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Central Vermont best of

SUMMER 2014 VOLUME 2, NO. 3

COMMUNITIES AND LIFESTYLE IN THE HEART OF THE GREEN MOUNTAINS

BLANCHARD BLOCK REVIVAL WEST BRANCH GALLERY GREEN MOUNTAIN PERFORMING ARTS


Contents

58 64 72

f e at u r e s

Blanchard Block Revival A downtown cornerstone takes its place in the 21st century by mary gow

West Branch Gallery

Great work flourishes at West Branch Gallery & Sculpture Park By dian parker

Green Mountain Performing Arts dance, waterbury, dance! By mark aiken

Cover Photo CO URTE S Y OF THE INN AT THE RO UND B ARN FARM


Contents

departments

15 Editor’s Note 16 Contributors 18 community hub 20 Occasions & About 24 Out by Cassie Horner

32

from the kitchens of neci

28 Fabulous Meat Fab by susan reynolds

bright ideas

32 warren pieces

38

by elizabeth hewitt

taste of the town

38 family pies

by phyl newbeck

outdoors

44

44 cross vermont trail by phyl newbeck

inn touch

50 the inn at the round barn farm by elizabeth hewitt

78 Stowe antique and classic car meet in store

80 ann roche casual furniture by mark aiken

85

dining & entertainment guide calendar

88 arts and entertainment chat

92 with amy weller by stephen morris

56

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

sizzling summer! Shopping and fun things to do in Central Vermont

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Central Vermont best of

summer 2014 | Volume 2 no.3

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

(802) 295-5295

www.bestofcentralvt.com Publishers

Robin Gales John Gales Bob Frisch Editor

Kate Carter Copy Editor

Elaine Ambrose 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.

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best of central Vermont | Summer 2014

SFI-00665


editor’s note

D

on’t you just love the longer days? Waking up with the sun at 5am and knowing a long, warm day awaits me is, in my opinion, one of the greatest joys of living in Central Vermont. Another is working with the talented writers, photographers, and designers who contribute to this magazine, not to mention all the people I get to meet on the phone, the Internet, and in person, who are featured in the stories on these pages. As winter turned to spring, I began working on this issue. I read stories about summer and looked at summery photos, while outside the grass slowly turned green, the trees gradually leafed out, and the tulips emerged and filled the yard with color. Soon we will be seeking out swimming holes to cool off from summer’s heat. Summer is all about being outside. There is so much to do, and so little time. Once you’ve perused these pages, go the next step and attend an outdoor summer event. Check out our calendar of events section at the back of the magazine for outdoor concerts, food festivals, art shows, and parades. Go on a farm tour with the Mad River Localvores Farm & Garden Tour featured on page 26, or visit Stowe on August 15, 16, and 17 for the Celebrate Vermont Festival. Got kids? Get them moving to a snappy summer beat at one of Green Mountain Performing Arts’ summer dance camps. This Central Vermont organization is getting kids inspired to dance and perform, as you will see on page 72. And if you like art, be sure to visit West Branch Gallery in Stowe, where you can view art inside and outside. Read about this amazing gallery on page 64. Make your summer a social one, and enjoy the outdoors with friends and family. Go for a bike ride or take the pooch for a walk on the Cross Vermont Trail (page 44). Enjoy the long, sunny days, green mountains, and colorful gardens, and know that summer is what makes Central Vermont so special.

Kate Carter, Editor

www.facebook.com/ BestOfCentralVermont

@bestofcentralvt

editor@bestofcentralvt.com

www.bestofcentralvt.com

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contributors

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be s t of centr al vermont

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

A former flatlander from New York City, Phyl Newbeck lives in Jericho where she has learned to stack a mean pile of firewood. She writes for several local weekly, biweekly, and monthly publications and is the author of the book Virginia Hasn’t Always Been for Lovers: Interracial Marriage and the Case of Richard and Mildred Loving.

When he’s not freelance writing for regional and national magazines, Mark Aiken of Richmond, Vermont, teaches skiing at Stowe Mountain Resort and trains for marathons with his wife Alison. They recently became involved in a new endurance sport, parenting. Contact Mark at aikenaction@gmail.com.

Jeb Wallace-Brodeur grew

Elizabeth Hewitt is a

Cassie Horner is a writer,

freelance journalist and native of Warren, Vermont. She has written and reported from three continents, and most recently she worked from Istanbul, Turkey. Among her favorite subjects to cover are the people, environment, and businesses of her home state. Contact her at elizabeth.hewitt@outlook.com.

editor, and publisher, and the author of Lucy E.—Road to Victory, a historical novel. Her roots in Vermont go back almost 200 years and inspire her love of the natural world and history. She lives in Plymouth, Vermont, with her husband and three dogs—an English Shepherd and two dachshunds.

best of central Vermont | Summer 2014

up in Montpelier and graduated from Middlebury College. He is Chief Photographer at the BarreMontpelier Times Argus, where he has worked for more than two decades. His work appears regularly in Seven Days, Vermont Life, and other regional and national publications. He lives with his wife and son in Montpelier. When not out shooting, Jeb is usually skiing, biking, or hiking in the Northeast. Contact him at jebcas@gmail.com.


online hub

www.bestofcentralvt.com

online exclusives tips for a bountiful backyard garden

www.bestofcentralvt.com

Learn how to reap the benefits of a backyard garden at www.bestofcentralvt.com.

central vermont fairs Get all the info you need about Central Vermont’s county fairs in one handy place, www.bestofcentralvt.com.

gallery extra Blanchard Block revival Many more photos of the beautiful Blanchard Block restoration are in a slide show at www.bestofcentralvt.com.

recipe pastrami-style cured atlantic salmon recipe

eNewsletter

Sign up at www.bestofcentralvt.com

Go to our website for NECI’s method of curing salmon at home, www.bestofcentralvt.com

Our newsletter includes up-to-date info on: • Local event listings from our online calendar

Follow us on Twitter @bestofcentralvt

• Special offers from Best of Central Vermont and local businesses • Insights from our communities and towns, and much more . . .

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July

like us

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CLICK ON OUR ONLINE CALENDAR TO SEE LOCAL EVENTS HAPPENING IN OUR COMMUNITY, AND YOU CAN ADD YOUR OWN EVENT FREE!


occasions courtesy of Relay For Life of Central Vermont

1 Melissa Burge (left) poses with a relay teammate.

Relay For Life 2

1

2 Ali Gardner and Jane Powell dress up for the Wizard of Oz theme lap, one of many theme laps during the Relay For Life. 3 Luminaria bags line the track in front of team Gibby’s Gang campsite. 4 The luminaria ceremony is a signature event. 5 Young relay racers participate in an all-night Karaoke event. 6 The Cancer Crushers are a team from Central Vermont Hospital, a generous donor of Relay For Life. 7 Cancer survivors and their caregivers walk the first lap at last year’s Relay For Life.

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Relay For Life is an overnight family-friendly party and walk to benefit the American Cancer Society. It is a fun event that brings a community together, inspires hope in those who participate, honors those who have lost their lives to cancer, and celebrates those who have survived their battles with cancer. The annual Relay For Life of Central Vermont will be held at Montpelier High School from 6pm on June 20 to 6am on June 21. This year’s theme is “Light Up the Night, Finish the Fight.” More information is available at www.relayforlife.org/centralvt and on Facebook. Search for American Cancer Society: Central Vermont Relay For Life.

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We’d love to hear about your event. Please send photos to editor@bestofcentralvt.com.

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best of central Vermont | Summer 2014


out and about

by c assie horner

Mad River Localvores

Farm & Garden Tours Head out to some interesting farms this summer on one of Mad River Localvores Farm & Garden Tours. You might learn how to fight tomato blight in your garden, what to plant for cover crops to replenish your soil, or how local beekeepers produce honey. “There will be a variety of farms involved,” says Lisa Barnes, director of Mad River Localvores. “We invite people to come and learn new skills. The tours are relevant to everyone, not just for someone operating a farm.” Past topics have included canning, backyard composting, growing a kitchen garden, and learning about naturally leavened breads. Locations range from farms to food production sites, and instructors include community members with specific skills and knowledge they want to share. Mad River Localvores was founded in 2006 with the mission of increasing the production of local food within the community. In addition to the Farm & Garden Tours, the group holds food swaps, where people come with items they have grown or made and exchange them with others. The organization also works with local farmers to help them meet their needs. For example, they might offer assistance to a farmer trying to set up an online ordering system. Another program involves “matchmaking” between local farmers and school cafeteria chefs to maximize use of local food products in schools. For more information about Mad River Localvores and the Farm & Garden Tours, visit www.madriverlocalvores.org. 24

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Children learn about caring for chickens and adults learn about caring for tomato plants at a 2013 Mad River Localvore Farm & Garden Tour.


Dragons Summer camp Parade of the

River Arts, a nonprofit arts group based in Morrisville, is looking for dragon builders and winged dancers! Yes, you read that right—the call is out for creative young folks ages 7 to12 to bring their imaginations to a summer camp and help build creatures for the Morrisville parade on July 4. The camp begins June 30, and campers will create large, wildly imaginative dragons and amazing, fantastic wings. They will wear their costumes in a festive Independence Day parade, which is the finale of the camp week. The Parade of Dragons Camp runs from 9am to 3pm from June 30 to July 4. The mission of River Arts is to enrich the community through the arts, and the group offers arts programs and other events to the Lamoille Valley. One of the programs River Arts hosts is a series of interesting camps from June to August that celebrate the arts. In addition to the Parade of Dragons camp, other themes include cartooning in July; Young Architects: Fairy Houses and Fortresses, also in July; and Filmmaking Camp; the Mural Project Camp; and Skate the Arts (at the Skate Park in Johnson) in August. For more information or to register for the camp, call (802) 888-1261 or email info@ riverarts.org.

Last year’s River Arts creative costume parade.

www.bestofcentralvt.com

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out and about

Celebrate Vermont festival All of Vermont and beyond is invited to a three-day party August 15, 16, and 17 at the Stowe Events Field on Weeks Hill Road in Stowe. The sky’s the limit for this gathering of Vermont specialties ranging from crafts, music, and art to the products of the state’s forests and farms and freshly prepared authentic Vermont food. All the elements are in place for a wonderful day for the whole family. A sampling of what visitors will experience includes artisan agriculture, forest products, art, and crafts. There will also be local experts on hand in the Chautauqua Tent, explaining how to grow, harvest, prepare, and serve the farm products of Vermont. Taste buds will find delight in the culinary tent, with artisan cheese pairings and beverages, and opportunities to learn how to prepare foods using local ingredients. The entertainment tent is lively, with internationally known musicians. For outdoor enthusiasts, field experts will be offering information about fly-fishing, kayaking, cycling, hiking, and finding that special place to swim. And kids will have fun with a variety of activities including pony rides, face painting, henna art, storytelling, games, a magician, and vaudeville clowns. There will also be hayrides and a petting zoo. For a full schedule of events, visit www.celebratevermontfestival.com. 26

best of central Vermont | Summer 2014


Clockwise from left: Richard Foye demonstrates how raku pottery is fired. Visitors try a variety of pizza offerings from a vendor. Wine Tasting by North Branch Vineyards of Montpelier.

www.bestofcentralvt.com

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from the kitchens of neci

by Sus an Re ynolds

ph otos co ur t e s y o f NECI

F abulous

MeatanFab old and mysterious art

Meat and fish

occupy center stage on plates in most homes and restaurants. They are usually the most expensive items on any menu (60 to 70 percent of the plate cost).

