From New York to Nature in 3.5 Hours

Vermont Furniture Store | Green Mountain Forest
Our Vermont furniture store is located in the lush foothills of the Green Mountain National Forest, about 3 1/2 hours north of Manhattan.  Maybe we’re not the closest or easiest showroom to get to, but once you’re here we think you’ll be glad you made the trip. 

I guess word is getting around about our unique Vermont furniture store because we’re starting to get many visitors from New York, Boston and other metropolitan areas.  Customers tell us they’re looking for something beautiful, sustainable and uniquely theirs.  That’s why we’re here, of course but “here” isn’t necessarily easy to find.

Directions to Stonehurst, Our Fine Furniture Showroom

So Rebecca and I teamed up with next-door neighbor, Drew Amidon to make a video showing the route to Stonehurst, our Vermont Woods Studios furniture showroom.  Drew made the scenic journey and filmed it from Interstate 91 (exit 28A, Northfield, Route 10), past the Inn at Crumpin Fox, left onto Bald Mountain Road, right onto Huckle Hill Road and 5 miles to Stonehurst.  He used his GoPro and drone helicopter to show visitors just where we are and what to expect when they get here.

Rebecca was kind enough to narrate the video and even made a few cameo appearances.  Check it out, Stonehurst: How to Get Here.

Dining Furniture | Vermont Furniture Store
An Autumn view from Stonehurst, our showroom in the woods.

Most Furniture Stores Don’t Have to Make a Video on How to Get to Their Showroom

Who had the crazy idea of putting a fine furniture store in the middle of nowhere, anyway?  OK that was me.  Well… sustainability is important to me and it’s part of the mission of our company.  Customers come to us because they want to feel good about their furniture.  They want to know where their furniture comes from.  They want to be sure it originates in a sustainable forest that provides recreation & habitat for wildlife, a forest that’s going to be around for future generations.

Stonehurst fine furniture showroom
Stonehurst in the summer. Our showroom is located on a 109 acre woodland in southern Vermont so customers can experience the kind of sustainable environment in which their furniture originates.

So when the Stonehurst property on 109 acres of pristine woodlands became available in 2012 I knew it was the perfect location for a Vermont Woods Studios showroom.  We’re 3 1/2 hours from Manhattan and 2 hours from Boston.  It’s a beautiful drive to get here and once you arrive, you’ll feel a relaxed Vermont vibe before you even get our of your car.  Be sure to pack a picnic basket and a bottle of wine because fine furniture shopping should never be rushed.

See you in the woods!

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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.

Ready For Take-off: Monarch Butterfly Migration

monarch butterfly chrysalises
Two chrysalises housing monarch pupa

Vermont Woods Studios Prepares Monarchs for Take-off

On a beautiful day straddling the line between August and September, we huddled on the deck of Vermont Woods Studios at our Stonehurst property. Five adults and two children all gazing in mirrored excitement at the progress of our monarch caterpillars as they forge their ways into butterfly-hood.

“I’m going to name him Jeff!” One of the young boys informed the group as Peggy Farabaugh, the CEO of Vermont Woods Studios and head caterpillar-rearer, gently scooped up two prized caterpillars and secured them safely in a jar for the boys to bring to their grandmother’s.

It has been two weeks since the arrival of the caterpillar babies (or larva) and already they are well on their way to adulthood. However, their transformation is far more magical than that of any other aging process. They came to us as tiny creatures no bigger than a grain of rice and have rapidly transformed into vibrant, two inched beauties that scuttle about their mesh hamper confinement eating milkweed and maturing with natural grace.

It is marvelous to watch the caterpillars inch their way to the top of the hamper and methodically suspend themselves upside down in a J shape. This is a signal to the world that the caterpillars are ready to enter the pupa or chrysalis stage of life. The caterpillars work tirelessly in this J-shape to molt their skin and transform their outer appearance into the grass green, gold speckled chrysalis.

“I wonder what they’re doing in there all the time.” Peggy mused, affectionately grooming the caterpillar habitat. The allure of mystery gripped us all as we watched the beautiful chrysalises hang, cautiously enveloping the transforming caterpillar.

In about two weeks the chrysalises will have turned black and the monarch butterfly will be ready to emerge with damp, fledgling wings. In the short span of two hours, the monarch’s wings will dry and it will be lusting for flight. Thus our babies will leave us and safety of the Stonehurst deck.

However, it won’t be a sad day, for on this day we will have reached our goal. With the help of Orley R.  “Chip” Taylor, founder of the Monarch Watch program at the University of Kansas, we will have completed cycle one of the Monarch Restoration project. The Vermont Woods Studios company developed an objective: to help restore the monarch population. Success is heavily contingent on three pillars: milkweed restoration, healthy, migration-ready monarchs and continued research.

Last October and November, Peggy and the Vermont Woods Studios staff went out in search of milkweed. Pods gathered along route 142 were brought back to the studio where seeds were harvested and packaged for distribution.

