Vermonters from every corner of the Green Mountain state are putting together relief programs to assist our neighbors in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and other areas ravaged by Hurricane Sandy. This week Vernon and Brattleboro residents have a couple opportunities to help:
- The Brattleboro Rotary Clubs are organizing assistance for Sandy victims in New Jersey. Rotarians are accepting items to donate. They should be brought in labeled boxes of: Clothing (coats, underwear, socks, sweat pants, sweatshirts, and sweaters), blankets, towels, bedding and linens, batteries, bottled water, non-perishable food, and personal rooming supplies. You may donate items at the Estey Organ Buildings (between Building 3 & 4) at 102 and 108 Birge St.) on Monday, Nov. 12, from 5 to 7 p.m. For more information, contact Marty Cohn at 802-221-4821.
- Brattleboro Cheese has also organized a drive to collect items for delivery to New York City and New Jersey victims. Donors can drop off the following items at the Cheese Shop on 30 Main St in Brattleboro: blankets, candles, flashlights, water, food (non-perishable), lights, flashlights, batteries, diapers and wipes, gloves and masks, rubber boots, shovels, cleaning supplies and bleach, trash bags, serving dishes and utensils, anything that produces heat, winter wear (jackets, hats, gloves, warm stuff).
- Adivasi, a Flat Street store that was battered by Tropical Storm Irene, and Flat Street Rising are also organizing relief efforts. For more information call 802-258-2231.
Stay tuned for more ways to help and check out Loryn Dion’s posts for updates on Vermont’s growing relief effort.
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.
Hurricane Sandy: What Vermont Can Do to Help
Just over a year ago, Hurricane Irene tore through Vermont leaving much of the state flooded, damaged and powerless. Many Vermonters lost their homes, their belongings or their loved ones because of the storm. Luckily, our neighboring states pitched in and offered disaster recovery assistance on the ground, collected supplies and supported us with monetary donations. While damages from Irene can still be seen across the state, we’re much stronger thanks to the help we received from our fellow New Englanders and Northeastern states.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Vermont was luckily spared minus a few thousand power outages, which is nothing compared to the devastation found in other Northeastern states. With over 8 million without power, as much as $50 billion in damages, over 3 feet of snow, and a death toll of 80 and rising, Superstorm Sandy is the costliest Hurricane to hit the Northeastern states in history. Many coastal communities are still underwater and much of the area is in the dark.
As Vermonters, it’s time to pay it forward and help out those who helped us during dark times. Vermont Woods Studios is shocked by the photos and stories that are popping up all over the news and we’ve been scouring the web looking for opportunities to lend a hand. It’s still very early to assess what kind of assistance is needed, but here’s a list of helpful links that have some great information on what you can do.
- VT Flood Response – Part of the Vermont Community Foundation, this website started back when Irene hit to help Vermonters find necessary resources. The site is again working to help those affected by disaster, but this time they’re reaching out to our neighbors. Check out their blog for up to the minute information on volunteer opportunities and resources for those affected in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York.
- Volunteermatch.org – VolunteerMatch has compiled a great list of information about assisting with Hurricane Sandy. This site also has a great database to find volunteer opportunities in your area. You can search by cause, age group or location and find a program that’s right for you.
- American Red Cross – The American Red Cross is a major hub in disaster recovery. While the money you donate is not guaranteed to go to Hurricane Sandy victims (donations go into a fund for any disaster recovery effort), the money will help someone in need.
- Food Banks in CT, NJ, and NY – Donating to a food bank is a great way to donate to victims of a storm when you are not able to physically lend a hand. Food Banks in the affected areas are working hard to feed those who lost their homes and belongings to Sandy.
When a disaster like this happens, especially one so close to home, our first response is usually to jump in and lend a hand on the ground or bring supplies to those in need. Right now, many areas are still in disaster mode coming out of this storm. Emergency crews are working tirelessly to help those in danger. If those areas were flooded with inexperienced volunteers or with mass amounts of unnecessary supplies, it would make the jobs of rescue workers even more difficult. Until the major areas affected are in recovery mode, there is not much that the rest of us can do except donate what money we can and send thoughts and words of support.
Vermont Woods Studios expresses our condolences to families affected by Hurricane Sandy. Since we have customers and employees with families in those regions, we feel a special need to offer our help and support. While we have not organized anything yet, we are currently looking for ways to volunteer or raise money to support the victims of the storm. Keep an eye on our blog as we update with new resource links as they become available and opportunities for you to give back.
We are feeling very lucky this morning, waking up to intermittent rain and occasional gusts of wind from the remnants of Hurricane Sandy. Although tens of thousands of Vermonters lost power last night, thankfully Vermont has escaped the worst of the storm. As pain from last year’s devastating Hurricane Irene has yet to subside, it makes me wonder if perhaps Mother Nature has a heart after all.
