Spotlight: Plein Air Vermont 2013
Jun22

Spotlight: Plein Air Vermont 2013

Plein Air Vermont 2013 Vermont’s southwestern corner combines all of the Green Mountain State’s quintessential attractions: majestic mountains, rolling farmland, meandering waterways, and quaint town and village squares with buildings on the National Historic Register. Can you paint it? This fourth annual event, painting in the open, without aid of photography — “en plein air” — will provide selected artists with four days of plein air painting, an expanded geographic area, and exciting designated sites across the shires. The main competition offers 11 prizes totaling more than $6,000 in cash, merchandise, and purchase awards; a quick draw challenge offers nine prizes totaling $1,200 in cash and merchandise. Open to participating artists and the general public of all ages. See website for details. The schedule: Sept. 3: Artists’ arrival and reception. Sept. 4-6: Artists paint. Sept. 6: Charles Reid painting demo at SVAC. Sept. 7: Artists paint in designated areas; quick draw competition. Plein Air Vermont joins the Downtown Bennington First Friday Arts celebration with an exhibit of Plein Air paintings at the Bennington Arts Guild. Sept. 8: Grand exhibition, sale, and...

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Beer Observed: What pairs well with beer?: Don’t let the wine lovers have all the fun this summer — find a great brew to go with that special meal
Jun22

Beer Observed: What pairs well with beer?: Don’t let the wine lovers have all the fun this summer — find a great brew to go with that special meal

Beer Observed: What pairs well with beer? Don’t let the wine lovers have all the fun this summer — find a great brew to go with that special meal By Marty Rambsberg The right wine with the right food makes the meal. But what pairs well with beer? Sure, beer buddies up with popcorn, pretzels, and pizza, but what of things that don’t start with “p”? Salad, say, or sole meunière, or a nice grilled salmon? Craft brewers have put a fair bit of thought into this, and tell us that many of the beers they produce are ready to move out of the pub and onto their rightful place of honor at the dinner table. And there is an art form to the pairing. Beer’s great range of tastes, weights, and richness comes from four basic ingredients: water, malted grain, hops, and yeast. From there, in varying combinations, spring everything we love about Pilsners, Belgian dark ales, India pale ales, imperial stouts, and all the rest. Let’s take a quick look at these four ingredients, and then I’ll give you an equal number of can’t-miss pairing tips to match: Water No surprise there: up to 97 percent of a brew is the H2O, but that water’s not a silent partner. Minerals in water impart flavors and other properties that inform the final product. Take the ales from Burton-on-Trent in England: these taste hoppier than those brewed in London, and water analysis tells us why: Burton-on-Trent’s water boasts a higher sulfate content, bringing out the hops.  Malted grain Malted grain provides lots of any beer’s flavor, not to mention the sugars needed for fermentation. Grain, especially barley, but also wheat and rye, are steeped in water, which softens the kernels and essentially releases the starches. Then the grain is kiln-dried, and that’s what converts the starches to sugars. The temperature at which the grain is dried yields different types of malts, which in turn affect the beer’s color, aroma, and flavor. Grains dried cooler yield lighter and more delicately aromatic malts. Turn up the heat and you’re cooking with dark malts that impart flavors from sweet caramel to roasted coffee or chocolate. Hops Hops, perennials within the family that includes cannabis, are an aromatic addition that pull their weight in a brew. Originally added to balance a bitterness against malt’s sugars, they also brings essential oils that contribute mightily to beer’s aromas and flavors. Plenty of hop varietals abound, each with an aromatic identity — from fruit to grass to resin to spice. Yeast Now we’re cooking. Yeast is critical to fermentation, converting the sugars in the malt to...