Seeds were distributed to local gardeners and nature enthusiasts, clients and planted on the Stonehurst property. 1 in 100 milkweed seeds strewn across the earth will produce a plant. Because of these small odds, we chose to carefully plant 80 seeds on the Stonehurst property yielding 80 viable milkweed plants.

Along with learning the importance of carefully planting the milkweed seeds, the Vermont Woods Studios staff have also developed important information for rearing monarch caterpillars:

  • Whenever it is possible, raise the caterpillars in a terrarium
  • Do not allow direct sunlight to hit the terrarium
  • Monarch caterpillars grow quickly and this process can be messy, so cleaning the terrarium frequently is a must
monarch caterpillar on milkweed
One of our monarch caterpillars getting ready to transition into a chrysalis

Once our monarchs are ready for flight, we have one last piece of the puzzle to put in place before we can call the project a success. Chip founded Monarch Watch in 1992 and has been studying monarch migration since 2005. The eastern monarchs born at the end of the summer months have the innate task of migrating to Mexico. This migration will take four generations of monarchs.

Our Stonehurst monarchs will fly just a portion of the way and then stop to lay eggs and die as the new babies begin the growing process and mature to fly their portion of the trip. This process will repeat until the final generation sails over sunny Mexico and makes themselves comfortable for eight to nine months when the United States is again habitable for the return of the monarchs.

How did people come to have such intimate detail about the migration pattern of these tireless creatures? The answer to this is evolving through research, which brings us to the final stage of the project: tagging the monarchs.

Before our monarchs take flight, we will place a small, adhesive tag, provided by Chip and his team on the wings of our monarchs. These tags will signal researchers to know where the monarchs came from and provide other valuable research that will continue to help rehabilitate the monarch population.

As we stand on the deck, without a chill in the air and watch the chrysalises form, we know the journey our caterpillars have before them. We discuss tagging the butterflies with nervous laughter, none of us having ever done it before; but were willing to try because we know that it is one key step in encouraging the comeback of these magical creatures.

(This is part two of a four part blog series on our Monarch Butterfly Restoration Project)

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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.

Hubbardton Forge Lighting – Coming Soon!

Hubbardton Forge | Lighting Fixtures | Modern American Blacksmiths
I love this picture of George Chandler and Reed Hampton, the founders of Hubbardton Forge, Vermont’s 40 year old handcrafted lighting manufacturer.  The two men met serendipitously in Paul Aschenbach’s art class at the University of Vermont.  How funny that George’s last name means candle maker!

Next stop on my tour of Vermont’s luxury home decor providers is lighting manufacturer, Hubbardton Forge. If you’ve had to buy or install lighting fixtures over the last few decades you’re no doubt aware that most lighting is manufactured in Asia these days and the quality isn’t what it used to be.

Enter Hubbardton Forge of Castleton.  The company was established in 1974 by two guys in a barn who set out to revive the forgotten craft of hand-forging raw metal into contemporary designs. Today the business started by George Chandler and Reed Hampton is one of the largest contemporary commercial forges in America. Forty years of practicing time honored principles have built an international reputation for innovative designs, simplicity and integrity.

During my visit to the forge I met with Art Director, Wendy Fannin to show her what we’re doing at Stonehurst and discuss possible strategies to cross-promote our products.  Both companies share a passion for simple elegance, traditional craftsmanship and a commitment to environmental stewardship so it seems some synergy could be achieved.

At Vermont Woods Studios we’re looking forward to receiving our first order of Hubbardton forge chandeliers, floor lamps, sconces and table lamps very soon and I’m eager to see how they transform our space.  They’ll be accompanied by fine furniture from studios all around the state, glassware from Simon Pearce, ceramics from Laura Zindel and hopefully linens from Anichini and furniture/pottery from Shackleton-Thomas.

Keep posted on our latest inventory and/or plan a trip to see everything in person 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.

Preparing for Spring at Stonehurst

SpringWhile it might be hard to believe, winter is finally winding down here at Stonehurst. The snow is slowly melting, and some of our forest friends are starting to show their furry faces. Just yesterday, we saw this beautiful red fox frolic through the field in our backyard.

SpringA pair of eastern bluebirds perched outside outside of my office window, enjoying the first real day of sunshine of the season.

SpringAnd a chubby squirrel (a frequent visitor to the marketing office window) gorged himself on tasty bird seed.

We’ve seen plenty more forest critters getting ready for spring, and we’re getting ready too!

Spring

As you can see here, a wild Sales team member (Sean) anxiously awaits the warm weather! What about you? How are you preparing for spring? If you are planning on adding some natural Vermont charm to your home, a visit to Stonehurst might be a great first step. You’ll have plenty of inspiration from the birds and cute critters, and a friendly sales team to make your visit easy and enjoyable. Our beautiful, Vermont crafted wood furniture is made from premium solid hardwoods, sourced from sustainably harvested forests, much like the one right in our backyard!

Shopping at Stonehurst brings you closer to where your furniture really comes from. Visit us, and experience the beauty of Vermont wood, inside and out.

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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.