Page 1

Central Vermont best of

SprinG 2015 volume 3, no. 2

communities and lifestyle in the heart of the Green Mountains

WDEV: Legendary Radio Inside Four Artists’ Studios Foraging for Fiddleheads

Cover photo by gordon miller


f e at u r e s

photo by ian clark

32 48 63

wdev Broadcasting for the Public Good by mark aiken

vermont peanut butter the best way to go nuts By Phyl Newbeck

Vermont open studio Weekend an invitation from artists By mary gow

40 D E PA R T M E N T S 11 Editor’s Note 12 Contributors 14 online hub 16 Occasions & About 20 Out by Cassie Horner community

26 bakers by the dozen in barre


by dian parker

the wild life

40 fiddlehead ferns

by Lisa Densmore Ballard

taste of the town

56 nutty steph’s

by elizabeth hewitt


dining & entertainment guide calendar

72 arts and entertainment chat

76 with geoff beyer by stephen morris


spring shopping where to find fun things to buy in Central Vermont


Central Vermont best of

spring 2015 | Volume 3 no.2

Coffee Table Publishing P.O. Box 1460, Quechee, VT 05059

(802) 295-5295

www.bestofcentralvt.com Publishers

Robin Gales John Gales Bob Frisch Editor

Meg Brazill Copy Editor

Elizabeth Hewitt Creative Director

Ellen Klempner-Beguin Art Direction/Design

Robbie Alterio Advertising Design

Hutchens Media, LLC Web Design

Locable Advertising

Robin Gales John Gales (802) 295-5295 coffeetablepublishing@comcast.net Keep us posted. Best of Central Vermont wants to hear from our readers. Correspondence may be addressed to letters to the editor, Best of Central Vermont, P.O. Box 1460, Quechee, VT 05059. Advertising inquiries may be made by emailing ctpublishing@ comcast.net or coffeetablepublishing@comcast.net. Best of Central Vermont is published quarterly by Coffee Table Publishing, LLC, Š2014. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly prohibited. Best of Central Vermont accepts no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts, artwork, or photographs.


best of central Vermont | spring 2015



ed i to r ’ s n ot e

Whether or not this season proves to be more lion than lamb, we can count on spring to offer new beginnings. From the returning sound of birdsong to the bright green of new growth, there’s a little bit of joy in everyday activities as we shed our layers and welcome the return of longer, warmer days. In this issue of Best of Central Vermont, look for signs of spring from birding with the Mad Birders to gardening with the Granite City Garden Club, to learning dance moves at Montpelier’s Rec Center. Lisa Densmore Ballard writes about what some say is spring’s finest food: fiddleheads. She provides tips for identifying them as well as delicious recipes—and you can watch a video on our website about identifying and harvesting these culinary gems. You’ll find plenty of inspiration in these pages to get out and about in Central Vermont. Start with Nutty Steph’s to hear music and enjoy confections in a convivial atmosphere. Or stop in Barre on a Friday morning when baking students at Barre’s Tech Center offer pastries for sale in their Bakeshop. After reading about Montpelier’s tree warden, Geoff Beyer, you’ll have a new awareness of the care that goes into the many trees that bring beauty to our capital city. Spring wouldn’t be complete without a visit to artists’ studios during Open Studio Weekend, organized every May by the Vermont Crafts Council. You can read up on four of the participating artists and two galleries that carry work by some of the area’s most outstanding artisans. Discover more about WDEV, the radio station that’s been tuned in to the community for 80 years, and read about a new company that’s earning its way onto our grocery store shelves, Vermont Peanut Butter. However you choose to spend these next few months, we hope you’ll discover a little more about Central Vermont between the pages of our magazine. Happy Spring!

Meg Brazill editor@bestofcentralvt.com

www.facebook.com/ BestOfCentralVermont

@bestofcentralvt www.bestofcentralvt.com


co n t rib u to r s


LISA DENSMORE BALLARD has contributed to publications in Vermont and nationally for over two decades. She is the author of seven hiking guidebooks, including Hiking the Green Mountains (Falcon Guides) and Best Hikes with Dogs: New Hampshire & Vermont (The Mountaineers Books). A former resident of Vermont, she now lives in Montana but returns frequently to the Green Mountains to hike, fly fish, and ski depending on the season.  www.LisaDensmore.com

GORDON MILLER is a freelance photographer living in Waterbury, Vermont. He is a weekly contributor to the Waterbury Record and Valley Reporter.

Mark aiken is a freelance writer from Richmond, Vermont. He teaches skiing at Stowe and trains for marathons with his wife. Together, he and his wife are involved in another endurance sport: parenting. Contact him through his website www. MarkAiken.com

Journalist and freelance writer MARY GOW is an arts correspondent for the Times Argus, a contributor to numerous regional magazines, and is the author of history of science books for middle school students. Mary lives in Warren, Vermont, and can be reached at mgow@gmavt.net.

LYNN BOHANNON began her photographic career in Boston, studying at New England School of Photography, assisting commercial photographers, and color printing in photo labs. Originally from West Virginia, she worked her way north, finally landing in the hills of Vermont, where she has a studio in Woodstock. Her current assignments include photographing people, product, and art. www. lynnbohannonphotography.com

A former flatlander from New York City, PHYL NEWBECK lives in Jericho where she has learned to stack a mean pile of firewood. When she’s not skiing, skating, bicycling, swimming or kayaking, she writes for several local weeklies, biweeklies, and monthlies. Phyl is the author of Virginia Hasn’t Always Been for Lovers: Interracial Marriage Bans and the Case of Richard and Mildred Loving.

best of central Vermont | spring 2015

v isi t us o nl ine

| w w w. b e s tofcen t r a lvt.co m

Baking & Pastry Arts at Barre Technical Center Go behind the scenes in an online video with Pastry Chef Wendy Clark of the Baking and Pastry Arts program in BTC’s kitchen.

ont Central Verm Sprin G

me 2015 volu

3, no. 2

best of

com mu

life sty le nit ies and

un tai Gre en mo rt of the in the hea


WDEV 550AM and WDEV 96.1FM ary raDio WDEV: LEgEnD ists’ stuDios insiDE Four art FiDDLEhEaDs Foraging For

See more photos from historic to present day, and read about WDEV’s amazing staff at www.bestofcentralvt.com.


Sure Sign of Spring at Sugarbush Resort

eNewsletter Sign up for our newsletter

Watch online as costumed contestants attempt to cross a 120-foot pond on skis in this annual Rite of Spring.

bestofcentralvt.com What does our newsletter include? • A summary of our most popular articles and comments from our readers • Local event listings from our calendar • Special offers from Best of Central Vermont and local businesses • Exclusive insights into upcoming features and articles, and much more . . .

Fiddlehead Ferns: Everything You Wanted to Know Find more recipes online and watch a video on how to harvest and prepare fiddleheads.

Spring Open Studio Weekend: May 23 and 24, 2015 Gallery Extra: View more photos of Central Vermont’s craft artisans at www.bestofcentralvt.com.

Join the conversation online . . .

bestofcentralvt.com Feel free to drop us a line at ryan@coffeetablepublishing.com, or share your comments on our site or on social media. You might even see your name in our next issue.




Follow us on Twitter @bestofcentralvt

like us

www.facebook.com/ BestOfCentralVermont

o cc a si o ns | Photos courtesy of Sugarbush Resort

Pond Skimming at Sugarbush

Photo by Sandy Macys

Spring skiing is one sure sign that winter is on the wane. Another is Pond Skimming, the annual Rite of Spring at Sugarbush Resort. The first 100 contestants* to sign up will attempt to ski across a 120-foot pond at the base of Lincoln Peak. Some do it in style, some in costume, and others make a real splash— sometimes head over heels. Awards for costume, style, and… well, splash. In the meantime, get inspired by these photos from recent years’ skimmings. Photo by Parker Herlihy

Costumes and contestants come in all shapes and sizes. One thing is certain-there’s always a big crowd to cheer them on.

Photo by Parker Herlihy

Photo by Jeb Wallace-Brodeur

Pond Skimming March 28, 2015 Registration: 8—10am Gate House Lodge Ticketing Event: 12pm Lincoln Peak, Sugarbush Resort Photo by Jeb Wallace-Brodeur


best of central Vermont | spring 2015

*If you are under 5 Ft. please wear a life jacket.

Mountain Road Marketplace is A 1/2 mile filled with locally owned shops, eat

. shop . dine . spa .play

1/2 mile of shops, restaurants, galleries, services, and more!

the heart ot the Mountain Road galleries, restaurants, services, and more stay

. drink . dance . laugh . enjoy

All located at 1613 - 2251 Mountain Road in Stowe!

o u t a nd a b o u t | by c a ssie H o rner

Mad Birders

Spring Walks Curious about the many different bird songs in spring? And what about the glimpses of a scarlet—or bright yellow—flash of wings in the woods? The Mad Birders of the Mad River Valley offer a series of spring walks that are just the ticket for learning more about what you’re hearing and seeing. This small nonprofit was co-founded in 2004 by Pat Folsom and Sandra Bruggemann to promote interest in birding in the Mad River Valley and to have fun. “Vermont in general is a great state for birding because of the marvelous breeding habitat for birds in the spring and summer,” says Jeannie Elias of Mad Birders. “The Mad River Valley has great habitat because of the river, mountains, and forest. We have soup to nuts in the kinds of songbirds here. They like everything we have.” One of the notable birds is the American woodcock, known for its early appearance in Vermont in the spring and its dramatic breeding ritual that includes the “sky dance.” The Mad Birders offer the Woodcock Walk in April. Birders go out with flashlights to where the birds have been seen before, listening for the distinctive “peent” sound to locate them. Spring is the season of warblers and many other species, and Jeannie leads a series of Thursday morning walks in May that begin about 7am. Birders meet at designated locations, and she leads them on a discovery trip. The weekend of Memorial Day, the Mad Birders host “A Big Morning” on a 300-acre farm in the Mad River Valley. This beautiful habitat attracts birders from all over the state for a series of three walks that day. The first, the Dawn Patrol, begins at 5am, followed by walks at 7am and 9am too. The morning finishes at about 11am with a BBQ lunch. Last year, over 80 species were counted. This event is a fundraiser for North Branch Nature Center and the Vermont Center for Ecostudies. Mad Birders members encourage novices to attend the programs. “A hallmark of Mad Birders is we want people with any interest in birding to have a good experience,” Jeannie says. “It matters to us that people enjoy birds and we are patient as they learn.”

