How Social Media Can Save the Monarchs

Last updated on March 12th, 2018 at 04:46 pm

#MonarchsVT
Whenever we post about our work with Monarchs, we’ll be using the hashtag #MonarchsVT!  (For twitter, FB, etc) Please post your photos, stories, and butterfly inspiration using the same hashtag to raise awareness for this cause!

Monarch Butterflies are incredible. These delicate creatures weigh less than a gram, but travel thousands of miles every year in an extraordinary, multi-generational migration journey. They’re beautiful, well known for their bright orange and black wings, and they are a staple of American childhood. Many school children learn about metamorphosis through watching Monarchs grow from a caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly. They are one of the most popular butterflies in the world…so why are they dying? 

Despite how loved they are, Monarchs are in trouble, and the evidence is everywhere. A few years ago, we’d have these wonderful butterflies all around our gardens and backyards, but this year we’ve only spotted one. Monarch populations have plummeted more than 90% in the last 20 years, and that’s sad news. (Read more about Monarchs and the reason for their disappearance here.)

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Milkweed: The Elixr of Life for Monarch Butterflies

But we still have hope. 

This is where social media comes in. If you’ve been keeping up with us, you’ve probably noticed an influx of posts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and even Pinterest about our passion for Monarchs. While it’s all good fun to share photos and stories, it’s even more important to raise awareness about this pressing issue.

You can help save the monarchs by getting active and sharing your work on social media! Picking milkweed & planting the seeds or sending them to organizations like Monarch Watch is a great first step. Contacting your local legislators, getting involved with local environmental groups that work to save Monarchs, and writing to your local papers is even better!

We’re on a mission to bring Monarchs back to Vermont, and we hope that you will join us! Use the hashtag #MonarchsVT to share your activity with us, and the world! We’ll always follow you back & re-share. If you need help finding milkweed or seeds, send me an email at kelsey.eaton@vermontwoodsstudios.com and I’ll gladly help you out.

Just get out there and make your voice heard! Together, we can bring back Monarchs. Sign petitions, write to the companies who are responsible for their disappearance, write to your local government, get active! The Monarchs need us now more than ever.

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Monarch Butterflies & Milkweed Restoration

Last updated on November 10th, 2017 at 02:08 pm

Monarch Butterfly on Milkweed
A Monarch butterfly on milkweed.  Photo by Elizabeth Howard, founder of Journey North.

The Mind-Boggling, Magical Journey of a Monarch

Monarch butterflies migrate from Vermont (and other northern regions) 2500 miles south to Mexico every year at this time.  In the spring and summer they return- that’s an annual journey of 5000 miles! The butterflies migrate to the exact same tree each and every year.  In order to make the trip without literally falling apart, they reproduce 4 times en-route so it’s actually the 4th generation that returns to Mexico every winter.

The Monarch Population is in Free Fall

Last month I wrote about monarchs and the 90% drop in their population over the last few years.  “In human-population terms it would be like losing every living person in the United States except those in Florida and Ohio” according to Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity.  The free fall is largely due to recent decimation of the butterfly’s habitat and food source, milkweed.

Milkweed and Monarch Butterflies | Vernon, Vermont
I recruited (somewhat skeptical) staff members at Vermont Woods Studios to help collect milkweed seeds.  We gathered over 1000 seedpods and separated the seeds from their fuzzy parachutes.

A Milkweed SeedBank is Born in Vermont

After researching the Monarch’s plight, I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t at least try to do something to help.  So last weekend I spent much of my time wandering through an empty lot on Rt 142 in Vernon, collecting milkweed seeds.  I recruited Dennis, Kelsey and Nina to help me.  Realtor, David Berrie of Berrie Real Estate in Newfane, VT owns the lot and he was kind enough to allow us to “take all the milkweed you want!”  I think that ended up being about 1000 seedpods.  The Nature Institute estimates there are an average of 226 seeds in each milkweed pod so we probably harvested around a quarter of a million seeds.  We’ll keep them on hand for awhile in case anyone in the area would like to plant some.  Otherwise we’ll donate the seeds to Monarch Watch, an organization that maintains a free milkweed seed bank.

Milkweed Seed Bank at Stonehurst
Even Pepper pitched in as we worked well into the night hours separating seeds.

Sowing the Seeds:  A Trial Run

Sowing Milkweed Seeds at Malhana Farm
Annette and Fia helped me with a trial run at Malhana Farm.  It was a beautiful Fall day for planting milkweed!

