Tag Archives: Vermont

Kipling’s Vermont

For those of you who didn’t know, author Rudyard Kipling had a passion for Vermont. He first came to the green state in 1892 to visit the family estate of his young American wife, Caroline Starr Balestier. The two had just been married in London and had a baby on the way. Upon arrival in the US they decided to stay and rented a small cottage on a farm near Brattleboro for $10 a month. This was where Kipling would draw up the first sketches for the Jungle Books. Yet when their first daughter was born, the cottage became cramped so they purchased property from Kipling’s brother in law. Kipling then designed and had built a grand Victorian estate. He named the home Naulakha as an homage to his novel of the same name, a collaborative work of fiction with close friend Wolcott Balestier (also a brother to his wife). While living in Naulakha, Kipling wrote some of his best work, including the Jungle Books, Kim, and Captains Courageous. Kipling fondly called the secluded dark shingled house his “ship” which brought him “sunshine and a mind at ease”. He was fascinated by the outdoors and the beauty of Vermont, especially in the fall with the turning of the leaves. The family grew to love the state and may have very well lived out their years there, but tensions in their marriage and conflict between the US and UK seemed to have drove them back to England and they left Naulakha for good in 1896.


In 1993 Naulakha was declared as one of 17 National Historic Landmarks in Vermont. Lucky for us, the Landmark Trust facilitates rental of the property, which comfortably sleeps up to 8. During your vacation you can play tennis on the state’s first court or swim in the Connecticut River. If you’re visiting in winter, why not try skiing in the meadow where the sport was first introduced to Vermont. It’s an estate with a lot of monumental firsts, which is only fitting considering Kipling invented activities like wintertime golf in his time away from writing novels.



Editor’s note: Thanks to James Fox for sending me the video above and reminding me of this incredible property in our home state. The video is by Kate Sears during a video course with The Hills Workshops.


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Patagonia + Tenkara


My husband is an avid fly fisherman and this time of year he talk of little else than fishing. I’ve been meaning to pick up the sport so I can join him on his fishing trips, especially when we visit my family near the Battenkill and Mettawee rivers in Vermont. As if on cue, Patagonia sent me their new Tenkara rod along with flies, line, and Yvon Chouinard’s new book Simple Fly Fishing: Techniques for Tenkara and Rode & Reel.  Tenkara is a traditional fishing method first practiced in Japan about 200 years ago. It’s primarily used for mountain stream trout fishing. The tenkara rod is perfectly suited for beginning anglers, or advanced fisherman who want to renew their deep connection with the fly fishing experience. Due to its simple design, the tenkara method directs the fisherman’s attention to the movements of fishing vs. wrangling with equipment.  The accompanying book, Simple Fly Fishing, makes picking up the tenkara technique a breeze with comprehensive tips on wet fly, nymph, and dry fly fishing. I’m almost done reading the book and ready to take my road on the road. We plan on packing up our new (to us) XC70 most weekends this spring and summer, and I have a feeling many of those will be spent fishing with my new tenkara rod. I’ll be sure to post photos of the experience.


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Sugaring in the 1940s

Stumbled across these amazing vintage snapshots of sugaring in the 1940s on Modern Farmer. Makes me long for the snowy mountains of home in Vermont and a simpler life.

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Giveaway: Ursa Major x Skida

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Ursa Major and Skida are two peas in a pod. Two Vermont peas to be more precise that are  both making products that celebrate the greatness of the Green Mountain State. The two decided to collaborate on a product in time for Valentine’s Day. The result is a limited-run gift set with a selection of Ursa Major’s best sellers along with a cold weather bandana by Skida featuring one of their classic plaids with an Ursa Major twist. The “Queen City Plaid” is in honor of their shared city of Burlington and is perfect for any occasion, stylish around town or functional on the mountainside. I say it’s definitely a better gift option for him than a box of chocolates (although delicious, it’s usually gone within minutes).


Only 200 were made so lucky for you readers, I’ve got one set to give away! Simply comment below and I’ll pick one winner at random on Thursday, February 6th at 12pm EST so that I can get an address from the winner and mail it in time to get to you by Valentine’s Day. Only US addresses please. Good luck and don’t forget to share!



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Vermont Gift Guide

Now for the cream of the crop, my home state, the motherland . . . Vermont! We’ll be enjoying a white christmas at my home this year after spending the holidays in Maine last year. Couldn’t be more excited to be home! Check out the rest of the New England Gift Guide here.


Got someone on the list who loves to chase fresh powder and ride backwoods trails? A PowderJet Snowboard in West Rupert will make them jump for joy, out the door, and straight to the mountain. Jesse Loomis started crafting his own boards with the rugged Vermont mountainside in mind. His shop uses sustainably US grown maple and poplar laminates because they’re strong and lightweight, sandwiches them with bio resin and fiberglass, and then hand finishes each board. The boards are beyond simple and make for the most fun ride you’ll ever have. A PowderJet board is the ideal “East Coast powder jammer”.


Skincare connoisseurs Ursa Major in Burlington have made holiday shopping easy with a wide selection of kits marked “Holiday Set” on their online shop. Sets range from $24 to $125, making them a great option for anyone on your list in need of a bit of a spruce-up. Founded by husband and wife team Oliver and Emily, Ursa Major was built from a desire to provide a healthy and effective skincare line that was an all-natural alternative to the toxic products that were littering the market. The result is a line of products that smell and feel great.


For the syrup fiend and connoisseur, grab some Vermont Fancy Syrup from Bobo’s Mountain Sugar. Based in Weston, VT this husband and wife team stay true to the land and you can taste it in their syrup. Stock up till December 23rd with 15% off and free shipping off of all syrups. And be sure to check out their list of recipes worthy of some Bobo’s.

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Fellow Connecticut College alums Taylor and Misha (who is also a native Vermonter) started a farm in White River Junction called Free Verse Farm, specializing in culinary herbs, herbal remedies, and  herbal teas. They keep a very environmentally clean set up on the farm, using no chemicals or tractors. Taylor and Misha tend to their fruit trees, berry bushes, herbs, and six chickens on several acres using only hand tools (or just letting nature take its course and do what it does best!). I’m keen to try their Earl of Vermont tea and herbal remedies.


For the sweet tooth on your list, you can’t go wrong with Fat Toad Farm’s goat’s milk caramel. This is a repeat stocking stuffer for me and my husband (who has a chronic sweet tooth). Fat Toad Farm keeps happy goats in Brookfield who are rotationally grazed on high quality pasture, which in turn enhances the delicious local flavoring of the caramel. The goats are milked twice a day, and their milk is then heated and hand-stirred with organic can sugar for 6 hours. For flavors, cinnamon sticks or Kentucky Straight Bourbon are added to the dissolving cane sugar before adding the milk. The caramel is then poured into jars which are then hand labeled and packaged, just for you!


Gift the gift of letter writing with stationery from Scout’s Honor Co. Based in Burlington, designer Annmarie hand-letters each design which is then locally printed on FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified paper. Her whimsical work is inspired by the beautiful state of Vermont, classic Americana, vintage signage, and the nostalgia of New England. I love her Mountain Town design, it reminds me of home in the valley of Southern Vermont.


Keep your loved ones warm with a Johnson Woolen Mills blanket. Just north of Stowe in the little village of Johnson, the company still makes the shirts, iceman’s pants, and jackets that they’ve been famous for for almost 50 years. The family that still runs the business traces their roots back to crossing the pond from England and settling in Vermont at the end of the 1700s.

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