From There to Here
State14 started with a brainstorming session in the late fall of 2015. My husband, Dylan Griffin, was intent on starting a new creative project. The truth is, we were both itching to do more of what we love: tell stories with words and pictures on a subject that was living and breathing around us: Vermont. We hadn’t seen a publication that fully expressed our point of view about this remarkable place we had chosen to live. We had a desire to move past the maple motifs and idyllic barns. And while farms and fiery foliage have their rightful place, we wanted to capture something even more vibrant, the radical spirit of Vermont and Vermonters, and the life here that we find downright refreshing.
Maybe we could create a platform with a fresh and contemporary aesthetic, with a voice that was curious and personal. But we knew we couldn’t do it alone. That’s when we reached out to Ben Hewitt, a Vermont writer whose work exemplifies that spirit and voice we were so drawn to. We sent Ben an outline of our brainstorm in all of its raw and rambling glory, hoping for some feedback. Not only did he like the idea for State14, he wanted to throw his hat in the ring. Ben’s confidence was a green light to move forward—we promptly invested a few bucks in securing the URL State14.com, set a launch date, and got to work.
But would this project work? Would it resonate with others? Would it matter?
One business stood out as already embodying the same ideas we had for State14—the independently owned Hotel Vermont. Though just a couple years old at the time, the hotel already had a strong identity that was fully rooted in the local community. It was contemporary yet rustic, ecologically mindful, and as an award-winning hotel, celebrated on an international level. While we had nothing to show for State14 but a prototype on Squarespace, I reached out to Hans van Wees, the general manager for the hotel, hoping to get a few minutes of his time. Hans didn’t sit with us for a few minutes—he sat for well over an hour and listened to our fledgling idea. In turn he spoke about the ways Hotel Vermont started, how they strive to be “personal, purposeful, and natural” by telling the Vermont story through food, art, and hospitality.
I walked away from that meeting with an even stronger vision for our project and a feeling that it might have real value for Vermont, and for people outside of its borders. Heck!—Maybe State14 could become an official thing. Maybe even in a thing in print! And, maybe just maybe, we could bridge our efforts with Hotel Vermont and collaborate together down the line.
Three years later, here we are. Hotel Vermont sponsored the first State14 printed piece in May of this year, a Spring/Summer edition that coincided with the hotel’s five-year anniversary. We just came out with a second round just in time for the Fall/Winter season that will now get into more hands, and in front of more eyes thanks to a new partnership with the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing (VDTM).
We are thankful for local friends, photographers, writers, the broader community, and, especially for Hotel Vermont and VDTM. It’s because of everyone’s support that our early inkling became a digital magazine with a following, and now, something tangible in paper and ink. We’re excited to foster these partnerships and watch State14 continue to live, breath and grow out in the world, as very real thing.
Thanks for reading and for your support.