Annette volunteered to sow milkweed seeds in a couple of her pastures at Malhana farm and I did the same in the meadows at Stonehurst.  Now we wait until the spring to see what comes up.

I hope you’ll think the monarch’s mind-boggling, magical phenomenon is worth conserving!  Please spread the word and join scientists, conservationists, teachers, road crews and nature lovers in planting milkweed in backyards, gardens, fields and highway medians. Need seeds?  Let me know on Facebook, or email me (Peggy@VermontWoodsStudios.com).

To learn more, visit the Journey North website, founded by Elizabeth Howard of Norwich, VT or any of these organizations that are working hard to keep the Monarch alive:

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Create a Cozy Breakfast Nook with Wood Dinette Sets!

Last updated on August 15th, 2018 at 02:36 pm

Wood Dinette Sets

Whether you’re sipping on your favorite hot coffee and filling out a crossword puzzle on a rainy weekday, or gathering with your family for eggs & toast on a Sunday morning, a breakfast nook is the perfect place to start your day. There are plenty of ways to create the cozy, comfortable look of a breakfast nook, but we’ve made it even easier. Our solid wood dinette sets are made to upgrade your dining experience from being simply food focused, to having a chic, intimate atmosphere while you relax and enjoy yourself.

Make meals a time that everyone in the family looks forward to all day long by adding one of our small kitchen dinette sets to the mix. Casual dining is a part of every-day life so why not enjoy it in style? Each set is finely crafted in Vermont using sustainably harvested, eco-friendly materials and built to last a lifetime.

Ordering your dinette furniture set together affords you our best discounts and very lowest discount prices. All sets are available in natural solid cherry hardwood and and in a selection of high quality wood stains. Some are also available in maple hardwood. Our new selection of small wood dinette sets, ranging from traditional to modern contemporary, offer something to suit everyone’s needs while providing a versatile seating area.

Browse our dinette sets and create a great place to enjoy your morning breakfast, read a book, or sit down and help your kids with their homework!

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Experiencing Vermont’s Culture Through Wood Furniture

Last updated on August 15th, 2018 at 02:36 pm

|Today’s post is part 4 of a series on Vermont Woods Studios written by Vermont author, Peggy McKay Shinn. Peggy writes full-time and lives in Rutland, Vermont, with her husband, daughter, and one remaining cat. Visit her website and check out Peggy Shinn’s books, including Deluge: Tropical Storm Irene, Vermont’s Flash Floods, and How One Small State Saved Itself. |

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Steve Holman works on a unique artisan furniture piece.

Smaller furniture makers like Dan Mosheim and Steve Holman are equally impressed with Farabaugh and her company.

They appreciate that Vermont Woods Studios has helped them with outreach. Most have their own websites but don’t have the time or resources to keep their names at the forefront of Internet searches. As Steve Holman points out, “Living in Vermont, almost all my market is elsewhere. Reaching that market has been an issue.” Holman is grateful to Farabaugh for her marketing efforts.

Chad Woodruff likes the two-way relationship he has with Vermont Woods Studios. He can ask Farabaugh to sell some of his furniture or she can ask him for a custom piece. The craftsmen are also happy that Vermont Woods Studios offers their furniture without any upfront cost.

“Peggy doesn’t charge me anything unless she sells something so, what the hey, I’ll let her have at it,” commented Dan Mosheim.

***

Holman is especially impressed with Stonehurst, which he first visited last fall when it opened. On a steep hill in Vernon, with a view of the Connecticut River, the 100-acre property has served many purposes, including as a ski area called Pinetop in the mid-20th century. Now, in the renovated barn, cherry and oak dining sets, maple side tables with walnut inlaid leaves, Shaker-style beds, walnut desks, and landscape paintings by local artists decorate three airy, bright rooms. Vermont Woods Studios staffers work in the attached restored farmhouse — on computer tables made by Ken Farabaugh. The property was restored in part with a Vermont Working Lands Initiative, which helped pay for the bluestone walkway, among other features.

Outside, customers can sit overlooking the hillside field/old ski slope with iPad (for shopping) in one hand, picnic lunch in the other. Or they can hike a forest trail that Farabaugh wants to turn into an interpretative walk about the Vermont woods. Inside, customers can touch the tables, sit in the chairs, measure the entertainment consoles, debate over style, and covet every piece of furniture on display.

“They made an effort to make it a destination, not just a place to sell furniture,” said Holman.

That statement perhaps best sums up the company’s real mission: that purchasing from Vermont Woods Studios is as much about experiencing Vermont and its culture of neighbor helping neighbor as it is about acquiring new furniture.

