Wednesday, June 27, 2012

what is it about patterns and stones?

I knew as soon as I saw the listing on the map for Stone Village I just had to figure out what it was--wouldn't you? There is something so essential about stones. And also that mystery of being on the map? What was it?  Instead I read that it was a small enclave of houses all built using "snecked ashlar".  Don't you love that phrase?

Anyhow the stone came from a nearby hill in slabs about 4 inches thick and the larger stones were held in place using a method called "snecking". This is a Scottish term that means the stones are locked together with the smaller stones and then a mortar that could be mixed with moss or horsehair was used. The stone is a granite often speckled with mica called ashlar.

OK--I had to see it. The first place we stopped was the First Universalist Parish. What a lovely building, it is isn't it?

 Just look at all the patterns of the stones. Such an endless variation. So many design possibilities.

Maybe it is because I am a quilt maker I had to stare at the many patterns and resolutions. So many ideas here. The colors of the stone. The rhythms.

Luckily the church was open. Inside they had just finished a renovation. It was one of those glorious open New England churches. So serene and peaceful. With the ceiling reaching up in its simplicity. Just a bit of the previous wall paper was visible in the corner.  I was fascinated by the simple designs of the pews. More stripes as you can tell.

The church had been built as a Universalist Church in 1845 with the Town Hall in the basement floor. To maintain the separation of church and state--yes, that was so important back then--there were separate entrances with no stairways connecting them, the current minister told us.

Further, in the literature the requirements for building the church included the necessary materials and of course "a barrel of rum". The total cost was $1766.

Stained glass windows were added later. OK--should this be my epitaph?

For more information about the church and the congregation you can check out

But then it was time to move on and see some of the other buildings. They all looked like they were in use. Some were private houses and some were art galleries. Each one was different. Built in a Federalist style and all were visible from the street--although there is no sidewalk on one side of a rather busy road so use care. I loved the simple regularity of this building. Great placement of stones.

Because of the construction techniques the doors and windows have extra wide portals. Doesn't this house look stunning with the black shutters.

 Looking more closely I admired the care used to select the stones that arch over the door.


This home used white shutters. I was fascinated by all the different colors of stones used. Sweet isn't it?


 Even the garage  of this grand building was constructed of the stones. What a presentation.

And then of course there was the one black stone in this portal. See it in the upper right hand side.

But then the rains came in earnest and it was time for some lunch. What fun though discovering this little bit of history. The Stone Village is in Chester Depot, VT and on the National Register of Historic Places.  Yes, there is also a depot there. Apparently it is walking distance from the town of Chester where I confess there is a fabric store and a wonderful looking bookstore. So much to see. So many patterns to contemplate. And there are more stone buildings scattered throughout this area. Oh so much to see and do.

Have you been there? What hidden gems do you know?


  1. I'm a blog reader....not a blog 'commenter' but I have to say I love that stained glass window! I may have to make that up in fabric...

    1. Thanks Kathleen. I would love to see a picture of the quilt if you make it.

  2. Love those pews and the stone wall in the photo above it. colours in both are lovely. Will visit this place when we next visit Vermont - thanks for the info.
    One of my hidden places would be Highgate Cemetery in London. Everyone visits Karl Marx in the East cemetery but it's the guided tour round the West Cemetery that's the real highlight. The Egyptian avenue in the centre is wonderful.

    1. Thanks Lizzie. Oh that does sound like a nice place to visit.

  3. Thanks for this, Ann. We often drive by those stone buildings and have been curious. Now I am really determined to go through early enough to stop sometime soon.

    1. Hope you do. If the church is open it is definitely worth a peak inside.