NECI Restaurants Chef’s Table 118 Main Street Montpelier, VT (802) 223-3188

La Brioche Bakery and CafĂŠ 89 Main Street Montpelier, VT (802) 229-0443 www.NECI.edu

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best of central Vermont | Summer 2014

NECI on Main 118 Main Street Montpelier, VT (802) 223-3188


W

hile organic vegetables and sustainable growing methods have informed our food choices for several decades, sustainable animal husbandry, charcuterie, and full use—nose to tail—are fairly recent on the food scene. In America, we are used to having our protein produced and packaged behind the scenes. NECI’s Chef David Miles wants to change that. He’s spent several decades training new generations in the delicate and mysterious art of Meat Fabrication, or “Meat Fab” to the NECI students. Chef Miles came to NECI in 1983, just three years after it opened. He’d done his senior study project in the Social Ecology program on crayfish aquaculture at Vermont’s Goddard College. After graduating in 1976, he moved to New York to work with luminaries such as the Waldorf Astoria’s Chef Leslie Revsin (a James Beard protégé credited with breaking the gender barrier in high-end kitchens) and Michel Fitoussi, and at restaurants like Twenty-Four Fifth Avenue. But Vermont has a way of getting under one’s skin. NECI’s New York Times ad for chefinstructors was the perfect reason to return.

Understanding Ingredients It was a heady time. Vermont was full in those years of new models, new solutions, and a passion for understanding ingredients. No more TV dinners or indecipherable chemical ingredients. A deep suspicion of large-scale and monoculture farming was causing consumers to dig deeper and understand more about their food. The Plainfield and Hunger Mountain Coops were just beginning to thrive. Organic gardening was gaining in popularity. From polyculture to solar greenhouses and extending the growing season without burning fossil fuels, to artisanal cheeses and beers—Vermont led the nation’s sustainability movement. “It was prophetic work,” Chef Miles says, “but still a bit marginal—still mostly viewed as being promoted by radical hippies.” Now, it’s what we expect. Understanding how and www.bestofcentralvt.com

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where our ingredients are raised and produced is a critical part of our food choices. In the ’80s David taught Cooking Theory and then Meat Fabrication in the Culinary Arts Program at NECI. After five years, he took on new responsibilities in culinary administration, including positions as the Executive Chef for the entire campus, then the Director of Operations. Three years ago, he decided to go back to teaching.

Rock Stars of the Food Movement His timing is impeccable. The food revolution may have begun with vegetables, but now more than ever, the fascination with ingredients has led food lovers everywhere to explore animal husbandry and charcute30

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rie, and to experiment with new cuts and new parts of fish and animals. Gone are the days when “prepared foods” was synonymous with inscrutable lists of chemicals. The availability of locally and humanely raised meat and seafood, and the boom in small, diversified farms means that butchers are, well, rock stars. “In most places meat and fish drive the concept of the menu,” Chef Miles explains. “I like the idea of working with something this fundamental. I like to serve as a support center in a multi-unit operation.” Using all parts creatively is not only eco-friendly and sustainable—it makes the best business sense. Full utilization means value added. “It’s important for students to understand cost in relation to

options. It’s important that they learn to keep good, accurate records and that they know how to assess costs.” Students at NECI have shown unwavering renewed interest in Meat Fabrication and in attaining the physical and technical skills it requires. Knife skills and hand-eye coordination are fundamental, but attention to detail is even more important. Curing ham and making sausage requires elaborate planning and sequencing. Cutting and curing, rinsing and drying, and smoking—these stages all require a consistent focus and impeccable organizational skills. Students at NECI take “Meat Fab” in their second year. Chef Miles also supports students with projects in their BA level class and teaches a course called Extending the Seasons—drying, preserving, and pickling. In his spare time, Chef Miles cures his own meat and fish. He loves to fish; he’s also a mycologist and forager, and he loves to travel. “Dry cured meats are a nascent industry in most of America—in the embryonic stages compared to Europe and other parts of the world, where people have centuries of experience.” Chef Miles is just back from Catalonia, including a stay in a village on the Vermillion Coast, famous for its Fauve landscapes, sure, but mostly for its anchovies. Art? Ballet? Music? Maybe. But what’s he really excited about? A pig geneticist he met in a tapas bar in Girona. Ideas were exchanged. Chef Miles is hatching a plan for an exchange program for NECI students—we’ve got centuries of catching up to do! a

RECIPE Get Chef David Miles’ recipe for Pastrami-Style Cured Atlantic Salmon at www.bestofcentralvt.com


bright ideas

Byabe Elizabeth by eliz th He wHewitt it t

Photos courtesy Pieces otherwise noted Photos co urof te sWarren y of The Inn Unless at Ro und B arn Farm

Warren Pieces Turning wood scraps into skateboards, one piece at a time

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Whitney Phillips in the Warren Pieces workshop. Photo by Corey Hendrickson. Three of the lively and stable Bottlenose boards, Warren Pieces' go-to longboard shape. Photos by Matt Kiedaisch.

From the outside, the two-story Warren Pieces workshop in Warren Village looks to be an oversized garage. Small piles of wood left by local contractors collect outside. Messages are scrawled onto dusty windowpanes. Inside, wood slabs, some the cross-sections of whole trees, are stacked several feet deep against the walls.

T

he modest workshop is the headquarters for one of the latest innovations to come from Vermont’s spectacular woodworking sector. Whitney Phillips and Matt Groom, both natives of the Mad River Valley, began making their wooden inlay skateboards with leftovers from carpentry projects. Now, these boards, which look more like art than vehicles for street sports, have crossed oceans. Groom and Phillips didn’t intend to start a skateboard business. The two first joined forces in 2011 to help with the post-Irene reconstruction of Tracks, the cozy basement pub at the upscale Pitcher Inn. Both have backgrounds in woodworking and construction. The partnership clicked, and they took on more jobs together. Their woodworking and design/build projects tend toward the creative and eccentric. They’ve built a custom staircase around a tree trunk, the bar of a local watering hole from local rock maple, and a wine cellar to house thousands of bottles. But at the end of each project, both Groom and Phillips were frustrated to see truckloads of leftover building materials sent to the dump or the burn pile. “Our idea was to do something with all the scraps, so we don’t throw all this stuff www.bestofcentralvt.com

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Corey Hendrickson

Clockwise from upper left: Choosing strips of wood. Paris Truck Co. Wheels. Finessing a logo. Three longboards. Choice pieces of wood waiting for their new life. A lineup of boards: mini-surf and square pieces on the left, longboards on the right.

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away,” Phillips says. “The obvious answer was skateboards.” Perhaps not the obvious answer to most. It’s not too surprising, however, that it was the apparent solution to Phillips, a lifelong snowboarder, longtime skateboarder, and former president and resident stuntman of Mad River Rocket sleds. He had fooled around with making his own skateboards before—some of his early prototypes debuted in Warren’s Fourth of July parade. Pair that with Groom’s background as a designer for a robotics systems company and a shared love of woodworking, and the two had the recipe for coming up with some very innovative products. The Tolstoy-esque name, Warren Pieces, was suggested by a friend, not as a tribute to

Russian literature but as a literal description of each skateboard’s origins: pieces of wood from Warren. Phillips and Groom use all sorts of pieces from Warren—leftovers from their jobs and from other local builders. As a result, they’ve ended up with some interesting stuff: locally sourced and milled maple; remnants of ipe, the super-hard wood from Brazil; and leftover pieces of mahogany from Gibson Guitars, which come to them via a local wood-drying company.

It’s a scrappy process To begin making a skateboard, Phillips and Groom select pieces of wood from their inventory of eclectic woods and cut them down to roughly the same size. They lay


Corey Hendrickson

Corey Hendrickson

www.bestofcentralvt.com

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Matt Groom amidst wood and skateboards in various stages. Photo by Corey Hendrickson.

them out on surfaces across the workshop. From there, it’s a process of mix and match. “It’s just like you’re in a fabric store. You’ve got all your swatches,” Phillips says, “like going through the whole Pantone system.” They stack and glue and dry slabs into linear patterns. They take it to a band saw and carve out chunks. They bend the wood into thin, flexible pieces. Then they stack, glue, and dry again. Finally, they shape it and cut it down into cross-sections, add a three-layer bamboo core for flex and Paris Truck Co. wheels, and they’re ready to roll. “You might have a nice pile of cherry that ends up in the burn pile or chopped up in 36

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a wood stove,” Groom says. “It’s satisfying to take something that would otherwise go up in smoke and turn it into something you can ride.” In a sense, the hodge-podge inventory of materials in their dusty Warren workshop is the secret formula behind their boards. It’s what makes each Warren Pieces skateboard unique.

Each Board Tells a Story “I could tell you where every piece of this came from,” Phillips says, looking into an upstairs storeroom where dozens of finished boards hang on the wall.


In fact, the stories behind each board are readily available on their website, where each piece is given a name. Take the Firewood Heart, a pinstriped longboard of walnut and mahogany, with a blond maple heart that was found—where else—in a firewood pile. Or Lucy’s Countertop, a longboard made mostly of Vermont cherry leftover from a job they did rebuilding their neighbor Lucy’s kitchen. Warren Pieces boards come in all shapes and sizes. The bottle-nosed longboard, their most popular design, clocks in at close to 44 inches long. The more standard-sized mini surf pieces are about half as long. Then there are the square pieces, born from an experimental prototype Phillips first built for himself. He mounted a square piece of wood on wheels and jumped on, carving a turn as hard as he could to see when the wheels would bite or hit the wood. “The wheels never hit,” he says. “I rode that board to the store every day for coffee and really enjoyed it. I would look at it every day and think, ‘I have never seen a square board.’” Each board comes not only with the necessary practical hardware but also with a wall mount to put it on display when it’s not in use. Groom and Phillips have pledged to donate $5 from every sale in 2014 to the High Fives Foundation, an organization dedicated to raising awareness about lifethreatening injuries and winter action sports. The boards sell for between $250 and $400, with most sales going through their website. That’s how Warren Pieces boards have ended up in Japan, Australia, and London. But the two do plenty of sales in person, from their inconspicuous workshop in Warren Village. Groom likes it that way. “It’s kind of fun to show it off. We’re not a factory,” Groom says. “People see that we’re Vermont boys in a dusty shop.” a

Warren Pieces 96 Flatiron Road Warren, VT Whitney@warrenpieces.com (802) 371-9020 Matt@warrenpieces.com (802) 279-3597 warrenpieces.myshopify.com www.bestofcentralvt.com

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taste of the town

Family Pies

Photos co ur te s y By of phyl The Inn at Ro und B arn Farm newbeck

Carlo Carlo’s older brothers opened a pizza shop in Little Falls, New York, while they were in high school, and he worked for them sweeping floors, cleaning counters, and helping in the kitchen. After graduating from high school, he started working at a cousin’s pizzeria in Mechanicsville, New York, and when the cousin moved to Florida, he bought the business when he was 18 years old, purchasing a second storefront in nearby Waterford a year and a half later. Twenty days after opening the Waterford pizzeria, Carlo was badly injured by a drunk driver. “That was the moment I realized I wanted to sell the shop and go see the world,” he says. For the next four years, Carlo traveled around the world experiencing cultural cuisine with the woman who is now his wife. After traveling they decided to move to Colorado to snowboard. Carlo researched opening a pizzeria in Colorado, but realized that the cost of doing business there was much more than doing business in the East. He also missed his family and thought it would be nice to move to the Green Mountains so he could still live the mountain life and be close to his family. His brother Iginio had a pizza shop in Killington and Carlo worked for him, all the while learning about business in Vermont. Carlo found an apartment in Plainfield and decided he liked the small-town scene. In 1999 he rented the building next to the old River Run Restaurant and opened Positive Pie. “The community really came in and embraced it,” he says.

