We are in the midst of winter here in Vermont– the ground is covered in a thick layer of snow and the air is crisp and clean. Despite the chilly weather, we have still enjoyed having guests stop by Stonehurst, warm up with us, and shop for new Vermont made wood furniture.
We believe that there is no better place to shop for Vermont wood furniture than in our showroom, nestled in the woods of Vernon, Vermont. All of our furniture comes from sustainably harvested forests, much like the one right in our backyard. Shopping at Stonehurst brings you closer to where your furniture really comes from. Visit us, and experience the beauty of Vermont wood, inside and out.
Unlike your traditional furniture shopping experience, at Stonehurst there is no need to rush. Feel free to bring a bottle of wine and a picnic lunch, and enjoy a relaxed country atmosphere while you get to know our furniture. Each member of our sales staff is an expert in Vermont wood, so even if you aren’t ready to purchase, we’d love for you to stop by and have a conversation with one of our friendly staff members and get to know more about Vermont Woods Studios.
At Stonehurst, we don’t have aisle after aisle of furniture. The pieces we carry at Stonehurst are just a representative sampling of the hundreds of pieces we offer on our online store. The pieces that we have in the showroom are a true reflection of the quality and craftsmanship that you can expect with all of our furniture.
So stop by, warm up, and browse our beautiful selection of wood furniture and Vermont made art and decor. We can’t wait to meet you!
2014 was a great year for us at Vermont Woods Studios. Through lots of trial and error and experimentation, we ended up in a great place and look forward to another year of growth! We’ve learned so much that we couldn’t possibly list it all, but here are 10 wonderful things we learned this year:
1. How to transform a lost ski area into a beautiful showcase for Vermont made furniture, artwork and home decor. It was our first full year at Stonehurst, the marvelous property we call home. We couldn’t be happier with how well it was received by our guests, and we eagerly await even more visitors in 2015!
2. How to build a set to take professional photos of our furniture. Nina & Dennis spent a great amount of time and energy getting crafty and making sets for photoshoots. With Nina’s photoshop wizardry, dusty old storage areas and garages transform into quaint living spaces perfect for furniture photos!
3. How to keep woodchucks out of our flower garden using aluminum pie plates. As you can see in the photo above, our showroom sees frequent visitors from the forest! Unfortunately, they are big fans of our gardens so we’ve learned creative ways of humanely keeping them at a safe distance!
4. How to harvest wood to sustainably heat our showroom. Our student interns (Douglas & Peggy’s kids) had a busy summer stacking 40 cords of firewood sourced from fallen trees around Stonehurst!
5. Never lose hope. We were a little disheartened about not seeing any Monarchs in our butterfly garden this year, but just as we started planning our 2015 Monarch conservation efforts, a symbol of hope arrived! We worked together to plant and share milkweed throughout our community and are excited to continue with this project through the new year.
6. Handcrafted wood furniture deserves beautiful decor accessories to go with it. Our natural wood furniture is simple and beautiful on it’s own, but handcrafted Vermont made decor adds another layer of richness that we can’t help but love.
7. Our furniture looks great in big houses and “tiny houses” alike! Earlier in the year we provided a POLYWOOD La Casa Dining Set to Tiny House Nation, a show that celebrates the innovation and creativity of Tiny Houses and the people who inhabit them!
8.Nothing feels better than giving back to the community. We made it a priority to give back to our community this year– from donating food for a community Thanksgiving dinner, to participating in Vermont’s ‘Green up Day’ and more! Our whole team took part in our charitable activities and look forward to another great year of giving.
9. Nature makes a great backdrop for photos. Our previous ‘our team‘ page featured each of us on white backgrounds, making us look like our heads were floating in space! We learned that we look much better in a natural setting, surrounded by things we cherish (trees!)
10. Appreciate the seasons while they last. We are lucky to live in New England, a place where each season is bold, beautiful, and transformative! The freshness of Spring, the relaxed nature of Summer, the crisp air of the Fall, and the reflective state of Winter are things we’ve grown to love. At Stonehurst, we get to see the uniqueness of each season as the year passes and we have learned to love and appreciate all of them while they are here.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about some of the things we learned in 2014, and we look forward to another great year ahead! Best wishes for a Happy New Year!
Vermont’s natural, sustainable furniture is simple and elegant. It’s history hails back to the Shakers but today’s interior designers are re-discovering it, as modern green design trends continue to flourish. When it comes to bringing the outdoors in, what could be better than organic, real wood furniture? How about…
Organic, Real Wood Furniture Embellished by Colorful Wildflowers
This Spring Nina designed and planted a wildflower garden in the backyard at Stonehurst, Vermont’s newest furniture & home decor store. She and Dennis asked other staff members to tear themselves away from their computers now and then and help till, plant, weed and water (check out Kelsey’s story about how Nina chose flowers that would provide food and habitat for our birds, bees and butterflies). Their efforts have really paid off as the garden is now in full bloom, providing beautiful floral arrangements for the showroom (as well as pollen & nectar for our friends in flight).
We’ve had a lot of fun trying to integrate the sustainable furniture in our showroom with other elements of Vermont’s natural landscape this summer. Being in the midst of a 100 acre woodland allows us to offer customers a real appreciation for where their furniture comes from.
If you’re interested in sustainability and looking to incorporate green products into your home decor, come and visit us at Stonehurst. Any questions give us a call. Oh yes… you certainly can bring a picnic lunch and a bottle of wine!
Our beautiful fine furniture and Vermont made home decor showroom is open 9-6 on Saturday and 12-5 on Sunday. If you’ve been dreaming about making the trip to visit us and see our Vermont handcrafted furniture up close, we’d love to have you here this weekend! The weather in Vermont is supposed to be great, the showroom is full of great furniture pieces, and we’re sure it’ll be worth the trip.
Bring a picnic lunch and walk around our 100+ acre property. Enjoy the natural beauty of the trees while you shop for wood furniture that comes from well managed forests just like the one in our backyard!
To see what furniture we have available ahead of time, check out our selection of ‘showroom furniture.’
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!