On our recent stay at the Mountain View Farm, the inn keeper suggested that we visit Sanderson Wooden Bowls. This farm was just down the street from the inn. It can feel a little funny visiting farms in Vermont, because you are essentially showing up to someone’s home and walking around their backyard, but the Sanderson’s welcomed us with open arms.
Weeza and her husband Sam are true Vermonters. As with most rural areas, people have to work multiple jobs to make a living. Ski instructors become landscapers in the winter. Others work full-time and are artists on the side. Long story short, Vermonters are hard workers and Weeza and her husband are no exception.
The Sanderson’s raise miniature donkeys and Nigerian Dwarf Goats that they sell as pets. Weeza brought us out to meet the two baby miniature donkeys that were born just a month before. I have never seen anything so cute in my life. The little girl had giants fuzzy antennas for ears that were about the same length of her legs.
The babies would follow us around and nuzzle into us for love and attention, their protective mamas following close behind. Their gentle behavior was a true testament to how well they were raised. I had such a hard time leaving and am now infatuated with the idea of adopting a miniature donkey some day.
Once I was finally able to tear myself away from the animals, we went in to visit the Sanderson’s workshop where they spin wooden bowls. They turned on the machines and gave us a demonstration while telling us about the process.
The trees that they harvest for their bowls are all sourced from the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, but they will also create something out of wood you bring them. They once made a custom gift out of a fallen tree that had been planted by the customer’s grandfather. They have also made things out of barn beams or fence posts that had some sort of sentimental value.
I couldn’t believe what went into making each bowl. After the painstaking task of carving it, the bowls are then dipped in wax and have to go to their basement to dry out for a full year. They only use food-safe oils so their end products are not just beautiful but functional as well.
The Sanderson’s have a small showroom attached to the workshop where you can view the finished products. You can purchase anything from a keychain to really large bowls.
I honestly had no intention of purchasing a bowl when I arrived but quickly fell in love with their work. I found a bowl that had these tiny pinholes in the surface and then it was covered in streaks. Weeza taught me that the holes were actually created by an Ambrosia beetle that bore into the wood to lay their eggs. The streaks were actually remnants of the damage caused by the beetle. Part of the bowl was darker than the rest, which was from the tree resting on the forest floor.
I loved how this bowl had a story… that it was merely a downed tree rotting in the woods when someone with an artist eye came across it and saw the beauty in it. I really don’t buy many things while traveling, but when I come across very special things of this sort, I purchase them knowing that I am supporting wonderful people. It now sits as a center piece in my dining room and it brings me joy every time I walk past it. It is destined to become a family heirloom. My cat has also decided that it is a very comfy bed.
I’m so glad that the inn told us about Sanderson Wooden Bowls, because I don’t think we would have found it on our own. It was a special place run by kind, hardworking people. You can contact them if you are interested in purchasing one of their products or setting up a visit with the animals by clicking here.
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