We Adopted a Barred Owl!

Last updated on May 1st, 2018 at 04:15 pm

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Photo courtesy of Vermont Institute of Natural Science.

I love the view from my desk. Every so often a barred Owl will swoop by and perch on the tree directly outside of my window. If you keep up with us on Facebook, you’ve probably seen a few photos of him throughout the year. The marketing department has grown so fond of our new feathered friend that we’ve decided to Adopt a Barred Owl through VINS ‘Adopt a Raptor’ program. This program supports Barred Owls by helping to provide the specialized care needed by these unique creatures who live at VINS Nature Center.

About the Barred Owl

This owl is highly vocal, giving a loud and resounding call, which is often phrased as “Who, cooks, for-you? Who, cooks, for-you, all?” Like some other owl species, Barred Owls will call in the daytime as well as at night. Mates will duet, but the male’s voice is deeper and mellower. Many other vocalizations are made which range from a short yelp or bark to a frenzied and raucous monkey-like squall.

Pairs of Barred Owls mate for life, and territories and nest sites are maintained for many years. They also care for their young for at least 4 months, much longer than most other owls. -VINS

 

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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.

Bring Birds, Bees, Bunnies & Butterflies Into Your Kitchen

Specialty Handmade Ceramics: Rooster mugs, plates, bowls, vases by Laura Zindel. USA made in Vermont!
These specialty handmade ceramics are the work of Vermont artist, Laura Zindel.  Find original hand-drawn roosters, hares, owls, bees, butterflies and ferns applied to a wide selection of dinnerware.  Laura’s original collections are all USA made, right here in Brattleboro. Vermont.

Summer in Vermont is a time to relax and enjoy the natural world around us.  Visitors to our home decor showroom at Stonehurst often spend as much time outside in our meadows & woodlands as they do inside the store.  Birds, bees, butterflies and bunnies are frequent visitors here, making the Laura Zindel dinnerware that bears their likeness a favorite Stonehurst souvenir.

Handmade ceramics: hare and bunny themed dinnerware
Laura’s hare and bunny collection includes coffee mugs, tumblers, vases, pitchers, plates and platters.  Each image is original and hand drawn by Laura in her Brattleboro, Vermont studio. 

Whether you’re looking to bring a bit of summer into your own kitchen or searching for a unique gift for someone special, check out our Laura Zindel Dinnerware Collection.  Each of Laura’s designs is inspired by nature, hand drawn and then printed onto high quality handmade ceramic or china.

Quail Collectibles | Handmade Ceramic Dinnerware Made in USA
Laura’s Quail Collection features 20 pieces of high resistance china including bread, dinner and charger plates, bowls, platters, espresso cups, jugs, pitchers, tumblers and mugs.

About Laura

Laura is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design where she earned a BFA in Ceramics.  Later she went on to achieve an MFA in Ceramics from the University of Massachusetts.  Laura’s artwork is inspired by both the Arts and Crafts Movement of the early 20th century and the “Cabinets of Curiosities” encyclopedic collections of the Victorian era. Her process of hand drawing, silk screening and enamel transfer printing shows off the intricate nature of her designs.

Ranging from Bumblebee Cereal Bowls to Large Rooster Serving Platters, Laura’s collections are bound to include the special gift you’ve been looking for.  Stop by Stonehurst or purchase one of these collectibles online.

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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.

Outdoor Dining Furniture: Our New Bayline Collection

Last updated on May 28th, 2019 at 09:12 pm

Outdoor Dining Furniture

The Bayline Outdoor Dining Furniture collection is our newest collection from POLYWOOD. We just launched it last week and we’re so excited about this new addition. It’s sustainable, casual, and the perfect outdoor dining furniture solution for the contemporary design lover. This Outdoor Dining Furniture collection incorporates modern styling with several bold, summery colors. The chairs feature a slender profile made of weather-resistant aluminum, paired with a selection of durable weather-resistant outdoor fabric options.

The sleek look of the Bayline collection and the usage of metal + fabric provide a chic alternative to POLYWOOD’s typical furniture styling. Four frame options are available in textured or satin finishes, with side and arm chair styles in two height choices for dining and bar usage. The arm details offered are plastique or solid.