Bird Photos by Ian Clark

For information about Mad Birders and a schedule of spring and summer events, visit www.MadBirders.org


best of central Vermont | spring 2015

This page: Birders out for a morning walk, Photos courtesy of the Mad Birders.

www.bestofcentralvt.com 21

out and about

Barre City is a prettier place thanks to the active civic initiatives of the Granite City Garden Club (GCGC). Founded in 1938, the group honors its 77 year history by continuing its mission of learning about plants and helping out in the community. The club’s activities include the planting and maintenance of ten gardens in the Barre area, most notably: the large garden on Washington Street; Currier Park, the scene of summer concerts; and Dente Park. The group annually funds a scholarship for a local student continuing his or her education in the field of horticulture. Every May the GCGC holds its annual plant sale at the Vermont Granite Museum. Garden Club members provide much of the stock for the sale from their own gardens so the variety is beautiful, hardy, and healthy. “This is our big fundraiser to help maintain public gardens, buy plants for them, and support the scholarship,” says Blanche Adamski, corresponding secretary. “People line up by 6 or 6:30am, and we are usually sold out by 11.” The City of Barre also provides some monetary support to the club for its public garden work. Other activities of the club include speakers at some of the monthly meetings (every second Monday), treks to visit members’ gardens, and field trips to Canada to buy plants. Members decorate the Aldrich Library for Christmas, participate in Green Up Day in May, and provide cut flower bouquets for the Paletteers Art Show which is part of Barre’s Homecoming event in July. Anyone is welcome to come to meetings and join the GCGC. “We are small but mighty,” Blanche says. “I always tell people to ’bring a friend and come grow with us.’” The Granite City Garden Club meets at the Congregational Church in Barre City every second Monday of the month at 6:30pm. Some meetings take place at other locations, such as private gardens. For more information about the club and its meetings, call co-president Sue Talmadge at (802) 476-7281.

Granite City Garden Club 22

best of central Vermont | spring 2015

photos courtesy of the Granite City Garden Club

www.bestofcentralvt.com 23

o u t a nd a b o u t

Ballroom Dancing Classes A great way to have fun, meet people, and get some exercise—the Montpelier Recreation Department offers ballroom dancing classes twice annually. Held at Union Elementary School in Montpelier under the direction of dance professionals Samir and Eleni Elabd, the classes range from the Viennese waltz to Latin dances. “Dancing is a wonderful activity,” says Sylvia Kingsbury, who has been involved with ballroom dancing for about 20 years and who helps with PR and teaching. “It is very social, very good exercise, and a way to incorporate movement and expression with music.” The 2015 spring classes begin April 28. The 6-7pm classes will focus on Swing, and the 7-8pm class on two Latin dances—salsa and samba. People can sign up to take one class or both. Most people come as couples but some singles attend, and people are partnered up. Kingsbury, her husband Ray, and Lew Petit help out. Sometimes there is a dance open to the public at the end of the class season. Samir Elabd and his wife Eleni both trained at the Gene Kelly Dance School in Athens, Greece. Since moving to the U.S. in 1988, they have taught hundreds of students. Samir holds his regular classes, “Ballroom Nights” at the Jazzercize studio in Williston on Friday evenings, followed by social dancing. “Certain dances people know and are interested in,” Sylvia says. “Then they branch out. Ballroom dancing is so much fun and there is always something new to learn.” For more information about Samir and Eleni Elabd, visit www.ballroomnights.com. To register for the dance classes, call the Montpelier Recreation Department at (802) 225-8699. 24

best of central Vermont | spring 2015

photos courtesy of Ballroom Nights

Eleni and Samir Elabd

www.bestofcentralvt.com 25

b a rre t echni c a l sch o o l | by D i a n Pa rk er ph otos by Ly nn B o h a nn o n

Top, Pastry Chef Wendy Clark demonstrates her expertise to a student. Bottom, students create pastries for area restaurants and retail customers.


best of central Vermont | SPRING 2015

Barre Technical Center introduces high school students to the joy of cooking (for class credit)

Sweet Certification Lemon raspberry meringue tart, vanilla almond bread pudding, peanut butter cookies, and Latin chocolate cake—the curriculum at the Baking Arts School of Barre Technical Center probably looks a little different from the one you remember in high school.


nd on Friday mornings, lucky members of the public get to buy these delectables directly from the students. This is not your average bake sale. For the past four years, Chef Wendy Clark has been mentoring 11th and 12th grade students from Spaulding, U32, Harwood Union, Montpelier, and Twinfield High Schools. A professional pastry chef by trade, Wendy holds a degree in restaurant management from Southern New Hampshire University. She has worked as a pastry sous chef and has taught young people from North Carolina to New Hampshire about baking. When the chance came to work as an educator at Barre Technical Center, she leapt in. Wendy found a space in the school in downtown Barre to house the professional classroom kitchen and bakeshop, and designed the layout herself. The school obtained a Perkins Grant for Tech training and purchased all the baking and kitchen equipment. Juggling tasks is part and parcel of the job, but Wendy says it balances out at the end of the day. “Watching the students learn something new every day is so rewarding.”

Prepping to Go Pro The stainless steel countertops gleam, and the stoves and workspaces are spotless. Four hours a day, four times a week, students learn to bake while listening to a lively radio station. “I can’t work in a kitchen without music,” Wendy says. “It helps create a rhythm and an up-beat atmosphere.” It’s fun work but it’s demanding too. www.bestofcentralvt.com


This page: (top) Proud teacher Wendy Clark with her happy students; (bottom left) Cailey Magnan uses her BTC training to start her own bakery business at home; (bottom right) food for thought

The room also bustles with the sounds of whirring mixers, beaters, and knives against chopping blocks. Colin Aylward, a senior, focused on grinding up Oreo cookies to make the crust for peanut butter pies destined for a local restaurant. “I’m up and doing something the whole time, interacting with what I’ve learned,” Colin says enthusiastically. “I’m a hands-on person.” There’s no sign of amateurs in this kitchen. Every student dons a white, pressed chef’s uniform: double-breasted chef jacket, chef pants and apron, with the iconic chef’s hat to top it off. A professional aura surrounds all of the baking activities, and Wendy keeps a tight ship. On Mondays, there is a lecture and time dedicated to developing skills. Tuesday through Friday, students are in production, culminating in the weekly bake sale right on site at the facility.

TGIF Baked Goods The Bake Shop, open just one day a week, on Fridays from 10am to 12pm, is the public face for the Baking Arts School. During the week, the students prepare their baked goods for sale to the public. It’s an opportunity for the students to cultivate their entrepreneurial abilities—and to encourage them to see the business side of patisserie, outside of the kitchen. They use their math skills for sales, and they hone communication skills interacting with the Barre community. Meanwhile, customers get the benefit of freshly baked indulgences, like the buttery Lemon Bars, caramel Pecan Diamond bars, Fudgy Brownies, and much more. “The variety of baked goods we offer changes, depending on what we’re studying that week,” Wendy says. With an ever-rotating menu of delicacies, Wendy suggests a weekly visit to the Bake Shop is a must. 28

best of central Vermont | SPRING 2015

It Takes a Village to Breed Success The school program also provides desserts for a number of local restaurants. For the Cornerstone Restaurant in Barre, they make

all the popular deconstructed Mason jar desserts, like Almond Joy—a parfait made with pastry cream layered with graham crackers, toasted almond chips, and coconut. For Two

Loco Guys, the students make all their dessert bars. The students also bake for the Bag Ladies Express Cafe in Barre and The Knotty Shamrock Irish Pub and Grill in Northfield. www.bestofcentralvt.com


Top and right: Wood counter tops and stainless stoves gleam in this modern training facility at Barre Technical Center. Bottom: White board displays the week’s assignments with a finished product in hand.

“We get busy during the holidays making hot cross buns for Easter, King’s Cake for Mardi Gras, decorating cookies for Halloween and making pies for Thanksgiving,” Wendy says. “At Christmas we make Yule logs and sell cookie decorating kits.”

Real World Readiness But don’t let the unorthodox high school curriculum fool you; these juniors and seniors put their classroom smarts to use every day, as they convert measurements for recipes and put products up for sale. “There’s a real use for math because everything here is interactive,” Wendy says. “It alleviates the question of ‘when will I ever use this.’” Some students even start their own businesses from home. Cailey Magnan, a junior at Spaulding, runs a successful, lucrative bakeshop at home for family events like weddings and holidays. “I love this school, baking and learning for four hours everyday,” Cailey says. “I’m going to open my own bakery after college, maybe in Disney World.” Clark built the curriculum on Professional Baking, a fundamentals book by Wayne Gisslen that she complements with a rich 30

best of central Vermont | SPRING 2015

reading list, including novels and memoirs about food, like Julia Child’s My Life in France. “The students read for 20 minutes every day and it’s so satisfying to watch students get turned on to reading.”

A Blueprint for Baking Colin, the 17 year-old senior from Spalding High School, already has a blueprint for his future in professional kitchens. “This summer I’m spending six months ‘on the line’ as an intern at a restaurant in California. Then I’m going to NECI [New England Culinary Institute] for a year and on to Johnson & Wales University in Providence. I’d eventually like

to have my own restaurant.” Along with his studies, he’s currently working at a local restaurant in the “dish pit.” In fact, many graduates of the Baking School are staffing Central Vermont’s favorite restaurants, like J. Morgan’s Steakhouse and Sarducci’s in Montpelier, The Rusty Nail in Stowe, Maxi’s in Waterbury, and Akes’ Den in Waitsfield.

