I made a visit to our local Vernon History Museum last weekend to learn more about Stonehurst, the 200 year old farmhouse property we recently purchased as the future home for our Vermont Fine Furniture Showroom. I was lucky enough to run into Peggy Frost, Nancy and Dale Gassett and a few other volunteers who were working in the museum’s gardens. Peggy knew just where the old photos of Stonehurst were stored so we went inside the museum and spent a few hours pouring through them.
The Original Stonehurst
The original Stonehurst farmhouse was built circa 1800 but I can only find photos going back to 1870 or so. Near as I can figure, the shot above would have been taken around the time that Stonehurst was sold by Noyes and Theresa Streeter to Lucretia Kendall for a sum of $2000.00. That was recorded on March 9, 1868.
Pine Top Ski Resort
Stonehurst had a very different life from the 1940s to the 1960s when it operated as a ski resort named Pine Top. You can see from the photo below that the house looked essentially the same through the ages. At some point it was painted red over the original white. And the horse barn-woodshed to the left of the house was converted to a dormitory for overnight skiers.
After talking with Barbara Moseley, our Vernon Town Historian, I learned that Pine Top was owned by Romey and Elsie Racine, a couple that moved to Vermont from New Jersey. “The Racines hosted vacationers and skiers in their welcoming lodge and operated a 3 run ski area with warming hut, equipment rentals and ski patrol. It was all staffed by local families.” Pine Top was set up to lodge up to 26 guests, often accommodating families of students from nearby boarding schools, Northfield Mount Hermon and Deerfield Academy.
Stonehurst Tomorrow: A Vermont Fine Furniture Showroom
Happily, Stonehurst looks pretty much the same today as it did 70 years ago when Pine Top was operating. The property was sold to Bill and Elaine Ellis after Pine Top closed and the Ellis’ transferred it to Vermont Woods Studios in August of this year. We’re now working with J Coleman + Company Architects and Bob Furlone of American Construction to transform the property into a Vermont Fine Furniture Showroom. The goal is to create a relaxing destination shopping experience for our customers who journey here from all around the Northeast and beyond.
Stonehurst, with it’s beautiful vistas and 100 acres of forested land provides a venue for us to convey our environmental mission and show people where sustainable, handmade furniture comes from. Stay tuned for progress reports and a grand opening for Stonehurst next Summer.
Since forest conservation is a big part of my mission at Vermont Woods Studios, it’s been a little heart-breaking for me to see some of the 100 year old trees at Stonehurst being taken down. There were a handful that were leaning over the house and garage and Ken insisted that they were a hazard and had to go.
But lucky for me, Vince Johnson of Johnson Custom Milling in Vernon, VT came to the rescue. Vince is milling the trees so we can use them for future phases of construction at Stonehurst, our fine furniture showroom. Here’s a video of his portable sawmill in operation.
And Dennis has plans to siphon off some of the wood to build bluebird houses, owl boxes and such. It’s turning out to be a fun project after all. Let us know on our Facebook if you have any thoughts or advice for us as we go down this road of renovation at Stonehurst, our future fine furniture showroom. We’ll be posting photos of the transformation and announcing details of our open house as we get closer to completion.
Who are these dapper looking ski instructors at Pine Top Ski Area in Vernon, VT, circa 1950? Let us know, on our Facebook.
When we closed on our purchase of the Stonehurst property (future home for Vermont Woods Studios) last week we were lucky enough to be able to spend some time with former owners Bill and Elaine Ellis who lived there with their family for over 30 years.
Elaine was showing me old photos of Stonehurst when it was the ski area, Pine Top. She even gave me a VHS tape that the Vernon Historians made to document the Pine Top era.
I'm slowly going through the details and looking forward to meeting with Town Historian Barbara Mosely to learn more. In the meantime, does anyone know who these handsome ski instructors are? The photo has no date but Pine Top was in existence from the mid-40s to the mid 60s.
If you have the answer, how about posting it on our Facebook or in the comment section below.
Thanks and stay tuned for Stonehurst – Pine Top updates
as we renovate the property. We are looking to make it the Northeast's
premiere destination shopping experience for beautiful, high end,
Vermont made furniture. But before we open the doors, we want you to stop by for an open house, ESPECIALLY if you ever skied at Pine Top!
Here's a closer look but it's not quite good enough to read the names on those pockets. If you recognize these guys, let us know who they are on our Facebook.
What's wrong with this picture? If you don't live in Vermont or some other rural place, you probably haven't ever had to use a Have-A-Heart trap like this one. But even so, you're probably noticing that the cage has snapped closed and the bait (yummy, smelly sardines) can is empty. So where is the jail bird?
Dennis saw a young gray fox several times over the last few weeks when he was working at Stonehurst but it started limping. I noticed the limp had gotten pretty bad and I asked Annette to help me trap the fox so we could bring him to BEEC where Patti Smith, our friend the wildlife rehabilitator could have a look at him.
We've set the trap every night over the past 3 days.
Interestingly, this character (Rocky) has been showing up. The trap has been empty (and dragged into a ravine) and the bait has been eaten. And Rocky acts like he's just won the lottery.
I'm heading over to Stonehurst now to meet Annette and try to plot a new approach to this challenge. Got any ideas? Let us know on our Facebook. Help us be smarter than a raccoon ;(
Ken and I finally closed on our purchase of Stonehurst today… woohoo!
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.