Out of the Woods

Courtesy of the Vermont Wood Manufacturers Association

Nearly four hundred years ago, Vermont's dense forests deterred all but the most intrepid settlers.

But it wasn't long before the region's timberlands became viewed as a valuable resource for the new country. Today, Vermont is home to a vibrant wood products industry that has much to offer the visitor, with many statewide showcases including the 11th annual Vermont Fine Furniture Woodworking & Forest Festival taking place at the end of September in Woodstock, Vermont.

Products from Vermont's forests are admired and sold around the world. Timber cut from Vermont's forests is crafted into everything from baseball bats and toys, to furniture and musical instruments. Popsicle sticks and golf tees started as a birch tree growing in the rugged Northeast Kingdom; and cutting boards and salad bowls began as maple trees found high on the slopes of the Green Mountains. Wood from Vermont is also used to make the nation's homes - framing, clapboards, flooring, architectural millwork, kitchen cabinets, and log cabins.

These items are the product of more than 12,000 Vermont woodworkers and craftsmen - mostly working in small family-owned firms.

Wood Product Travel Tips

1. Workshops and factories. Many shops have special observation areas where you can watch beautiful and unique wood products taking shape right before your eyes.

Popular stops include:

2. Forests and Mills. You can see lumber operations in action or watch the raw timber transformed into beautiful art. Visit a working forest at the Merck Forest and Farmland Center in Rupert. Tour one of the largest sawmills in the state - Mill River Lumber in North Clarendon, 802-775-0032.

3. Showrooms and Studios. Browse the showrooms and studios of individual craftspeople like Robert Gasperetti, www.gasperetti.com, custom furniture maker, at work in his studio in Danby or order a new set of cabinets at the Knight Kitchens, www.knightkitchens.com, factory showroom near Rutland. Or you can shop for ready-made furniture at the Pompanoosuc Mills, www.pompy.com, headquarters in East Thetford or their factory store on Church Street Marketplace in Burlington.

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