December 30th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Much has happened to our little Vermont furniture store in 2013. Most notably, we’re no longer housed at George’s Mill, adjacent to the Vernon post office. 2013 brought continued growth that gave us enough confidence to expand into a permanent location.
Stonehurst is our new home– a 200 year old farmhouse sited on Pine Top, a former ski area in Southeastern Vermont. Citing our furniture showroom on a scenic 100 acre forested lot helps us raise awareness about our mission of forest conservation and show customers where their furniture comes from. It was this concept that the state of Vermont supported through a $100,000 competitively awarded 2013 Working Lands grant that helped us complete Stonehurst renovations 2 years ahead of schedule.
Other progress in 2013 included adding a fine art gallery to our offerings. In addition to expanding our Vermont made furniture selection, we’re proud to offer original artwork by many important Vermont artists including Susan Osgood, Linda Marcille, Georgie Runkle, Donna Scully and Janet Picard.
Another 2013 showroom (and website) addition was Vermont made home decor. We now carry handcrafted ceramics by Brattleboro artist Laura Zindel and Vernon potter Bronna Zlochiver, kitchen accessories by JK Adams of Dorset, textiles by Donna Tosi of Vernon and Cricket Radio of Shelburne and hand-turned pens by Micah Ranquist of West Brattleboro. New artisans are joining us frequently to increase the variety of Vermont made home decor accessories we can make available at Stonehurst.
2013 also brought many important upgrades to our website, thanks to Neville and Martin up in our genius room. As a new employee in 2013 Martin, was joined by Michelle (in Sales and Customer Service) and Kelsey and Nina (in Marketing). We feel very lucky to have them join the Vermont Woods Studios family!
After 8 years of building this sustainable furniture business– in 2013 we are finally in a space that’s truly worthy of the beautiful handcrafted furniture Vermont is so famous for. With customers journeying here from all across the country, we can finally say “Come to Stonehurst. It’s worth the trip”.
We are immensely grateful to our creative and hard-working staff for making this 2013 progress possible. Although we’ve come a long way, we know that in many ways our efforts have just begun. In 2013 we built it. In 2014 we have to make sure they come. Please help us spread the word! Join us on Facebook or in the comments section below. We’d love to hear your thoughts on Vermont’s sustainable furniture and/or the Stonehurst experience.
December 19th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
The last few days have brought a bounty of fluffy white snow setting us up for a beautiful first Christmas at Stonehurst. Ken went out to the old carriage shed and rescued this antique sign that marked entry to the Pine Top Ski Area from the 1940s to the 1960s. It’s now resting safely in our mudroom (er- entryway) accompanied by all the latest maps, magazines and brochures on Vermont travel (did I mention that we’re now an official Vermont Information Center? More about that later).
For a small ski area in a small town, it’s amazing how many people have stopped by to tell us stories of when they skied here at Pine Top 50 years ago. We had a lovely couple from Manhattan visit us a few weeks ago. They were here to shop for furniture but after looking out the window at the ski slopes and seeing the Pine Top sign, Marcia realized that she had skied here when she was a boarding student at Northfield School (now NMH). What a coincidence!
Today the sign out front welcomes people to Stonehurst, Vermont’s sustainable furniture showroom and art gallery. With all the freshly fallen snow, now is one of the prettiest times of year to visit Stonehurst. If you’re longing for the old fashioned Christmas you remember as a kid, stop by and see us. We’ve got hot chocolate, warm apple cider and of course there’s always a bottle of red in the wine rack. Christmas shopping was never this fun, even back in the 1950s!
December 18th, 2013 by Kelsey Eaton
Since we’ve made the transition over to Stonehurst, our new headquarters and showroom, we’ve had some of the most wonderful experiences with our customers. It’s been a pleasure for us to meet our guests in person and help them have a comfortable and easy Vermont furniture shopping experience. From helping our guests choose Vermont made decor and artwork for their homes, to assisting in the creation of the perfect custom furniture, or simply giving guidance for furniture upkeep; we love that our guests are excited about their shopping experience with us.
Jeannie and Jeff S., are two of our customers who made a trip out to Stonehurst to see our furniture up close before they made any decisions. Pleased with our showroom and the quality of our designs, they decided to purchase a bedroom set and new dining room furniture. The photos included in this blog were sent in by them, along with this lovely note:
“We had a wonderful experience at Vermont Wood Studios starting with our thoughtful and extensive meeting with Sean at your lovely Brattleboro showroom. Sean gave excellent advice to customize our order and kept in touch while the craftspeople made our bedroom and dining room furniture. It was delivered earlier than expected by the very capable ALB Transport in perfect condition. We are absolutely thrilled by the beauty and uniqueness of the bed, dressers, dining room table and chairs. We are happy to recommend both the furniture and customer oriented values of Vermont Wood Studios!