Culinary Credentials After one year of training at the Baking Arts School, students receive their National Restaurant Association Baking Credential Certificate as well as their safety and sanitation certificate, ServSafe. “The National Restaurant

Association Certificate provides the students the equivalent of the first year of culinary school,” Wendy says. After successful completion of the program, students here are well prepared to work across the culinary world— whether as a pastry sous chef, a baker’s assistant, a food stylist, or a chocolatier. They’re also well trained for entry into post-secondary education. “Students applying for postsecondary education will stand out above all other applicants because of the ServSafe Certification and over 400 hours of classroom baking experience,” Wendy says. With the benefit of hands-on education, practical learning, and the opportunity to see immediate results, The Baking Arts School at the Barre Tech Center is an invaluable education opportunity. It is an alternative way of learning that gets high school students off campus and in the public eye, making everything from éclairs and cream puffs to chocolate ganache tarts. What a delicious and exciting way to learn.

Baking Arts Program, Barre Technical Center 136 North Main Street Barre Bakeshop: (802) 622-0333 BTC: (802) 476-6237

online extra Watch a behind-the-scenes video with Pastry Chef Wendy Clark www.bestofcentralvt.com



by m a rk a ik en p h oto gr a p hs by J ay Au s t in a nd m a r k a ik en

WDEV owner and local and national broadcasting legend Ken Squier talks Nascar and Vermont sports weekdays, and hosts “Music to Go to the Dump By� Saturday mornings.


best of central Vermont | spring 2015

Broadcasting for the Public Good


WDEV on the dairc for over 80 years

L egends of Vermont radio gather daily in a modest brick building on Stowe Street in Waterbury, Vermont. From that building, WDEV 550AM and WDEV 96.1FM broadcast live for over 18 hours a day. Led by Kenley Squier, whose father founded the station in 1931, the station covers Vermont and national news and sports, and brings listeners back to the way radio used to be—and, in some opinions—the way radio ought to be.




Old School Radio To understand WDEV, one has to look back at the history of radio. There was a time when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) held competitive hearings in issuing licenses to broadcast over radio airwaves. “Basically, your concept was judged,” says Eric Michaels, vice president and general manager of the Radio Vermont group, which includes WDEV AM 550 and FM 96.1; 101 The One (WCVT FM 101.7 and WEXP FM 101.5) and WLVB FM 93.9, a country music station in Morrisville. Back then, before radio frequency licensing became what Squier refers to as a government lottery, radio was meant to serve the public. Despite fierce competition, WDEV remains a small-town radio station committed to public service. “Throughout our history, local and relevant have been the common denominators,” Squier says. The station’s mission, says Squier, is to serve the public need, the public good, and public necessity. “And we try to make it profitable,” he says. The latter is a challenge with a saturated market (both Michaels and Squier are quick to point out that Vermont has more radio stations than New York City). And, says Squier, this is not subsidized radio. “We pay our taxes,” he says. Squier and Michaels are broadcasters and businessmen trying to tread the balance between public service and profitability. “I think that everybody here really understands the fundamental of WDEV—and that’s service to the community,” Michaels says. To 34

best of central Vermont | spring 2015

Opposite page, clockwise from top left: Co-founder Lloyd Squier’s portrait on a wall at station headquarters; Radio Vermont headquarters and home of WDEV in Waterbury. Photo by Jay Austin; Tom Beardsley reads an ad for a station sponsor. Photo by Mark Aiken. This page: Arty LaVigne, host of “The Getaway” browsing the music library. Photo by Jay Austin.



that end, WDEV’s live programming focuses on Vermont communities, sports, state news, world and national news, and the business of Vermont—all of which Squier believes are intertwined. And he believes in the public’s right to know. “Our challenge is in making it a financial success while carrying forward what we believe,” Squier says.

The Players at WDEV Being in the business of promoting the public interest does not mean you can’t have a bit of fun along the way. Sitting in the broadcast booth with former station manager Tom Beardsley while he banters on the air with Jon Noyes, who “Wakes Up Vermont” on weekdays, is like sitting in a living room with friends. Except that most living rooms lack the microphones, computers, and the switches and knobs of the broadcast equipment in the WDEV control rooms. Beardsley has been in radio for over forty years. “It’s impossible for me to get any seniority here,” Michaels says. “I’m still the new kid on the block and I’ve been here 28 years.” He jests, of course, but to turn the radio dial to WDEV is to invite Vermont radio legends into your car or home—or wherever you listen to radio. A member of the Nascar 36

best of central Vermont | spring 2015

Hall of Fame for his work as an auto racing broadcaster for CBS Sports among other national networks, Squier is one of the most celebrated radio personalities in Vermont radio history, and Michaels is similarly respected. Beardsley, Vermont newsman Mark Johnson, afternoon personality Arty LaVigne, party calendar and traffic director Kia Commo, and many others have extensive radio and broadcast backgrounds. “They are all good communicators,” says Squier. “They

can all do everything. The basis for any success we have is the people we have here.” Further, everyone who works at WDEV (most of whom arrived after working at other stations) shares the common goal that the station’s leadership holds so dear: the commitment to public service. And this commitment dates back to Lloyd Squier and Harry Whitehill, the station’s founders (newspapermen who, according to Ken Squier, opened the station because they felt more people could

Opposite page, top: Lee Kittell, Program Director; bottom: Kia Commo, Traffic Director/ Party Calendar; Katie Falcone, Account Executive; Cheryl Edwards, Administrative Assistant; Shannon Billings, Accountant. Photos by Jay Austin. This page, clockwise from top left: The Transmitter Building on Blush Hill, original location of the WDEV studios; Rusty Parker, past general manager of WDEV and namesake of “Rusty’s Park” in Waterbury; undated photo of Blush Hill Transmitter Building; Construction of the four-legged AM tower on Blush Hill; and inside the original WDEV Blush Hill studios. Historic photos courtesy of WDEV.

hear than could read). “Everyone at WDEV believes in what radio can do,” Squier says.

What You’ll Hear On weekdays, WDEV covers what is happening in Vermont. Talk shows, newscasts, and sports and weather updates make up the brunt of weekday programming with music and jazz in the evenings. Unless the Norwich College hockey team is playing—or local high school sports teams. You’ll hear plenty of politics—and biased opinions. But you’ll hear plenty of opinions on all sides of a given topic. You’ll also hear WDEV radio personalities poking fun at Vermonters, public figures,

and themselves. “I’ve worked with Ken Squier for 28 years,” says Eric Michaels. “We debate constantly, but we’ve never argued. I’m not expected to see eye-to-eye with him, which is good; I’d need a stool anyway.” Michaels, who stands at five feet six inches, says he believes he sounds taller over the air. You will hear commercials, of course; this is a for-profit venture. But where other stations string many commercials together and/or crank commercials louder than their tunes, WDEV’s are somehow less in-yourface. On-air personalities read most ad spots live, and you rarely hear more than a commercial or two in a row. www.bestofcentralvt.com


Michaels notes that, while they adhere to a schedule, they will deviate depending on the needs of the listeners. For example, some commercial spots got moved around during the January terrorist attacks in Paris when the world news update lasted eight or nine minutes instead of the typical four or five. And on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, “Democracy Now” (the only pre-recorded, nationally syndicated show on WDEV’s schedule) pulled a very WDEV-like move in broadcasting a newly rediscovered King speech from 1964 in its entirety. There’s nothing like honoring the man by listening to him speak. You will hear news on the weekends, but there’s more music including Squier’s own long-running “Music to Go to the Dump By” show. Squier and Michaels are both on the air six days per week. “We didn’t start as bankers or investors and get into radio,” Michaels says. Squier was at WDEV as a child when his father owned and managed the station. And Michaels’ father was a broadcast engineer. And this perhaps is at the core of what WDEV does and why the station attracts passionate and dedicated employees—and listeners. Squier and Michaels, majority and minority shareholder, didn’t come from MBA programs or from backgrounds in sales. They have been lifelong broadcasters (Squier on a national level.) WDEV is owned and operated by two locals who have been broadcasting all their lives. That sounds like radio worth listening to.

WDEV 550AM and WDEV 96.1FM 9 Stowe Street Waterbury (802) 244-7321 Office (802) 244-1777 Listener call-in line www.wdevradio.com

online extra View more photos of WDEV online, from historic to present day. www.bestofcentralvt.com


best of central Vermont | spring 2015



photo by Lisa Mason of Fiddleheads Cuisine


best of central Vermont | SPRING 2015

Spring Forage Fiddlehead ferns are one of spring’s wild delicacies. If you pluck them just after they emerge from their subterranean slumber, but before they unfurl, they make a delicious, nutritious addition to any meal at a time when grocery store vegetables look uninspiring.

Named for their resemblance to the decorative scroll on the top of a violin, fiddleheads are sweet music to your tastebuds, and an early harbinger of the flavors of summer ahead. Best eaten within 24 hours of picking, they taste like a cross between a crispy string bean and young asparagus—and they’re packed with Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, iron, potassium, and fiber.

By Lisa Densmore Ballard Photos by Lisa Densmore Ballard except where noted




...any fern is a “fiddlehead” before it extends its fronds. Many are edible, though the ostrich fern, which emerges in May in damp woodlands throughout Central Vermont and much of the northeastern United States, produces the fiddlehead with the gourmet reputation....

Harvesting Technically any fern is a “fiddlehead” before it extends its fronds. Many are edible, though the ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris), which emerges in May in damp woodlands throughout Central Vermont and much of the northeastern United States, produces the fiddlehead with the gourmet reputation. Some grocery stores and farm stands carry them for a short time in the spring, but Vermonters are in the fortunate position to be able to take to the woods to forage for them. To harvest your own fiddleheads, find a patch in the woods and snap them off. 42

best of central Vermont | SPRING 2015

Mature ostrich ferns usually produce seven scrolls, but limit yourself to three per plant. Over-picking will kill the plant.