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Farm tour

A six-month farm tour and culinary workshop series, “Real Farms, Real Food, Real Rutland,” aims to provide residents with greater access to local farms and local food. According to Elizabeth Theriault of Rutland Area Farm and Food Link, which is organizing the events, the program runs through September and promises fun, hands-on events for all ages. “Uncover some of the mysteries of how your food gets from the farm to your plate while sampling some of the freshest foods you’ll ever taste,” Theriault says. Better still, free transportation to all farm tours is provided. Upcoming dates include: June 29, Second Nature Herb Farm and Horticultural Services, 35 Mill Pond Rd., Wells, 10a-noon. Call 802-645-9346, visit greenworksvermont.org/members, or write secondnaturevt@gmail.com. Aug 10, Wellsmere Farm, 199 Route 30, Wells, 10a-1p. Call 802-645-0934 or write mmorey1025@yahoo.com. On tap: canning and preserving root...

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Spotlight: Real Farms, Real Food
Jun22

Spotlight: Real Farms, Real Food

Spotlight: Real Farms, Real Food Promising that “the public gets to see where everything begins and can trace the path from seed to fork,” Rutland Area Farm and Food Link is highlighting Rutland County and its agriculture to provide residents with greater access to local farms and local food. With this in mind, a six-month/six-farm tour with culinary workshops, “Real Farms, Real Food, Real Rutland,” was born, paid for through a Specialty Crop Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dig in and enjoy on these two tour dates: June 29: Second Nature Herb Farm and Horticultural Services, 35 Mill Pond Rd., Wells, 10a-noon (802-645-9346, greenworksvermont.org/members, secondnaturevt@gmail.com). Tour-goers will learn about culinary and medicinal herbs from farm owners Ellen Malona and Richard Strange, who, for 14 years, have provided landscape and garden design, installation, and maintenance using all-organic and sustainable practices. August 10: Wellsmere Farm, 199 Vt. Rte. 30, Wells, 10a-1p (802-645-0934, mmorey1025@yahoo.com). The subject is canning and preserving root vegetables. August is a time of abundance. This 250-acre farm boasts a petting zoo — and ledges where peregrine falcons nest. The farmers boil their own maple syrup and sell alpaca products and all-natural soaps. Learn from the Bates family how to prepare and keep fresh produce, even when buying in bulk, and how to do it on a tight budget. Make sure to visit the kitchen, where canning and processing take place, and pop into the newly built root...