Two cousins rock Vermont’s pizza world

Positive Pie in Montpelier.

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Piecasso in Stowe.

Ed

The Rovetto cousins have a common passion and profession. Carlo Rovetto owns Positive Pie, with locations in Plainfield, Montpelier, and Hardwick. Cousin Eduardo Rovetto is the proprietor of Piecasso in Stowe. Born two years apart, the sons of Sicilian immigrants grew up challenging each other on skateboards and BMX bicycles. They describe themselves as “double first cousins,” since the relationship is based on two brothers who married sisters. Carlo was the first Rovetto to open a pizzeria in central Vermont, but Ed was happy to follow in his footsteps.

The Rovetto’s introduction to the pizza world came from their Uncle John, who worked and learned the trade in a bakery in New Jersey. Later, John moved to Upstate New York and taught the craft to his siblings, and Ed’s parents opened their own pizzeria in Central Square, New York. “The bus would drop me off there after school,” Ed says. “I started at a really young age, learning the work ethic and rolling dough by hand. It was part of who I was.” Ed went to school to study photography, but when his advisor suggested he move to Manhattan, the thought of becoming a starving artist lost some of its appeal. He headed to North Carolina instead, spending summers surfing and working with a cousin who—not surprisingly— had a pizza business, and winters skiing at either Breckenridge or Killington. After five years, Ed’s parents suggested it was time to choose a path and stick with it. Recognizing that he could always have photography as a hobby, he opened a pizzeria in North Carolina with his mother and father. It was still only a summer location, so he opened another one on the Syracuse University campus for the off season. When his father grew tired of moving back and forth, they closed the North Carolina location. Ed might have been content staying in Syracuse if he hadn’t visited his cousin Carlo in Vermont. “I fell in love with Stowe Mountain and its town immediately. I knew right away I needed to move here! It was as close to being in the Rockies as I would get, but without the plane ride,” he says. Ed turned the Syracuse location over to his father and moved the North Carolina equipment to Vermont. www.bestofcentralvt.com

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Clockwise from top: Carlo Rovetto, owner of Positive Pie. A bartender pulls a draft. Pizza to go by the slice or by the pie.

Carlo In addition to running Positive Pie, Carlo hosted musical events at the Rusty Nail in Stowe. People kept asking him to open a pizzeria in Montpelier, but at that time he wasn’t interested in expanding. In 2005, after seeing the empty State Street Market space, he was struck by the vision of mixing a restaurant with his love for music, and six months later he opened the Montpelier branch of Positive Pie and brought local, regional, and national musicians to the site. In 2011 the River Run Restaurant next to Positive Pie in Plainfield went out of business and the space remained unoccupied for a year. Carlo couldn’t stand to see it vacant, so he bought the building in early 2012 and expanded the restaurant, adding a 16-seat bar with 20 micro brews on tap. Later that year he opened the 40

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Hardwick Positive Pie. “We really loved what Hardwick stood for, and we wanted to set our roots there,” he says. “We like the idea of coming into these small communities and buying products from local food producers and farmers and helping to create a more cohesive community.” Positive Pie has multiple accolades. They have been voted “Best Pizza Outside Chit-

tenden County,” 2009 through 2012, by Seven Days; “Best 50 Pizzas for 50 States” by Zagat; “10 Great Places for Takeout” by USA Today; and voted by Daymon “Daym” Patterson, host of a new travel channel show, “Best Daym Takeout.” Recently TripAdvisor awarded Positive Pie a Certificate of Excellence that recognizes businesses that consistently earn top ratings from TripAdvisor travelers.


www.bestofcentralvt.com

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Clockwise from top: The newly renovated bar at Piecasso features work from local artists. Piecasso’s main entrance. Ed Rovetto at Piecasso’s bar, which sports a custom concrete countertop.

Ed Ed was 23 years old when he started Piecasso in the Gale Farm Center. The space was only 700 square feet, with enough room for 5 small tables and seating for 15 people. “We were predominantly takeout and delivery,” he says. “We catered mostly to locals.” Word of mouth kept people coming, and Ed outgrew the space within four years but lacked the money to purchase new digs. A local businessman convinced him to seek out investors, and in 2006 he moved across the street to the Grille 108 building, which allowed him to expand his capacity to 138 diners and make the establishment a dine-in restaurant and lounge. Ed has continued to make changes to Piecasso. First, he gutted and enlarged the kitchen, and later remodeled the dining room and bar, increasing capacity to 155. Soon he added music on Saturday nights to fill the gap left by the Rusty Nail when it closed. He added a game room for kids and 42

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an expanded selection of craft brews. Piecasso now attracts tourists as well as locals, and in 2013, Ed was named Stowe businessman of the year. In 2009 Travel & Leisure Magazine voted Piecasso one of the country’s top 11 places to “grab a slice.”

The Rovettos are not about to rest on their laurels. Ed, Carlo, and two of Carlo’s brothers have formed Rovetto Brothers International (RBI) and opened three more pizzerias. The Hardwick Positive Pie is one of those, as are restaurants with different names


in Upstate New York. They hope to make Positive Pie a franchise name. “We are really grateful for being in Vermont and being part of our communities,” says Carlo. “To be part of something that can create jobs and allows us to immerse ourselves in these communities that have been really wonderful about supporting us has been really gratifying.” a

Positive Pie 65–69 Main Street, Plainfield, VT (802) 454-0133 22 State Street, Montpelier, VT (802) 229-0453 87 Main Street, Hardwick, VT (802) 472-7126 www.positivepie.com

Piecasso 1899 Mountain Road, Stowe, VT (802) 253-4411 www.piecasso.com www.bestofcentralvt.com

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OUTDOORS

by Phyl Ne w beck

P h otos co u r t e s y o f C r os s V er m o n t T r a il A ss o c i at i o n u nl e s s ot her w ise n ot ed

CROSS VERMONT TRAIL Connecting communities, schools, and trail systems

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The Long Trail

allows hikers to cover the length of the state by foot, from Massachusetts to Canada. Parallel to the Long Trail but at lower elevation is the Catamount Trail, designed for skiers. A much shorter and more varied path is the Cross Vermont Trail, a 91-mile mix of paved and dirt roads, bike paths, and railroad beds that travel in an east/west direction across Vermont from Wells River to Burlington.

The Cross Vermont Trail Association (CVTA) was started in 1993 by members of trail committees and conservation commissions who were interested in having some connectivity between existing trails. In 1999 the CVTA incorporated as a nonprofit with one part-time staff person and a board of directors. Although 91 miles are currently mapped, only a third of that is actually passable, but the hope is that eventually the


Clockwise from left: The Cross Vermont Trail is a recognized National Recreation Trail. A granite cattle pass in East Montpelier. Day campers take a tour of the trail.

entire width of the state will be connected by one continuous trail network. The association has a series of 12 maps and navigational cue sheets for those interested in doing all or part of the mapped sections. Although the Vermont Department of Transportation has designated the road portions of the Cross Vermont Trail to be scenic roads, CVTA Executive Director Greg Western says the association is hoping to eliminate those sections. “We dream of the day when it’s entirely a trail and off the road,” he says, noting he felt a little silly when he was drawing up the maps because he’d write, “Get to the end of the trail and keep going.”

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A view of Marshfield Dam from the trail. Photo by Robert Levasseur. Opposite: A section of the trail goes under an overpass.

A Work in Progress Most of the 30 miles of trail are on public land, including bike paths in Chittenden County and sections in Newbury and Ryegate. Other sections are on Class 4 roads. The CVTA has formal agreements with about a dozen landowners and less-formal arrangements with others, who are willing to allow use of their land but aren’t willing to enter into a written commitment. The organization secures easements and even owns a small piece of land in Plainfield. Greg jokingly describes the association as “the world’s smallest land trust.” The CVTA’s goal is to nail down all the easements and less-formal permissions. “It’s a slow process,” Greg concedes. “We’re looking

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CROSS VERMONT TRAIL GUIDEBOOK

for people who are willing to provide public access and make for a good route.” Greg sees the CVTA as more “booster and coordinator” than administrator of the trail. The organization works with local groups including East Montpelier Trails Incorporated (EMTI), Montpelier Parks and Recreation, and the Plainfield Conservation Commission. Al-

though the trail is an east/west line, they coordinate with these groups so travelers can leave the main path and enter the local networks. Mary Stone, president of EMTI, praised the CVTA for working with her organization to help them develop their trail network. “It’s an amazing project,” she says, “because the CVTA has the mission of connecting the

CVTA has published a digital guidebook about the nature, geography, and history to be found along the Cross Vermont Trail. It was written in part by middle and high school students, and it provides an overview of what you will see now along the trail, and what happened in those same places hundreds of years ago. It’s a comprehensive and professionally produced publication with room to grow. The CVTA invites schools and teachers to contact them to contribute a section about their own local area. Please contact the CVTA for more information. You can download a copy (PDF format) at www.crossvermont.org.

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borders, and there are many trail systems that have been built and maintained by volunteers that will connect into that.” Robert Levasseur of Jericho was intrigued by the trail and decided to give it a try on his cyclocross bike, which is equipped with wider tires to handle a variety of terrain. He completed all but the last seven easternmost miles. Levasseur says he would have had difficulty following the trail if he hadn’t downloaded maps from the website. “They tried to put signs at critical turns, but it’s easy to go past them,” he says. “About half the trail has signs.” Robert found the Chittenden County sections slow going because of lights and crosswalks on the bike paths. Two other impediments were in the form of rough sections off Johnnie Brook Road in Richmond and near the former state complex in Waterbury. The only other difficult section was a washed-out portion of the railroad bed in Plainfield, which required him to carry his bike through a canyon-like stretch. He rode 48

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with camping equipment, dropping his tent and supplies at Ricker Pond in Groton State Forest before doing the eastern portion of the trail unencumbered. “It was a good adventure,” says Robert. “Why not go across the state on a path? It’s better than just taking roads.” Although he says he would recommend the trip, he recognizes that more work needs to be done on the trail. “It’s definitely a work in progress,” he says. “We’re small, but it’s not the purpose of the CVTA to be a large organization,” Greg Western notes. “We want to be the go-between for others who are doing such good work on trail committees, conservation commissions, and in state and town forests. We’re a big idea but a small organization.” a

Cross Vermont Trail Association 29 Main Street, Suite 4 Montpelier, VT (802) 498-0079 www.crossvermont.org www.bestofcentralvt.com

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inn touch

By elizabeth hewitt

PHOTOS COURTES Y OF THE INN AT THE ROUND BARN FARM

N

estled into Waitsfield’s pastoral landscape, about a mile up the road from a historic covered bridge, stands a yellow round barn and farmhouse. Set against panoramic views of the Green Mountain ridgeline, the farm has been part of Waitsfield’s landscape for more than two centuries. But since Doreen and Jack Simko bought it nearly three decades ago, it has become so much more: 12 luxury bedrooms, food fit to inspire a cookbook, 245 acres of gardens and wilderness trails, and one round barn that is host to art shows, community gatherings, and innumerable memories. 50

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Waitsfield’s

landmark farmstead blends history, innkeeping, and

memories

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Above: Guests can enjoy breakfast on the terraced patio. Opposite: The Richardson Room is a luxury room with a bath suite, skylights, and great views. Executive Chef Charlie Menard tends to flatbread in the wood-fired earthen oven.

