Friday, June 24, 2011

The Vermont Country Store

Plenty to respect, plenty to want, plenty to amuse.
The most “Old Yankee” store/catalog of all might just be The Vermont Country Store.   They specialize in hard-to-find classic and functional New England items. 

Those people more influenced by New York Housewives and Jersey Shore than Jud Hale may dismiss it.  But don’t let the folksiness fool you (although they are all genuinely very friendly). It was started over in Weston, Vermont in 1946 by Harvard educated, Vrest Orton, a 13th Generation Orton, and now run by his son Lyman and his three sons.

The store comes directly from the origins of prep: New England prep schools and colleges; frugality; ingenuity; and continuity.  It is an institution that deliberately strives to meet the Orton Family Foundation’s Mission of “helping small cities and towns describe, apply and uphold their heart and soul so that they can adapt to change while maintaining or enhancing the things they value most.”

At The Vermont Country Store one can get things like:
  • Fuller Brushes
  • Pure-Bristle Shaving Brushes
  • Pine Bros. Throat Drops
  • Lanz of Salzburg sleepwear (a long-time preppy female essential, although now sadly made in China.)
  • Leon Levin shirts (another staple for the slightly older preppy female, once everywhere)
  • B&M Slice-and-Serve Brown Bread in a Can (Of course, B&M products are made in Portland, ME)
  • Teaberry Gum
  • Their vast assortment of old fashioned candy
  • Stainless Steel Stove-Top Percolator (We made ours this way long after most had switched to automatic brewers. People used to request my mother’s great coffee in “that old tin pot.")
  • Non-motorized lawn mower (think Muffy Aldrich's parents)
  • Jewel-Tone Aluminum Tumblers (My great grandmother always server her homemade iced tea is these at family picnics.)
  • My favorite – Director’s Chair Covers in Navy Cotton Canvas
  • Rocking Chair Pads in plain Navy Corduroy
  • Cereal and Grain Mill
  • Large Hen on Basket
While some of their products are squarely aimed at the older set (and they do have some highly amusing products), it is nonetheless worth noting that the best stores do think instinctively of multi-generations.

21 comments:

Tammy B said...

I visited the Vermont Country Store a few years ago. Upon entering, my friend and I thought it was the hokiest place in the world. It must not have been too hokey. We spent over $75 each in there. I bought about $30 worth of Pears Soap. I always see things in their catalogues that I have not seen in years. I may have to order me a Lanz nightgown this fall (even if they are made in China).

Barbara said...

It's like walking down memory lane, everything reminds me of my mother and grandmother. So many of the products were a staple of my childhood. I love sending their products as gifts - friends and relatives are always amazed and delighted.

John said...

My family got Vermont catalogs often when I was growing up. There's probably a hundred different ways we ended up on their mailing list, from having a "Mother Earth News" subscription to getting the LL Bean catalog. It was definitely a little heavy on the homespun in those days, but always had practical things. I think they even sold silk turtlenecks at one time.

By the way, I like your shirt. :)

Yankee-Whisky-Papa said...

I have never been camping without a can or two of B&M bread... grilled in a buttery pan or toasted next to the campfire is lovely. Good call on the others... canvas director's chair and stove-top percolator. Good call!

Anonymous said...

I love this catalog!

BTW--regarding nicknames, for years I was known as Bitsy. Fortunately, no one in my current circle is aware of this!

James said...

Love the swing!

Anonymous said...

I love receiving and looking through their delightful catalogs but unfortunately have never visited the store. I'm curious: did the Orton sons close the store they opened out West?

mary anne said...

Their catalogues make for an enjoyable read. So much fun to see things from the past.

Anonymous said...

I love this catalog! I'm glad you're featuring it on your blog.

clionewton said...

As I sit here reading this in my Lanz nightgown (well, it may be summer, but it was quite a chilly New England night!) I'm thankful for the reminder that it's easy to order from The Vermont Country Store catalog - I don't have to travel to Weston! Whenever we travel to Vermont, we always stop there - so many practical, worthwhile items they have. One of our favorites is The Original Camping Fork for roasting marshmallows and hotdogs. I can't find my catalog at the moment, but they're fun to visit on line too!

Anonymous said...

Those frosted aluminum glasses have pride of place in my childhood memories! And they ship to Canada (once the mail strike is over). S. Dobbie.

Preppy 101 said...

I adore their things! I remember as a little girl the "Fuller Brush man" selling his wares from door to door. Those brushes could've been handed down generation to generation if one so desired! I love director's chairs to this day! Great post and trip down memory lane. xoxo

Farrell and Lauren said...

Love their soap selection and caramels.

Anonymous said...

That picture looks fabulous muffy! Excellent post! I couldn't help but notice on the side it says muffy is a nickname. Could you do a post on timeless classic names and nick names? Thanks alot!

Pink One said...

I only recently learned about The Vermont Country Store magazine. I'm glad to see you do a post on it. I have received a couple of magazines in the mail at this point and it has been fun to see some things that I remember from my past, especially the colored aluminum cups. It would be fun to have some of those again. Is aluminum still considered harmful?

Flo said...

TANGEE LIPSTICK!

Casey said...

The Vermont Country Store is a favorite of mine and always the one place I can find what everyone tells me is no longer available.

Kathie Truitt said...

Vermont Country Store? Oh honey! This Virginia belle LOVES Vermont Country Store. Love, love, love it! When the catalog gets here I don't care what needs to be done I plop myself down, flip through it and then go back through it very slowly and mark everything I'm going to order.

Just Ask Beth said...

I clearly remember my mother purchasing goods from the catalog growing up... it is fun now to order and send items as gifts.. I remember them having the best maple syrup!!

Miss M said...

I was surprised to see they have a full color glossy cat now instead of the old B&W line drawing catalogue. I think I will treat myself to the old school Lemon Up shampoo. I can still smell how clean and lemony it smelled back in the 70s. If they would bring back the original green Herbal Essence I would be out of control-haha.

Pete said...

Simply put, I love this catalog.