On the front page of Friday’s New York Times is an article about Southeastern Vermont that talks about what a creative place this is and always has been. It features Bellows Falls, Putney, and Brattleboro, all towns abutting the Connecticut River. Have a look!
Our design studio sits in tiny Saxtons River, a town of 500 people, just inland from Bellows Falls. We occupy three rooms on the second floor of an old tinsmithy, replete with wide but slanting pine floors and high ceilings, and we look out onto Main Street with its three churches, its excellent Village Market, and the charming Inn at Saxtons River, which functions as the town’s public living room. Up the street lies our little arts center, Main Street Arts, the home of the Jelly Bean Tree–a crafts cooperative, and the creative center for wonderful programs, events, and theatrical productions.
Saxtons River is also the hometown of Vermont Academy, the charming prep school on the hill that was formed in 1876 and houses 230 students from all around the world. Chivers Hall at VA, as it’s known, will be the location of our full-day workshop on August 23rd entitled “Creating Home Outside” that I hope many of you will be able to attend.
Why Vermont, you ask? Primarily because I married a Vermonter. But since moving up here nearly five years ago now, I’ve come to love the rural life where I can live close to nature–the starting place of what we landscape designers do. I delight in the lack of traffic yet enjoy our relative proximity to airports and cities (2.5 hours from Boston and 4.5 from NYC). I love being able to walk or snowshoe three miles to work on an old stagecoach road that takes me up and over a mountain. And I enjoy working with the talented professionals at JMMDS who, like me, have chosen to live in a place replete with snow and mud, in season.
And did I mention our current crop of crabgrass? This was the summer that I chose to finally create a vegetable garden, put in 13 blueberry bushes, and plant hundreds of daylilies on the hillside at our front entrance. Despite the nearly constant rain we’ve had for months now, I managed to get all the plants installed, but waited just a bit too long to mulch the hillside beds. The result? A full weekend spent pulling weeds, all so we can enjoy an injection of much needed color into this beautiful natural landscape after six long cold months without flowers.
The Inn at Saxtons River, Saxtons River, Vermont