 

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Our Guide to Picking the Right Dining Table Shape

Last updated on January 2nd, 2018 at 03:14 pm

Right Dining Table Shape
Our Sarah Trestle Dining Table is a great choice for a rectangle dining table shape!

Selecting the Right Dining Table Shape for your Home Décor

With the holidays around the corner (can you believe it?) I figured what better time to talk about dining tables! We have all of these shapes and sizes, but how does that apply to your dining space? What will look best in your room and will you be able to accommodate the right amount of guests? There’s lots to consider when considering the right dining table shapre, and I’ll admit, it can get a little confusing trying to guess what kind of table is best for your situation. Hopefully this post can help to remove some of the mystery about what you’re getting when you order one of our fine, hardwood dining tables.

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Roundup: Our 5 Favorite Copeland Buffets

Last updated on May 28th, 2019 at 10:38 pm

Copeland Buffets, the unsung hero of the dining room.

While dining tables and chairs get most of the glory–our Copeland Buffets are worthy contenders for most beautiful and functional in the room. The following 5 Copeland Buffets are a handpicked selection of my favorite pieces, ones that I believe will add a sleek, modern touch to any dining room while still being entirely functional. The naturally smooth wood and subtle details will fill your dining area with unmatched beauty and elegance, and they’re sustainable to boot!

Copeland Buffet

1) Copeland  Audrey Buffet

Our Copeland Audrey Walnut buffet features 2-doors and 3-drawers. It’s handcrafted in Vermont with real solid American Black Walnut wood.  It’s sleek styling and  dramatic geometric lines makes it the perfect piece for a modern dining room, and it’s spacious design is perfectly practical for everyday use.

Copeland Buffets

2. Sarah Shaker Copeland Buffet

Our Sarah Shaker buffet is ideal for the contemporary dining room. The cherry wood makes it practical and beautiful for almost any decor style, and it’s hefty build gives it an unsurpassed durability. This piece is traditional and stylish, perfect for storing your favorite dishes, silverware, or linen! Handcrafted in the Green Mountains, this solidly stylish piece is built to last for generations.

 

Copeland Buffets

3) Catalina 2 Door Cherry Copeland Buffet

Chic and compact, the Catalina Cherry buffet features an open interior and adjustable shelving. It’s custom handmade with American Cherry wood in a natural finish or one of 5 stains! This piece combines the clean, unadorned lines of the international modernists with organic and geometrical forms. It’s subtle, unassuming, and absolutely beautiful!

 

Copeland Buffets

4) Catalina 2 Door, 5 Drawer Buffet

This Copeland Buffet is a true show stopper. It’s absolutely gorgeous, with American Black Walnut wood and daring geometric lines.  Showcase your collection of fine wines and open the solid wood doors to reveal your finest linens and china. This piece is 100% American made and is crafted from sustainable wood. So while you impress your friends with it’s incredible style and build, feel good knowing that it’s also helping the environment!

Copeland Buffets

5)  Kyoto Walnut 4-Door Buffet

The Kyoto buffet is a minimalists dream. Featuring two doors and a solid construction, this piece could fit in any dining room. It’s Walnut Wood gives it a sophisticated feel. This piece perfectly matches the Kyoto dining table and chairs, a set that is as stylish as it is versatile.

Which of these beautifully handcrafted Copeland buffets do you love the most? Let us know in the comments section or send us a tweet!

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Vermont’s Monarch Butterflies: Help Bring Them Back!

Last updated on April 20th, 2016 at 10:19 am

Monarch Butterflies in Vermont

Click on the National Geographic video above to learn about the amazing 2000 mile annual migration of the Monarch butterfly. 

Vermonters over 10 years old will remember the colorful Monarch butterflies that used to grace our fields and backyards every summer and fall.  But unfortunately, many young children have never even seen a Monarch.  What a shame!  I remember when Kendall and Riley were in grammar school we used to bring their entire class to a field across from the school playground and every child would find a Monarch caterpillar to watch as it went through metamorphosis (the inset above shows Kendall with a Monarch that has just emerged from it’s chrysalis and is waiting for it’s wings to dry before it’s first flight).  That was only 10 years ago and now there’s nary a Monarch to be found in all of Vermont.

Could Vermont’s state butterfly be heading toward extinction?

Recently a legal petition was filed seeking Endangered Species Act protection for monarch butterflies.  “Monarchs are in a deadly free fall.  The 90 percent drop in the monarch’s population is a loss so staggering that in human-population terms it would be like losing every living person in the United States except those in Florida and Ohio” said Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity.