“It’s been 28 years, and there are some things that are intangible that you become quite proud of,” owner and innkeeper AnneMarie DeFreest says, recalling hundreds of weddings, memorial services, and family reunions. “I’ve had good days and bad days, but I’ve never had a boring day.”

The Farm’s History After spending years as part-time residents of the Mad River Valley, the Simkos decided in the mid 1980s to retire from their New Jersey flower business and make Vermont their permanent home. For years, Jack had admired Ralph Joslin’s round barn on East Warren Road, so when the farmstead went on the market, the Simkos jumped at the opportunity. The property included the 1860 farmhouse, a late-19th 52

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century icehouse, a 1910 polygonal barn, and a circa 1930 vegetable stand and field barn. The farmhouse was built by Cyrus Joslin as a vernacular structure with local interpretations of Greek Revival details. Cyrus purchased the farmland in 1831 and lived there with his wife and 10 children until his death in 1866. AnneMarie DeFreest, Doreen and Jack’s daughter, wasn’t surprised when her parents moved to Vermont in 1986—the Simko kids had spent their childhood vacations in the Mad River Valley. She was surprised, however, when they announced intentions to open the farmhouse as an inn. “It totally blew our minds,” says AnneMarie, who lived in Boston at the time. She followed her parents north in the spring of 1987 and arrived in the midst of renovations. With her help, the inn’s first seven rooms were fully operational by foliage season. She took over operations in 1994. Actually, the house’s history as an inn stretches back several decades before the Simkos bought it. The farmhouse greeted its first lodgers shortly after the ski areas opened in the 1950s. The Joslins, the seventh gen-

eration in the family to run the farm, started taking on visiting skiers in four rooms, 10 bunks in each, with two bathrooms between them. With breakfast and dinner included, the package amounted to the bargain deal of $25 per night.

The Guest Experience Today, the Inn at the Round Barn experience is decidedly different. Of the 12 guestrooms, no two are alike. AnneMarie and her mother oversaw the decorating themselves, scouring antiques stores and working with local craftsmen to stock the inn with one-of-akind furniture and artwork. “We couldn’t imagine going through all this work and putting numbers on the doors,” AnneMarie says. So they made each room a tribute to the historical families of Waitsfield—just one of the ways the property is steeped in local history. The spacious second-floor Richardson Room, for instance, is done in rich tones and rustic touches, inspired by a Warren Kimble painting and a vintage carousel horse named Ruby. The Dana Room showcases a handmade four-poster bed. In tones of raspberry


be as sustainable and local as possible,” AnneMarie says. The 245-acre property is a slice of the best Vermont has to offer. Guests can explore a trail system ideal for summer hiking and winter snowshoeing. The grounds include five ponds, expansive flowerbeds, an 85-foot lap pool, and a four-acre organic garden that supplies much of the produce used in the summer.

Waitsfield’s Last Round Barn

and white, the elegant Joslin room with its canopy bed and private sitting area was lauded by Ski Magazine as “one of the most romantic bed and breakfast rooms in the country for a ski holiday.” Indeed, the small inn has earned a reputation for excellence many times over. Breakfast

is a serious matter. The daily menu alternates between sweet and savory; one day it might be cottage cheese pancakes with raspberry maple syrup, the next it could be eggs over a bed of kale with roasted fingerling potatoes. “The only rules about food here are that it has to be seasonal, and it has to

Meanwhile, the Round Barn has taken on a life of its own. By the time the Simkos bought the Joslin farm in 1986, the old dairy barn was dilapidated from nearly two decades of disuse. Built in 1910, the structure was one of a few dozen in Vermont in the characteristic Shaker style—round, so “the devil can’t catch you in the corners.” Truly, it’s a polygonal barn with 12 sides, commonly referred to as a round barn. It is the only survivor of five round barns that once stood in Waitsfield and, according to a 1986 survey, one of 15 remaining in the state. It took two years of work by a full-time www.bestofcentralvt.com

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The rustic barn is the setting for many magical memories.

crew, but the Round Barn was rescued from collapse. Since the barn reopened its doors, it has maintained a robust business as a destination wedding venue. AnneMarie estimates some 86,000 people have attended weddings in the Round Barn over the last 24 years. The catering company based at the inn, Cooking From the Heart, is run by award-winning Chef Charlie Menard. They had so many requests for recipes that AnneMarie got tired of writing them out by hand and published a cookbook. Weddings are just one type of event the barn hosts. Born from a deep appreciation of the arts, the Simkos launched the Green Mountain Cultural Center, dedicated to fostering the arts in Central Vermont. These days, the old dairy barn hosts a range of cultural events throughout the year—from the Green Mountain Opera Festival in June, to the photography show in late summer, to the juried art show in the autumn. Meanwhile, over the last several decades, the barn has hosted innumerable important events for the community, from high school proms to memorial services for prominent community members. 54

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“I want the barn to have life in it,” AnneMarie says. “It doesn’t matter if it’s somebody who’s paying $300 per person for a wedding, or a grieving family who has lost a father and husband.” After 28 years at the Inn at the Round Barn Farm, AnneMarie decided to look for her successor. Because of health issues, she plans to sell the historic farm—but not just to anybody, she says. “I’ve worked hard to find the next AnneMarie, Jack, and Doreen.” And she has found them in longtime friends Kim and Jim Donahue of Wayne, New Jersey. The couple and their family are the new owners of the inn, and they look forward to becoming a part of the community. “I’m so proud of the sense of community that we have been able to build through this business,” AnneMarie adds. “I never expected to be so emotionally involved with snapshots of people’s lives.” a

The Inn at the Round Barn Farm 1661 East Warren Road Waitsfield, VT (802) 496-2276 www.theroundbarn.com www.bestofcentralvt.com

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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

Sizzling Summer

Shopping & fun things to do in Central Vermont!

Petra Cliffs

Petra Cliffs Climbing Center and Mountaineering School focuses on climbing and mountain-related education and recreation, accessible to all ages and abilities. We offer premium instruction and services through experience-based education in an inspiring atmosphere for families and friends to gather for a challenge and fun. Petra Cliffs is also home to an indoor ropes course for birthday parties, teams, and groups. 105 Briggs Street Burlington, VT (802) 657-3872 www.petracliffs.com

T-ja’s Studio Mason Brothers Offering a wide selection of reclaimed and antique building materials, Mason Brothers architectural salvage warehouse’s 13,000-square-foot space is filled with fireplace mantels, stained and beveledglass windows, lighting, hardware, columns and pillars, marble and pedestal sinks, claw-foot tubs, windows, furniture, and unique artifacts. 11 Maple Street Essex Junction, VT (802) 879-4221 www.greatsalvage.com

T-ja’s Studio Full Service Salon and Tanning is excited to now offer from Top Secret Hair, hair extensions and full hair pieces. Thinning hair? Want a new, beautiful WOW look? Call to schedule your complimentary consultation or drop in to see Tanja and let her show you just how easy and affordable a hair extension or piece is. You’re not going to believe how far hair extensions have come! 77 South Main Street Barre, VT (802) 479-2819 Cell: (802) 249-2269 www.tjasstudio.com www.facebook.com/Tjas.Studio

Vermont Farm Table Make it yours. Love it. Beat it up. Fill it with family and friends, then plan on passing it down. Custom tables and kitchenware that work just as hard as you do. Made-to-order here in Vermont. Flagship Store: 206 College Street Burlington, VT (888) 425-8838 www.vermontfarmtable.com


SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

Sam’s Wood Furniture If you’re looking for real-wood, heirloom-quality furniture, the team at Sam’s Wood Furniture invites you to visit our Burlington store. For a boutique experience and access to endless furniture possibilities, Sam’s is sure to have what you need. We offer quality American-made furniture in many wood species and infinite finishing options. Let Sam’s give you exactly what you want—your style and your color. 372 North Winooski Avenue Burlington, VT (802) 862-6013 www.samswoodfurniture.com

Landshapes Landshapes has been providing exceptional landscaping services to Vermont for over 20 years. Our services include complete landscaping design and architecture, lawn and garden maintenance programs, limitless varieties of hardscapes, beautiful stone walls, walkways, gardens, pools and water features, as well as woodlands management and commercial services. Our highly skilled yearround staff of professional horticulturists, stone masons, and equipment operators are trained to perform any landscaping challenge. We’re a cut above the rest when it comes to the creativity that we can provide. 88 Rogers Lane Richmond, VT (802) 434-3500 www.landshapes.net

Morse Farm Summertime means cremees! And the best cremee, according to Yankee Magazine, is a cremee from Morse Farm in Montpelier. Yankee Magazine also named our maple cremee “Best of New England … Editors’ Choice.” Morse Farm is an eight-generation maple farm. Come see the sugarhouse, woodshed theater, maple trail, and huge gift shop, with mail ordering and free tastings. Open during the summer 8 to 8, seven days a week. 1168 County Road Montpelier, VT (800) 242-2740 www.morsefarm.com

Salaam Boutique A fashion-savvy boutique on State Street in 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


A downtown cornerstone takes its place in the 21st century

Barre’s Blanchard Block

Reborn

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by Mary Gow Photos by Jeb Wall ace- Brodeur

T

he Blanchard Block is one of those buildings where, for many decades, just about everyone from Barre spent time. Either they were shopping at J.C. Penney’s or the Lash Furniture Store, attending Masonic events or the Chess and Checker Club, or going to appointments in lawyers’ offices, doctors’ offices, or hair salons. Barre residents had plenty of reasons to go there. Since 1904 and for much of the 20th century, this handsome brick building buzzed with activity. But after a 2003 fire struck a cruel blow to Lash Furniture, the Blanchard Block fell dark. Now, after a monumental basement-toattic renovation, the Blanchard Block is back, beautifully restored and fitted out with all the latest technology. Two local couples, John and Pamela Benoit and Mark and Robin Nicholson, formed Granite City Developers and have totally rehabbed the 48,000-square-foot building. While meticulously maintaining the Blanchard Block’s historic character, they have outfitted it for the 21st century. On a fast track, the Benoits and Nicholsons started this $5,000,000 project in March 2013. The first offices were occupied this winter and more businesses are on the way. Today, the Blanchard Block proudly takes its place as a cornerstone of Barre’s “renaissance.”

From the Progressive Era to the Information Age “The Blanchard Block now has every modern convenience, but it still has the charm of a www.bestofcentralvt.com

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110-year-old building, and it is an unbelievable building,” says John Benoit, standing in the light-filled atrium entrance, the entry on the Merchant’s Row side. As John, his wife Pamela, and partner Mark Nicholson point out architectural details including restored tin ceiling panels overhead and massive brick structural walls, people arrive for appointments. The arrivals probably don’t know that the Otis elevator whisking them from the atrium entrance to the upper floors is the first of this latest-generation elevator in Vermont and just one of the many modern features in the building. For the Benoits and the Nicholsons, redeveloping a historic property is a new endeavor, although both couples have years of construction trade experience with their successful local businesses. The Benoits’ company—Benoit Electric, Inc., which they 60

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founded in 1986—is now one of the state’s leading electrical contractors. The Nicholsons’ Nicom Coatings Corporation, founded in 1981, specializes in sealing and waterproofing buildings and roads. “We are excited about what is going on in Barre, and we wanted to be part of it,” says Mark Nicholson. “The Blanchard Block had been sitting empty for 11 years. As we were looking at possible projects, we just kept coming back to it. It’s such a beautiful, solid building and in such a big location.” Right next-door to Barre City Hall and Barre Opera House, the Blanchard Block on North Main Street faces the intersection, park, and the statue named Youth Triumphant. Along with the enthusiasm and expertise they brought to the project, the Benoits and Nicholsons knew that the Blanchard Block’s price tag would be hefty. Fortunately, local,

state, and federal opportunities contributed to making the renovation possible. The City of Barre is granting tax stabilization for the building, and because of the Blanchard Block’s historic significance and its inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, it qualifies for federal tax credits provided the rehab maintains its historic character. Vermont’s Downtown and Village Center Tax Credit Program also offers attractive benefits for properties in designated areas, including Barre’s downtown.

beloved landmark and hub of activity “The Blanchard Block is such a prominent building. To have it languishing for so many years was really sad. Now it is the perfect symbol of the new optimism in Barre,” says Caitlin Corkins, who is the tax credits and


grants coordinator with the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development. Caitlin worked closely with the partners on the renovation. There is no cookie-cutter formula for historic preservation tax credits, she explains. “The crux of it is preserving the historic character of the building, allowing change but preserving those elements that make it his-

toric, interesting, and aesthetically pleasing.� From its beginning in 1904, when it was built to replace an earlier structure that had burned, the Blanchard Block has been a mixed-use building. Every floor has a different floor plan. The ground floor, with high ceilings and expanses of open space, accommodates retail. Upstairs, the building has al-

Opposite: 219 Blanchard Block exterior. This page: The original trusses in the penthouse suites. The north half of the third floor showing the original hardwood floors and tin ceilings.

