Putney is something of a crafts destination, with at least a dozen artisans living and working in or near the village; the annual 3-day Putney Craft Tour (www.putneycrafts.com) in late November showcases this work by opening up the artists' studios to the public. The compact village center also features several intriguing restaurants and shops with global imports, antiques, and used books. Everyone's Drumming (tel. 800/326-0726), at 4 Christian Sq. (right off the east side of Main St., near the general store), specializes in handmade drums and accessories, and the staff is happy to talk shop with beginning or advanced drummers.
About 7 miles north of town on Westminster West Rd. (which splits off from the main street in the center of town), John Ewald and Peggy O'Toole (tel. 802/387-6661) produce outstanding sculptured and painted ceramic tiles with an emphasis on naturalistic themes (check out the amazingly lifelike trout and flowers) in their studios. It's definitely worth a drive if you enjoy ceramics; you've probably not seen ceramics like these elsewhere.
Basketville, 2 Bellows Falls Rd. (tel. 802/387-5509), dates back to 1842, owned and operated by Vermonters ever since. As you can probably guess from the name, its primary trade is baskets -- in more styles than you thought possible. A sprawling place stocking Shaker-style baskets, Native American-style ash baskets, pine buckets, and plenty more Americana (wicker and rattan furniture, silk flowers, and so forth), it's just north of the village center on Route 5.
Savory, award-winning cheese (the New York Times has raved about it) is made in Putney at Vermont Shepherd Cheese, 875 Patch Rd. (tel. 802/387-4473; www.vermontshepherd.com). The creamy and rich cheeses have a brown rind and are aged 4 to 8 months in a cave on the property; you'll find it at fine restaurants and in better food shops along the eastern seaboard. Check Vermont natural-foods co-ops for it. Though the summertime factory tours once offered here have been discontinued, there's a farm stand on-site where you can buy the cheese fresh daily. For directions, check the company's website.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.