June 6th, 2013 by Kelsey Eaton
Summertime in Vermont is unlike anything else. I went to college here for 4 years before getting to enjoy a Vermont summer, and it certainly changed my perspective of this state. I’ve always known that Vermont was great for a variety of reasons: the sense of community, the foliage, the beer… but what I didn’t recognize before was the beautiful shift that happens when the weather transitions from the springtime rain (or snow) to the summertime sun. Anyone whose spent time here in the summer months knows what I’m talking about.
Vermont really comes alive in the summer. Besides the fact that you get to see your friends and neighbors that you might not have seen in a while (Vermonters are a lot like bears in that they love to hibernate through the colder months), you also get to do so many fun things that you can’t do here in the winter. You can even go outside without having to layer on your hat, boots, fuzzy mittens, parka, and snowsuit! ; )
‘Vermont Days’ is a reminder of just that. During ‘Vermont Days,’ which runs from June 8th to June 9th, Vermonters get to enjoy 2 days of free access to all of the things that make summers here so awesome: fishing, swimming, state parks, historical sites, and the VT history museum! You can’t really beat that.
For more information on Vermont Days 2013 (such as help finding a local fishing hot-spot, state park, or historical site near you) visit: www.vermontdays.com
Now gather your family or your friends, get moving, and get outside! : )
June 4th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Yesterday I traveled to the Paramount Theater in Rutland for Vermont’s First Economic Summit. Where else but Vermont could a small business owner like me elect to join the Governor, many of his Cabinet members and some of the most successful CEOs in the state to brainstorm about our economic future? New York? California? I don’t think so. Only in Vermont.
Anyway, about 125 people gathered to discuss the opportunities and challenges of doing business in America’s greenest state. On one hand our taxes are high, environmental regulations are onerous and the cost of living is barely affordable for most workers. But, somehow we love to live, work and play here anyway.
So we looked at why that is and listed a lot of benefits that Vermont has to offer: beautiful scenery, short pleasant commutes to work, relaxed pace, local economies, vibrant farmers markets and co-ops, fabulous farm to plate restaurants, skiing, hiking, fishing, camping, nice neighbors, working landscapes, clean lakes, rivers and streams, sustainable development and so on. Not to mention easy access to government officials!
Then the task was reconciling the pluses and minus’ of Vermont’s economics in terms of concrete fix-it strategies. We broke out into small groups to focus on: workforce development, the Vermont brand, Vermont infrastructure, Global competitiveness, Innovation and a few other topics. I was lucky to find myself working in the Vermont Brand group with Kathleen Wanner of the Vermont Wood Manufacturers Association VWMA, Lynette Kemp of Vermont’s Department of Taxes (we tried not to hold that against her) and Colleeen Leonard, Vermont’s Working Lands Policy Administrator from the Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets.
At the end of the day all of the small groups presented their ideas and recommendations to a plenary session and we discussed plans to follow through both formally and informally. Now our challenge is to make things happen in a way that preserves Vermont’s pristine rural character and brings economic prosperity to all it’s citizens. Think it’s doable?
You can read more about the Economic Summit on Vermont Digger.
May 26th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
This weekend we pause to honor all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice so that we may enjoy an American lifestyle of freedom and joy. Thought you might like to visit this Memorial Day Tribute. Kelly Strong’s poem, “Freedom Is Not Free” is provided along with lots of other poetry and information about our nations hero’s.
We hope everyone has good weather and a chance to get outside and enjoy family and friends this weekend. And we extend our sincere gratitude to all the men and women who are serving or have served in the military. You are our country’s true heros. For those serving far away from home, we pray for your safe and speedy return.
May 16th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
We’re always looking for an excuse to celebrate at Vermont Woods Studios and– lucky us– this week we had several good reasons. So last night we gathered at the Whetstone Brewery in Brattleboro to welcome Martin Corbin and Kelsey Eaton into the Woods and also… to observe American Craft Beer Week (yes, there is such such a thing).
I’ll post a couple short bios about Martin and Kelsey in the coming weeks but today I thought I should talk up Vermont’s fabulous craft beers so you’ll be able to get out and try them during Craft Beer Weekend.
