley Hill” served intermediates and “Tiny Tot” kept the little ones occupied.  The whole family could enjoy skiing together, with kids as young as 3 becoming experts on the gentle slope closest to the farmhouse.

The Racines promoted Pine Top to visitors from New Jersey, New York, Boston and beyond.  They also attracted the families of students at nearby boarding schools like Deerfield Academy and Northfield Mount Hermon.  Visitors could board at Pine Top in winter, spring, summer or fall.  It had room to accommodate up to 26 guests and was often rented out to large groups for family reunions.

The Vernon Historians created a DVD featuring Pine Top along with other Vernon landmarks.  Copies and further information can be obtained at the Town Hall, Library or from Barbara Moseley, the town historian (and former staffer at Pine Top).  There is also a book by Jeremy K Davis, Lost Ski Areas of Southern Vermont which provides Pine Top history and a companion website, New England Lost Ski Areas Project NELSAP.

If you ever skied at Pine Top, let us know in the comments section or on our Facebook.  And stay tuned for an open house this summer, once renovations are complete.  We’re hoping to get a Pine Top reunion going.  Are you game?