With the 2014 Winter Olympics about to begin, I find it is a perfect time to roll out this old photograph. My best guess is this is winter 1977 in downtown Londonderry, VT. This is where Jake Burton Carpenter started the now world famous Burton Snowboard Factory. To think that such humble beginnings has catapulted into a huge industry, and is now one of the most popular Olympic Sports. For nostalgia seekers, this building was the little brown antique boutique across from 'Mike & Tammy's' and the Garden Café. Sadly, it burnt down a few years ago. There are several Vermonters in the 2014 Olympics this year, hope you cheer for them all!
Right here in the village center of Londonderry we have an Artist Colony! The Mountain Painters and Artisans is a group of 19 gifted, spirited, and 'Quirky' artists, displaying and selling their unique creations. Their inventory changes seasonally, so be sure to stop by frequently. There is a wide selection of talent: Watercolors, Oils, BirchBark Creations, Jewelry, Murals, Acrylics, Botanicals, Scherenschnitte, Landscapes, Zentangle, a Children's/Baby Gift Section and more! PS, they also do classes and custom/commission art work. They are located at the Mountain Market Place, JCT RT11/100. Phone# is (802) 824-6555 and they are celebrating their 4th year. Congratulations!
This this is a real Vermont Style 'Artist co-op', they are open: 'By Chance, or Appointment'. Most days they are open between 10 - 4, but some artists have been known to work well into the evenings! Everyone takes a turn managing the shop, but even still, there are days when everyone has other obligations, so if traveling a long distance, calling ahead is wise if you want to be sure someone is there.
See....there are things to do in Vermont besides skiing!
The Vermont Green Mountain National Forest Service 'Cut your own Tree Program' has been around for more than 20 years! It encourages the public to use the land in a way that gives adventure and meaning to an age old holiday traditional. To begin, you must visit one of the 4 Forest Service Offices in Manchester, Rutland, Middlebury or Rochester and purchase the $5 permit, they will provide you with a map. They will also advise you on practical issues such as dressing warmly, bringing a cell phone & GPS, flashlights, extra food, wearing bright colors or hunting season attire, letting people know where you are going, and when you expect to return and suggested area in your region for tree harvesting. Depending on snowfall, in some cases tall snow boots and/or snowshoes are required.
Additionally, this is a chance to engage the public about stewardship and land management practices. People are encourages to cut trees that are growing in groups to thin them out rather than take one standing alone in a meadow. People mostly search for Balsam Fir Trees, but occasionally they will find a Red Spruce, or even a Hemlock. Permits are limited to one per household per year, and trees must not be resold. Trees over 20 feet tall are not eligible to be cut. For more information on the 'cut your own tree experience', call or visit our closest Forest Service Office in Manchester, 362-2307. Get outside and 'take a hike'!
Another helpful hint, take a tape measure, and measure the height of the space you plan to put the tree in BEFORE you set out on your journey. Don't forget some twine or bungee cords to tie your tree down for the ride home.
With Thanksgiving upon us, it seems appropriate to say a few things about Vermont Turkeys and our ever changing dynamic landscape. Wild turkeys still exist and thrive in Vermont forests today, but this was not always the case. Wild turkeys disappeared from Vermont in mid-to late 1800's due to habitat destruction and unregulated hunting. In the 1800's, Vermont's landscape was 80% cleared for farming and only 20% forested. The wild turkeys we see in Vermont today originated from just 31 wild turkeys stocked in Rutland County by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Dpt. in 1969/70.
Eventually, Vermont's forest was large enough to sustain a turkey population and the Vermont Fish & Wildlife biologists moved a group of these birds to a viable habitat. Today, Vermont's population of Turkeys is estimated to be at 50,000! This is just one of the many successful restoration stories for wildlife preservation. Funding for these projects comes hunting/fishing licenses, and federal tax on hunting equipment. On occasion, you might even see a flock of turkeys while driving up Magic Mountain Access road!