Culture

Staying at Home in Woodstock - Rebecca and Jay Nash

Today, we're interviewing local entrepreneurs Jay and Rebecca Nash.  A musician and a physical therapist, they have met the challenges of working in the time of corona uniquely and creatively.  

Who are you and where do you live?  

My name is Jay Nash.  I live in Hartland, Vermont.

What do you do? For how long have you been doing it?  

I am a singer, a songwriter, a composer of music for television, film and advertising and a producer of records.  I’ve been making music for a living for 22 years.

How has your life and livelihood changed in the time of Covid-19?  

Well…this Spring, my band, The Contenders had a tour lined up that was set to be the biggest and most significant of our career in terms of audience reach and gross revenue.  That got blown out of the water.  Touring has been a huge part of my career - both in respect to the income and exposure that it generates and because of the inspiration gleaned from the experience of sharing music with live audiences.

Since the first shelter in place orders in the country were announced, I have been performing regular weekly live streaming concerts in my studio (you can find the schedule at https://www.jaynash.com/).  I tiptoed into this world reluctantly at first, but the entire experience has grown on me immensely.  There were many technical challenges that needed to be sorted out before I could focus singularly on the songs and achieving an emotional connection with an audience that I couldn’t actually see.  That took some time, but for the most part, I think that I have it figured out now.  The online shows have really come to feel like connected experiences.  It’s a beautiful thing to see familiar names and faces turning up from all over the world in a single (virtual) venue.

Since this whole thing began, I have felt more acutely aware of the healing power of music than perhaps ever before in my life.  I feel a sense of duty to make my music available (for free) to anyone who my find comfort in it.  So - I my online shows are all available to experience for free as are high resolution audio recordings of each performance.  People have not been shy about expressing their appreciation with stories of how various songs and performances have impacted their lives.  That has been extremely rewarding.

I do accept virtual tips/donations on my social media platforms during the shows, but I really don’t want anyone to feel obligated to spend money in order to enjoy the music.  I’m confident that the folks who can, will.  I remain optimistic that it will all work out just find if we set out to give more than we receive.

What is the most important thing that people can do to help support you and/or your business?

Spread the word about the online performances, visit the online store, stream my music, sign the mailing list - https://www.jaynash.com/.

What changes do you hope to see in a post-quarantine world? I’ve been ruminating on the idea that we have been sent to our rooms by the Universe to think about our relationship with our planet and each other. In a lot of ways, prior to this, we were collectively spinning at an unsustainable pace with respect to consumption of resources, information and energy.  We’ve been largely distracted from the most important elements of our human existence.  Maybe, just maybe we will come out of this thing just a little bit more mindful, more kind, more generous and more grateful than before.  And maybe, just maybe we will stop wrapping everything in single use, non recyclable plastic.  (ha.)

Who are you and where do you live?

My name is Rebecca Nash. I am a Physical Therapist. I have my own practice in Woodstock, and I live in Hartland.

What do you do? For how long have you been doing it?

I started my practice in 2013. I offer a unique set of services as a physical therapist. My primary treatment is hour-long, manual therapy sessions to help people with both acute and chronic issues.

How has your life and livelihood changed in the time of Covid-19?

I am a medical professional, so I am deemed an “essential service” at this time. I have decided, however, to close my doors unless it is for a patient who is in crisis. Most of my clients see me for maintenance and injury prevention and have chosen to stay home at this time.

What is the most important thing that people can do to help support you and/or your business?

I suppose the most important thing is that people keep in touch and return to see me once this crisis is over. I also hope that people will spread the word about my services to others who may benefit from them. I do plan to offer gift cards and discounted packages for my services for the future. A website, on-line scheduling and a new list of services will come out soon. In the meantime, anyone can contact me if they are interested: drrebeccanash@gmail.com

What changes do you hope to see in a post-quarantine world?