According to the Vermont Brewers Association there are over 30 brewers in the Green Mountain State, from small specialty brewers like Lawson’s Finest Liquids in Warren,Vermont to nationally recognized brands like Long Trail in Bridgewater Corners, Vermont. “Maybe there’s something in the water. Maybe there’s something in the air. Maybe….. there’s something up here in the mountains. Vermont’s brewers are making magic with it.”
Let us know what your favorite Vermont beer is in the comments section below or on our Facebook!
May 3rd, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Foodies throughout Vermont are celebrating this weekend because Saturday is opening day for many of our farmers markets, including our favorite one– in Brattleboro. I tag along with Chef Annette who visits the market religiously every week to fill her fridge with fresh, organic fruits and veggies. I haven’t been cooking much lately so I just go for the freshly baked breads, local gourmet cheeses and… oh yes… lunch!
Lunch is the best part of Bratt’s Farmers Market. Take your pick: Indian, Malian, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, wood-fired pizza– you name it. Wash it down with steamy country coffee or a glass of the world’s best freshly squeezed lemonade.
The Brattleboro Farmers Market is located on Rte 9 in West Brattleboro. It’s open rain or shine, every Saturday from 9am to 2pm. Farmers will have “springtime harvests of new maple syrup, fresh greens, herbs, rhubarb, eggs and meats, garden plants and flowers, plus well-stored apples, root crops, preserves and jams. Artisans and bakers offer sourdough breads, pastries and treats (many gluten-free choices), granola, fruit wines and sparkling juices, jewelry, pottery, fabric arts, and soaps.”
This Saturday on opening day, there will be music and Maypole dancing by Andy Davis. There’s something for everyone. Call 802-254-8885 for more information. Hope to see you there!
April 22nd, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Greetings from Southern Vermont on Earth Day! We hope you’re celebrating — perhaps with some local organic food or by joining a community gardening project or cleaning up the roadside or whatever. Last year at Vermont Woods Studios we launched the Green Up Your Workplace Challenge where we used Facebook, our blog and some other physical and virtual venues to promote sustainability at work.
This year we’re swamped with our Stonehurst Fine Furniture Showroom project and haven’t had a chance to launch a 2013 Earth Day campaign. But in lieu of that, I can report that we’ve been very careful to use local lumber and building materials for Stonehurst and we’ve re-used, re-purposed and recycled as much of the original design and structure whenever possible. Stonehurst will truly be a green workplace.
We do have a couple modest Earth Day activities on tap today. We’ll be installing the bluebird nesting boxes we made last month out of a Norway Spruce tree that had to be taken down from Stonehurst in the Fall (because it was leaning on the top of the building). And we’ll be indulging in some local fare for lunch today… maybe from The Blue Moose Cafe or The Works in downtown Brattleboro. If you’re in the Southern Vermont area you know we’re lucky to have many fine farm to plate local eateries to choose from on Earth Day and every day. Maybe we’ll see you at one of them. Bon appetite and Happy Earth Day!
March 24th, 2013 by Kelsey Eaton
This video shows the Vermont landscape for an entire year from the view at the top of Mt. Philo in Charlotte, Vermont. Everyday, for an entire year, Timothy Cummings climbed to the exact same spot at the top of Mt. Philo to capture this beautiful timelapse. The 10 minute video moves slowly, but is continuously changing. Watch as the seasons change with a show-stopping view of Lake Champlain in the distance.
Mark Twain once said, “If you don’t like the weather in New England, just wait a few minutes.” His words come to life in the video as you can see the ground switch from snow covered, to brown, back to snow covered in a short period of time. This video shows some of the most beautiful days in each season, where the grass is as green as a crayon, the trees are sprinkled with golden leaves, or the landscape has turned into a winter wonderland.
If you’re anything like us, you can’t see enough beautiful videos and photographs of the Vermont landscape. For more gorgeous photos of Vermont’s four seasons, take a look at our “Vermont Beautiful” board on Pinterest.
What’s your favorite season in Vermont? Let us know in the comments!
March 23rd, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Why will hundreds of millions of people from all around the world be turning off their lights from 8:30-9:30pm tonight? It’s Earth Hour– a show of solidarity in focusing on the one thing that unites us all—our planet.