This collection can easily accommodate any outdoor space style and layout. It’s an ultra versatile set, especially when complemented with the popular Euro outdoor dining table.

Bayline Outdoor Dining Furniture Color Options:

Outdoor Dining Furniture

While most of POLYWOOD’s eco-friendly outdoor furniture comes in a variety of colors, this collection is striking in the use of colorful Sunbrella fabrics rather than RPL (recycled plastic lumber). This gives the collection a more modern, fresh look while still maintaining durability and weather resistance.

Bayline Outdoor Dining Furniture Frame Options:

Outdoor Dining Furniture

Elegance, cool sophistication, and a fresh simple look are just a few ways to describe the new Bayline Collection from POLYWOOD. Pair with our Euro style table, and you’ve got the perfect outdoor dining furniture setup for your porch, patio, or other outdoor space. This luxury collection is part of a new era of light-weight outdoor dining furniture that is sure to create the perfect focal point for your outdoor space.

What do you think about this new Outdoor Dining Furniture collection? Let us know in the comments section or share this on Twitter or Facebook!

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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.

A Visit To The Windham County Humane Society!

Spending 8 hours a day at a desk can be tough. No matter how awesome I think my job is (I get to share the story of an eco-friendly, Vermont business via social media–how cool is that?) there are some days when sitting in front of a computer screen is just plain hard. And then there are days that remind me of why I decided to apply at Vermont Woods Studios in the first place, and yesterday was certainly one of them.

We love animals. We really do. From the creepy crawly ones that spend their time sitting in murky pond water, to the fuzzy ones you cuddle up with on your couch. We love to support the organizations that work to give them better lives too! Earlier in the year several of the Green Team members attended the Windham County Humane Society’s biggest fundraiser of the year, Wags to Riches. We even had a few donated items up for auction at the fundraiser! Fun was had and animals were helped and all in all we had a great time.

So when we saw that the Windham County Humane Society was in real need of food for the animals who stay at the shelter, we were more than eager to help out. With Peggy’s help buying a few extra bags, Nina and I gathered up some kibble and headed over to WCHS. I try not to go there too often, because I might end up coming home with something, like a new puppy, but the WCHS staff was happy and helpful and it was a great visit!

 

Windham County Humane Society
This is me, looking silly next to my boyfriend’s car. +10 points if you can guess what his favorite coffee shop is?
Windham County Humane Society
This kibble was heavy. Real heavy. Thankfully I had Nina there to do the heavy lifting. Thanks Nina! 
Windham County Humane Society
See, I told you Nina is strong! That bag is half her size. Anyway, the WCHS staff members make great models (and check out their new T-shirts!)

If you’d like to see more of what we do around the community, check out our new community involvement page. We’re always working on some new project to make the world a brighter and better place!

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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.

Introducing Simon Pearce Luxury Glassware to Stonehurst

Simon Pearce Luxury Glassware

It’s looking like an all hands on deck operation right now in the showroom as we organize and unload our first shipment of Simon Pearce Luxury Glassware. We have been looking forward to this day for quite a while, and are more sure than ever that these beautiful heirloom glass designs will  make the perfect accessory to our handcrafted Vermont furniture. Although currently only available in our showroom,we plan to eventually have Simon Pearce glass available online as well!

Simon Pearce Luxury Glassware

Simon Pearce Luxury Glassware

Simon Pearce Luxury Glassware…crafted to last a lifetime.

If you are a luxury home decor aficionado who gets nostalgic about the days past when real, honest human craftsmanship was the norm for decorating and furnishing your home, we hope this is a great treat for you. Simon Pearce glass is built to last a lifetime, and it has the authenticity and character you may have been craving.

The company’s founder, Simon Pearce himself, began glass blowing in the seventies in Ireland and then moved his work to the United States–the town of Quechee, Vermont– in 1981. The glass blowers at Simon Pearce spend years mastering the art of glass blowing before they begin producing hand-blown glass for the company.

Now headquartered in Windsor Vermont, Simon Pearce creates glass and ceramic “products that are beautifully designed, produced with premium quality materials and time-honored techniques and intended for a lifetime of everyday use”.