Papery Skins and U-Shaped Grooves Many ferns resemble an ostrich fern. One in particular, the bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum) is carcinogenic, so it’s important to identify the right one. The fiddlehead of an ostrich fern is about an inch in diameter with a brown papery covering and a smooth stem. Though only a short portion of the stem, the length of a postage stamp, might poke above

Freezing is the best way to preserve your fiddlehead harvest for later use. Like other vegetables, they need to be blanched first. Here’s how: 1. Rinse the fiddleheads and remove any brown papery skin. 2. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. 3. Add the fiddleheads (about 4 cups maximum per batch) to the water. 4. Return the water to a boil and cook the fiddleheads for two minutes or until their color brightens but they are still crispy, not soft. 5. Drain and immediately submerge the fiddleheads in an ice water bath. 6. Dry thoroughly, then package in resealable plastic freezer bags and freeze.

Previous page: Fiddleheads with ramp bulbs and leaves, washed and ready to be used. Opposite page & bottom: Ostrich ferns prefer the moist forest floor. Look for a brown papery covering and a smooth stem.

the ground, look for a deep U-shaped groove on the side of the stem under the scroll. Though bracken ferns may be found in open woodlands, they tend to prefer dry pastures and meadows with sandy or gravelly soil rather than the moist forest floor and riparian zones in which ostrich ferns thrive. Bracken ferns have round stems rather than the tell-tale u-shaped stem of the edible ostrich fern. Before cooking fiddleheads, remove the brown papery skin and rinse them thoroughly. Some people eat fiddleheads raw though, uncooked, they contain a toxin that can give you a stomach ache. Cooking destroys it. For the best results, eat them as soon as possible after picking them. If you cover them, they might last a few days in the refrigerator, but their flavor is not as delicate and their crunch is not as crisp the longer you store them. Ditto if you overcook them.

ont Central Verm Central Verm ont VOLUM E FALL 2014

2, NO. 4

best of

best of









2014/ 2015



3, NO. 1



FALL ES IER HOM Where Bear TOUR MONTPEL s Hibernat E e ENGLAND STYL Challenges TAPAS, NEW ECT for Young Athletes A Historic EMBRACE PROJ Home for a Fine Arts College




Only a small, postage stamp-sized piece of the stem may be peeping above ground at harvest time. Look for a deep U-shaped groove under the scroll to help with identification.

Dijon Sauce for Fiddleheads

Fiddleheads are traditionally steamed, blanched, or boiled, and then eaten hot with hollandaise sauce or butter and lemon. They can also be chilled and added to salads, but there are many other ways to serve them. And if you happen upon a patch of ostrich ferns past their edible prime, remember the spot so you can come back next year—but plan to go a little earlier to fully enjoy.


best of central Vermont | SPRING 2015

1 cup chicken broth 1 Tbsp flour 1 Tbsp olive oil 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard ½ tsp tarragon Dash pepper 1 tsp lemon juice ½ cup sour cream Heat the chicken broth in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining ingredients except the sour cream. Stirring with a whisk, simmer the mixture until it reduces by about half and begins to thicken, about five minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the sour cream. Pour over steamed fiddleheads and serve.

Feisty Fiddleheads on Angel Hair Pasta 4 cups Fiddlehead ferns 1 lb angel hair pasta 3 Tbsp olive oil 1 sweet red, orange, or yellow pepper, sliced into fine, short strips 1 onion, diced 1 garlic clove, minced 4-6 mushrooms (morels are best!), sliced thinly 2 tsp salt ¼ tsp cayenne pepper or black pepper ¼ tsp tabasco sauce or your favorite hot sauce ¼ tsp oregano ¼ tsp thyme ¼ tsp basil ½ cup chicken broth ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese Paprika In a large pot of boiling water, add the fiddleheads and 1½ tsp salt. Return to a boil and blanch for two minutes, then drain and rinse in cold water. At the same time, heat a second large pot of water and boil the angel hair pasta al dente as you continue preparing the fiddleheads. When the pasta is done, drain, and place it in a large serving bowl. In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic for about one minute. Add the mushrooms and sauté another minute. Add the fiddleheads, sweet pepper strips, ½ tsp salt, cayenne pepper, hot sauce, oregano, thyme, basil, and chicken broth. Simmer for another five minutes. Toss the fiddlehead mixture, Parmesan cheese, and the angel hair pasta together in the large serving bowl. Sprinkle with paprika and serve immediately. Serves 6-8. Note: Add 1½ lb cooked shrimp for a delicious seafood version of this recipe.

online extra Watch a video online about how to harvest and prepare fiddleheads www.bestofcentralvt.com www.bestofcentralvt.com


Garlic Sautéed Fiddleheads Serves 8

4 cups fiddlehead ferns, trimmed and rinsed 2 tsp salt 2 Tbsp vegetable oil or olive oil 2 cloves garlic, finely minced 1 shallot or ½ small onion finely diced 1 Tbsp butter Grated Parmesan cheese Remove the brown papery skin from the fiddleheads, then place them in a large pot of boiling water with 1½ tsp salt. Return to a boil and blanch for two minutes, then drain and rinse in cold water. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallots. Sauté for one minute. Add the fiddleheads, butter, and remaining ½ tsp salt, and sauté about five minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and serve immediately. 46

best of central Vermont | SPRING 2015

by ph y l ne w beck PH OTOS CO U R T E S Y O F V ER M O N T PE A N U T B U T T ER A ND B O S TO N NE A RY

ese ors h t y tr s flav u bulo reamy



best of central Vermont | spring 2015

C nky Chu he anc Aval alnut le W ma r Map d Ka aisin Goo on R m a inn er we C t Butt dness Sto u N Goo BEE tain n u o ojo en M River M er e r G utt Mad nd B o m Al

Go Nuts with


Peanut Butter

Six years ago, Chris Kaiser decided to rethink life as a financial planner. It wasn’t bringing him the kind of fulfillment he’d envisioned for himself. Also unfulfilling? The snacks Chris brought on his hiking trips. As an avid hiker, Chris found that gorp, granola, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches lacked satisfaction when he reached the peak. One day after hiking in the Adirondacks with a summit snack of a PB&J sandwich and a nutrition bar, Chris mused about finding a way to combine some of the nutritional attributes of the bar with peanut butter. “I raced down the mountain and started researching peanut butter,” he says. “I thought if I could take away the nonsense that’s put into it and replace it with healthy ingredients and maybe some protein, I’d have something.”

From Test Kitchen to Grocery Aisle Chris talked to nutritionists, tinkered in the kitchen, and tested out his homemade concoctions with family and friends, and soon the new business was born. Vermont Peanut Butter (VTPB) started in 2008 and a year later, Chris released his first product. “I’m a lifelong athlete,” he says, “and with my love for the outdoors and for nutrition, financial planning wasn’t quite satisfying me. I made a good living and did right by my clients, but I felt like something was missing. I wanted to be more in tune with my athletic side.” VTPB brings considerable change to a grocery store aisle that typically boasts two options: crunchy www.bestofcentralvt.com


Pack Its: One for Many VTPB recently debuted a new product: single serving nut butter packs called Pack Its. Chris sees a potential for Pack Its to find success across the country, in part because they take up minimal shelf space. It could make them a natural fit for sports shops. “You’re starting to see a lot of single serve products,” he says “but no nut butters.” Recognizing that single serve packets aren’t as environmentally friendly as bulk containers, Chris is working with a company called TerraCycle to develop innovative recyclable packaging to keep the containers out of landfills. VTPB will then partner with retailers to set up recycling drop points and nut butter refill stations.

Left, VTPB’s Maple Walnut won the Best New England Food Product award at the 2012 New England Food Show. Top Right, Chris explains the many benefits of VTPB at an event at Healthy Living Market and Café in South Burlington. Photo by Boston Neary. Bottom Right, additions like raisins, cranberries, almonds, honey, and chocolate make VTPB butters a standout in the grocery aisle.

or creamy. In addition to the basics, VTPB produces seven other year-round flavors including Stowe Cinnamon Raisin, the multi-nut Green Mountain Goodness, and Avalanche, a scrumptious white chocolateenhanced peanut butter.

Growing Beyond the Green Mountains In just a few short years, VTPB jars have become a familiar sight in stores and at farmers’ markets around Vermont, and the company is quickly gaining a following beyond the Green Mountains as well. On supermarket shelves from the Boston area to


best of central Vermont | spring 2015

Maine, VTPB is taking New England by storm and, with a new distribution deal, will soon expand to New York and beyond. Meanwhile, the company already works with a distributor in Italy, and is likely to be shipping to Canada in the near future. Chris hopes to be a global brand within three years. Vermont Peanut Butter differs from most brands because it has no palm oil, sugar, or hydrogenated oil. “It’s the cleanest, healthiest peanut butter around,” says Chris. Whey isolate, a tasteless, odorless product often used in smoothies and nutrition bars, is added to some of the flavors for additional protein. Although whey isolate protein is over 99 percent lactose free, Chris leaves it out of some flavors to ensure that they are totally vegan.

Award-Winning... and Something for Everyone In 2012, VTPB’s Maple Walnut flavor won an award for the best New England food product at the New England Food Show and it remains one of the most popular flavors, together with Mad River Mojo—a “spreadable trail mix” blend of almonds, peanuts, cranberries, flax, and honey. Chris

says the company’s secret is using two different kinds of peanuts and roasting them differently to create a proprietary blend. But folks with peanut allergies are not forgotten; in addition to regular almond butter, Chris developed a seasonal cherry and chocolate spread with an almond base, available every year from October through December.

More Than Just Good to Eat Chris wanted his company to embody social responsibility from the beginning.