World Wildlife Fund has always been my favorite charity, because their method of conservation relies on strong partnerships with indigenous communities to create win-wins for both people and the environment. For 50 years they’ve been using science, research and human relations to save earth’s most cherished endangered species. WWF’s been instrumental in efforts to save tigers, panda bears, rhinos, elephants, gorillas and just about every other endangered species you can think of. If not for WWF, some of these species might already be extinct in the wild.
If you’re a like-minded conservationist, how about joining us and millions of people in 7,001 cities and towns across 152 countries and territories to switch lights off from 8:30-9:30 tonight as a massive show of concern for the environment?
You can get involved, by watching the Earth Hour video, starting your own Earth Hour event or sharing your Earth Hour photos and stories on Facebook. Join the Earth Hour global community here and be a part of the solution.
March 13th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
What do you love best about Vermont? Our maple syrup? Organic cheese? Skiing or snowboarding? Mountain climbing? Our farm to plate restaurants? Chances are whatever your favorites are in Planet Vermont, they are here for you because of Vermont’s working landscape. That’s the term Vermonters are using to refer to the Green Mountain state’s pastoral forests and fields– and there’s a concerted effort afoot to ensure they will remain sustainable.
Last year our Legislature passed the Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Initiative which allocated $1Million to “stimulate a concerted economic development effort on behalf of Vermont’s agriculture and forest product sectors by systematically advancing entrepreneurism, business development, and job creation.” A request for proposals to carry out the WL initiative was issued last year and yesterday was the deadline for submittals.
Hundreds of entrepreneurs from all across the state have offered ideas and projects that will eventually add up to a wave of renewed commitment and progress in sustaining our working lands. We at Vermont Woods Studios are among the group.
Our proposal seeks to use WL grant monies to close the final funding phase of renovating our Stonehurst Furniture Gallery and Nature Center. From a Working Lands perspective, one of the advantages of Stonehurst is that it tells the story of where Vermont made furniture comes from and how it’s made– sustainably.
Putting our Working Lands proposal together has been quite a process and regardless of whether we win an award, I think it’s been time well spent. I know the grant is highly competitive. It’s my understanding that the WL Board received some 268 proposals for a total request of over $12 million. They are working with only $1Million in funding, so the odds aren’t good.
But I feel our proposal answers an important need in providing a market for Vermont’s wood furniture and a destination that will attract customers from beyond our borders. We’ve been able to forge many new partnerships and collaborations as a result of the grant application process and that alone makes the effort worthwhile.
Decisions on grant awards are expected in April and we’ll keep you posted. Best of luck to everyone who has invested their time into this important project!
March 1st, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Our friends over at the Vermont Center for EcoStudies VCE and the Northern Woodlands have launched a contest for Naturalist of the Year. If you want to be in contention for the big prize (a subscription to The Northern Woodlands Magazine), you’d better get outside and TODAY. Look, I’m going to be honest with you. Judging from the response they’ve gotten so far you’re not likely to win this one. Birders are serious competitors! Have you seen that movie, “The Big Year” with Owen Wilson, Jack Black and Steve Martin? Well these guys vying for Vermont Naturalist of the Year remind me of them. Great competitors! It’s not just about winning a contest, either. Actually it’s too complicated for me to understand what it’s about, but I think it might be pretty deep.
Anyway, even if you don’t win Naturalist of the Year, with a reasonable amount of luck you might win VCE’s monthly photo-observation contest. That would be a good stepping stone, right? So head outside and scour Vermont’s “fields and fens, mountains and meadows, lakes and lawns”. Take artistic, scientific or any kind of “wow” photos– maybe an amazing sighting, a neat behavior, or whatever catches your eye and email it to VCE. Their readers will select winning photographs by who gets the most votes.
Let us know if you won by sharing your winning photos on our Facebook. And while you’re over at VCE check out the amazing project that is the Vermont Atlas of Life. It’s a citizen science project cataloging all Vermont’s breeding birds, butterflies, bumble bees, reptiles, amphibians, mammals and more. You’ll be helping to save our endangered species from extinction and making the world a better place!