Last spring and summer, Christine Chitnis traveled through New England, photographing and writing about the best artisan markets in the region. The result of her research is chronicled in her new book, Markets of New England, profiling 50 markets in Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.
Chitnis writes as an introduction:
When we use our collective consumer power to support artisans — beekeepers, cheese mongers, weavers, and woodworkers — we are insuring that our communities remain unique, thriving places to live. In this age of big-box stores and mass-produced items, it has become all the more important to invest in our local economy...one artist, one farmer, one shop at a time.
Shown at top are a selection of Christine's four favorite markets:
1. Squam Art Fair: Squam Art Workshops was founded in 2008 by Elizabeth MacCrellish as a gathering place for creative individuals to expand their artistic passions through workshops with renowned teachers. On Saturday night of both the spring and fall retreat weekends, workshop teachers and local shops display their goods for sale at the Squam Art Fair, a rousing event complete with free beer, raffle prizes, and twinkle light strung from the ceiling!
2. South Coast Artists Open Studio Tour: The South Coast Artists Open Studio Tour encompasses over 40 artist studios in four coastal towns — Westport and Dartmouth, MA and Tiverton and Little Compton, RI. The self-guided tour will take you across scenic farmland, down small coastal highways and through quaint towns as you wander from studio to studio.
3. Common Ground Country Fair: Every fall an estimated 60,000 visitors converge on the small town of Unity to partake in the festivities of the Common Ground Country Fair. Touted as a three-day celebration of Maine's rich rural and agricultural history, the fair boasts a packed roster of activities, including music, speakers, exhibits, vendors and demonstrations, all of which emphasize environmental sustainability, traditional craftsmanship, and organic farming.
4. Vermont Festival of the Arts: The Vermont Festival of the Arts began in 1997 as a way to bring awareness to the rich community of artists and craftspeople who call Mad River Valley home. A packed schedule of events runs throughout the month of August, with several offerings a day including workshops, open studio tours, concerts, cooking classes and much more.
Images: Christine Chitnis