Our thoughts and prayers are going out to all our friends, family and customers who are today going through the kind of nightmare we woke up to last year on August 21, 2011. In the coming days we will be thinking of you and looking for ways to help. Vermonters have a tradition of reaching out in times of need and we will be supporting our state’s efforts to send relief to hurricane victims in neighboring areas. Stay tuned for details as they evolve.
Hurricane Sandy started tip-toeing in to Vernon this morning bringing a spooky Halloween greeting to everyone at Vermont Woods Studios. It’s been frightening hearing so much news about her colossal size and brutal behavior! We had a hard time focusing on our work, even though it was pretty calm and quiet all morning. It was like being in a Halloween fun house: scary because you never know when a demon is going to all of a sudden jump out in front of you.
By 2pm today, the rain started and winds began to pick up so we decided to make a run for it. The office will be closed for the rest of today to allow our staff time to hunker down and prepare for the worst. Hopefully Hurricane Sandy is more bark than bite and we’ll be back in business tomorrow. In the meantime, our website is operating just fine so you can still place orders online safely and securely. If you have any questions about your order, email email@example.com and we will get back to you as soon as we can. Stay safe!
If I was a cow and you gave me a choice of where I could live, I’d seriously consider Vermont. Wouldn’t you? I mean, you’d think this guy has it pretty sweet… rolling pastures with a brook running between them, expansive views of the Connecticut River, lush meadows with an endless supply of green grass to feast on. What more could a steer ask for?
But you know what they say about the other side of the fence. For this poor guy, it’s a farm stand full of freshly picked corn, squash, tomatoes and other succulent veggies. It stands there all day long, fully stocked– and abundantly available with nothing in between but a barbed wire fence and an honor system.
Can you imagine the frustration? I don’t know if I could live like that. There’s not much else to do that might provide a distraction either. A couple times a day a train goes by. Once or twice a week the Cabot truck comes to get milk from the holsteins across the street but other than that, it’s pretty quiet in Vernon, Vermont.
So I think everyone in town cheered this guy on when he finally made his move. Who could blame him? I hope he had plenty of time to indulge before anyone noticed. I don’t know what the eventual consequences were, but from the looks of things it really didn’t matter much to him.
Like this post if you think this steer should eat for free.
If you’ve called us at Vermont Woods Studios to ask about fine furniture, place an order or just find out more about our company, there’a a good chance you talked to Elizabeth Francese. Liz and Heather Gantt are our “front office” Sales and Customer Service crew, working with customers on the phone, via online chat, email and in person.
It’s hard to believe that Liz has been here for 4 months! And I’m just now getting around to introducing her to you. Well, it’s not entirely my fault since she (like everyone else around here) isn’t all that crazy about being in the spotlight. It’s possible, actually that she’s been dodging me about this blog post.
Anyway, if you’ve been working with her on a furniture order, you already know how personable, diligent and smart Liz is. She’s a quick study and that’s good because the learning curve is pretty steep around here and the stakes are high. For example, if your furniture has already been crafted and you’re waiting for shipping and delivery, Liz is the logistics wizard who makes all that happen. She coordinates between you, your craftsman and our shipper to ensure your furniture arrives on time and in pristine condition. It can be a high-pressure job but she’s up to the task and we’re getting a lot of feedback from happy customers who are pleased with the results.
While introducing Liz though, maybe I should share a few things you won’t already know. Well… she’s a graduate of Keene State College with a BA in English and a minor in art. While in school Liz volunteered for alternative Spring Break projects in New Orleans (post Hurricane Katrina, painting houses in poverty stricken areas) and Moab UT (removing invasive species from public lands and making trails).
Locally she’s volunteered in many environmental projects, including cleaning the Ashuelot River and participating in the Solar Festival. Oh and I don’t want to forget this little known fact– Liz used to work at the Fantastic Umbrella Factory, which sounds like a fascinating place you might want to visit one of these days.
So that’s the inside scoop on Liz Francese. She’s been an extremely competent and fun-loving addition to our group and we’re feeling very lucky to have her here at Vermont Woods Studios. Next time you call, ask Liz what she’s up to and how her day is going. You’re sure to get an interesting answer!
We’re right at the height of leaf-peeping season in Vermont. If you’re planning a trip you might want to check out Vermont’s Foliage report or our friend Rachel Carter’s article, “Best Fall Drives in Vermont” to gather travel tips about the fine art of leaf-peeping.