With much appreciation,
Jeannie and Jeff S.”
We really appreciate this positive feedback, and are proud to showcase Vermont wood furniture in such a grand location (& with such a great staff!). Our team is here at Stonehurst Monday-Saturday 9-5, and we’d love for you to visit to see for yourself! Visiting Stonehurst before you shop online makes the buying experience that much more comfortable, as you’ll see first hand the luxurious quality of our handcrafted furniture designs in a natural Vermont home setting.
December 16th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Christmas is drawing near. How did that happen so fast? If you’re like me and haven’t made much of a dent in your shopping yet, don’t panic. Stop by Stonehurst and experience the gift of “shopping relaxation”. Sounds like an oxy moron? Picture this: you get off Interstate 91 in Bernardston, MA and enjoy a scenic 6 mile drive along a lovely country road lined with old farmhouses, maple trees and scenic mountain vistas. Winding around the corner into Vernon, Vermont you come upon the snow-covered site of a lost ski area: Pine Top. It’s now the home of Vermont’s newest destination shopping experience, Stonehurst: an upscale furniture, home decor and fine arts showroom.
You turn in the driveway and tread up the entrance path to enter a 19th century homestead that’s been lovingly restored and renovated into a Vermont furniture store, showcasing authentic Vermont made home decor, gifts and artwork. Upon entry you are greeted by Liz who warmly welcomes you to Stonehurst and offers you a choice of hot chocolate, warm apple cider or a glass of chilled chardonnay. Now that’s what I call shopping relaxation.
What kind of Christmas gifts does a fine furniture store have to offer you ask? Here’s a partial list of the handmade home decor items you’ll find for sale at Stonehurst:
Take the stress out of your holiday shopping. Come shop with us at Stonehurst and remember what the holidays are really all about.
December 8th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Friday was a festive day at Vermont Woods Studios. We had our 8th annual company Christmas party and gift exchange. I picked up our tree at Rotary’s, annual Christmas Tree Sale during my Thursday night shift (the Rotary Club I belong to sells Christmas trees to raise money for it’s Gateway Scholarship Foundation). Ken brought the tree back to Stonehurst in his Beverly Hillbillies-style trailer and Douglas and our star sales staff put it up and decorated it. Looks pretty good, doesn’t it?
Of course the tree is local (from Craftsbury, VT) and it’s decorated with memorabilia from Pine Top, the lost ski area that our fine furniture and art gallery now sits upon. That’s a “rope tow” you see stretching from the bottom to the top of the tree and there are a couple stylish 1950s era skiers ascending it, courtesy of my thoughtful sister, Ann. There are also some beautiful handcrafted decorations (painted by our friend Donna Scully) which can be purchased in the showroom.
In the afternoon we had a potluck lunch with lots of delicious treats, including the most decadent brownies I think I’ve ever tasted. Following that (with a little work squeezed in between) was a Yankee swap of American made gifts (somehow Neville managed to take home the most coveted gift– a bottle of Jack Daniels).
After work we all reconvened at Terrazza Restaurant at the Greenfield Country Club in Greenfield, MA to finish off the days festivities. Does it sound like we do a lot of partying at Vermont Woods Studios? Well, we try to. Work hard, play occasionally. That’s not a bad recipe for success is it? Let us know on Facebook, what you do to celebrate Christmas with your colleagues.
November 19th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Sorry, I know I’m remiss. It’s been over a week since we officially opened our Stonehurst Fine Furniture Showroom and Art Gallery and you all have been very forgiving about my lapse in coming forward with a record of the event. Well, finally I’ve recruited Kelsey to help me round up some photos to happily share with you here. The ribbon cutting ceremony was by all accounts a success. Granted we never did persuade the governor to attend (I guess he does have other pressing matters) but we did have several VIPs (in our opinion) stop by including family, friends, neighbors, customers, furniture makers, artisans and other well wishers. Nina Markiw was kind enough to capture much of the activity in the images below so I’ll let them speak for themselves.
We want to thank everyone who participated, especially the good people at the Vermont Working Lands Initiative and our staff who worked so hard to pull the event off. It was not an easy feat but everything seemed to run like clockwork– even the early November weather. Let’s hope it’s a sign for the future of Stonehurst. Thanks Everyone!
November 12th, 2013 by Michelle Rooks
A couple of weeks ago I was walking with my family when I observed the little fellow in the above image making his way across our path. I had heard that Woolly Bears are prominent in folklore as predictors of winter. I thought I’d poke around and see what other indicators we have. Here’s what I found.