“Instead of just writing a check, I wanted to have a tangible relationship with the people and the organizations I get excited about,� he says. Not surprisingly, many of those organizations are involved in athletics. Vermont Mountain Bike Association, Mountain Bike Vermont, the High Fives Foundation (for athletes with lifethreatening injuries), and Kingdom Trails are partners, as are a number of other nonprofits including the Vermont Food Bank and the Lamoille Housing Partnership. www.bestofcentralvt.com


Left, A dedicated athlete, VTPB owner Chris Kaiser wants his company to support athletes in a variety of sports. Photo by Boston Neary. Right, VTPB products are packaged in-house, keeping everything local.

In addition, VTPB is developing an ambassador program for athletes who enjoy the product. The hope is that this program will eventually become a VTPB pro team for athletes in a variety of sports. Chris has also set his sights on a program for kids 5 to 15, which he believes will be the first of its kind. Young athletes will get a photo and biography on the company’s website. The company recently partnered with the Whole Kids Foundation and 1% for the Planet to promote social responsibility and awareness on a national level.

Growing Local Meanwhile, from its inception, VTPB has been built on a foundation dedicated 52

best of central Vermont | spring 2015

to a reduced environmental footprint. When constructing the factory, Chris carefully selected the most efficient heating and lighting systems he could find. Manufacturing equipment is low energy with electric components—as Chris puts it, “No emissions, no smells.” As the company expands, it constantly seeks innovative ways to reuse and recycle packaging. Chris isn’t entirely surprised by how quickly the company has grown. “Practically everybody eats peanut butter,” he says. “I’m a go-getter. I believe in what we do and sometimes I think we should be even farther along.” VTPB employs nine people in a brand new building in Morrisville and they’re hoping to take on four or five more

employees by the end of the year. Expansion has actually made Chris’s life easier. “I’m finding more time to do things because I’m hiring very smart people. I don’t have to do it all.” As the face of the company, Chris has the opportunity to go to more athletic events and now even gets the chance to ride his bike at mountain bike festivals. He is able to find the time to engage in his passions, including backcountry snowboarding and stand up paddling. He’s an ambassador for Bic Stand Up Paddleboards and is working on an alliance with Jones Snowboards, named for Jeremy Jones. Another mountain bike connection is also in the works.

“We’re going to stay local,” Chris says, “but we’re outgrowing what we have here. I’d like to see us building a larger facility, maybe even with a visitor center.” He’s often asked why he doesn’t “co-pack” his product at another facility but he considers it more important to do everything in- house. “I’m feeding people’s families,” he says. “It’s pretty cool. We are part of a very small group of businesses who do everything from one location.” Vermont Peanut Butters are sold in stores and at farmer’s markets across Vermont and New England, and online at www. vtpeanutbutter.com.

Vermont Peanut Butter Morrisville (877) 846-6887




Blooming Adventures

Shopping & fun things to do in Central Vermont!

Boutiliers Fine Art Materials and Custom Framing

A fixture in downtown Burlington since 1925, we offer the finest art supplies from around the world. Come discover the artist in you! Mon–Sat 10am–6pm; Sun 12–5pm 139 Bank Street, Burlington, VT (802) 864-5475 www.boutiliersart.com See us on Facebook

Salaam Boutique A fashion-savvy boutique on State Street, Montpelier, featuring our own locally-made Salaam Line, as well as a fantastic selection of clothing, jewelry, and accessories for women by your favorite brands, such as Citizens of Humanity, Free People, and Lucky Brand. 40 State Street, Montpelier, VT (802) 223-4300 www.salaamclothing.com

Copy World Copy World can help you personalize any special gift! Canvas prints, photo calendars, and custom photo birthday cards make the perfect unique gifts for your loved ones. Copy World has great gift ideas for every budget. Open 7 days 59 North Main Street, Barre, VT (802) 476-3615 www.CopyWorldVT.com

Stowe Village Massage

Stowe Village Massage offers exceptional bodywork by certified, professional massage therapists. We have an expanded treatment menu, including relaxation, deep tissue, aromatherapy, and couples massages, plus scrubs and wraps. Now offering private yoga sessions. 60-minute massages starting from $75. Gift certificates and packages available! Open daily from 9am-7pm 49 Depot Street, Stowe, VT (802) 253-6555 Book online at: www.stowevillagemassage.com

VersaPro Spray-On Tanning at Granite City Styles No headaches, no laying in a booth over and over. Its heated application hydrates the skin for longer lasting color. Book your space today for the VersaPro Spray Tanning. It hydrates the skin for longer lasting color. Only takes minutes to do, and very affordable! Plus you can customize your tanning. Only the legs, only the face … NO PROBLEM!!! VersaPro is THE latest in tanning and you’re going to LOVE IT! Call Tanja today to book your space. 77 Main Street, Barre, VT (802) 249-2269

alla vita

An Olive Oil Taproom and Trattoria We offer our customers the freshest, highest quality extra virgin olive oils and aged balsamic vinegars from around the globe, with free samplings daily. We highlight these oils and vinegars in our healthy and delicious salads, panini, soups, fresh pasta, pestos & tapenade. Stop in today for lunch or a taste. Mon, Tues & Thur, Fri - 10-5, Wed 10-6, Sat 10-4 Lunch items available Monday thru Friday 11-2 27 State Street, Montpelier, VT (802) 225-6526 www.allavitavermont.com

Morse Farm It’s our time of year at Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks! We’re making syrup the traditional way here at Morse Farm—every golden drop of maple syrup we make is boiled over a wood fire. Our season is short, so don’t pass up the chance to drop by, whiff the heavenly aroma of boiling sap, and have a taste. We’ll also tell you the whole story of Vermont maple syrup from “tap to table.” Our eight generation story is a “can’t miss” here in the heart of maple country!

ECCO Clothes ECCO, Burlington’s original designer boutique, has been dressing Vermonters in top brands for over 20 years! From denim to dresses, boots to stilettos, ECCO has it all! Premium denim lines like J Brand, AG, Paige, and Citizens of Humanity; sweaters by Velvet, Vince, and Theory; basics by James Perse and Michael Stars; dresses by Susana Monaco, BCBG, ABS, and Laundry; shoes from Steve Madden, Seychelles, and Dolce Vita; and handbags by Liebeskind, Hobo, and Tano. From basic to anything but, ECCO has you covered. Visit ECCO on the corner of Church Street and Bank Street in the heart of Burlington. 81 Church Street Burlington, VT (802) 860-2220 www.eccoclothesboutique.com

1168 County Road, Montpelier, VT (800) 242-2740 www.morsefarm.com

by Elizabeth Hewitt Photos by Gordon Miller


best of central Vermont | SPRING 2015

Kids in a Candy Store Sweets, jazz, and beer: Willy Wonka’s got nothing on Nutty Steph’s chocolate factory Most of the lights in Middlesex are already out at 8:30 on a dark Vermont night, but a diverse crowd of locals packs the bar at Nutty Steph’s.


musician picks out an old-timey “Ain’t Misbehavin’” on the upright piano, sneaking sips from his Heady Topper. The bartender pours a generous glass of red wine while chatting with regulars at the bar. At the corner table, Diane Davis and Joey Bishop tuck into their weekly ritual. “I’m a chocolate connoisseur,” Diane says. In addition to some confections to go, they share a snack plate of dried fruits and cheese, a sampler of local Vermont bacons, and a rich chocolate dipping sauce. An odd paring, perhaps, but Nutty Steph’s Bacon Nights are something of an institution in rural central Vermont. Between nationwide distribution and a fierce commitment to community involvement, Nutty Steph’s has grown to be Vermont’s own take on Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory—treats, entertainment, and a touch of whimsy. www.bestofcentralvt.com


Magical Realism: A Recipe for Delicious Fun “Our theme at Nutty Steph’s is fun,” says Sophie Kirpan, one of the company’s dozen or so employees who collectively manage the business. A company that produces white chocolate raspberry pink elephants and chocolate-covered granola called “magic chunks” is bound to be fun. But Nutty Steph’s took it one step further, launching a weekly latenight ritual at its Middlesex headquarters, just off of I-89, themed around the unorthodox pairing of single-origin Ecuadorian chocolate and local Vermont bacon. “That’s unheard of in a community where most of the roads are dirt,” Sophie says with a laugh. “We’re the only nightlife in the area.”

BC: Before Chocolate But before there was bacon, there was chocolate, and before there was chocolate, there was granola. Nutty Steph’s began with a recipe. Jaquelyn Rieke, whose first name is Stephanie, made a great granola, and she decided to try selling it. She launched her cereal production from Montpelier in 2003, and in 2006, relocated the company to a larger space in Camp Meade—part of the same complex that houses Red Hen Bakery. In the meantime, Nutty Steph’s started making chocolate. This is not your average Hershey’s bar. Made with cocoa sourced from a farmer-owned cooperative in northern Ecuador (Jaquelyn visited the area to check it out for herself), it is possible, if you eat the chocolate properly, to actually taste the undertones of the fruit trees that provide shade for the cocoa plants.

Eat Chocolate like a Connoisseur According to Nutty Steph’s, chocolate can and should be so much more than a snack. “How many of us just chew chocolate like it’s food on our plate?” Sophie says, before explaining the proper way to enjoy a Nutty Steph’s bar. Break off a small piece of the bar—about half a square will do—then let it sit on your tongue. No chewing. Just let it melt. Nutty Steph’s bars are very thin with exactly this purpose in mind. Over two or three minutes, 58

best of central Vermont | SPRING 2015

Clockwise from top left: On Thursdays, the Middlesex hot spot offers a menu of savory and sweet snacks; a platter of truffles; local Vermont bacon.