This year leaf peepers have had some rain but don’t let that dampen your spirits. Escape the weather by ducking into Vermont’s many fine art galleries! Last weekend I visited one of the best, The Edgewater Gallery in the heart of downtown Middlebury, VT. Edgewater is elegant both inside and out. The setting overlooks lovely Middlebury Falls on Otter Creek. If you haven’t strolled along the river’s banks and wound your way in and out of Middlebury’s charming downtown area, you’re missing out! I promise, it’s worth the trip.
Inside Edgewater Gallery you’ll enjoy the creative works of some of Vermont and New England’s most talented artists and artisans. You’ll find something for everyone: many diverse paintings, sketchings, ceramics, pottery, glass works, jewelery, fabric, wooden furniture and more. The prices range from affordable to expensive. But even the priciest pieces are far less than you would find in Manhattan– and of no smaller stature either!
You can find the inside scoop on Edgewater’s collections on the current shows section of their website or on their Facebook. And speaking of Facebook, let us know about your favorite Vermont Fine Art Galleries on our Vermont Fine Furniture Facebook. Thanks and happy travels.
Which Type of Hardwood Furniture Is Best For Your Bedroom, Dining Room or Home Office?
If you’re looking for hardwood furniture, there’s a good chance you’re narrowing your wood choices down to the most popular and plentiful species grown here in America such as cherry, maple, oak and walnut. These prized hardwoods are grown sustainably here in the USA with Vermont and New England being a favorite source for many woods.
We like these species because they are well suited to fine furniture making by virtue of their color, strength, hardness, grain patterns and workability. They are also readily obtainable in our local and regional area, making them a sustainable choice. Often our furniture makers will offer two-tone combinations of these hardwoods creating a custom, artisan look and feel to your furniture.
The photo above shows Copeland Furniture’s SoHo Bedroom Set in solid maple and walnut hardwoods. This striking two-tone wood combination has become a best seller in our metropolitan markets, particularly Manhattan, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Homeowners appreciate the modern, contemporary sensibilities of the SoHo solid hardwood design as well as the fine detail and craftsmanship that goes into every custom, made to order piece.
SoHo furniture is also offered in a two-tone walnut and cherry design. Which of these hardwood combinations would look best for your bedroom furniture?
Interior design is not a new concept. For decades, people have been making a living by creating works of art with furniture and accessories as their palette and empty rooms as their canvas. It is probably not a surprise that fashioning the perfect design for the inside of your home is crucial to how you feel and react in your environment. Interior design is all about aesthetics. It’s about taking items that are visually appealing and combining them with your personality to create something unique and personal to you.
With consumers becoming more conscious about their impacts on our environment, it is no shock that people are starting to ask for green, eco-friendly furniture and building materials for their homes. Interior designers are capitalizing on this trend by offering environmentally friendly alternatives when creating a design for a client’s home. Now this begs the question, what exactly does sustainable interior design mean?
Basically, the difference between interior design and sustainable interior design is the difference between beauty and beliefs and how much they mean to you. Sustainable (or green) interior design can probably be broken down into 4 major components:
- *Air Quality
- *Energy Efficiency
- *Building Materials and the Three R’s (Recycling, Re-purposing, Reusing)
- *Economic Impact
Air quality is very important to interior design. The biggest decision a designer has to make is choosing pieces that are free of chemicals that can make people sick or pollute our environment. This usually means watching out for volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) that can be found in paints, primers, glues, ink and cleaning products. Luckily, you can now buy furniture that uses glues and finishes that contain little or no VOC’s.
The area of energy saving interior design techniques is very broad. It can mean anything from choosing light bulbs that use less energy (like LED) to choosing products that are produced in America to reduce the energy it takes to ship them.
We’ve all heard some form of “The Three R’s”. Now-a-days it feels like there are many “r” words related to conservation. When it comes to green interior design, it is important to remember to recycle, re-purpose and reuse. Choose materials that have been recycled, like furniture made from recycled plastic. Remember that there are many products that are made by re-purposing old materials, like Reclaimed Barnwood Furniture. And always keep in mind things that can be used again before you toss them out.
When you purchase items without checking where they are sourced from, you risk supporting imported goods, rather than supporting the local American worker. Always research where your furniture and building materials come from and support American jobs and our local economy by buying American-made.
Creating a sustainable interior design concept doesn’t mean that you have to be 100% green, but you can make smart choices that will benefit the environment in the long run. You also don’t have to overhaul your entire home to start a green interior design. Make small changes around your home, like opting for new cleaning products or donating that department store furniture piece and trade it in for one made in America that has little to no VOC’s. These little changes will someday make a big difference.
If you are an interior designer, check out the discounts we can offer on our Vermont-made fine furniture.