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Calendar: Day to Day

June 1: West River Trail Run, 11.5 miles, starts South Londonderry, vermontvacation.com. 1: Artist Panel: Art and the Mystery of Life, Vermont Institute of Contemporary Arts, Chester, 7p, vtica.org. 5-9: Slow Living Summit, conference focused on developing supportive communities, all day, slowlivingsummit.org. 6-9: Roots on the River Music Festival, Bellows Falls, rootsontheriver.com. 7: Brattleboro Gallery Walk, 5:30p, gallerywalk.org. 7: First Friday events in Bennington, betterbennington.com. 7-9: Strolling of the Heifers Weekend. 10a on June 8 Heifers stroll down Main Street in Brattleboro. Following the parade will be an all-day Slow Living Expo. Weekend features bicycle tours, street festival, farmer’s breakfast, more, strollingoftheheifers.com. 8-9: 27th Manchester Antique & Classic Car Show, fun for the whole family, Dorr Farm, 8a-3p daily, visitmanchestervt.com. 9: Tour de Heifer Cycling Tours, Southeastern Vermont, strollingoftheheifers.com. 9-10: Vermont Days, free admission to all state-owned historic sites and day-use sites in the state, historicsites.vermont.gov. 13-17: Vietnam Veterans Memorial Moving Wall, Mount Snow’s Howe Farm, Route 100, visitvermont.com. 14: Jazz Series: Mo Jazz Redo, at Wilmington’s Mo Jazz Café, 8p, visitvermont.com. 14: Art and Symbols with Ami Ronnberg, VTica, Chester, 7p, vtica.org. 15: Pitchin’ for Families Bean Bag Tournament, West River Park, Brattleboro, fundraiser for Northeastern Family Institute, for more write LydiaMahan@nafi.com. 20-23: Wanderlust festival of yoga, music and more, all day, stratton.com. 21: Dairy Day, with celebrations at the Bellows Falls Farmers Market, all day, vermonttravelplanner.com. 21: Summer Solstice Street Fest, Main Street in Manchester, 6-9p, visitmanchestervt.com. 22: Bennington Community Natural Health and Food Show, 9a-5p, First Baptist Church, betterbennington.com. 22: Burlington Wine and Food Festival, Waterfront Park, burlingtonwineandfoodfestival.com. 22: Believer in Waitsfield Burlington Ensemble concert, Waitsfield, 7p, burlingtonensemble.com. 22-23: Music in the Meadow Race for the Cure Benefit, Motel in the Meadow, Chester, chestervermont.org. 22-23: Grafton Food Festival, Grafton Inn, graftonfoodfestival.com. 28-Oct. 20: “Red Grooms: What’s the Ruckus?” exhibit, Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, brattleboromuseum.org. 29: Okemo Bicycle Hill Climb at Okemo Mountain Resort, all day, Ludlow, okemo.com. 28-July 1: Hills Alive!, world-class stage productions, concerts, play readings, and more, throughout Southern Vermont, visitmanchestervt.com. 29: North Hill, New Plants, New Voices, 18th annual summer symposium on new plants, ideas, and upcoming generation of gardeners, all day, Mount Snow, West Dover, northhillgarden.com. 29: Culinary and Medicinal Herbs class from Second Nature Herb Farm and Horticultural Services, 10a-noon, Wells, 802-645-9346. 29-30: Westminster Garden Tour, 10a-3p each day. Features gardens of Mary and Gordon Hayward, nationally known garden designer, writer, lecturer. Four other Westminster gardens on the tour, westminstercares.org. July All month: Midnight Madness in Bennington, betterbennington.com. TBA: High-bush blueberry picking, grass fed beef, pork, maple syrup, organic seedlings and vegetables for sale, Two Dog Farm, Danby, twodogfarmvt.com. 1,...

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A group effort
Jun22

A group effort

Chester looks to promote itself as an ‘arts destination’   Arts- and culture-related organizations and businesses in Chester have strong allies in several of their neighbors who’ve banded together to promote the town as a top arts and culture draw. ArtUp!, a collaborative launched here in the fall of 2012, is working toward leveraging Chester’s strengths as a top arts destination, and giving Brattleboro and Burlington a run for their money among visitors making travel plans. ArtUp!’s founding members are Abby Raeder and Robert Sarly of the Vermont Institute of Contemporary Arts [Vtica.org], Jessie and Michael Alon of DaVallia Arts and Accents [thedavallia.com], and Katherine Henry and Harry Hudson of Atelier Annex [atelierannex.com]. According to Sarly, Chester has always been a vibrant community, and it’s unfortunate that travelers often see only a small portion of the town when traveling Route 103 through the historic Stone Village. “Just {1/4} mile off Route 103 lies Chester’s second historic district, the Village Green. If you’ve been to the Village Green, you know why Chester’s slogan is, ’The Vermont you’ve been hoping to find,’” Sarly said. ArtUp! notes that Vermont ranks in the top 10 for the number of visual artists per capita — boasting an estimated 750 contemporary artists — and Chester is home to more independent galleries than any of nearby 14 towns, including Manchester, Grafton, Bellows Falls, and Ludlow. “We don’t have to get these people (artists) here; they’re already here,” Sarly says. ArtUp!’s founders created a brochure to help residents and tourists more reliably find fine arts and crafts happenings in Chester. They also worked up an advertising budget and are sharing costs to attract visitors to town and Chester’s arts...

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Calendar: Garden Tours

Bennington Arts Guild 103 South St., Bennington benningtonartsguild.org, 802-447-0388 Thru June 3: New Works by BAG members show. June 7-July 1: Zentangle-inspired art in 2D & 3D. July 29: Contemporary ceramics & stoneware. Aug 2-Sept 2: Group show featuring exquisite glass works, jewelry and other items fashioned from recycled zippers and vintage fabrics and...

