What are you doing this weekend for Memorial Day? If you're looking for something fun and fascinating come to the Green Mountain State for The Vermont Crafts Council's 20th Open Studios Tour.
The weather is supposed to be beautiful this weekend so it's the perfect opportunity to wander around rural Vermont and duck into hidden nooks and crannies where our state's best artists are practicing their craft.
If you love handmade furniture like we do, check out the Dorset area of Southern Vermont where you'll find some of our favorite furniture makers, including Steve Holman, Dan Mosheim, Bob Gasperetti and Bill Laberge. You'll be awed by their work, I promise. And this weekend is the best time to purchase handmade furniture and crafts because the artisans have all their samples on sale, sometimes at up to 50% off regular prices.
Open Studio maps and directions are available online and at Vermont's welcome center's located along I 89 and I 91. While you're there, check out the Vermont Woods Studios' furniture displays at the Welcome Centers and pick up our brochure.
Our own small showroom in Vernon, VT is open this Saturday from 9am-5pm but we close on Sunday and Monday to allow our staff to go out and enjoy the Open Studio Tour. We hope to see you there!
Guest Blogger: Dennis Shanoff
Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture
Love Vermont Maple Syrup? Check out Vermont’s Maple Producers Open House Weekend!
Vermont sure has a whole lot of trees and it is estimated that over 75% of the state is forested. And the biggest percentage of these trees just happens to be of the maple variety.
Well year round these abundant maple trees provide wood and lumber for a variety of products such as wood bowls, cutting boards, wood toys, and of course maple wood furniture.
But come February and March these maple trees are known to produce a very special treat, real Vermont maple syrup! And no wonder with so many sugar maple trees that Vermont is the largest producer of pure organic maple syrup (not a single ingredient added) in the United States. And Vermont’s perfect climate and soil conditions also play a part in our quantity and quality of maple syrup.
So with the maple sugar season in full swing, now is the time to plan to visit Vermont and see first hand what this sugaring is all about! And you can’t beat the upcoming Vermont Maple Open House Weekend (held March 24th and 25th) to experience maple syrup production up close. This is a public celebration of the maple syrup season in Vermont and a great opportunity to visit one or more sugarhouses and see just how the clear sap of the maple tree is transformed into a delicious golden syrup.
See you at the Sugar House!
I know you love the warm, early Spring weather but honestly, it's not so good for Vermont's maple syrup producers. This week's forecast is for mid-70s! That's unbelievable. I've never seen temperatures soar that high at this time of year.
Unfortunately, according to local sugarmakers, after 3 days of >60F weather the maple trees pretty much figure it's time to get to work making buds and leaves so they turn off the sap production and refocus their energy.
The good news is that syrup quality is very high and even if there's 25% less production this year than last, Vermont is likely to maintain it's status of being the Number 1 maple syprup producing state in the nation. Sweet!
Now… this weekend brings your chance to sample the world's best maple syrup. It's the Eleventh Annual Vermont Maple Open House Weekend, held at sugarhouses throughout Vermont, March 24 and 25. You can tour sugarhouses throughout the state, watch the syrup being boiled and try the many flavors and products as they're being made. There are approximately 2000 maple producers in Vermont so check out the Vermont Maple website for maps and directions to all the participating farms and towns.
The Vermont Crafts Council 19th Annual Open Studio Weekend is only a week away on May 28th & 29th 2011.
If you've never been, I can promise that touring around to Vermont's artisan studios will be a unique and fun way to spend a weekend.
In addition to Vermont's amazing furniture makers, you'll be able to visit glass blowers, jewelers, printmakers, potters, furniture makers, weavers, ironworkers, painters, sculptors, quilt makers and wood carvers.
I posted Bob Gasperetti's picture here because Bob is on of the best of the best Vermont Furniture Makers and he has the coolest studio. It looks like a quintessential Vermont barn and is set in the heart of the Green Mountains in Mt Tabor, VT just off Route 7, a bit north of Manchester Center. On the first floor of Bob's place he has a treasure trove of beautiful wooden planks, burls and slabs– from all types of different tree species that he's been collecting over the years. Pick the ones you like and head upstairs.
Bob's workshop is on the second floor, where he'll show you all the hand tools and machinery he uses to work his magic. Fascinating! Then up on the third floor is his showroom which houses his latest handcrafted furniture creations… perhaps:
- a Shaker style four poster bed and matching dressers, mirrors and chests
- a Vermont style, solid cherry dining table, chairs, buffet and hutch
- a home office set up with an executive desk, file credenza and bookcases
The craftsmanship you'll see in Bob's studio is like nothing you've ever seen before (unless you're already familiar with the tradition of Vermont furniture making, of course). Check out the precision of his dovetail joints and run your hand back and forth over his smooth finishes. You might have a hard time leaving empty handed… but the good thing is that he always has a great selection of pieces on sale and available to take home during Open Studio Weekend. Or you can work with Bob on a unique custom piece made especially for you.
Reaching for your calendar and map? The Council publishes a free tour guide featuring a map of all the participating studios, including Bob's. You can pick it up at any Vermont Welcome Center or print one online. Vermont is actually bigger than you think and there are so many artisans now that maps are available for each county. Enjoy the weekend and let's hope the sun participates too!