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!
February 3rd, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Vermont is the Green Mountain state and trust me, Vermonters are serious about forest conservation. If you live in New York or Boston or another metropolitan area you might be surprised though to learn that we have to fight hard every day to keep our forests clean, green and intact.
Dennis and I were at a meeting of the Vermont Wood Manufacturer’s Association last week and as always, forest conservation was high on the list of topics for discussion. Vermont furniture companies are working on creating a chain of custody for their furniture so customers will be able to trace it back from the furniture maker to the forest where it was sustainably harvested.
You may be thinking: “why do Vermonters think forest conservation is so important?” Well it’s not just because the Green Mountain Forest makes a $1 billion contribution to our economy. Or that the forest industry provides 9% of Vermont’s total manufacturing sales and employment for over 6000 Vermonters. It’s also that Vermonters love the wildlife and recreation the forest provides.
We see how forests are being decimated in tropical countries like Brazil, the DR Congo and Indonesia and we’re determined to do what we can to conserve forests (both our temperate forests and rainforests) for future generations. Here is just a short list of Vermont organizations working on the mission of forest conservation:
Another forest conservation group– one near to my heart, is the Vermont Center for Eco Studies. Researchers there are working to conserve habitat for our state’s migrating songbirds. As such their conservation efforts span both our temperate Vermont forests and the rainforest of the Dominican Republic where our state bird the Bicknell’s Thrush winters.
February 2nd, 2013 by Kelsey Eaton
The other morning I received an email from Peggy with the subject line, “a cause near and dear to our hearts.” I suspected immediately that it had to do with animals. Everyone at Vermont Woods Studios has a soft spot for animals, but I think Loryn and I would win the award for biggest bleeding hearts in the office. Ever since we purchased Stonehurst, Loryn and I have actively been trying to persuade Peggy to let us have a few animals (cats, dogs, rabbits, chickens, and I think we’ve thrown around the idea of having a horse or two). Although we haven’t quite convinced the whole team of this mini farm idea, Stonehurst will be a sustainable furniture showroom and nature center.
Once I stopped day dreaming about our Stonehurst farm, I opened the email and confirmed my suspicion that the cause had to do with animals. Peggy had sent me this call for help from the Stuck in Vermont Facebook page.
In addition to the call for help, Stuck in Vermont attached a video with the story behind the Gamache family and this cause. Here’s what I learned from the video: Junior and Joyce Gamache have a family-run organic dairy farm in St. Albans, Vermont. The Gamache family has a admirable passion for their animals (cows and cats alike), a passion for staying true to traditional farming, and a passion for their deep Vermont roots. This video made it an easy decision for us to donate to the Gamache barn cat fund; not only because we love cats, but because Vermonters help other Vermonters.
We hope that you’ll take a few minutes to watch the Stuck in Vermont episode about the Gamache family and their barn cats. The Franklin County Humane Society is going to help spay and neuter the Gamache barn cats, but they need to raise money to contribute to the costs. It costs $40 for each cat to get spayed/neutered, but you can contribute any amount via their inlu page. Donations will be accepted until Thursday, February 28th. You can also help spread the word by sharing the Stuck in Vermont’s Facebook post with your friends.
January 1st, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Happy 2013! We hope this year brings you all the best of good health, happiness and success. And we hope you’ll come share some of that with us in our new home at Stonehurst in Vernon, Vermont. 2013 will be a year of renovations at this 200 year old Vermont farmhouse as we work with J Coleman + Company Architects and Bob Furlone of American Construction to transform the property into a fine furniture showroom and nature center.
Our goal this year is to provide the destination shopping experience our customers (from Boston, New York and beyond) have been longing for. Stonehurst will become a place where eco-conscious homeowners can experience all aspects of Vermont handcrafted furniture, including the natural forests where it originates.
Check our blog and Facebook now and then as 2013 unfolds a new life for this iconic Vermont property. We’re planning to complete construction by June, just in time for a mid-summer Grand Opening. In the meantime, if you’re in the neighborhood, stop by with your toboggan this winter. We’ve got about a foot of snow now with more in the forecast. Either way, don’t let 2013 go by without a trip to Vermont!
