When you stop at the Made In Vershire Shop, you'll do more than shop. You may even end up spending the morning there, enjoying hot coffee or tea and homemade goodies along with the company of artists and crafters chatting, knitting or perhaps working online or updating the Shop's Facebook page, as the building is also a wi-fi hot spot for EC Fiber.
December hours are Saturday 10-2, Sunday 12-4. (Usual year-round hours are Saturdays 10-1 or by appointment.) Santa will even visit this Saturday at 11 a.m. so bring the whole family!
Quilts and cards and more!
As you may guess, vendors at the Made In Vershire Shop are folks who live in Vershire, have a Vershire connection, or are from contiguous towns, if they offer a product not available from a Vershire artist or artisan. There are many items especially suited to winter and its holidays, like Lorna Garrow's quilts, knitted hats by Peggy Darrow and ornaments by Deb Churchill and Carl Hubbell. Many items are popular year-round, like maple syrup from several Vershire sugarbushes, Sandy Gardner's greeting cards, paintings by Melissa Mack and VerShare t-shirts.
Plenty of new products have just arrived for this busy season. The 2017 Historical Society calendar features historic photos of Vershire scenes and families. Freshly printed copies of the Vershire Women's cookbooks in three volumes combine old-fashioned and new-fangled recipes, photos and stories. Rita French's mini houses are back along with her adorable yarn sheep and many other products from this prolific crafter. There is also a free handout "Winter Tips from an Herbalist" from Michelle Thurston beside her natural herbal body care products and herbal blends from Steve Restemeyer and Suzanne Lacey.
Natural body care products and herbal remedies, ply VerShare t-shirts.
Local produce includes much more than maple products, though those are available in abundance from syrup to candies and creams. MIV Shop coordinator, Marissa Mazzucco says, "Check out the local produce/food corner where there seems to be something new every week. Last week it was Jo's Organic Granola. 'Gramp's potatoes' from Jim Gardner are out of stock... but that's because the Mountain School, who had a lower yield potato crop this year, bought his crop." Farmers and neighbors work together in Vershire, adding to the local economy network of which the Made In Vershire Shop is an integral part.
An abundance of maple products!
While the quality of the hand-made products is high, the prices are notably low, because it's a volunteer-run project of VerShare, so the commission is much less than many retail outlets. All work is sold on consignment, other than the occasional farmers market-type pop-up that can occur when a local farmer or producer has a surplus and brings it to the MIV Shop to share or sell. One of the most exciting new advances made at the Made In Vershire Shop this year is the transition to the Square online cash register and inventory system. This allows credit cards to be accepted for the first time, as well as streamlining inventory procedures.
While you're at the Shop, be sure to check out the Vershire Community Library and the Stage Coach Stop Hostel accommodations, all housed in the same building, known as the Church-Orr House, built in 1830, and now home to VerShare, the community organization that fosters all these wonderful projects. The counter in the MIV Shop is the same one used when the space was a general store and post office.
The old counter from the general store and post office of days gone by is still in use.
Folks from Vershire and other towns come for coffee and company, often bringing treats to share from their kitchens, whether fresh goat cheese or warm muffins just out of the oven, including gluten-free recipes and other variations to accommodate different diets and sensitivities. The Vershire Shop attracts a wide range of clientele, from local residents on their way to or from the trash and recycling station or post office to guests staying upstairs at the Hostel and other travelers passing through town admiring the fall foliage during Fall Festival, attending the summer Vershire Day events, participating in Tibetan Buddhist programs at Pema Osel or dropping kids off at the Vershire Riding School or Mountain School. Regulars and occasional visitors alike are all welcome to grab a cup of something steaming hot, open a book from the library, browse the shelves for gifts or necessaries, meet old and new friends of all ages and do a quick email check, all in this quaint, historic setting offering blending traditional favorites like hand-made mittens and quilts with modern additions like CDs of local musicians and original jewelry.
Coffee counter and bulletin board.
Mountain School students come down in van loads to do their shopping, usually on a weekday afternoon when a volunteer shopkeeper opens the Shop just for the occasion. One year in recent memory, the electricity was out, and the students were arriving just about at dusk, so a hand-rolled beeswax candle from Baybury Farm was lit on the sales counter and the kids navigated by the light of their cell phones. Not only were they good sports about what could have been considered an inconvenience, but they thought it was even more enchanting, like stepping into a fairy tale.
Indeed, the winter holiday season is one of the most magical times of the year, and Vershire is one of the most picturesque spots in Vermont, in my view. Gathering at the Church-Orr House to celebrate friendship, share festive food, and support local artisans does offer a timeless experience that seems miles away from the hustle of commercial modern life. Because it is.
To get to this magical destination, you don't need a secret password, a ladybug dirigible or invisible train platform. From the White River Jct. area, take I-91 to the Thetford exit (exit 14), then go left toward Chelsea about fourteen miles and you're in Vershire. The Shop will be on your right at 6946 Vt. Rte. 113.
From Vt. Rte. 110 in Chelsea, take Vt. Rt. 113 up the hill a few miles to Ward's garage, then down the hill a few more miles and the Shop will be on your left.
Park in the parking lot, in front of the building on the street, or next door in the Town Office lot.
For more information see the Made In Vershire Shop page on the VerShare website at http://vershare.org/made-in-vershire.html. Also, visit the Made In Vershire Shop Facebook page at www.facebook.com/madeinvershireshop/. Then we'll see you there!
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