At Stonehurst, this expertly hand blown glass decor will complement our fine Vermont made wood furniture. The naturally beautiful wood paired with the sleek, heirloom glass makes for a picture perfect match. We love what we see already, and we haven’t even finished unpacking yet.

Simon Pearce Luxury Glass

 

Simon Pearce Luxury Glassware

If you’d like to see what we have at Stonehurst, or get a look at Simon Pearce luxury glassware in person… we invite you to visit us at Stonehurst.

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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.

Memories of Pine Top: The Stoddards Part 2

Pine Top
Pine Top looks a little different today than it did as a vibrant ski area in the 1940s, 50s and 60s.  But it retains the natural beauty and welcoming charm that made it special to the Stoddards and many other families who vacationed here.  Have your own memories of skiing at Pine Top or vacationing at Stonehurst?  Stop by and visit or give us a call!

Pine Top fans: Throwback Thursday TBT brings another treat to revive your memories of the good ol’ days in South Vernon, Vermont.  Last Thursday we posted Part 1 of Sandy Stoddard’s memories and today we bring Part 2.  Enjoy!

  • At Pine Top, Pelley Hill was a beginner/novice slope and the first to be opened with a rop tow
  • The second rope tow provided access later to Tobey Slope (intermediate) and then also to Stoddards’ Run, when it was added a few years later
  • Romey also designed and built a very unique portable “tiny tot” rope tow, possibly first of its kind. It was operated on the gentle grade below the “old” warming hut in the direction of the base of Pelley Hill. Romey also very generously took it into Brattleboro periodically, setting it up at Memorial Park on the west side of town for use by the children of Brattleboro
  • One summer, when I was working for the Racines at Stonehurst, I was responsible for tearing down the historic old barn on the property, slate by slate, board by board
  • Romey built the “new” warming hut above Pelley Hill to better accommodate the ski crowds. The “old” hut was still used occasionally to serve house guests bowls of fresh snow with heated Vermont maple syrup
  • Elsie had a large collection of bells, which were traditionally rung by house guests on the front and side porches to bid other guests farewell, as they drove down the hill
  • There was an old swimming hole, behind a small dam, which was reached by walking along a narrow dirt road that started next to the foot of Stoddard Run and the tow house for Tobey Slope
  • That same rough road lead to a small dump site. I learned to drive a 1947 pickup truck as a 14 year old and periodically made dump runs
  • Summer guests used to gather on the front lawn to play croquet and there was a cement shuffle board court close to the driveway entrance
  • Mr. Marsden, who was a farmer living up the road, used Stonehurst property in summertime for grazing his cows. I was responsible for their care and feeding
  • Romey supplemented their revenue from Pine Top/Stonehurst by being the Town Road Commissioner for Vernon
  • Elsie often helped out at the town library

Along with these notes was a reference to Rich Racine, Elsie and Romey’s nephew.  I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to connect with Rich. Anybody know home I might reach him?  Give us a call or join us on Facebook if you do.  Thanks!

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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.

Memories of Pine Top: The Stoddards

Stonehurst aka Pine Top
#TBT Some things haven’t changed since the 1940s at Stonehurst, aka Pine Top. Thanks to the stories of people who lived, worked and vacationed here, we’ve been able to preserve the property’s heritage.

I haven’t had the time I’d like to understand all the history of Stonehurst (aka Pine Top), but every now and then something pops up to add another piece to the puzzle. Recently Dennis has been chatting back and forth with Jeremy Davis, author of “Lost Ski Areas of Southern Vermont“. In researching his book, Jeremy connected with a number of people who grew up skiing at Pine Top. One of those people was Sandy Stoddard who offered these fond memories:

I am writing to add information on a wonderful old ski area, Pine Top, which was located in South Vernon, VT, about ten miles south of Brattleboro, close to the tri-state corner (MA, NH & VT). Your great website was brought to my attention by a cousin, Jack Stoddard, who lives in Connecticut. I currently live in Santa Rosa, CA, but I was raised in the Northeast and have very strong family and emotional ties to Pine Top (and its summer/winter lodging name, Stonehurst.)