Milkweed: The Monarch’s Elixir of Life

Plant Milkweed for the Monarchs
Monarch caterpillars feed exclusively on milkweed and it is the only plant on which the butterflies will lay their eggs. But over the last several years, milkweed has been eradicated by the increased use of herbicides on genetically modified corn and soybean crops (GMO’s).  This is the only field of milkweed I could find in Vernon today.

“Fewer monarch butterflies are crossing North America to winter in Mexico, and the biggest culprit seems to be the disappearance of milkweed in the United States” according to Lindsay N Smith’s recent article in National Geographic.  “Although illegal deforestation and severe weather have contributed to the decline, research… suggests that the overwhelming concern is U.S. farms’ large-scale use of herbicides that destroy milkweed.”

It’s hard to believe that milkweed has nearly disappeared from Vermont’s landscape in just a few short years.   In the Green Mountain State, corn crops are everywhere and along the edges of those fields, we used to find lots of Monarch caterpillars feeding on milkweed.  Not anymore.  The Midwest has lost much of it’s milkweed too, as more land is being planted with (GMO) corn and soy to meet the world’s increasing demands for biofuels.

Monsanto and Round Up

The Monarch’s decline is being driven by the widespread use of genetically engineered crops that are made to be resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, a uniquely potent killer of milkweed, the monarch caterpillar’s only food. The dramatic surge in Roundup use with Roundup Ready crops has virtually wiped out milkweed plants in corn and soybean fields.

Sean, Douglas, Loryn and Michelle are preparing milkweed seeds to be donated to the seedbank at Monarch Watch.
Sean, Douglas, Loryn and Michelle are preparing milkweed seeds to be donated to the seedbank at Monarch Watch.

Plant Milkweed

Those of us who eat corn or soy (or any of the foods that contain them) can’t very well blame the farmers for milkweed’s eradication. So scientists, conservationists, and butterfly enthusiasts are encouraging road crews and property owners to grow the plant in their own yards, gardens and along roadsides.  Are you up for that?  If you need seeds, visit us at Stonehurst and we’ll give you as many as you’d like.  You can also contact the Monarch Watch Seed Bank where you can donate or request seeds.  Directions for planting milkweed seed can be found at LiveMonarch.com.  Vermonters can support Elizabeth Howard and her Journey North organization by reporting their sightings online.  Together and with a little help from Mother Nature we can bring back the Monarchs!

Let us know your thoughts on Facebook or in the comments section below.

 

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Lunch with Lyndon Furniture

Last updated on August 15th, 2018 at 02:37 pm

Lyndon Furniture is Best Seller at Stonehurst
Douglas Fletcher & Dennis Shanoff of Vermont Woods Studios and Christine Drown & Brian Ball of Lyndon Furniture.  These guys work incredibly hard to promote Vermont’s sustainable furniture economy.  Today they’re taking a lunch break at Brattleboro’s favorite eatery: the Whetstone Station.

Lyndon Furniture was one of our very first partners when we started Vermont Woods Studios as an online fine furniture store.  That was nearly 9 years ago and since then we’ve created a close partnership with Brian Ball, Dave Allard, Christine Drown and the whole Lyndon Furniture crew.

Truth is, I started Vermont Woods Studios out of a passion for forest and wildlife conservation.  I really didn’t know anything about furniture.  But Dave Allard, who owned Lyndon Furniture at the time, took us under his wing.  He too, had grown up loving Vermont’s woodlands and like me, he chose a line of work built around forest conservation.

Lyndon’s sustainable, handcrafted wood furniture fills a special niche in our new fine furniture gallery at Stonehurst.  Lyndon’s bedroom, dining, living room and home office furniture is known for it’s simple elegance and classic American shaker style.  It pairs beautifully with other elements of Vermont home decor including Simon Pearce glassware, Hubbardton Forge lighting and JK Adams wooden tableware.

Today we celebrated our strong partnership with Lyndon Furniture over a handcrafted harvest table full of locally grown food at Brattleboro’s Whetstone Station.  We are looking forward to the next 9 years of collaboration and success with our friends from Lyndon, Vermont!

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Visit the Vermont Institute of Natural Science VINS

Last updated on May 4th, 2018 at 11:00 am

Vermont Institute of Natural Science VINS
Before your visit to VINS, check out their calendar of events so you can schedule a critter feeding or raptor show.

