Holiday Shopping - Shackleton Fine Crafted Furniture Makes Gift  Giving


Thomas Shackleton Furniture is top-of-the-line "Made in Vermont" crafted woodworking. This is not for people seeking Ikea quality in Chinese-made budget laminates. This is the finest American crafted furniture you'll find and as such, it appeals to those who must have the best. For the finest holiday gifts, expect to spend several hundred dollars for a mirror or lamp and much more for a chair, table, bed or desk.

The memory of a visit to Vermont stays with me as I watch the news about inferior products that make people sick. Lead paints, cheap materials and toxins have seeped not only into our toys, clothes and food, but into our furniture and baby furniture, too.  

So when I visited Vermont last year and saw this amazing wood furniture business in which employees go through a long, arduous process and  years of training in apprenticeship to make fine furniture, I couldn't help but fall in love with what co-owner Charles Shackleton called "soul" in the feel of his wood pieces. It sounds pretty hokey, but I really understand it. And, I was reminded of it recently.

On a tour at Big Trees State Park in Calaveras County, California, I heard park rangers use names for centuries old trees in the north and south groves. When a fellow journalist convinced me to hug a nearly 2,000-year old redwood tree, I was hesitant. "Let go," he said. "Be still and concentrate on the tree's life." I didn't have time to focus on the effort, but got the point. There are thankfully people on this planet who honor the forests and other living things. And when a male ranger nearly cried as he discussed the death of one of the oldest living trees, destroyed by "man's greed", I remembered Charles Shackleton. He said their furniture pieces are made around the natural shapes inherent to wood pieces. Learning how to work with those natural features becomes a first step in apprenticeship.

Many of us have become jaded, collecting disposable furniture, video products and items meant to be thrown away rather than fixed and saved. So when you decide that it's time to own one nice thing instead of dozens of cheaper products, you may want to look at Charles Shackleton's beautiful wood items, or his wife's pottery. Co-partner, Miranda Thomas, crafts fine pottery pieces, plates, lamps and decorator items.  Charles Shackleton Furniture and Miranda Thomas Pottery is located in a huge, yellow mill 13 miles west of exit 1 Quechee/Woodstock. If you can't afford the furniture for the holidays, buy your loved one a plane ticket, hotel stay and workshop admission to experience the process of making fine products.  More information is available at


Nearby accommodations include the finest hotel in Woodstock, Woodstock Inn and Resort. Summers are gorgeous. Winters, it may snow..


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