This is a big question, but as it relates to my practice, I hope that we will do a better job avoiding the need for such long-lasting social distancing in the future, if and when we are faced with such a crisis again. I hope that the kindness, generosity and hope that has developed during this time will persist into post-quarantine life and that we will be more aware of how much we love and need each other. And finally, I hope you will all return! I look so forward to seeing you all and the privilege of serving this community again!

We will all look forward to a time that we can gather together to enjoy music and see our favorite healers without worry.  Until then, friends, let's continue to support one another!  

 

Staying at Home in Woodstock - Pentangle Arts

Today we are featuring our interview with Alita Wilson, Executive Director of Pentangle Arts, a non-profit arts organization located in Woodstock, Vermont.  Since 1974, Pentangle has enriched the Woodstock, Pomfret, Barnard, Reading, and Bridgwater communities by presenting high-quality, affordable arts and cultural experiences.  Visit www.pentanglearts.org to find out more.  

    

Alita and Marketing Director, Angela Moore           Cast of Magic School  Bus                                       Dance Camp Quartet

 

Who are you and where do you live? 

Alita Wilson, Woodstock VT

What do you do?

I am Pentangle Arts Executive Director

How has your life and livelihood changed in the time of Covid-19?

I have taken a pay cut. I work from home. I am applying for loans to pay the bills that are still coming in. I do have to go into work to periodically to boot up the digital projector. Our three kids are doing online learning. Our oldest will not have a proper college graduation. 

What is the most important thing that people can do to help support you and/or your business?

Purchase e-gift cards at www.pentanglearts.org, or - if folks have the capacity to give - please donate to Pentangle so that we have the funds to pay operational expenses such as insurance, utilities, and web site fees.

What changes do you hope to see in a post-quarantine world?

I hope to see our community to come together to help those who suffered the most during the crisis, to support our area businesses so they can bounce back, and for kindness to be the norm across all demographics. I hope to once again open Pentangle’s doors for shared experiences for everyone to enjoy.

We can't wait to come together once more as a community to celebrate the arts - thanks, Alita!

Images courtesy of www.pentanglearts.org

It's Never too Early . . .

skier on killingtonVermonters love to get the most out of every season, and ski season is no exception. To that end, Killington Mountain, a.k.a., “The Beast,” has already begun its quest for the longest season in the East with runs open as early as October 19th.  It’s never too early to get your pass and skis ready, or perhaps this is the year that you find your perfect Vermont ski house.

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Vermont Symphony Orchestra at Suicide Six

Vermont Symphony OrchestraOne of the highlights of summer in Woodstock is listening to the VSO perform at Suicide Six in South Pomfret.  This year’s TD Bank Summer Festival Tour brings an evening of enchantment straight to your picnic blanket beside the bandshell on Thursday, July 9th.  As always, the evening will conclude with spectacular fireworks and the 1812 Overture.

For more information and to reserve your tickets, visit Pentangle Arts.  We’ll look forward to seeing you there!

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A Wonderful and Historic General Store

Gillinghams General StoreCaviar to Cow Manure – This 200-Year-Old Store Has it All

Depending on how spry I’m feeling, FH Gillingham & Sons General Store is either a hop, skip and jump or a short stroll from our Sotheby’s office. This is handy on days when I need a quick snack mid-day, a duplicate key, an interesting and useful gift for a client or when I just want to pop in and see some friendly faces.

Gillingham’s is the type of place that has what you need when you need it and they’ve had my back for things like last minute gifts and various hardware items whenever they were needed.

Walking into Gillingham’s is like walking back in time, floors creak and chirp keeping you company as you shop. The long thick boards have a patina earned honestly by bearing up under the trod of shoes, boots, and sneakers over a hundred years. It reminds me of Little House on the Prairie with the sweet aroma of wood and spice I imagine the show’s general store to have (Oleson’s Mercantile, for the curious few). Sarah and Ada, the resident mackerel striped cats make sure that nobody leaves without a smile on their face…not exactly Wal-Mart greeters, as they are a little picky about who they talk to.