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New England Oral Surgery’s staff lounge. The four owners who restored Blanchard Block (l to r): John Benoit, Pam Benoit, Robin Nicholson, Mark Nicholson.

ways held offices—30 when it opened. Back in the day, Barre had many active fraternal organizations. The Blanchard Block includes large, open halls on the upper floors—the former Masons’ banquet hall even had a grand brick fireplace that remains. For Barre residents, Blanchard Block’s retail stores provided housewares and more. B.W. Hooker’s furniture company was there 62

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first, with their casket and undertaking business in part of the space. In 1905, Frank McWhorter’s clothing store moved in. J.C. Penney was the new retail anchor in 1937, with reportedly the greatest amount of mainfloor space of any of the company’s New England stores. In the 1950s, Lash Furniture opened and remained a family-owned institution for decades.

With the restoration by the Benoits and Nicholsons, the basement and attic spaces are also part of the building’s future. Flowers by Emslie and Company is moving into the lower level, a space with light cascading in through the atrium. The attic, with its grid of massive beams, has plenty of windows and perhaps the best views in Barre, looking out over the rooftops. Throughout the Blanchard Block, the partners have installed state-of-the-art systems. “It has every single modern convenience,” says John Benoit. “We have fiber optics from the curb all the way to your desktop. We have conduit paths for all the latest technology that is available today or will be in the future. It is all completely rewired. The lighting control system can be controlled with a laptop. The energy management system is on a computer, monitoring our heating and cooling and energy recovery unit. And we have closedcircuit TV.”


Barre’S Renaissance Continues The completion of the $17 million road, utility, and streetscape project—Barre’s “Big Dig”— has transformed Main Street. Just down Main Street from the Blanchard Block, between Studio Place Arts and the Paramount Theater, Barre’s City Place is bringing new life and jobs to downtown. With 82,500 square feet of space, City Place already has tenants including the Vermont Department of Education, the Rehab Gym, and Central Vermont Medical Center. Owned by DEW Properties, City Place opened its doors this past winter.

The paint and plaster have dried, beautiful floors and trim have re-emerged, original windows have been replaced with energy efficient ones, and the elevator is humming. It looks like another good century is beginning for the Blanchard Block. a

Blanchard Block 14 North Main Street Barre, VT Pam Benoit: (802) 371-8074 Robin Nicholson: (802) 249-0148 http://blanchardblock.com

gallery extra Many more photos of the beautiful restoration of Blanchard Block are online at www.bestofcentralvt.com. www.bestofcentralvt.com

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by Dian Parker Ph otos co ur t e s y o f W e s t B r a n ch G a l l ery & Sc ul p t ure Pa rk

A Vivid and Vibrant World of Art Great work flourishes at West Branch Gallery & Sculpture Park

Art is a tricky business. Viewing art can also be tricky, but only because there is so much hype around the art world. What is good often equates to what is selling. Art that is expensive is supposed to be the best—the more costly, the better. Amidst all this, there is you, the viewer, and the art before your eyes. The work of art and you are in an intimate relationship that is private. We are fortunate, therefore, to be offered many moments to explore our relationship with art in one of the very best galleries in Vermont—West Branch Gallery & Sculpture Park in Stowe.

W

est Branch exhibits contemporary abstract paintings and sculptures, as well as representational landscape painting, still life, and marble sculpture. With a total of 3,400 square feet, there is plenty of opportunity in the gallery’s labyrinth of rooms to lose yourself in art. West Branch Gallery was two indoor tennis courts when Chris Curtis and Tari Swenson (husband and wife) first bought the building in the early 1980s. Chris made one corner of the building into his sculpture studio, and Tari, a calligrapher and painter, had a studio at the other end. Tari says, 64

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“Chris would make big stone sculptures, and people from the bike path would drop into our cavernous warehouse and find Chris welding away or wailing on a piece of stone with a chisel. It was great fun introducing them to the making of art.”

Chris was born and raised in Stowe. He and Tari met in 1973 (they now have two grown children). At first, to support their art interests, the couple had a small wholesale art business manufacturing words in stone, using both their skills as


Clockwise from left: Richard Erdman’s Venturi takes center stage, with Craig Mooney’s landscape, Winding River at Sunset, to the right, and the sculpture park outside to the left. Simpatico, cast bronze by Chris Curtis, with mixed media by Janet Fredericks on the walls. Karen Peterson’s cast bronze Kenya, with Marc Civitarese’s Seeing You Again and Place Where I Stand, both oil and wax on linen. David Stromeyer’s Thin Red Line.

sculptor and calligrapher. Chris also ran the Black Magic Chimney Sweep business for a number of years. Tari says, “We enjoyed the people we met, many of them artists. We started informally hanging works by Vermont artists, and it was exciting to see www.bestofcentralvt.com

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Clockwise from bottom left: Light Ring by Bruce White, stainless steel and granite. Toulouse by Richard Erdman, bronze. Zipper by Chris Curtis, granite.

large abstract pieces in an industrial-looking space. It grew naturally from there. We became a gallery. The day after we officially opened, a wonderful collector bought a piece from the sculpture park. We’ve been busy ever since.” That client has become one of the most devoted collectors of Chris’s work. “It was all so organic,” Tari says. “We felt comfortable talking to clients, and because we were artists ourselves, we understood other artists.” As you wander through the gallery, it’s easy to talk with Tari about art. There is no pressure to buy, but rather a sincere love of art and a passionate desire to share that love with whomever comes through the doors. She continues, “It all goes back to respecting the art, respecting the artist, and respecting the viewer. It really is that simple.”

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A close-up of Tad Spurgeon’s Cheeses, oil on linen. Winter River by Kathleen Kolb, oil.

Chris and Tari have made art their business. In spite of the 2008 recession and the decline in art sales at Christie’s and

Sotheby’s, West Branch has continued to grow. “We’ve been open as a gallery now for 14 years. During the recession we tightened

our belts but remained open, even deciding to expand. We wanted to maintain the confidence of our clients and honor our artists,” Tari says. In 2013, 65 percent of sales at West Branch were sculptures. In their three-acre sculpture park, you can walk around large bronze horses, gaze through a hole in a 30-foot piece of carved granite, or crane your neck up to sweeping lines of blue steel. At present there are 25 large-scale outdoor sculptures. On a lazy summer’s afternoon, you can be suspended out of time, wending your way along the nearby river, contemplating the still majesty of works in stone. Chris, one of the 30 West Branch sculptors, pays local farmers for their large rocks, much to their amusement. In his Barre studio he cuts the stone with a diamond wire saw. He has two assistants who help weld metal and polish the stone. www.bestofcentralvt.com

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Top: A new wing that opened in March 2014 is dedicated to traditional representational paintings. Bottom, left wall: Three oil paintings by Henry Isaacs. Center: Comfort by Karen Petersen, cast bronze. Right wall: Into the Valley by Craig Mooney. Isaacs and Mooney’s show, Distinctions Between Color and Light, opens on June 28, with a reception at 6pm. Opposite top: Sculptor Chris Curtis and artist Tari Swenson, husband and wife, own West Branch Gallery & Sculpture Park. Opposite bottom: View of the gallery from the sculpture park.

“I’ve always been in love with stone. In it I find archetypes, iconic shapes, proportions, textures, and surfaces that appeal to me and to others,” Chris says. A sculptor for 40 years, he’s always been interested in using science and technology for the creation of sculpture. Recently he’s been working in bronze, with its glimmering golden patinas.

Immerse yourself in another world One mile north of the village of Stowe, up the Mountain Road, on the right is the striking green sign for West Branch Gallery. As you drive into the parking lot, the first thing you see is a large hanging stainless steel ring, a sculpture by Bruce White titled Light Ring. It is a massive 156 inches in diameter. Next to it is an oversized bronze piece, Toulouse, by Richard Erdman, 96 inches high. Just beyond in the grass is a Chris Curtis stone sculpture titled Zipper. It consists of two huge slabs of granite that have been cut apart, like steps, and could fit back together perfectly—a gigantic zipper. Inside, after walking down a hall filled with paintings, you enter the main gallery. To the right is a deep blue wall, inviting you to enter the Landscape Traditions wing. On the wall is a shimmering blue landscape, Winter River, an oil painting by Kathleen Kolb. Continuing on, you come to a sienna wall with compelling paintings. One is an oil painting by Tad Spurgeon titled Cheeses, a masterful work, much like a 17th century Dutch still life. “I did research into older painting methods and materials, formulating and testing a great many different approaches,” Spurgeon 68

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says. “In the last four years I’ve written a book about what I learned, called Living Craft, A Painter’s Process.” The book, also a work of art, sits on a pedestal next to a group of his paintings, begging to be browsed. In the main gallery are luminous pastels by Mallory Lake, exotic mixed media drawings by Giovanna Cecchetti, Jessie Pollock’s textured encaustic paintings, and many more

exciting works by West Branch’s 50 artists. The large landscape oil paintings by Craig Mooney, with their sweeping skies, are epic, like Winding River at Sunset. Throughout the gallery are a number of Karen Petersen’s deeply moving bronze sculptures, such as My Gift (Mother & Child). In the upstairs gallery are vivid watercolors by Tom Cullins. Some are painted in delightful periwinkle


blue, inspired by his travels in Greece. You can see in the clean lines the influence of his 40 years as an architect. West Branch’s highly anticipated art openings are events that should not be missed. At these extravaganzas you can view the newest art exhibit, listen to a live soft-jazz trio, eat delectables from Susanna’s Catering, and listen to a gallery talk by an art historian or curator. These are lively parties that host up to 300 folks, even on a stormy winter’s evening. “We are in the business to support artists,” Tari says. “We want people to feel comfortable coming in. We treat everyone the same, whether they buy or not.” West Branch Gallery is a place to absorb art and draw your own conclusions, away from the crowds and hovering gallery ownwww.bestofcentralvt.com