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Photo: Best Little Quilt Show

Our nationally and internationally award-winning quilters have shown their works in major shows and museums, and have had attention lavished on them in the glossies. Now, as the quilt show moves from Jamaica to Brattleboro for the first time, you can enjoy this rare opportunity to admire these exciting works during Strolling of the Heifers weekend.

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Summertime is garden time
Jun22

Summertime is garden time

Summertime garden tours Cider Hill Art Gallery & Gardens June 14, July 15, ciderhillgardens.com Visit for the gardens and the art: 7 painters, all about peonys. Westminster Cares Annual Garden Tour June 29-30, 10-3p 802-722-3607, westminstercares.org. See 5 beautiful gardens. Prices are $15.00 and 2 for $25.00 (rain or shine). New Plants New Voices North Hill Annual Summer Symposium June 29, 8:30-4:30p Northhillgarden.com 18th annual summer symposium with this year’s theme about new plants, new ideas to engage a new and upcoming generation of gardeners. A visit to the garden at North Hill is included in enrollment. Tunes n’ Blooms North Forte Gardens July 20, 4-6 rain date July 21 802 464-5872, 464-8179 or 464-7230 Wander the spectacular Forte gardens in Wilmington, which features waterfalls, walkways and Vermont flora. Puppets in Paradise Sept. 7-8 10-4p Sandglasstheater.org Two afternoons of puppetry and performance in the enchanted setting of landscape architects Gordon and Mary Hayward’s gardens. Food and...

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Rock-solid accolades
Jun22

Rock-solid accolades

Rock-solid accolades Stone house wins top honor from design site Terrigenous Landscape Architecture of Chester, owned by Scott Wunderle, is winner of the Best of Houzz Community Design award for 2013. The firm won for its design of a local outbuilding: a coop made from local stone and extruded glass rods. Wunderle says he undertook the work as a private challenge and was inspired by Chester’s Stone Village, listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The project leverages historic lime mortar, found objects, and the skills of local craftspeople. Houzz is a Palo Alto, Calif.,-based online community founded in 2009, devoted to architecture, interior design and decorating, landscape design and home improvement. Its design award is based on images chosen as the most popular among the company’s millions of members. That global stamp of approval struck Wunderle as a “nice twist” for a modest project: “I work at many different scales and materials and I view this project as an extension of the unique Vermont landscape,” he...

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Reaching for the stars
Jun22

Reaching for the stars

Nurturing the Arts: Dina Janis, Theater: Reaching for the stars By Allison Teague Dorset, in Bennington County, has nurtured performance theater since 1927, when residents staged a three-act play, “39 East,” in the Town Hall. It was received with such great enthusiasm that it spun out the Dorset Players, and a legend was born. Two years later the community raised funds for a larger space, the Dorset Playhouse. Let’s leap ahead, first to the 1970s, when Jill Charles and John Nassivera founded the Dorset Theatre Festival. DTF and the Dorset Players shared the playhouse, and by and by the community called for a serious upgrade, dreaming of siting a proper regional theater. In 1999 that’s what took shape: a $3 million restoration and expansion project that was completed in 2001. Now enter Dina Janis, Dorset Theatre Festival’s artistic director hired in 2009 to carry the work still further into the future. “When I came on board, they had been trying to live up to the new theater. It was quite a venue with full studios and beautiful seating. But no one had really been able to take it forward. It had been a period of six or seven years before finding someone to take over. They were in trouble,” she recalls. Janis lived in Dorset, was raising a family, and had been teaching at Bennington College’s drama department for 10 years. Her work with some of Broadway’s top writers, directors, and actors made her the DTF’s ideal candidate to elevate it into the ranks of world-class theater. It helps that she knows Vermont audiences. It helps more that she’s cultivated such striking, and effective, professional connections: Count among them the actors Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ellen Burstyn, Cusi Cram, José Rivera, Al Pacino, and Harvey Keitel. As a director, she’s intimately familiar with the plays of Theresa Rebeck, Sherry Kramer, Stephen Adly Guirgis, George Plimpton, and so many others. She was courted for the post for what the DTF said at the time was her breadth and depth of fresh air, energy, and context that lived up to the promise of state-of-the-art theater in Dorset. And she came on board familiar with the festival’s challenges — and with a big idea that would leverage her friendship with playwright Theresa Rebeck, who’d created and co-produced, with Steven Spielberg, the NBC musical-drama television series “Smash.” “[Rebeck] is one of the most successful American woman playwrights, and she thought I could really bring [Dorset] up to the level of a Williamstown [Mass.] or Berkshire theatre festival,” Janis said. So the two persuaded talent on Rebeck’s level to come up. The first year, DTF...