I imagine that as a kid, visiting Gillingham’s has to be a little slice of heaven. The first things you notice are the jars of candy lined up on the shelves (they have, bar none, the most delicious caramels ever to gum up a set of baby teeth). Adults may be more interested in the make-your-own peanut butter, fresh produce, hardware, and remarkable selection of fine and well-priced wines.

Gillingham’s has been at the center of the Woodstock community since the late 1800’s when Frank Henry Gillingham opened his doors and proclaimed “your money’s worth or your money back.” The store has occupied the brick building at 16 Elm Street ever since then and has flourished under family ownership. It is currently operated by F.H. Gillingham’s great-grandsons, Frank and Jireh Billings.

The store’s success is due to their uncanny ability to keep up with the times, both new and old. They maintain strong ties to the store’s rich history and offer consistently good service and high-quality products. I believe that another reason for their success is community involvement, which includes partnering with local cheese companies, working with the Woodstock Business Alliance and Chamber of Commerce, and operating town water system under the aegis of the Woodstock Aqueduct. Gillingham’s has supported local farmers long before it became fashionable…over a hundred years before!

Gillingham’s still delivers groceries. They figured out a workable system long before there were “apps” and internet food sites. According to Frank, this goes back to the early days when people who wanted a delivery (mostly elderly but not always) would place a blue card with a “G” on it in their window. Someone from Gillingham’s would ride around the community, in the company horse and buggy, and distribute the goods to houses sporting the “G.” They still do this today (though the use of the blue card has fallen away and the ‘infernal’ combustion engine vehicle replaced buggies).

The description you will find on the Gillingham’s website refers to the store as: “One of Vermont’s oldest general stores, where you can buy everything from caviar to cow manure – accompanied by a farmstead cheese and a bottle of Corton Charlemagne!” That ‘bout covers it…oh, and they sell clothes and Muck Boots too.

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Woodstock's New-Generation Library Maintains Old-School Connections

Norman Williams Public LibraryIf you are like me, you have an old-school attachment to the local library. My attachment goes back to the stacks of books where I could become lost in my imagination as a kid, the cozy rooms where I hung out with friends after school whispering about our favorite stories, and the card catalogues that were written in impenetrable code I never deciphered.

Woodstock’s Norman Williams Public Library has maintained this old-school charm (frankly, I prefer ‘historical’, not ‘old’), but they also offer all of the resources required by the technologically savvy kids that collect on its steps at the end of the school day. They provide two rows of computer terminals for public use. The kids don’t need to ask a lot of questions but, for their elders (aka techno-dinos) who are feeling a little lost, the library schedules one-on-one tutoring.

When I was younger, one of the great things about going to the library was seeing my friends and simply getting out of the house. The Norman Williams Public Library knows it is in competition with electronic media, so they continually develop creative programs tailored to the needs of residents in the greater Woodstock area. The programs are ever-changing and wide-ranging.  I don’t know of another library with enough creative juice to host a support group for the addicts of Downton Abbey who suffer withdrawal at season’s end while developing a Business Effectiveness Series for local professionals who want to strengthen their communication skills and sharpen marketing tools. They do all of this while simultaneously hosting story reading for pre-schoolers in the magical children’s section.  

I would say this is not your grandma’s library, but the truth is that it still is your grandma’s library and her grandkids’ too. The library still has everything grandma loved and has evolved and adapted itself to the modern world. The Norman Williams Public Library continues to nurture young readers with the generation-appropriate tools kids are reared on these days, in a venue where they can connect with their friends and neighbors to share the joy of learning.  

The Norman Williams Public Library Mission: The library enriches the intellectual and cultural life of the Woodstock community by providing access to literature, culture, current information, and technology; promoting the love of reading; fostering the free and open exchange of ideas; serving as a gathering place for people of all ages; and supporting lifelong learning for all.

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