Clockwise from top left: Nutty Steph’s brings in local musicians every week; a selection of chocolates available at the Middlesex store; before chocolate, Nutty Steph’s made granola; the granola is sold in stores across the northeast.

the full flavor of the chocolate will wash over your palate. “It all goes back to the shape of the bar,” Sophie explains. “It’s thin, you can bite it, you can let it melt on your tongue.” Perhaps the hardest part of the experiment is choosing which chocolate bar to sample. Nutty Steph’s recently streamlined the range down to a dozen flavors. Starting with the pure Ecuadorian cocoa as a canvas, each flavor is unique, from the ever popular salted caramel bar, to the more unusual lemon ginger pecan dark chocolate. The chocolate bars are wrapped by three local women with special needs, who come in twice a week. Nutty Steph’s chocolate bars are available widely throughout Vermont, and are gaining 60

best of central Vermont | SPRING 2015



Give the Gift of

Best of Central Vermont ont Share the wonder of our beautiful m r e V l a r t n e C area and the latest news all year WINT ER

2014 /2015


3, NO. 1

best of





long with a Best of Central Vermont gift subscription.

Central Vermo nt best of

SPRIN G 2015 VOLU ME 3, NO. 2



traction in the northeast. They are regularly stocked at Zabar’s in New York City, for instance, and the company ships around the country, selling as far away as San Francisco. Vermonters, however, have the benefit of being able to stop in to the flagship store.


Friends and family who have moved away from the area will be especially appreciative. Be sure to order a subscription for yourself, too! Send a check for $19.95 plus Vermont sales tax for one year (4 issues) to: Best of Central Vermont PO Box 1460 Queechee, VT 05059

Hibernate Where Bears s Young Athlete Challenges for s College e for a Fine Art A Historic Hom


Or conveniently pay online using Paypal at www.bestofcentralvt.com

How Sweet It Is It is a one-stop shop for any sweet tooth. They keep a fully stocked case of rare delights, like salted caramel chocolates and pink and brown Holsteins. Shelves boast products to stock the larder of any home baker, like dark and white chocolate baking chips. In addition to the full range of chocolate bars, the Middlesex shop is the only place where the bacon bar is sold. Kids are free to explore the eclectically decorated space, or tinker around on the upright piano, while parents tuck into a drink from the expertly curated beer and wine list. Also not to be missed—the hot chocolate, made with local milk and any chocolate bar of choice.

Bacon Brings Out the Best Every Thursday, the setting seamlessly transitions into the Middlesex hot spot. Locals crowd in around the funky lighting, brightly painted walls, and the colorful mosaic tables. The idea, explains bartender Charlotte Root, came from a desire to bring the community together with local musicians. “What better way than with live music, wine and bacon?” Charlotte says. Five Vermont bacons, which customers can order to their preferred crispiness, are served with a dark, unsweetened cocoa sauce. A snack plate comes loaded with Jasper Hill cheese and dried fruit and nuts. Add in live jazz music, and Bacon Night seems to have a pretty universal appeal. After all, who doesn’t love chocolate? “We get really young local farmers, mixed with people who work in the State House,” Charlotte says. “It’s a huge variety, and that’s what makes it so fun.”

Nutty Steph’s 961C US Route 2 Middlesex (802) 229-2090 www.nuttystephs.com/flagship 62

best of central Vermont | SPRING 2015

Photos courtesy of artists and galleries |

by Mary Gow

Open Studio


Every one of Vermont’s artists and artisans has a story about what fires their creativity >>>


ow did a longtime farrier start crafting fine chef’s knives? What happened to Elga Gemst’s brilliant sheets of glass when Tropical Storm Irene’s floodwaters ripped through Moretown? How many generations of rug hookers have there been in Stephanie Krauss’s family so far? Where do artist Gary Eckhart and photographer Roarke Sharlow find their subjects? Every one of Vermont’s artists and artisans has stories about how they came to their work and what fires their creativity. This May 23 and 24, visitors are again welcomed into the work places of over 200 Vermonters who make their livings in crafts and art as part of the Vermont Craft Council’s 22nd Spring Open Studio Weekend. “Open Studio Weekend is not just about seeing the space where people create work, it’s about seeing the person in the space and hearing the story,” says Martha Fitch, execuwww.bestofcentralvt.com


Previous page, top: Artisans’ Gallery is right by Waitsfield’s “downtown” covered bridge. Bottom, left: watercolorist Gary Eckhart in his studio; right: blacksmith Jim Hurlburt sharpens one of his custom-made knives.

tive director of the Vermont Crafts Council. “Their different stories are part of our Vermont culture, but out of sight of public view for the most part.” Though Vermont boasts a high population of artists and artisans of many different stripes, their work environments, if not their work itself, is tucked away in the barns and garages of the Green Mountains for most of the year. “I love the privilege of being able to drive up to someone’s studio and have the opportunity to see their tools, their professional layout, their creativity,” Martha says. “At a studio you often see where they get their inspiration. You see their work in process.” Here is a small sample of central Vermont studios >>>

JH Forge As a farrier, Jim Hurlburt of Stowe brings a

combination of blacksmith and veterinary skills to his work shoeing horses. More than a decade ago, Jim designed and made himself a specialized knife, combining the pick and sharp blade that he used in his equine job. Word spread, he increased production, and now his custom hoof knives are used by farriers and veterinarians around the world. Jim’s hoof knives are razor sharp, a quality also valued in the kitchen. Collaborating with chef friends, he developed designs and started producing custom kitchen knives—suitable for professionals as well as homes. Sharp, balanced, and comfortable to use, Jim now has a line of four styles. He makes each one individually with a Vermont wood handle— black walnut, tiger maple, or cherry. At JH Forge, visitors see Jim’s fancy grinders and other machines and a display detailing his knife making process. Jim also sharpens knives—including blades he didn’t create. His knives are all custom made, but he has a selection on hand, so visitors can feel the curve of the polished handles, the balance of the knife, and see how easily his blades slice foods. “I love the input from people and hearing what they like in a knife,” Jim says. Jim Hurlburt, JH Forge 3986 Stowe Hollow Road Stowe (802) 253-8473 www.jhforgehome.com


best of central Vermont | SPRING 2015

mad women in the attic Breathtaking scarlet, saffron

yellows, azure, and cerulean blues—colors overwhelm visitors to Elga Gemst’s glass and metal studio in Moretown. “It’s surprising,” says Elga, “you don’t realize that this color and intensity is here. I like to have people respond to the color. When someone who gets it comes in, that feeds me.” Elga, who calls her work “fresh glass and metal,” fuses glass, incorporates glass into metal tins and other objects, and uses the copper foil technique developed by Louis Comfort Tiffany. She works extensively with magnificent glass she orders from Germany— and has a display of how this unusual mouth-

blown glass is produced. When this German glass first caught Elga’s eye many years ago, she resolved that when she had the resources, she would buy it for her own projects. Two decades later, having returned to glass, she traveled to Germany and selected her materials. Her first fragile sheets of it were delivered a week before Tropical Storm Irene inundated Moretown village. Her Main Street building was extensively damaged. When the water receded, a mess of thick foul mud remained. Neighbors, friends, and volunteers arrived and helped clean and carry. Her glass survived, but it took two years before she was finally ready to cut it.

“I am inspired by the glass itself,” says Elga. “Some part of it pops out and draws me in and then I let it organically grow when I see the right piece, the right color. Now it kind of makes itself and I follow it. It is fluid. It is less like following a fixed pattern, like for a dress. It flows.” At Open Studio Weekend, Elga’s visitors start on the ground floor with her showroom and display of German glass, then visit her tree house-like studio in the attic with her kiln, tools, and work space. Elga Gemst Main Street Moretown (802) 496-4614 www.bestofcentralvt.com


Green Mountain Hooked Rugs Stephanie Allen-Krauss’s

hooking genes come from both sides of her family. Her great grandmother on her father’s side was selling patterns and hooking rugs from the 1860s in the capital of wool textile production, Lowell, Massachusetts. Stephanie’s mother, an acclaimed rug hooker, co-founded the Green Mountain Rug School. The school continues today, run by Stephanie and her daughters, held annually in June at Capitol Plaza in Montpelier. “I was raised on dye spoons, wool dust, and fabric scraps,” Stephanie says. At Green Mountain Hooked Rugs in Montpelier, Stephanie’s year-round shop with hooking supplies, visitors see the 66

best of central Vermont | SPRING 2015

incredible diversity of hooking styles and applications. Stephanie demonstrates basics of hooking and also how she repairs and restores hooked pieces. Restoration and hooking new rugs from antique designs are among her passions. She is in the process of helping the owner of a superb collection of antique rugs, many from the 1870s and 1880s, with preservation and repair. “I’m so inspired. This is my new muse,” she explains. “Hooking is essentially wool fabric cut into strips, then the strips are made into loops pulled through a backing,” says Stephanie. “The technique is so easy but you can get so many different looks, depending on the

width of the strips, the design, the colors, whether you sculpture your loop to give a 3D effect. There is also variety in how you use your hooked piece—on the floor, as a wall hanging, a table mat, coaster, purse, hooked pillow. I saw somebody who hooked a kind of tunic. “It’s all the same technique—and you don’t have to use wool. I’ve seen pieces using cottons, plastic bags, nylon stocking, cut up jeans, all kinds of materials.” Stephanie Allen-Krauss 2838 County Rd Montpelier (802) 223-1333 www.greenmountainhookedrugs.com

moosewalk studios & gallery “It is not unusual for people to

stay here for an hour and a half or two,” says Gary Eckhart about Open Studio Weekend visitors to Moosewalk Studios & Gallery in Warren. Gary, an award-winning watercolorist, and Roarke Sharlow, fine art photographer, share this creative domain, located in a birch-framed, mountainside wooded setting. They also exhibit a few other artists’ work in the gallery and sculpture garden. At Moosewalk, Gary and Roarke display paintings and photography underway so people can see their processes as well as their finished work. A table equipped with watercolors and supplies lets visitors have some hands on experience. Along with seeing and doing, at Moosewalk, people linger, talking with Gary and Roarke about art.