I’m not sure how summer slipped away so quickly, but there’s no getting around it… leaf peeping season is upon us!  Thousands of visitors will soon be motoring around the Green Mountain state enjoying the brilliant colors our maple trees are dressing up in.  If you’re one of those lucky leisure travelers be sure to add the Vermont Institute of Natural Sciences VINS in Quechee (near Woodstock) VT to your itinerary.

Vermont Institute of Natural Science VINS. Helping nature stay in balance.
In addition to live raptor shows, raptor habitats, nature trails and playgrounds, you’ll find many interesting exhibits like this one on helping nature stay in balance.

I started volunteering at VINS when Kendall and Riley were in the Vernon Elementary School, so over 15 years ago.  They had a wonderful program called ELF (Environmental Learning for the Future) where parents would come into their childrens’ classrooms and give hands-on training using various wildlife artifacts we managed to come up with.

Vermont Institute of Natural Science VINS. Wendy runs the beautiful and interesting gift shop at Vermont Institute of Natural Science VINS.
Wendy runs the beautiful and interesting gift shop at Vermont Institute of Natural Science VINS.

Today the VINS mission is mainly focused on bird conservation: “motivating individuals and communities to care for the environment through education, research, and avian wildlife rehabilitation.”  It’s a “nonprofit, member-supported, environmental education, research and avian rehabilitation organization headquartered at the VINS Nature Center in Quechee, Vermont. Open year-round, the 47-acre campus, adjacent to Quechee State Park, features 17 state-of-the-art raptor enclosures, 4 exhibit spaces, 2 classrooms, and ¾ miles of interpretive nature trails. VINS places a priority on making high-quality, compelling, and fun environmental education programs and learning opportunities accessible to more people and communities.”

Vermont Institute of Natural Science VINS. Helping nature stay in balance. How big is an eagle's nest?
Ken and I visited VINS last weekend. For Ken it was a good excuse to get out on his Harley but he also found some cool trails to hike, including this one with a life-size replica of an eagle’s nest.

At Vermont Woods Studios we support VINS through their Adopt a Raptor, citizen science and other environmental programs.  If you’re interested in learning more about VINS, becoming a member or visiting their beautiful Nature Center in Quechee, VT check out their website today!

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Vermont’s Make a Wish Needs Your Support

Boys twin bed donated to Make a Wish Vermont
Come bid on this Vermont made pencil post bed that we donated to Make a Wish Vermont. The auction is Saturday, September 20th at World Learning in Brattleboro, starting at 6pm with the Brattleboro Celebrity Waiter Dinner.

September is a big fundraising month for the Vermont chapter of Make A Wish and they’re hoping to get a little help from you.  “We grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.”  What could be a better mission than that?  The Make a Wish website shows a couple recent wishes & dreams that have come true, locally:

  • Aaron, a 16-year-old boy suffering from cancer who always dreamed of going to Comic Con in New York City was flown there with his family.  They met celebrities at the show and attended Spiderman on Broadway
  • Lexi, a 15 year old girl, also suffering from cancer was flown to Spa Atlantis in the Bahamas to swim with the dolphins.  “We will always have the great memories and many pictures of the Bahamas, and when she goes back to the hospital next week, she will have all her stories and pictures to show the doctors. Lexi’s trip has re-energized her for what lies ahead.”

At Vermont Woods Studios we’re attending the annual Brattleboro Celebrity Waiter Dinner on September 20 and donating the pencil post bed shown above to the auction that night.  A few details about the dinner and auction:

Come and enjoy a gourmet meal at World Learning served by a team of “celebrity waiters”, including Steve “Corm” Cormier and Dave Manning, Jerry Goldberg and David Brown, Tom Nasiatka and Mary Linney, Gina Pattison and Karen Henry, Stephan Morse and Bob Woodworth, John Benouski and Steve Sweet, Diedre Baker and Laurie Blair, and Jane Baker and Kate O’Connor. Plus Corm will be Master of Ceremonies and co-host the auction. Saturday, September 20th at World Learning in Brattleboro. Beer and wine cash bar at 6pm; dinner served at 7pm. COST: $50 per person (cash or checks only). Proceeds from the dinner as well as any tips earned by the waiters will go toward granting the wishes of Vermont children with life-threatening illnesses. You will also have the opportunity to bid on gift certificates and other items to be auctioned off during the evening. For more info or to RSVP: contact Barb Harris @ 257-7803, e-mail: bharris115@yahoo.com

If you can’t make the dinner, there’s also the Wallace Golf Tournament at the Mount Snow Golf Course which takes place tomorrow, September 12 and the 2014 Walk for Wishes at the Shelburne Museum on Sunday, September 13.  We hope to see you at one of these fun events!

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.