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Tour open studios: Artists at work, art for sale
Jun22

Tour open studios: Artists at work, art for sale

Tour open studios: Artists at work, art for sale 21st Rock River Artists’ Studio Tour July 20-21, 10-6p. Rock River Artists, a collective of fine art and craft professionals, offers chance to win a free weekend for two in a charming cabin along the Rock River in South Newfane, coinciding with 21st annual Rock River Artists’ Open Studio Tour. Winners get two-night stay with breakfast in a guest cabin on grounds belonging to nationally acclaimed photographer Christine Triebert, a founding member of the Rock River Artists. Visit 16 artists’ studios, homes, and working environments and see it all happen. Many studios tucked away from the road, with lush gardens, hilltop views, river frontage, and unique rural settings. Details for weekend for two and studio tour at RockRiverArtists.com. Winners notified July 1. 7th Annual Readsboro Arts Festival  Sept. 21. From 10a-4p. Artists and craftspeople of Southern Vermont, performances by local musicians, art activities for all ages. Free. Readsboro Central School, 301 Phelps Lane. Call 802-423-7706, info.readsboroarts@gmail.com. Brattleboro-West Arts Studio Tour Sept. 28-29. From 10a-5p. Fifteen or so of possibly the most eclectic group of artists ever to share a six-mile radius. Where else can you watch a weathervane maker, a rug braider, a woodcarver, and a stone mason practice their craft alongside artists who work with hand-dyed silks, colored porcelain, blown and fused glass, and locally harvested hardwoods? And that’s before you get to the landscape artists, portraitists, and abstract painters. The artists all live along the Whetstone Brook watershed, in the villages of West Brattleboro and Marlboro. For information, visit Brattleboro-westarts.com. Vermont Open Studios Weekend (Oct. 5-6) River Valley Artisans Tour Oct. 12-13. From 10a-4p. Opening reception Friday, Oct. 11, 7-9p. Westmoreland Town Hall, Route 63, Westmoreland, N.H. View a sampling of artists’ work on the tour. Travel scenic back roads of Southern New Hampshire in the Connecticut River Valley during peak foliage season while enjoying the work of local artists and artisans in their studios. Self-guided tour encompasses Chesterfield, Spofford, Walpole and Westmoreland. Info Rivervalleyartisans.com. 35th Anniversary Putney Craft Tour Nov. 29-30; Dec. 1. From 10a-5p. Twenty-eight artists and craftspeople in their studios in the Putney area. Blacksmiths, glass blowers, potters, jewelers, weavers, woodworkers, artisan cheesemakers, invite visitors to discover, ask questions, sip hot cider and find that one-of-a-kind gift. Start at the Putney Inn, where a preview exhibit showcases works of the artists on tour. Maps, coffee, restrooms, too. Info visit putneycrafts.com. Walpole Artisan Tour Nov. 29-30; Dec. 1. Wed-Sat 10a-5p; Sun 11a-3p. Sponsored by Walpole Artisans Cooperative. Featuring studio demonstrations throughout Bellows Falls, Walpole, and Alstead, N.H. Start at the Walpole Artisans Cooperative Gallery, 52 Main...

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