Woolly Bears (the larvae of Isabella Tiger Moths): the longer the middle brown band, the milder and shorter the coming winter; the shorter the brown band, the longer and more severe winter will be. The woolly has 13 segments to the length of his body–the same number of weeks there are of winter. From what I can tell of this picture, my little friend only has four solid-brown segments with a couple that are both black and white. Uh, oh.
Black Walnut trees: The thicker the green husk on the Black Walnuts the snowier the winter, because nature knows when the walnut needs more protection from the elements.
Onion skins: If thin, a mild winter is coming.
Corn: Husks are thick and tight and the silks are heavy — these are indicators of a bad winter.
Apple skins: If tough, winter may be as well.
Oak trees: If the ground of your yard, driveway, or porch is covered with acorns, folklore predicts that these same surfaces may be blanketed by snow this winter. This one makes me feel a little bit better about what my Woolly Bear friend told me. Some years we can hear the acorns pinging off the metal roof of our storage shed. This year I haven’t heard any.
The Month of August: For every fog there will be a snowfall. If the first week is unusually warm, the coming winter will be snowy and long. If a cold August follows a hot July, it foretells a winter hard and dry. We’re not far from the Connecticut River and a small area of beaver-created wetlands so fog is not unusual.
Spiders: Spinning larger than usual webs
Honey Bees: will store honey in mass in preparation for a severe winter
Yellow Jackets: build nests either high in trees or in the ground depending on what the coming winter has in store.
Squirrels: If tails are very bushy and/or if they’re more active than usual, a severe winter is on its way. Hmmm, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen an INactive squirrel.
Ant Hills: If they are unusually high in July, it will be cold and snowy. Darn, forgot to measure them last summer.
Thanksgiving Goose: If the breast bone of the Thanksgiving goose is red or has many spots, expect a cold and stormy winter; but if only a few spots are visible, expect a mild winter.
If the first snowfall lands on unfrozen ground, the winter will be mild.
Final assessment: I have no idea what the winter will bring us in Southern Vermont. I’m just grateful I’m only a short walk from Stonehurst!
November 8th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
We’re grateful to Mike Faher (journalist), Kayla Rice (photographer) and the editors of the local paper, The Brattleboro Reformer for today’s article on our Stonehurst gallery, Vermont’s newest fine furniture showroom. Mike and Kayla visited us at Stonehurst yesterday and followed up on a couple previous articles Mike had written about Vermont Woods Studios.
Today’s article focuses on the fact that besides being a fine furniture showroom and art gallery, Stonehurst is a mini Vermont welcome center, providing tourist information about the Brattleboro area and the rest of the state of Vermont. Check out Mike’s article on Reformer.com and stop by our open house and ribbon cutting ceremony tomorrow. We’ll make it worth the trip!
October 30th, 2013 by Kelsey Eaton
Now that summer is over and the initial excitement of moving to our new space is winding down, I thought it would be the perfect time to reflect on the progress we have made, and the extreme transformations that have occurred at Stonehurst in the last year! Stonehurst has been fully transformed from an old farmhouse, to a one of a kind Vermont made furniture and decor showroom–making the perfect place to showcase the true beauty of wood both inside and outside of the showroom. The photos you will see below document our journey at Stonehurst, with photos from before any renovation, during the construction process, and what it looks like now! I don’t want to say its the “final” look, because we are always transforming the decor and look of the space to highlight the particular furniture and art we are showcasing! You’ll just have to come see it for yourself!
Like what you see? Keep checking back for part 2 and 3 of our renovation reveal and tell us what you think on Facebook!
October 29th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
You just never know who you’re going to run into when you visit us at Stonehurst, Vermont’s newest fine furniture and art gallery. This morning we had a visit from Georgie Runkle and her sister. Georgie’s a plein air painter– she loves to be outside painting the scenes she comes across that speak to her heart. You may see her along Vermont’s rural by-ways painting a covered bridge, an old barn, a general store or a grand old home with rockers on a wrap-around porch.
Georgie left an original oil painting of a covered bridge with us as well as a print of a classic red Vermont barn. Both are available for purchase in our art gallery. Loryn is working on making Stonehurst artworks available in our online store as well so stay tuned. Visitors from Manhattan, Boston and beyond are always pleasantly surprised at the affordable prices they find for high end original artwork in Vermont’s art galleries.
Our neighbors, the Millers also visited us today. Paul and Mary Miller own an organic dairy farm, now being operated by its fourth generation of Millers. We can see the farm from our window– it’s a quintessentially beautiful Vermont farm, nestled along the Connecticut River. Besides Holstein cattle, the Millers raise golden retrievers. They have a well-deserved reputation for honesty, hard work and service to the community.
So don’t think you have to be shopping for furniture to stop by and see us at Stonehurst. There’s always someone interesting to talk to or a beautiful piece or artwork that will catch your eye. It’s worth the trip!