The Stonehurst farm house was built in the 1700s, and it was purchased in the early 1940s by Oliver & Elsie Racine. Oliver (nicknamed Romey) was a business associate of my grandfather, Howard W. Stoddard, in Northern New Jersey. Romey and Elsie became tired of the Metropolitan New York area, and decided during WW II to move north to rural Vermont (Romey was originally French-Canadian and was born in Quebec, just across the border from Vermont). They were in their 40s, when they took possession of the old farmhouse, barn and about 100 acres of rolling countryside, which sat above the Connecticut River Valley.

Romey was a wonderfully ingenious handyman, who could do absolutely amazing things with his mind and hands. He renovated the house and the immediate surrounding property, with plans to open the place as a small inn. Elsie was the gracious hostess, who ran the house and the kitchen, with the help of several local gals (Marge Cotter and Barbara Moseley). They opened the lodging in the mid-40s, and among the first guests were my grandparents, Howard & Edna Stoddard, my parents, Don & Molly Stoddard, and my uncle and Aunt, Vinnie and Jane Stoddard.

Romey then began to clear the surrounding hills to create the future Pine Top’s ski slopes. He did much of the clearing of the trees and brush himself, with some local help, and with some summertime help from my dad and uncle. The first two slopes he created were Pelley Hill (beginner/intermediate) and Toby Slope (intermediate/advanced). Romey then designed and built two rope tows, using old Ford Model A engines as the power sources.

The area officially opened in the winter of 1946/47. Actually the first guests to the area came a year earlier, before the rope tows were in place. My grandparents, parents, older brother Donald-8 years old at the time and my aunt & uncle made their first winter visit to Stonehust, and I believe they were the first skiers to test the newly cleared slopes. A farmer up the road by the name of Marsden brought down a work horse to which he attached a “rope tow.” The horse towed a string of my relatives up the hill.

An aside: Romey also designed a fun way to get down the hill, attaching a seat to two parallel wooden skis. My grandfather scared the daylights out of my grandmother by schussing down Toby Slope in this uncontrollable device.

My first year as a visiting skier was in 1947, as a six year old. Every year after that through my senior year in high school, I spent my mid-winter school vacation (over Washington’s Birthday) at Pine Top. Those were wonderful years, as I and my brothers (younger brother Jim followed Don and me) learned to ski from local ski patrol/instructors Ed Dunklee and Bud Bigelow. Romey opened a new trail off the top of Toby Hill and named it “Stoddard Run”. My mother had a shortcut at the bottom of Toby named for her, “Molly’s Alley,” and I had a nearby ski bridge named for me, “Sandy’s Trestle.”

Romey and Elsie Racine were like second parents to me (they had no children of their own). I spent two summers in my high school years working on the property, doing chores and taking care of the dairy cattle that grazed on the ski slopes in the summer (from a local farm). They sold the property in the mid-1960s and moved to a newly built home down the hill (the new owners sadly closed the ski area). We outgrew Pine Top as our skiing improved, but it was a truly wonderful part of our family for many many years.

We’ve been in touch with the Stoddard family since receiving Sandy’s memories and are hoping they’ll come back for a visit some time this summer! If you have memories of Pine Top, give us a call, send us an email or join us on Facebook. We’d love to have you stop by when you’re in the area!

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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.

Birds, Bees, and Butterflies: Creating their Home at Stonehurst

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After this long, harsh Vermont winter–the small joys of springtime, like gardening, are cherished. Nina has been outside all morning planting Cosmos for our butterfly garden. Cosmos are annuals that are known for their showy, colorful flowers. They are treasures to look at but we adore them for another reason, because they attract birds, bees, and butterflies. We are trying to create a natural landscape that is both beautiful and wildlife friendly, as our showroom sits on more than one hundred acres of woodland and meadow; Land that many species call home.

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Liz, our company green thumb, wanted in on some of the planting and came down to assist Nina. While most of the time Liz is on the phone or computer chatting with our customers, there are some days where we just have to make time to get out in the radiant Vermont sunshine. Today is one of those days. Fotor0610132621

While the garden is just getting started, there is still a lot of beauty to be seen at Stonehurst. We’d love to invite you to visit our charming country showroom where the forest serves as the backdrop to some of Vermont’s finest natural wood furniture.