Happy New Year
December 24th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to our customers, staff, furniture makers, shippers and friends! We’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support during this very challenging year at Vermont Woods Studios. We wish you all the best of health and happiness in the coming year. Check back often in 2013 to see the latest progress at Stonehurst, our future fine furniture showroom and nature center. Your encouragement and support are what make this step towards achieving our green mission possible!
December 17th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Woohoo! After 5 months of working through engineering and architectural plans for our sustainable Vermont furniture showplace, we have finally been approved by the state of Vermont to begin renovations at Stonehurst. YAY! It’s really not so easy renovating an historic property for commercial use in Vermont but we think it’s worth the trouble.
Vermont requires three permits for this kind of endeavor: a detailed environmental assessment called the Act 250 permit, a water and wastewater permit and a building permit. Together with supporting documentation, the three permits create a stack of paper about a foot high, requiring an army of expert consultants to complete them. And we’re not done. There are many caveats and contingencies that will have to be satisfied as we progress. Ken and I never imagined this extreme when we purchased the building. It was our architect, Jeremy Coleman who walked us through the maze of bureaucracy and red tape and patiently explained the codes and our compliance options.
At first we were in disbelief at the overwhelming extent of requirements and expense to comply with Vermont’s complex codes. There are several government agencies to deal with and get approval from. Sometimes they are at odds with each other. But as we finally get to a point where our plans have been approved and renovations can begin I guess we are beginning to see some method to the madness.
After all Vermont is a very special place for nature lovers and we want it to always stay that way. Detailed environmental and building regulations help to ensure that. Like many Vermont businesses, Vermont Woods Studios is built on a green mission. Ours is forest conservation and environmental preservation, so (in spite of the high cost of regulations) I can’t imagine finding a more suitable home for it than Stonehurst in Vernon, Vermont.
Stay tuned for more updates on our sustainable furniture showroom over the next couple months and plan to visit us for an open house in the early summer. Till then keep updated by subscribing to this blog or visiting our Facebook.
See you at the Grand Opening (TBA)!
November 25th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
When expanding, small retail businesses in Vermont often consider historically significant spaces such as downtown buildings or old farmhouses. ADA compliance is a major factor in determining the feasibility of such a move. Entrepreneurs should seek the advice of an architect or other professional during the earliest stages of planning.
Because many small businesses in Vermont are starting to consider expansion these days, I thought I’d share some of our experience with ADA Compliance at Stonehurst, our future Fine Furniture Gallery. In working with Jeremy Coleman + Company Architects and Bob Furlone of American Construction we’ve explored several alternatives to accommodating customers with disabilities. At first I began to call Jeremy Coleman “Dr. No”. He nixed every idea I had on layout and flow, because they weren’t ADA compliant. The codes aren’t intuitively obvious for a newcomer, but eventually I caught on.
The main challenge we have is that our 200 year old farmhouse sits 2 feet lower than the adjacent horse barn. Our plan is to connect the two buildings and transform them into a furniture showroom. But how will a person in a wheelchair be able to go from one building to the next?
We thought about a ramp, but there’s not enough room (a ramp cannot have more than 1″ rise in height per foot of length so that’s 24′ of ramp). Then we considered a 2′ high elevator lift, but it took up too much floor space and added $30,000 to our cost. Finally our builder, Bob Furlone suggested lowering the floor in the horse barn. It’s going to involve some excavating but we all feel it’s the best way to go.
We’re excited that soon we’ll be better able to accommodate the customers who contact us looking for customized furniture designed for wheelchair access. We’ve modified our dining tables many times by increasing the table height so a wheelchair can fit under the apron. Now those customers can come see us in person and enjoy the view of Vermont’s Green Mountain Forest while shopping comfortably from their wheelchair.
Stonehurst is still in the planning stages, while we wait for our Act 250 and other permits to be approved by the state of Vermont. After that happens, we’ll have a ground breaking ceremony and start digging. Stay tuned for more progress reports or follow us on Facebook for updates.