Vermont Woods Studios Handmade Furniture


Rainforest Conservation, Sustainable Tourism and the New Nicaragua

March 6th, 2014 by Peggy Farabaugh

Sustainable Tourism in Nicaragua

A typical view of the Nicaraguan Pacific coast.  We took this photo at the Aqua Wellness eco lodge near Playa Gigante.  It was recently featured in Interior Design for excellence in sustainability and local sourcing of building materials and foods.

Vermont’s been cold this year.  We’ve had a winter like I haven’t seen since I was a kid (when every winter was like this).  So Ken and I decided to cash in some FF miles and head south for a week.  We like to visit rainforest countries because it gives us a chance to understand the realities and trends behind Vermont Woods Studios’ mission— forest conservation.  Central America provides the closest rainforest and we’ve traveled to Costa Rica and Panama before.  But after much research we decided to try Nicaragua this time.

When I told my mother and sister we were going to Nicaragua, they hesitated and politely said “be careful”.  Ken’s friends said “bring a machete” and “watch out for the Sandinistas”.  Douglas and Dennis encouraged us to update our wills before leaving.

Well, I’m here to tell you Nicaragua has changed!  No longer a war-torn country, it is now evolving to join it’s Central American neighbors as a warm and welcoming respite for it’s  neighbors to the North.  Lush rainforests, white sandy beaches, and majestic mountains make up Nicaragua’s landscape.  And friendly people reach out to help you find them along with unique, affordable places to stay, play and eat.

We chose Nicaragua because of it’s government’s commitment to the sustainable development of tourism (rather than the depletion of rainforest resources).  But recently news has broken of President Daniel Ortega’s $40 Billion deal with Hong Kong to build a canal across Nicaragua (that would compete with the Panama canal).   NPR aired a discussion of the catastrophic environmental and cultural devastation that could result.

Hopefully the deal is abandoned in lieu of the economic benefits of eco-tourism.  Interested in helping to tip the balance?  Learn more about affordable, sustainable Nicaraguan travel at the Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Trip website.

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.



Heather B: Bringing A World of Communications to Vermont

June 21st, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh



Heather is the tall one in the middle of this game of "What time is it Mr. Fox?"  Besides being an English teacher to these children in Tanzania, Heather is a social media junkie, and  lover of all things outdoors.

Heather B. is a Brattleboro native who has recently returned to the area to join the Vermont Woods Studios marketing team. She earned her BS in Mass Communication at Champlain College, where she gained a passion for promoting sustainability through her work in communications.  


Other than her obvious talents in marketing and public relations, Heather's resume grabbed our attention when we saw that she spent her spring break doing a service project in Nicaragua assisting in sustainable community development, as Dennis said, "rather than partying in Fort Lauderdale".

Heather completed a summer service trip in Tanzania as well, teaching school children English and participating in many  projects to enhance the community's quality of life.  She did somehow manage to fit a Spring Break trip to Hilton Head in addition to these altruistic excursions so we're relieved to know that Heather likes to have a little fun sometimes, too.  I think she'll fit right in.