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See you soon! 🙂

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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 Coverts: Managing Woodlands for Wildlife

Vermont Coverts Cohort:  Woodlands for Wildlife
These are the amazing people in my cohort at last week’s Vermont Coverts workshop: “Woodlands for Wildlife”.  The word “covert” (pronounced cuh-vert) is an old English term meaning a thicket, home or hiding place for animals.

After locating our fine furniture and home decor store on a 100 acre wood in the foothills of Vermont’s Green Mountain National Forest (see my last post), I found myself in the familiar position of trying to do something I knew little about.  How would we properly manage this woodland for wildlife and sustainability?  My friends Kathleen Wanner (Executive Director of the Vermont Wood Manufacturer’s Association VWMA) and Lynn Levine (a professional forester) suggested that Ken and I attend the Vermont Coverts:  Woodlands for Wildlife Cooperator Training.  What a great idea!

Mess is best when it comes to creating habitat for wildlife
One of the key points we learned about managing our woodlands is that “mess is best” when it comes to creating habitat for wildlife.  Forests need to be thinned with plenty of coarse woody debris remaining on the floor to provide cover for animals.

The program was last weekend at the Woods of Wikahowi in Northfield, VT.  Ken had to cancel at the last minute but I attended along with a dozen or so like-minded landowners from all across Vermont.  Because 80% of Vermont’s forestland is owned privately, the Coverts organization concluded that the key to sustaining our state’s forests & wildlife is education of private landowners.  They provide a free 3-day training course every Spring and every Fall, focusing on classroom and field studies in forest and wildlife management.

Kim Royar, VT Department of Fish and Wildlife shows us bear claws on a beech tree.
Kim Royar, VT Department of Fish and Wildlife shows us bear claws on a beech tree.

The course was taught by Vermont’s foremost experts in forestry & wildlife including:

  • Lisa Sausville, Executive Director, Vermont Coverts
  • Mary Sisock, UVM Extension Forester
  • Kim Royar, VT Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Dan Singleton, Washington County Forester
  • Steve Hagenbuch, Audubon VT
  • Kathy Decker, VT Forest, Parks and Recreation
  • Rich Chalmers, VP VT Coverts
Maple is Vermont's Most Important Hardwood Tree
The Maple is Vermont’s most important tree.  Here Rich Chalmers is showing us his newly built sugar house– made from timbers logged in the surrounding forest.

VT Coverts is so committed to their mission that they offer the course for free, including food and lodging!  Dedicated Coverts members work hard to meet expenses through grants and fundraising programs.  If you own woodlands in Vermont or know someone who does, please refer them to the Coverts program.  It’s an unforgettable weekend with fascinating people and thought-provoking discussion. The graduates of the program hold the future of Vermont’s forests in their hands.

Vermont Coverts | Reference Books | Sustainable Forestry
Some of the handouts from Vermont Coverts.  Click here to apply for the next Vermont Coverts Training workshop.  Did I mention the training is FREE?

 

 

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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.

Stonehurst Renovations: Making Space for Guests, Butterflies, and Sunflowers Pt 1!

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One of my favorite things to do around Stonehurst is to find interesting spots & perspectives. When you allow yourself to slow down a bit and really take in your surroundings, it’s easy to find beautiful scenes in unexpected places. I liked this view of our little Polywood circle & firepit!

The Green Team is hard at work clearing space to make a sunflower garden and a butterfly garden behind our showroom. With all of this land, we want to make it as beautiful and as inhabitable as possible for our friends in the forest. 

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Here is Dennis being extra careful to make sure no critters are injured in the making of this garden!
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Nina, our photographer extraordinaire, jumped at the opportunity to get outside and rake the weeds… Any excuse to get outside in this beautiful Vermont weather, right? 🙂
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Landscaping…more fun than it looks!

To make Stonehurst more visitor friendly, we’re also making new paths for hiking & walking around the property. Our Stonehurst renovations will provide a more pleasing experience for our guests who want to see more than just the inside of the showroom.

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We’d love for you to stop by and visit us. The back of the building is a work in progress, but it’s still as beautiful as ever! See our exquisite Vermont handcrafted furniture and explore the lush woodlands right in our backyard.

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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.