Tag Archives: Vermont

Ibex: The Art of Wool

No other brand really gets me pumped for winter like Ibex does. Makes sense considering their headquarters are in the winter wonderland state of VT. I’ve worn their wool layers for years while snowshoeing, skiing, snowboarding (attempting to at least), sledding, snowmobiling, and just rolling around in that great white stuff we call snow. The fact that I wear my Ibex winter after winter is a testament to the brand’s quality and comfort. If you’re still unsure, let this video they put together inspire you to jump into your own Woolies, and hit the snow.

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The Original Thanksgiving Trot

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Many of us here in New England are eating our greens and hydrating tonight as we prepare for our “Turkey Trot” 5K, 10K, what-not on Thanksgiving morning. But long before the trend of squeezing fitness into our day of glutenous eating, the turkey was the one who got in some exercise before the big feast – literally. Some 200 years ago, Vermont turkeys travelled to Boston on foot in what was called a “Turkey Drive”. The drive would collect thousands of turkeys from all corners of the green mountain state and were often herded by farmers’ children who acted as the drovers. Though the trip was a slow one (a mere 10-12 miles a day) and often experienced casualties, it was an autumnal tradition that lasted for almost 100 years. How New England to be droving 1,000 plucky turkeys (who were often roosting in inconvenient places like the side of the road or in a covered bridge) versus the iconic cattle drives of the Midwest. Happy  Thanksgiving to you all, I hope you enjoy your morning jaunts and the luxury of eating a turkey that led a leisurely happy life on a kind farm in Vermont.

Thanks to Vermont Public Radio, the source for this fun story.

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Ursa Major’s Willoughby Cologne

Ursa-Major-Willoughby-cologne-850x850-1_1024x1024I’m so excited about Ursa Major’s first cologne. Not only does it feature some of my favorite scents like spice, citrus, bergamot, and ginger, it had me at the name Willoughby. Although named after the majestic Lake Willoughby, I think all you other Jane Austen fans will concur it’s an excellent choice*. It’s a cologne that both men and women will feel confident in wearing. Add it to the list of perfect stocking stuffers, especially since 1% of sales will go to the Vermont Land Trust. Why not feel good about gifting this year?

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*For you non-Austen fans, Willoughby is a dashing (albeit cowardly) character in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. 

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Dan Kiley

Kiley at home in VT. Photo by Dana Gallagher.

Kiley at home in VT. Photo by Dana Gallagher.

Dan Kiley was one of the most important and influential landscape architects of the 20th century and the designer behind more than 1000 projects. Yet today, he is not as well known as some of this counterparts. This is not entirely surprising as architects tend to get more attention than landscape architects (only Frederick L. Olmsted has been honored with a postage stamp, yet fifteen architects have received the honor).  Aside from Dan Kiley Landscapes – a Poetry of Space, Kiley has received little recognition in today’s industry.

Fountain Place, Dallas, TX. Photo courtesy The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

Fountain Place, Dallas, TX. Photograph courtesy The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

Born in Boston, Kiley went on to study architecture at Harvard. He left after two years and with an apprenticeship with Warren Manning under his belt, he began working at the National Park Service in Concord, NH and later for the US Housing Authority. Friend Louis Kahn encouraged him to leave the Housing Authority and become a licensed architect, which Kiley did in 1940. He served in the war for two years, during which he designed the courtroom where the Nuremberg Trials took place. Upon returning from Europe, Kiley found himself to be one of the few modernist landscape architects during the post war building boom. He then relocated his NH practice to Vermont. Around this time he won the competition to design the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial with modern architect Eero Saarinen. This project catapulted his career.

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, St. Louis, MO. Photo courtesy The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, St. Louis, MO. Photo courtesy The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

Other notable works include are the Miller Garden in Indianapolis, the Fountain Place in Dallas, the Oakland Museum, and Independence Mall in Philadelphia. In 1997 he was presented with the National Medal of Arts after completing more than 900 notable projects. He fostered designers like Richard Haag, Peter Hornbeck, Peter Schaudt, and Ian Tyndal in his office. Geometry was at the heart of his designs, feeling strongly that it was an inherent part of man. He believed man was a part of nature so instead of trying to mimic nature, he asserted mathematical order to the landscape. His designs overstepped their boundaries in an approach he called, “slippage”, or an extension beyond an implied boundary. Kiley’s design vocabulary was greatly influence by Andre Le Notre, the 17th century landscape architect to King Louis XIV.

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Kiley in his Charlotte, VT studio circa 1990’s. Photo courtesy Joe Karr.

I’m posting about Dan Kiley on the blog not only because my husband is a landscape architect (and an avid fan of Kiley’s work), but because Kiley made Charlotte, VT his home. It was also the location of his studio from where he made many of his influential designs. From out his windows he could watch the ripples of Lake Champlain and gaze at the green mountains. What better state to inspire his beautiful landscapes. He was a quirky individual and in his later years was known to have wild hair, his pants hiked up around his waist, and spewing out ideas and opinions on design and nature. Fellow landscape architect Laurie Olin once fondly observed that, “Dan’s thoughts are like rabbits – they just keep leaping out.”

The Cultural Landscape Foundation currently has a traveling photographic exhibition of Dan Kiley’s work, The Landscape Architecture Legacy of Dan Kiley. The exhibition just opened in Pittsburgh this week and will be traveling to locations around the country till at least 2017.

Currier Farm in Danby, VT. Photo taken by Peter Vanderwarker, courtesy of The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

Currier Farm in Danby, VT. Photo taken by Peter Vanderwarker, courtesy of The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

Currier Farm in Danby, VT. Photo taken by Peter Vanderwarker, courtesy of The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

Currier Farm in Danby, VT. Photo taken by Peter Vanderwarker, courtesy of The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

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Mr Porter’s Eight Autumn Drives

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The standard for men’s style and culture, Mr. Porter gathered a list of the world’s eight best autumn drives. Needless to say, Vermont received a well-earned mention and Mr. Porter is most eloquent in it’s reasoning why a drive through Mad River Valley really is one of the best drives in autumn. Of course, it helps if you’re driving maybe a British coupe like a Jaguar or MG.

“This is New England boiled down to its rosy-cheeked, Yankee quintessence. The roads are lined with farm stands selling apples by the peck and cider by the gallon. The white, clapboard homes and churches set off the abundance of turning leaves. Your chances of driving fast will be stymied by Volvos and Subarus going at a National Public Radio pace. But at least this will give you the chance to wonder if you haven’t dropped into a Mr John Irving novel. Stop at Warren’s lavishly eclectic Pitcher Inn for reassurance that beneath the prim conformity of the surface, the madness of the Mad River Valley is for real.” - Mr. Porter

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