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SUMMER SHOWS AND OPENINGS AT WEST BRANCH GALLERY & SCULPTURE PARK West Branch introduces their new gallery wing, Landscape Traditions, exhibiting nine representational artists. THROUGH JUNE 17 Rebecca Kinkead: Local Color – joyful energetic oils of Vermont life in spring. Tom Cullins: Recent Works – light informed abstractions that reflect the aesthetics of place. JUNE 28 – AUGUST 9 Henry Isaacs & Craig Mooney: Distinctions Between Color and Light – exuberant landscapes of the countryside and water’s edge. Opening Reception: June 28, 6pm. Gallery talk by Daniel Kany at 7pm. JUNE 28 – AUGUST 9 Nissa Kauppila: Bird on the Wing – Exploring the delicacy of life, flight, and chaos. Opening Reception: June 28, 6pm. AUGUST 16 – OCTOBER 25 Chris Curtis, Paul Schwieder, and Duncan Johnson: Stone, Glass, and Wood – Opening Reception: August 16, 6pm.

ers. Art is essential. It offers untold hours of immersion into other worlds. As the great art critic Jed Perl wrote, “An artist’s vision is a solitary kingdom.” You can enter that kingdom at West Branch, with plenty of room, light from huge windows, and an opportunity for solitude and companionship with dynamic art. a

West Branch Gallery & Sculpture Park 17 Towne Farm Lane Stowe, Vermont Tuesday through Sunday, 9 to 5, and by appointment (802) 253-8943 www.westbranchgallery.com 70

best of central Vermont | Summer 2014


by MARK A IKEN Ph otos by Go rd o n Mil l er

ance D Waterbury Dance! The Story of Green Mountain Performing Arts

I

nside a modest strip-mall-style building off Route 2 on the town line of Moretown and Waterbury, something special is transpiring. The building is home to Green Mountain Performing Arts, a dance studio that almost perished in the floods of Tropical Storm Irene. Instead of washing away downstream, it rose to the surface, revived and infused with new energy, and lives on 72

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in the form of musical theater performances and recitals, classes for all ages and abilities, intensive workshops, and summer camps. And according to Belle McDougall, GMPA volunteer board member and “dance mom,” the community benefits of such an organization are immeasurable. “Our kids get exposed to positive role models in their instructors and to music and

activities that are good for their souls,” says Belle. “And an organization like this brings culture to our community.”

From the Floodwaters Green Mountain Performing Arts began as a private one-room studio called OneStudio. Dance instructor Laurie Flaherty owned and operated OneStudio for six years. By


Opposite: Musical theater for ages 3–6. Clockwise from top left: A beginner ballet performance. Bustin’ hip-hop moves at a recital. Julia Robinson playing Clara in Hip-Hop Nutcracka’ Remix. Caution: hip-hop dancers!

www.bestofcentralvt.com

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A ballet performance at a recital. The Celtic Company practices with guest instructor Alice McNeish from Essex, Vermont.

2011, 300 kids and 200 families were taking classes, participating in recitals, and dancing at OneStudio. Then came the flood. The studio was just one of the Waterbury businesses forced to close its doors as a result of Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011. “The studio building was destroyed,” says Belle. The OneStudio sign still hangs in front of an empty building. With no home, the community of families that had formed around OneStudio mobilized. “The kids and families did not want to see it die,” says Belle. Changes were made in order to ensure the organization’s future—most notably the transition from a sole proprietorship to a nonprofit organization. While parents volunteered to form a board of directors and find a new home, dance classes went on, mostly in the Thatcher Brook Elementary School gymnasium. “Families wanted the studio to succeed, and many kept their kids enrolled,” says Belle. Meanwhile, parents volunteered time and expertise to prepare the new studio space. Local contractors donated time or worked at discounted rates. A private donor granted seed money to establish the nonprofit, and they procured post-Irene funding from the Vermont Economic Development Authority. When the studio reopened in January 2012, it had a new home, a new name, and a new life.

Passion equals fun With new life came improvements. The contemporary space features two state-ofthe-art studios instead of just one, so GMPA has a wider range of offerings, from ballet to Celtic and from jazz to hip-hop. “Our focus is always about making dance accessible to everyone in our community,” says Belle. GMPA’s seasonal calendar includes a spring recital, a holiday production (entitled Hip-Hop Nutcracka Remix), performances at Waterbury’s weekly summer Concerts in the Park series, and the Celtic Company, which competes throughout new England. In partnership with 74

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Waterbury Recreation, the studio also offers a complete slate of summer camps. Julia Robinson, 13, first took a ballet class as a toddler when her family lived in Wyoming, and a hip-hop class at OneStudio reignited her interest in dance. “I learned that when you’re really passionate about

something, it becomes fun.” While fun, it’s still a commitment and hard work; she’ll often find herself at the studio 8 to 10 hours a week, especially leading up to performances or competitions. But hard work breeds camaraderie. “I’ve made so many friends,” she says. “It’s like a second family.”


GMPA SUMMER CAMPS Costs: $155.00 for half-day camp, $295.00 for full-day camp. Scholarships are available. Fairytale Ballerina Camp (Ages 3–5) with Erin Duffee June 23–27, 9am–12:30pm A delightful summer camp designed to gently introduce little girls to the wonderful world of dance through movement, literature, and imagination. Princess Ballerina Camp (Ages 6–8) with Erin Duffee August 4–8, 9am–12:30pm Campers will learn ballet and dance to all their favorites from the Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, and more! Hip-Hop Recreation Camp (Ages 6–8) with Sam Parker June 23–27, 9am–12:30pm Campers will explore the high-energy basics of hip-hop, freestyle, and breakin’. Kids Singing! Music Camp (Ages 7–10) with Stefanie Weigand July 7–11, 9am–12:30pm An exciting music camp for singers. Learn vocal technique, singing in a group, and exploring the voice in fun and creative ways. Brave Camp (Ages 6–9 & 10 and up) with Heather Morris July 7–11, 9am–12:30pm (for ages 10 and up); 1–4:30pm (for ages 6–9) Explore the world of Disney’s most strongwilled and physically agile princess, Merida, through the music, dance, and crafts of the Celtic lands. Advanced Hip-Hop Intensive with Sam Parker August 4–8, 9am–4:30pm This camp is geared toward the advanced hip-hop dancer. Campers will focus on learning how to pick up choreography quickly while concentrating on developing their own style and swag.

Lee Lee Robinson, Julia’s mom, initially wanted to expose her children to a range of extracurricular activities. “When your children find something they love and want to be involved in, you support that,” Lee Lee says. The Robinsons, like many GMPA families, have done just that. Lee Lee helped run conces-

Foundations in Breakin’ and HipHop for Boys (Beginner/Intermediate) with Sam Parker July 28–August 1, 9am–12:30pm Boys will learn a combination of hip-hop and breakin’, form a solid foundation in each genre, and learn the history of where these styles came from. Lyrical Hip-Hop Camp (Intermediate/Advanced) with Sam Parker August 11–15, 9am–4:30pm Participants will learn hip-hop infused with the technical and emotional aspects of lyrical dance. Feel Like a Star Hip-Hop Dancer (Ages 8–12) with Jenna Companion June 23–27, 1–4pm Ever wanted to see what it feels like to be a professional hip-hop dancer? Here’s your chance! Girls Hip-Hop “No Boys Allowed” Camp (Beginner/Intermediate) with Jenna Companion July 28–August 1, 9am–12:30pm and/or 1–4:30pm Girls, it’s time to step out and be who you are! This is an all-girl camp for just having fun and being yourself. Liquid Strength Weekend Intensive with Christal Brown , Middlebury College, $35.00 August 8–10, 10am–3:00pm This technique laboratory focuses on moving, intention, and analysis that combines the focus and intention of a meditative practice with a series of exercises designed to train the body in articulate expression as well as athletic execution. To register, contact Melody, melody@greenmountainperformingarts.org or at (802) 2448600. Registration closes June 1; to ensure the best selection, enroll early!

sions at performances and assisted at rehearsals before recently taking on a role as chair of Friends of GMPA. Julia’s dad Chris volunteered his time and carpentry skills in the renovation effort after Irene. And the entire family, including Julia’s younger brother, has performed together onstage in holiday productions. www.bestofcentralvt.com

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Clockwise: Kids’ hip-hop instructor Flynn Aldrich. Instructor Sam Parker of Waterbury during 2013 Nutcracka’ Remix. Heather Morris (second from left) teaching an Irish step class. Sam Parker (middle) with Status Quo dancers.

And that’s who benefits, says Belle: kids and families. “If kids participate in the performing arts, they will make it a part of their lives forever,” she adds. “The presence of performing arts builds a tighter-knit community that can see the passion, talent, and camaraderie of our kids onstage. It builds social capital and, I hope, support for our program.”

Waterbury talent GMPA’s programs do more than strengthen the community; performing in front of audiences of hundreds of people is a big deal for young people. “It builds confidence and courage,” says Lee Lee Robinson. “These experiences instill focus and dedication. They enhance education and create well-rounded students.” GMPA offers instruction for a range of ability levels, but because Waterbury and the surrounding areas are small, there is a focus on entry-level programming. “We are committed to keeping the arts affordable and accessible,” says Belle. This does not, however, mean that GMPA students don’t have proven talent and potential. Take, for example, GMPA’s newest instructor, Sam Parker of Waterbury. Parker, 16, took his first dance class at age 7 from Flaherty at OneStudio. “I quit,” he says simply. Despite this inauspicious beginning, he came back and took classes in all styles of dance. Eventually he quit playing basketball to concentrate on hip-hop. Today, he is part of the senior company at Urban Dance Complex in Williston, and he travels to workshops and intensive classes all over the United States, working with the best dancers and top choreographers in the country. “I see myself in every kid who walks through the door,” he says of GMPA members. “I see a lot of talent coming out of Waterbury, a lot of drive.” GMPA’s board has another vision that will bring additional cultural opportunities 76

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to Cetnral Vermont and the opportunity for GMPA participants—and students at other local studios—to collaborate and learn from the best instructors in the country at weekend workshops. One such workshop on October 17–19 , will bring instructors from New York City’s Alvin Ailey dance troupe to the studio for a weekend, highlighting the techniques of Lester Horton, Martha Graham, and West African dance.

Belle says that the earliest years are always the most challenging for a nonprofit that relies on fundraising and donations.. In a community where the flood sacked the local dance studio three years ago, something fresh and new has emerged, and GMPA board members are hopeful that it will continue to be a place where Waterbury children will perform their first plié and discover Celtic, hip-hop, jazz, and contemporary


dance. “I’ve taken a lot of dance classes from a lot of teachers,” says Sam Parker, “but this is my dance home.” a

Green Mountain Performing Arts 37 Commercial Drive Waterbury, VT (802) 244-8600 www.greenmountainperformingarts.org www.bestofcentralvt.com

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classic car meet

Details

Friday: 8am–6pm Saturday: 7am–5pm Sunday: 8am–4pm Admission: $10 per day; seniors (60+) $8 per day; children 12 and under free. More info: Chris Barbieri (802) 223-3104 cgeeb99@gmail.com www.vtauto.org.

57Stowe Antique and n Classic Car m Meet O Oldies and goodies roll th

ne of the oldest and largest collector vehicle shows in the US, and the largest in Vermont, takes place August 8, 9, and 10 at Nichols Field, two miles south of Stowe Village on Vermont Route 100. The meet features over 700 cars, trucks, and military vehicles on display in 46 classes. All vehicles are at least 25 years old. The show is renowned for the large number of pre-WWII cars it attracts, in addition to many vehicles from the 1950s through the ’80s. All three days feature show cars on the field, a flea market with over 400 vendors, and the Car Corral, where collector cars for sale are on display.

Special events include a fashion show on Saturday at 10:30am, where period costumes and cars come together; a parade through Stowe Village, which begins at 3:30pm; and an oldies rock ’n roll street dance in downtown Stowe, starting at 7pm. On Sunday, judging begins at 9am, with the awards ceremony by early afternoon. The Stowe Antique and Classic Car Meet is a presentation of the Vermont Automobile Enthusiasts.