“We have a fine art printer here at the studio,” Gary explains. “We often talk with people about differences between fine art prints and mass produced prints—why a fine art print is a work of art. We also talk about what framing will do for different pieces of artwork and how it can enhance the artwork.” “Our visitors leave with a better appreciation and understanding of what goes into the art. That is something they carry with them when they go to a museum or another gallery,” Gary says. As artists, he and Roarke value connections they make with visitors. “You get to know where your art is going. That, to us, is very important.” Moosewalk Studios & Gallery 200 Orion Road Warren (802) 583-2224 www.moosewalkstudios.com



Galleries and Information Centers

artisans hand gallery Artisans Hand Craft Gallery in Montpelier is a longtime member of the VT Crafts Council and a designated “Information Center” for Open Studio weekend. The gallery distributes Open Studio maps, highlights participating artists, and directs attendees to studios. “Artisans Hand is a great jumping-off point for Open Studio Weekend since we exhibit many of the participants’ work. Visitors can see which artists’ work really interests them and who they would like to visit in person and see ‘in action,’” says Jill Pralle, Gallery Manager. Artisans Hand Craft Gallery 89 Main Street Montpelier (802) 229-9492 www.artisanshand.com May 23 and 24, 2015

Spring Open Studio Weekend Open Studio Weekend is a unique opportunity for visitors to meet artists and craftspeople in their studios. Vermont Crafts Council publishes a free map with directions to participating sites. The Guide is available throughout the state at Tourist Information Centers, galleries, and studios, and on the VCC website. Bright yellow signs along routes and at studios help visitors find these artists venues. Vermont Crafts Council (802) 223-3380 www.vermontcrafts.com


best of central Vermont | SPRING 2015

artisans’ gallery “We love being part of Open Studio Weekend,” says Lori Klein of Artisans’ Gallery in Waitsfield. “It brings people to different parts of Vermont and is a great way to see local artists and their work.” Located in a historic 1830s storefront, Artisans’ Gallery is right by Waitsfield’s “downtown” covered bridge. The gallery works with more than 150 artists, selling a handpicked selection of eclectic, lively, personalized quality pieces. The extensive craft gallery is in the front room with an equally bright and diverse fine art gallery attached. “For two decades, Artisans’ Gallery has been one of the Mad River Valley’s go-to places for gifts for special occasions,” says Lori. Artisans’ Gallery 20 Bridge Street Waitsfield (802) 496-6256 www.vtartisansgallery.com




Dining Guide


J. Morgans Steakhouse Serving steaks, seafood, and Sunday brunch since 1994. Our recent renovation opens a new chapter in this award-winning restaurant. Known for exceedingly generous portions, we feature over 20 aged-in-house steaks, daily seafood, designer pasta dishes, and mountainous salads and desserts. Located on Montpelier’s historic State Street. $$ Vermont’s Cutting Edge Steakhouse 100 State Street, Montpelier, VT (802) 223-5222 www.jmorganssteakhouse.com

KEY TO SYMBOLS $ most entrées under $10 $$ most entrées $10 to $25 $$$ most entrées over $25

Beyond the Menu

El Cortijo

Farm-to-taco experience in the historic 1950’s Oasis diner. Tacos, burritos, and Mexican-style entrées made with local ingredients and expressed in fun fresh ways. Fresh-squeezed margaritas and handcrafted cocktails served in a lively, vibrant atmosphere. Full menu available all day. Lunch, Dinner, Take-out. $–$$ 189 Bank Street Burlington, VT (802) 497-1668 www.CortijoVT.com

The Farmhouse Tap & Grill

Dedicated to showcasing local farms and food producers, our menu features award-winning burgers, comfort entrées, artisan cheeses, vegetarian options, and nightly innovations. The Tap Room delivers highly prized and rare beers. Special Happenins’ Wed. nights. $$ 160 Bank Street Burlington, VT (802) 859-0888 www.farmhousetg.com

Pascolo Ristorante

Handmade Italian cuisine, featuring fresh pastas, wood-fired pizza, house salumi, Northeast seafood, and homemade gelato sundaes. An exciting Italian wine menu complements the casual fare, celebrating everything from the subtle complex wines of Piemonte to the bold beauties of Italy’s Southern regions. $–$$ 83 Church Street Burlington, VT (802) 497-1613 www.pascolovt.com


Sarducci’s Restaurant & Bar

Sarducci’s is a Mediterranean-style Italian restaurant serving central Vermont. We strive to serve superb food with outstanding service in an informal ambience. We cater to families, special occasions, and travelers alike. Renowned by our community for great food at reasonable prices. $-$$ 3 Main Street Montpelier, VT (802) 223-0229 www.sarduccis.com

Windjammer Restaurant Featuring American fare, vegetarian and gluten-free options, as well as an extensive salad bar. Specialty cocktails, craft beers, and a Wine Spectator wine list complement both the restaurant and pub menus. Supporting Vermont farms, producers, and businesses since 1977. $–$$ 1076 Williston Road South Burlington, VT (802) 862-6585 www.windjammerrestaurant.com


Cornerstone Pub & Kitchen

Red Hen Bakery and Café

A modern American pub where friends, families, tradesmen, and business people gather to enjoy great food and craft beers. From burgers and wings to fresh scallops and filet mignon, there’s something for everyone! Come help us revitalize Barre “One Pint at a Time.” $$

Famous hearth-baked breads, plus an excellent selection of freshly baked pastries­­—croissants, scones, cookies, maple-glazed sticky buns, and more. Soups and sandwiches made in house, featuring local ingredients. Fine wines, beer, cheese, and specialty grocery items. $–$$

47 Main Street Barre, VT (802) 476-2121 www.cornerstonepk.com

961B US Rt. 2 Middlesex, VT (802) 223-5200 www.redhenbaking.com

Beyond the Menu

Guild Tavern

Wood-fired grill featuring dry-aged, locally-sourced beef, pork, and poultry. Casual tavern fare, classic steakhouse entrées, seafood and vegetarian options, innovative cocktail program, award-winning wine list, and weekly specials. $$ 1633 Williston Road South Burlington, VT (802) 497-1207 www.guildtavern.com

spring calendar 2015 spring 2014 A r t s calendar & Enter tainment

Lost Nation Theater All performances at: Thurs 7PM, Fri & Sat 8PM, Sat & Sun 2PM

Thursday-Sunday, April 16-May 16


By Sarah Ruhl, directed by Eric Love A modern retelling of the classic myth through the eyes of its heroine. Dying too young on her wedding day, Eurydice must journey to the underworld. With contemporary characters, humor, ingenious plot twists, and breathtaking effects, the play is a fresh look at a timeless love story. (In rotating rep with Treasure Island, performances alternate.)


Thursday-Sunday, April 23-May 17

Treasure Island

By Robert Louis Stevenson, adapted by Kim Bent Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic adventure tale of buccaneers and buried gold. Widely acknowledged as one of the greatest works of storytelling in the English language, Bent is drawn to its unusual combination of colorful and poetic prose: its inherent spectacle & theatricality within its inherently human story. Treasure Island: pirates and mutinies, gunfights and sword fights, narrow escapes, and a young hero who manages to save the day, in an imaginative staging by LNT! (In rotating rep with Eurydice, performances alternate).

Lost Nation Theater 39 Main Street, City Hall Arts Center Montpelier (802) 229-0492 www.lostnationtheater.org

Arts & Entertainment is sponsored by

May 30, 7AM to 1PM

Bird Fest!

The North Branch Nature Center Montpelier info@northbranchnaturecenter.org


best of central Vermont | spring 2015

spring calendar 2015 spring calendar 2014 Arts & Enter tainment

Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center March 14, 7:30PM

Comedian Jimmy Tingle

Jimmy Tingle’s unique brand of topical yet timeless comedy is as insightful as it is hilarious. Clean, funny, intelligent humor for all audiences. He regularly appears on The Tonight Show, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, HBO, PBS, and NPR.

March 28, 7PM

Jamie Adkins in Circus Incognitus

Jamie Adkins performs in the vulnerable “everyman” tradition of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. Moving and hilarious — it’s all real, and it’s all impossible. Recommended for 5+ years.

April 12, 3PM March 20 and 21, 7PM

TRIP Dance Company

With its progressive choreography and award-winning talent, this competitive dance company comprises 35 dancers, ages 9-18, from Stowe, Waterbury Center, Morrisville, Johnson, Hyde Park, and Waitsfield. Now in its 13th year, TRIP offers young dancers in Vermont the opportunity to master technique and performance skills in ballet, jazz, lyrical, modern and hip hop.

Sunday in France with Capital City Concerts

Presenting a mostly French program by New York City Ballet concertmaster Arturo Delmoni on violin and viola, with Grammy-nominated flutist Karen Kevra, and harpist Rebecca Kauffman, performing works by Ibert, Berlioz, Saint-Saëns, and joining forces for Debussy’s masterpiece Sonata for flute, viola, and harp.

April 25, 7PM

ANIMAL, choreography by Hanna Satterlee

ANIMAL explores physical power and visceral communication to bring out the instinct-motivated animal that lives within each of us in an evolving project, performed in different environments. Join Vermont choreographer Hanna Satterlee and local artists and dancers for a production of dance, film, live sound, original costuming, and intricate lighting design.

May 16, 7PM

Vermont Vaudeville

Stowe, VT (802) 760-4634 www.sprucepeakarts.org

This one-of-a-kind all-ages theater combines old-school Vaudeville entertainment with new and cutting-edge music, stunts, and comedy. Vermont Vaudeville was founded by Brent McCoy, Maya McCoy, Justin Lander, and Rose Friedman. You may know their work with The Celebration Barn, Circus Smirkus, and Bread and Puppet. Recommended for 5+ years.



spring calendar 2015 spring 2014 A r t s calendar & Enter tainment

Barre Opera House March 21, 7:30PM

Edward Arron and Jeewon Park

Cellist Edward Arron is rapidly gaining recognition worldwide for his elegant musicianship, impassioned performances, and creative programming. The New York Times praised pianist Park’s “unbridled, infectious exuberance.”