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into Stowe August 8-10


Opposite: Pre-WWII roadster waiting to be judged. 1934 Pierce Arrow owned by Serge Monette of Montreal. 1929 Auburn owned by Matthew Parisi of Fairfax, Vermont. This page: 1940 Packard Woody wagon. A 1923 HCS Touring owned by Avery Hall of Burlington, Vermont. 1957 Ford Thunderbird. 1928 Packard owned by Avery Hall of Burlington, Vermont. Antique car enthusiasts dressed in period costume. www.bestofcentralvt.com

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in store

By mark aiken

Photos by The paulInn boisvert Photos co ur te s y of at Ro und B arn Farm

Ann Roche casual Furniture Ann Roche, owner of Ann Roche Casual Furniture on Shelburne Road in Shelburne, has a question for anyone thinking about furnishing a porch, patio, or outdoor space. “What are you going to be doing out there?” Ann feels that it’s important to discover her customer’s needs, lifestyle, and primary purpose for the area. “Today it’s all about bringing the family room outside, with deepseated couches and chairs, outdoor and all-weather flat-screen TVs, grilling and cooking with versatile options like the Big Green egg grill, and dining sets and buffets.” Today it seems lounging, informal dining, and comfort are what sets the trend.

G

etting to know the needs of the customers and their end desires for entertaining, living, and being outdoors with family and friends is how every buyer’s experience starts at Ann Roche Casual Furniture.

Modest beginnings This is the wisdom of someone who has sold casual furniture for 35 years. She has not always been in her current 17,000-square-foot, two-story Shelburne Road location. “I started in a friend’s store,” she says. “Or I spent time selling out of my garage.” At one point, she occupied empty rental spaces in an office building owned by her husband Paul. Ann went into business because she had only a few hours each day to work, a situation that didn’t really lend itself to holding a 80

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furnishing patios for 35 years


Opposite: Synthetic Adirondack chairs by Seaside Casual Furniture. This page: Grilling on the Big Green Egg. The front entrance to Ann Roche Casual Furniture. Summer Classics synthetic wicker sectional furniture. Gloster teak sectional furniture.

traditional job. “I was a young mother who wanted to be there for my kids,” she says. She sold her furniture while her kids were in school, but went home when they came home. “It was fun and exciting for me,” she says. “It turned into a real opportunity.” Ann finally purchased a retail space—also on Shelburne Road—where she sold furniture for 17 years before moving to her current location in 2007. Meanwhile, one of her children, Nancy Contois, came to work at the furniture store. “I couldn’t have survived all these years without her,” Ann says.

Some things change, some don’t Ann has seen changes in the furniture business in her three-plus decades. For example, the business used to be all about dining furniture, she says. But over time consumer interests shifted towards convenience and comfort. And Ann’s casual lines are not just for the outdoors. “People like to furnish a three-season room or a sunroom with comfortable outdoor furniture,” she says. Often, customers www.bestofcentralvt.com

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Clockwise from left: All-weather wicker by Lane Venture. Ann Roche in her store’s showroom, with a Treasure Garden Shanghai umbrella in lime green. Longtime sales associate Lynn Machavern at a Gloster teak table.

will purchase teak, rattan, or even wicker pieces as accessories in a living room. And speaking of accessories, Ann used to deal just in furniture. Now her store is filled with accessories, including rugs, umbrellas, lamps, and more. Ann also offers children’s furniture in a section of the store she calls Kasazza Kids (her maiden name, except she replaced a C with a K). “It’s not our main business, but I feel there’s a need,” she says. What has not changed is Ann’s commitment to carrying furniture from quality manufacturers. “Our wholesalers are just good to 82

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work with,” she says. “If a customer has an issue, these guys support them. There’s no grief.” Among the thirty brands on display in her showrooms is Telescope—the very first brand she carried when she was borrowing space in her friend’s store. “It’s still my favorite—and best-selling—brand,” she says. These days, Ann personally concentrates mostly on commercial clients—among them

Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Breakwaters Café and Grill on the Burlington Waterfront, and Burlington’s Courtyard Marriott Hotel—leaving her staff to handle walk-in customers. Still, if she’s in the store, she serves walk-in customers as well. Either way, her approach is the same. “You listen to what kind of quality they want, length of warranty, and, of course, price point,” she says. “Then


it’s about what the customer likes and what the customer finds pretty.” In these economic times, Ann recognizes the need to be focused on her customers. She tries to give people reasons to visit her store during slow times. For example, in the winter she has Tom Jennings, owner of Green Mountain Florist Supply of South Burlington (and also a customer), set up Christmas tree displays throughout her showrooms. And, always positive, she views even a slow economy as an opportunity. “Instead of taking big, expensive trips, some people are vacationing at home,” she says, adding that home vacationers buy outdoor fire pits, allweather flat screened TVs, outdoor heaters, and Big Green Egg grills. It’s this positive, open-minded approach that earned the store the 2014 Best of Shelburne award for furniture stores. Whether it’s for a home vacation or a patio hangout area, Ann is sure she has something for everyone. a

Ann Roche Casual Furniture Kasazza Kids 2438 Shelburne Road Shelburne, VT (802) 985-5300 www.annroche.com www.bestofcentralvt.com

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special advertising section

best of

2014

Central vermont

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


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ENTERTAINMENT AND DINING GUIDE FOR CENTRAL VERMONT

Positive Pie Named in Zagat’s 2014 Best 50 Pizzas in 50 States. Positive Pie is the place for incredible entreés, pizzas, brews, and entertainment with family, friends, or that special date. Three convenient locations. Live music on weekends. Gluten-free pie available. $–$$ 22 State Street, Montpelier 65–69 Main Street, Plainfield 87 South Main Street, Hardwick positivepie.com

Guild Fine Meats

Burlington’s neighborhood delicatessen & specialty meat shop. Chef Tom Deckman & Master Butcher Frank Pace transform fine Vermont meats into sausages, deli meats, marinated steaks, trussed chickens, seasoned chops, burgers, and more. Housemade sandwiches and subs, breakfast sandwiches, poutine & fry bar, party platters, and more. $ 111 St. Paul Street Burlington, VT (802) 497-1645 guildfinemeats.com

Discover Central Vermont!

Red Hen Bakery and Café 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. $–$$ 961B US Rt. 2 Middlesex, VT (802) 223-5200 redhenbaking.com

Prohibition Pig Located in Waterbury, the food and beverage crossroads, we feature New England’s largest and best curated selection of craft beer, proper cocktails, and eclectic wines, and a full menu featuring barbecue, vegetarian, and cozy American fare. $-$$ 23 South Main Street Waterbury, VT (802) 244-4120 prohibitionpig.com

Vermont Ale House

A craft beer bar & restaurant featuring 26 rotating draft beers from VT, the US & abroad. We are not just small pub fare, we now offer up to 30 menu items that allow us to explore creative specials with seasonal local ingredients, and we are the only Beer Garden in town. $$ 294 Mountain Road Stowe, VT (802) 253-6253 www.vermontalehouse.com


special advertising special section advertising section

ENTERTAINMENT AND DINING GUIDE FOR CENTRAL VERMONT

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 guildandcompany.com

Cornerstone Pub & Kitchen 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.” $$ 47 Main Street Barre, VT (802) 476-2121 cornerstonepk.com

El Cortijo

A vibrant atmosphere featuring tacos, soups, salads, and entrées prepared with local ingredients and expressed as traditional Mexican fare. Freshsqueezed margaritas and handcrafted cocktails. Late-night menu until 1am, Fridays & Saturdays. $–$$ 189 Bank Street Burlington, VT (802) 497-1668 CortijoVT.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 windjammerrestaurant.com

Beyond the Menu

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 farmhousetg.com

Fantastic dining and entertainment!


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

2014 July 6

Mad Marathon

June 20 & 22

Green Mountain Opera Festival presents Rossini’s La Cenerentola (Cinderella) Barre Opera House, Fri 7:30pm, Sun 3pm www.greenmountainoperafestival.com

June 20–September 1

Exhibition: The Appearance of Clarity: Works in Black and White The Helen Day Art Center, Stowe www.helenday.com

June 21

New West Guitar Group Spruce Peak Performing Arts, Stowe, 8pm www.sprucepeakarts.org

June 21–22

Vermont History Expo—Artists & Artisans: Vermont’s Creative Heritage Tunbridge Fairgrounds, Tunbridge www.vermonthistory.org/expo

June 23–27

Musical Theater Camp for Kids The Skinner Barn, Waitsfield www.theskinnerbarn.com

June 28 June 13–15

June 15

Stowe Wine and Food Classic

The Roys Bluegrass

Trapp Family Lodge www.stowewine.com

Spruce Peak Performing Arts, Stowe, 7pm www.sprucepeakarts.org

June 14

June 19–July 5

Brew-Grass Festival

[Title of Show]

Lincoln Peak, Sugarbush Resort, 3pm–8pm www.sugarbush.com

Stowe Theater Guild, Thu–Sat, 8pm www.stowetheatre.com

June 19–August 28

June 14 & 15

Vermont Days—Free Admission to the Vermont History Museum

Art on Park Thursdays Park Street, Stowe, 5:30–8:30pm, www.stowevibrancy.com

The Pavilion Building, Montpelier www.vermonthistory.org

David Bromberg Quintet Spruce Peak Performing Arts, Stowe, 8pm www.sprucepeakarts.org

June 29

Stars and Stripes Charity Airshow Sugarbush Airport, Warren, 1pm www.jimparkerairshows.com

July through September

Brown Bag Series—Thursday Noon Summer Concerts Christ Church Pocket Park, Montpelier www.montpelieralive.org

July 5

Film: Super Duper Alice Cooper (2014) Spruce Peak Performing Arts, Stowe, 7:30pm www.sprucepeakarts.org

Arts & Entertainment is sponsored by

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July 6

Mad Marathon, Mad Half, and Relays Mad River Green, Waitsfield, 7am www.madmarathon.com

July 6

Music in the Meadow: Vermont Symphony Orchestra Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe, 7:30pm www.stoweperformingarts.com

July 10–13 & 17–20

Musical: 110 in the Shade QuarryWorks Playhouse, Adamant Thu, Fri, Sat 7:30pm; Sat & Sun 2pm www.quarryworks.org


Summer calendar spring calendar 2014 Arts & Enter tainment

2014

July 11–13 June 21–22 Vermont History Expo

Stoweflake Hot Air Balloon Festival Stoweflake Resort, Stowe www.stoweballoonfestival.com

July 12

Patty Casey and Colin McCaffrey Spruce Peak Performing Arts Stowe, 8pm www.sprucepeakarts.org

July 12–October 15 Exhibition: Exposed

Opening Reception & Walkabout, July 12 The Helen Day Art Center and various sites throughout Stowe www.helenday.com

July 16–August 5 On the Town

Stowe Theater Guild, Wed–Sat 8pm www.stowetheatre.com

July 10–27

Blues in the Night Lost Nation Theater, Montpelier www.lostnationtheater.org

July 11 & 12

Waterbury Arts Fest Stowe Street, 10am–4pm www.waterburyartsfest.com

July 17–20

Bradford Fair Connecticut Valley Fairgrounds, Bradford www.bradfordfair.org

www.bestofcentralvt.com

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

2014 August 3

July 10–27

Music in the Meadow: Shemekia Copeland

Blues in the Night

Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe, 7pm www.stoweperformingarts.com

August 7–10, 14–17

Come Back, Little Sheba QuarryWorks Playhouse, Adamant Thu, Fri, Sat 7:30pm; Sat & Sun 2pm www.quarryworks.org

August 8–10

57th Stowe Antique and Classic Car Meet

Francis Moran Photography

Nichols Field, Stowe www.vtauto.org

July 17–August 2

Adamant Music School Concert Series Waterside Hall, Adamant Fri & Sat eves, Sun afternoons www.adamant.org

July 19

Counterpoint Vocal Ensemble Spruce Peak Performing Arts, Stowe, 8pm www.sprucepeakarts.org

July 20

Music in the Meadow: Quinn Sullivan Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe, 7pm www.stoweperformingarts.com

July 20

Broadway Cabaret The Skinner Barn, Waitsfield, 8pm www.theskinnerbarn.com

July 22–August 12 Gazebo Concerts

Helen Day Memorial Building Thu 7pm, Stowe www.stoweperformingarts.com

July 23–27

Barre Heritage Festival & Homecoming Days Downtown Barre www.barreheritagefestival.org

July 25–27

Lamoille County Field Days Lamoille County Fair Grounds, Johnson www.lamoillefielddays.com

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July 26

Carol Ann Jones Quartet Spruce Peak Performing Arts, Stowe, 8pm www.sprucepeakarts.org

July 26 & 27, August 2 & 3 Jack and the Beanstalk

QuarryWorks Playhouse, Adamant Sat 2 & 5pm; Sun 2pm www.quarryworks.org

July 30–August 10

Summer Musical: Violet The Skinner Barn, Wed–Sun, Waitsfield, 8pm www.theskinnerbarn.com

August 1

Montpelier Art Walk Downtown Montpelier, 4pm–8pm www.montpelieralive.org

August 1–September 2

Vermont Festival of the Arts Mad River Valley www.vermontartfest.com

August 2

Red! by The Brothers Grimm Theater for Kids, by Kids Lost Nation Theater, Montpelier www.lostnationtheater.org

August 2

Comedian Bob Marley Spruce Peak Performing Arts, Stowe, 8pm www.sprucepeakarts.org

August 8–30 Sight Unseen

Waterbury Festival Playhouse Thu–Sat 7:30pm www.waterburyfestivalplayhouse.com

FARMERS’ MARKETS Tuesdays Northfield Friendly Farmers’ Market On the Common, 3pm–6pm. Find Us on Facebook Wednesdays Barre City Farmers’ Market City Central Park, 3pm–6:30pm. (802) 223-1703 Farmers’ Artisan Market Pleasant Street, Morrisville, 3-6:30pm Find Us on Facebook Thursdays The Waterbury Farmers’ Market Rusty Parker Park, 3–7pm. Find Us on Facebook Fridays Adamant Farmers’ Market Adamant Co-op, 4:30–7pm. (802) 456-7054 Hardwick Farmers’ Market Granite Junction, 3pm–6pm. Find Us on Facebook Washington Village Farmers’ Market Town Office Parking Lot, 3pm–6pm (802) 883-5503 Saturdays Waitsfield Farmers’ Market Mad River Green, 9am–1pm www.waitsfieldfarmersmarket.com Capital City Farmers’ Market State Street, Montpelier, 9am–1pm www.montpelierfarmersmarket.com Sundays Stowe Farmers’ Market Route 108, The Mountain Road, 10:30am–3pm www.stowevtfarmersmarket.com


Central Vermont best of

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August 9

Downtown Bob Stannard & Those Dangerous Bluesmen Spruce Peak Performing Arts, Stowe, 8pm www.sprucepeakarts.org

August 13–17

Orleans County Fair Barton Fairgrounds www.orleanscountyfair.net

August 13–30

The Secret Garden Stowe Theater Guild, Wed–Sat 8pm www.stowetheatre.com

August 15–17

Peter Pan, Theater for Kids, by Kids Lost Nation Theater, Montpelier www.lostnationtheater.org

August 15–17

Celebrate Vermont Festival Mayo Farm, Stowe www.celebratevermontfestival.com

August 16

Tom Murphy in Laugh Till You Die Spruce Peak Performing Arts, Stowe, 7pm www.sprucepeakarts.org

August 17

Music in the Meadow: West Point Band’s Jazz Knights Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe, 6:30pm www.stoweperformingarts.com

August 23

Caesar & Cleopatra Spruce Peak Performing Arts, Stowe, 7:30pm www.sprucepeakarts.org

August 30

Mellow Yellow Spruce Peak Performing Arts, Stowe, 8pm www.sprucepeakarts.org

September 6

Dancefest Vermont Spruce Peak Performing Arts, Stowe, 8pm www.sprucepeakarts.org

September 6

Northern Third Piano quartet Spruce Peak Performing Arts, Stowe, 8pm www.sprucepeakarts.org

September 11–14

Tunbridge World’s Fair Tunbridge Village www.tunbridgeworldsfair.com

All Smiles......................................................................77

Liebling............................................................................ 1

Artisans Hand.............................................................36

Mason Brothers..........................................................56

Barre Country Club.......................................... 43, 83

Mayo Health Center...................................................41

Barre Tile..................................................................... 49

McKernon Group........................................................17

Bigelow Garage Doors............................................77

Midstate Dodge........................................................... 2

Bisbee’s Home Décor Center............................... 54

Montpelier Alive..........................................................19

Blanchard Block........................................................ 43

Morse Farm..................................................................57

Bliss Carpentry........................................................... 14

New England Culinary Institute............................31

Blodgett Bath and Showroom.....Inside Back Cover

Newschool Builders..................................................55

Broadleaf Landscape Architecture....................75

Noyle Johnson Insurance...................................... 70

Burlington Marble and Granite..............................13

Orchard Valley Waldorf School.......................... 43

Central Vermont Medical Center..........................71

Petra Cliffs...................................................................56

Close to Home..............................................................4

Positive Pie............................................................. 7, 86

Cody Chevrolet......................................................... 89

Prohibition Pig.....................................................27, 86

Coldwell Banker Classic Homes........Back Cover

Red Hen Bakery and Café..................................... 86

Co-op Insurance.......................................................... 6

Salaam Clothing Company....................................57

Copy World................................................................ 48

Sam’s Wood Furniture............................................57

Cornerstone Pub & Kitchen...................................87

Shaw’s General Store................................................21

Culligan........................................................................... 5

Stowe Mountain Road Association.............22, 23

Cushman Design Group..........................................37

Stowe Realty................................................................15

Cynthia Knauf Landscape Design.......................55

Stowe Street Emporium.........................................25

db Design.....................................................................63

Sugarbush Resort.....................................................47

Delair’s Carpet Barn.................................................37

Sundara Day Spa...................................................... 48

Di Stefano Landscaping......................................... 14

The Automaster........................................................... 8

East Warren Community Market.........................36

The Carriage Shed................................................... 69

El Cortijo.......................................................................87

The Farmhouse Tap and Grill................................87

Evergreen Gardens....................................................15

The Inn at the Round

Favreau Design............................................................11

Barn Farm................................... Inside Front Cover

Fresh Tracks Winery................................................55

The Lighting House................................................. 69

Glassworks...................................................................88

T-ja’s Studio.................................................................56

Green Envy...................................................................71

Vermont Ale House................................................. 86

Green Mountain Transit Authority..................... 84

Vermont Bed Store..................................................... 9

Guild Fine Meats....................................................... 86

Vermont Farm Table ...............................................56

Guild Tavern................................................................87

Vermont Frame Game.............................................83

Inside Out Gallery.................................................... 54

Vermont Icelandic Horses......................................27

Interior Design by Keeping Good Company... 70

Wagner Hodgson Landscape Architecture..... 46

J. Morgans Steakhouse . ........................................85

West Branch Gallery.................................................41

Jim Westphalen Photography............................. 49

Windjammer Pub & Restaurant...........................87

Landshapes..........................................................57, 63

Winterfell........................................................................ 3

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

91


centr al vermont chat

with amy weller

BY stephen morris

How do you explain the fact that in a state known for cows, skiing, and natural beauty, the most popular tourist destination is a plant where ice cream is made? Begin with the facts that everyone loves ice cream and that Ben & Jerry’s makes the best in the world. The company story is a classic that never grows old. Two guys start with nothing and create a world-class business that has learned how to be sustainable. It’s an old-fashioned American success story. On the practical side, the climate in Vermont is harsh enough to make it an advantage to have a tourist destination that has four walls and a roof! If you’ve visited once, why come back again? There’s always something new to learn about the company or a new flavor to try. People are always surprised and delighted to wander our Flavor Graveyard to pay respects to our dearly departed flavors. What are some memorable things you’ve experienced? Engagements are always fun. More than once we’ve worked with the groom to have the ring in the pint. That’s always very exciting.

Amy Weller is the director of tour logistics and marketing for Ben & Jerry’s. She has lived in Vermont for 29 years, long enough to call it home, and has been with Ben & Jerry’s for 22 of those years, spanning the halcyon days under the company’s mercurial founders and the sophisticated management of Unilever, the British-Dutch conglomerate that acquired Ben & Jerry’s in 2001. Amy describes herself as “hopelessly optimistic,” a valuable quality for someone responsible for being the public face of Vermont’s best-known and most-lovable ice cream company. She lives in Stowe, and when she is not on the job she enjoys the outdoors, keeping up with her family (two kids of her own, plus three stepchildren), listening to music (especially Beck), and taking her dog Jemi for long walks. When she needs a change of pace, she heads for the ocean. What are the similarities and differences before and after the acquisition? I was here before and am happy to be here after. Lots of things have changed; lots of things are the same. Both companies are passionate about making a difference in the world in their own ways. How did your career at Ben & Jerry’s begin? I had a BS degree with a major in environmental science from Johnson State College. I was hired as a summer tour host, but that gradually grew to include all aspects of hospitality. At various times I have been a supervisor, a manager, and in charge of donations and special projects. How long have you been in your current position and how has your position evolved as the company has grown? I’ve been in my current position 14 years. I think of myself as a Renaissance gal who does it all. I provide what is referred to as “back-of-the-house” support, meaning I oversee marketing group reservations, special events, and orientation, and I represent the company at local and statewide meetings. 92

best of central Vermont | Summer 2014

If I spent a day as a tour guide, what kinds of questions would I get, and what type of comments would I overhear? “Can I custom-create my own personal pint label?” We hear that a lot. We also hear things along the lines of, “I thought the production area would be much larger,” and “Why is your parking lot so muddy?” And almost everyone has a nostalgic memory to share. “I was at the University of Vermont when Ben and Jerry were working from the garage” or “The last time I was here was with my Boy Scout troop, and my favorite flavor was Rainforest Crunch.” People ask all kinds of personal questions about Ben and Jerry themselves. “Are they still alive? Do they still live in Vermont? Do they live together? Are they married? Are they married to each other? Do they still visit the factory? Do they have kids? What are their favorite flavors?” There are always some flavor-specific questions as well. “What’s in this or that flavor? Why did we discontinue such and such? How can I find a specific flavor where I live? How do we create flavors? Why do we discontinue them? What’s the best selling, worst selling? What is a Vermonster? How can I suggest a new flavor and name?” Do company employees still get to take home free ice cream? Indeed we do. Three pints a day! What’s a secret about the company that the average ice cream licker might not know? That we cater too! If you can’t come to us, we’ll bring the party to you! Every job has official duties and unofficial ones. What’s the most challenging aspect of your job? Creating organization out of the chaos. Everyday brings new events and new visitors. It’s my job to make sure nothing slips through the cracks. With all our guests, the priority is always the same . . . to exceed their expectations.


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Best of Central Vermont - Summer 2014