March 28, 8PM

The Gibson Brothers

“The brothers and the band have it all—lead vocals, brother-duet harmony, instrumental virtuosity, ensemble sensibilities, and great original material.” – Bluegrass Unlimited

May 2, 8PM

“Second City Hits Home”

The country’s leading improv-based comedy group, Second City, targets the Green Mountain State. Second City alumni include Tina Fey, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, John Belushi, Dan Ackroyd, and Bill Murray.

6 North Main Street Barre, VT (802) 476-8188 www.BarreOperaHouse.org

Helen Day Art Center March 6 - April 12

Richard Whitten Exhibition May 1 - May 31

Student Art Show

Kellogg-Hubbard Library 135 Main Street Montpelier (802) 223-3338 vista@kellogghubbard.org www.kellogghubbard.org

March 19, 6PM

Growing Rice in Central Vermont

Transition Town Montpelier

March 23, 6:30PM

Helen Day Art Center 90 Pond Street Stowe helenday.com/exhibitions Gallery hours: Wed-Sun from 12-5

74 best bestof ofcentral centralVermont Vermont| spring | Sprng2015 2013 74

LGBTQ Series: The Price of Salt, a book discussion March 25, 6:30PM

Climate Change Talk April 8, 7PM

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater: American Masterpiece

Central Vermont best of

Waterbury Public Library

advertisers index

28 North Main Street Waterbury (802) 244-7036 www.waterburypubliclibrary.com

alla vita.................................................................................. 55

H.E. Shaw............................................................................... 17

Almost Home Dog Rescue & Rehab.......................... 62

Interior Design by Keeping Good Company..........43

May 4

All Smiles............................................................................... 31

J. Morgans Steakhouse...................................................69

Ann Roche Casual Furniture......................................... 25


Arbortrek............................................................................... 15

Mayo Healthcare................................................................ 23

Artisans’ Gallery................................................................. 21

McKernon Group................................................................ 13

Artisans Hand.....................................................................46

Mid State Dodge...............................Inside Front Cover

Eleanor Roosevelt - Wife, Mother, and First Lady

Actress Elena Dodd brings life to Eleanor Roosevelt in this one-woman drama and historical interpretation of 40 years of marriage to Franklin D. Roosevelt.

May 9

Studio Place Arts

Barre B.A.S.H. - Big Arty SPA Happening A benefit for Studio Place Arts (SPA) includes great art, music, and a silent auction. Enjoy rock band, Swale, and blues and folk musician Andy Pitt. Cash bar. Black & white desserts created by students at the Barre Tech Center’s Bake Shop.

Barre Country Club.......................................................... 53 Ben and Jerry’s.................................................................. 38 Blodgett’s Bath Showplace............Inside Back Cover Bouchard Pierce Appliances......................................... 29 Bouchard Pierce Kitchen Design................................ 59 Boutiliers Fine Art Materials & Custom Framing.......54 Broadleaf Landscape Architecture............................. 51 Burlington Marble and Granite........................................9

April 24 – 26

49th Annual Vermont Maple Festival

Downtown St. Albans Become steeped in the mystique of maple at the 49th annual Vermont Maple Festival. A giant parade, carnival, antiques, crafts, food, activities, entertainment—and lots of maple stuff! Downtown St. Albans www.vtmaplefestival.org

May 21-25

Green Mountain Comedy Festival

Burlington, Montpelier, and Barre The Sixth Annual Green Mountain Comedy Festival features national headliners Tig Notaro, Myq Kaplan, DeAnne Smith, Upright Citizens Brigade, and Specter Improv, plus over 100 Vermont comics, improv and sketch performers. Rough Francis will open for Tig’s two shows. greenmountaincomedy.com

May 24-25,

Statewide Open Studio weekend

Open Studio weekend offers a unique opportunity to meet artists and craftspeople in their studios. The tour features the work of glassblowers, jewelers, printmakers, potters, furniture makers, weavers, ironworkers, painters, sculptors, quilt makers, and wood carvers.

Montpelier Pharmacy...................................................... 39 Morse Farm.......................................................................... 55 Peregrine Construction..................................................... 11 Perrywinkle’s Jewelers.......................................................3 Pascolo Ristorante............................................................70 Positive Pie.......................................................................... 47 Red Hen Bakery and Café............................................... 71 Round Barn Inn.....................................................................7

Capitol Copy....................................................................... 62 Saint Michael’s College....................................................10 Central Vermont Medical Center................................. 67 ClearChoiceMD..................................................................43 Cody Chevrolet.................................................................. 35 Coldwell Banker/Classic Homes................ Back Cover Copy World................................................................. 45, 54 Cornerstone Restaurant and Pub................................ 71 Cynthia Knauf Landscape Design................................ 21 Discover Jazz Festival....................................................... 4 di Stefano Landscaping.................................................. 59

Salaam Boutique...............................................................54 Sarducci Restaurant and Bar........................................70 Stowe Mountain Road Association....................... 18-19 Stowe Village Massage...................................................54 SUREFLY Mobil................................................................... 31 Sundara Day Spa............................................................... 29 Tatro’s Appliances............................................................. 53 The Automaster....................................................................5

East Warren Community Market.................................46

The Carriage Shed............................................................ 23

Ecco Clothes....................................................................... 55

The Cushman Design Group......................................... 25

El Cortijo...............................................................................70

Vermont Bed Store..............................................................2

Evergreen Gardens of Vermont....................................10

Vermont Frame Game...................................................... 61

Farmhouse Tap & Grill.....................................................70

VersaPro Tanning.............................................................. 55

Fresh Tracks Winery......................................................... 61

Wake Robin......................................................................... 38

Glassworks........................................................................... 72

Windjammer Restaurant................................................70

Guild Tavern......................................................................... 71

Windows and Doors by Brownell...............................45

For more information about print and online advertising opportunities, contact John or Robin Gales at (802) 295-5295 or email coffeetablepublishing@comcast.net. www.bestofcentralvt.com


cen t r a l v erm o n t ch at w i t h geo ff b e y er

by s t ephen m o rris

Geoff Beyer

Montpelier Tree Warden Surrounded by the woodlands of the Green Mountains, we sometimes take our deciduous and coniferous neighbors for

granted. Not Geoff Beyer. As the Montpelier Tree Warden, he has been the keeper of the trees in Montpelier for the last seven years, responsible for the care, health, and wellbeing of the approximately 5000 trees that line the town’s sixty miles of road.

Beyer cares for Montpelier’s trees part-time along with his full-time gig as director of Montpelier’s 400 acres of parks. A 34-year veteran of the department, Beyer has a degree in natural sciences and a passion for all things arboreal. Are tree warden duties seasonal? Aspects of the work are seasonal, like pruning which it’s best to do in late fall or late winter, but I have to be very proactive in this position. Tree issues need attention year-round. I need to take action before things reach the problem stage. Sometimes judicious pruning now may prevent a situation becoming problematic in a few years. Periodic inventory of trees helps me assess which problems need immediate attention as well as opportunities for planting. Are you ever conflicted between the needs of people and trees? Yes, regularly. Trees are crucial to our air quality, storm water control, traffic safety, and environmental aesthetics and help us meet many of our needs, yet they can also pose hazards to public safety and municipal operations, including road crews. It’s my job to maintain a balance of all interests. For example, well-cared-for downtown and street trees are proven to provide “traffic calming” effects (reducing the number of speeding incidents), and to increase business activity along with providing environmental and quality of life benefits, but they are also obstacles for sidewalk plowing, and branches 76

best of central Vermont | spring 2015

of a growing tree can die and threaten to drop on someone using a sidewalk. Trees are the responsibility of the landowner or the city when they are in the right of way. Branches, however, pay no attention to property lines. There are sometimes issues of who is responsible for what and who has to pay the bill. Are there other issues that make it difficult for a Tree Warden to sleep at night? When I wake up at night and the wind is blowing hard, I hope I’ve gotten to the important trees. Currently a big worry is the emerald ash borer. You’ve probably seen those purple contraptions hanging from certain trees in the spring. Those are there to detect the emerald ash borer, an exotic Asian beetle that was discovered in the Midwest a little more than a decade ago. The larvae feed on the inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients. Ash borers are in every state surrounding Vermont. We’re told that it’s not a matter of if they arrive in Vermont, but when. Ash is one of our more prevalent species in Montpelier, so an infestation will have a devastating effect on the local ecology. If we can anticipate and effectively manage the situation, however, it will have a dramatic effect on our local treescape, and reduce the financial and aesthetic impact. There must be some pleasant parts to being a Tree Warden. You bet. We work with a variety of local youth groups that help us with tree-related work and, at the same time, it helps them appreciate the vital role trees play in our communities. The local high school wood shop teacher and class built custom and beautiful wooden tree guards. I love it when community members care enough to improve their community. They are the type of people it is a joy to work with. Any trees in Montpelier that are personal favorites? We’ve got a few real treasures. There’s a large, ancient ginkgo on Barre Street that is rare to find in an urban area this far north. Some hemlocks and an ancient beech in Hubbard Park are sights to behold. A particularly outstanding tree is a huge, towering elm on Court Street that has survived the ravage of the Dutch elm blight that killed most of our American Elms. I’d like to think it’s still there because of some of the preventative actions taken by the tree board, previous tree wardens, and the landowner, but if we’re lucky, there is a strong genetic factor at work too that could open the possibility for a new generation of American elms.

Coffee Table Publishing, LLC P.O. Box 1460 Quechee, VT 05059

PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID Permit No. 59 Hanover, NH

Profile for Best of Central Vermont

Best of Central Vermont Magazine - Spring 2015  

Read about WDEV, Vermont Peanut Butter, Vermont Open Studio Weekend and more in the Spring 2015 edition of Best of Central Vermont.

Best of Central Vermont Magazine - Spring 2015  

Read about WDEV, Vermont Peanut Butter, Vermont Open Studio Weekend and more in the Spring 2015 edition of Best of Central Vermont.


Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded