Caroline Mauro has literally never steered me wrong.
Since we were little kids, she’s been there to guide me through sailing school in the Narragansett Bay (and saved me from both imaginary island monsters and real capsizing errors). She was there to paddle out with me on our first day of surf camp. And she was even there to comfort a nine-year-old me when my favorite dog Kiwi, a miniature dachshund, died.
But in this moment, more than 20 years later, driving the dirt roads of central Vermont, I can’t help but think, did she give me the wrong directions?
Just keep driving you’ll think you’re wrong but you’re not, went her last text to me before I lost service.
So I trusted my friend and kept going, to meet her at the place that had stolen her heart: Luce Farm in Stockbridge, Vermont. Sure enough, the second I turned the corner to see the open fields filled with lush flowers, a bright red barn and goats dotting the landscape, I knew this has to be the place.
As I drove up the long dirt road I was greeted by two adorable dogs and two equally adorable children all living on the farm with their parents Becca and Joe Pimentel. Caroline opened the farm door, barefoot, carrying a large bag of flowers she had picked and dried herself for smudge sticks. We’d be piecing these together that day for her latest project, a brand she called INDA Creations.
Like all good “live the dream” stories go, the Pimentels moved to Vermont to trade in city life for a simpler, healthier one closer to nature. They became farmers and moved into a 17th century historic farmhouse built on 200 acres of gorgeous New England land. Caroline joined them for several months after their move and became inspired by their monumental lifestyle change and commitment to the Earth.
Spending time in this space, with more fresh air than most people know what to do with, Caroline became connected to the land and learned about growing, cultivating and consuming plants, herbs and flowers.
Becca, who happens to also be a skilled herbalist and farmer, taught her about the plants and their own extensive healing properties. Each of these lessons on the beauty, joy and simplicity of the farm only helped Caroline’s INDA Creations line (and life) unfold.
As the Pimentals transitioned the farm to become a premier hemp farm in New England, Caroline decided there was another way for her to partner with the family.
After tasting different recipes that Becca first crafted in the farmhouse kitchen and experiencing all of the positive healing benefits that come from using CBD, Caroline says she was sold. She decided to add a new CBD-infused honey and balm to her line—one with a unique flavor twist of farm-fresh sage.
After giving me a quick tour of the property, which included spending plenty of time petting the downy-soft baby goats, we took the flowers, some twine and the kids, hiked up a small path and sat above the farm to chat about this place and the inspiration behind her brand.
“I was hiking around this lake called Lake Willoughby several months after one of my best friends passed, my friend Paul,” Caroline explained of the divine inspiration that helped birth the brand.
Like most people who lose a loved one, Caroline said she was having a difficult time getting through it. And while she usually feels or sees a sign, this time felt different and frustratingly lonely.
“I just felt like I was getting nothing and I was super frustrated and so I went on the hike. A lot of times when I'm in nature or doing something outside I feel most connected to myself spiritually. And maybe if I'm in this beautiful place that's totally blowing me away, maybe he'll show me a sign.”
Moments after asking aloud for a sign from the universe, Caroline says she stumbled on a pendant just lying on the ground. The symbol on the pendant was identical to one Paul had tattooed on his back.
“I just loved it so much,” she says. “This was him showing up for me.”
Since then she’s worn the pendant every day, not only as her own source of power but as inspiration to create something similar for others.
“I started looking into amulets and jewelry that has protective power and crystals and then I taught myself how to wire wrap,” she says. Her travels soon became about collecting stones and understanding how they affect our spiritual self.
And now, Caroline says her stunning collection of crystal and stone pendants and bolos can do the same—“heal you and serve as protective armor."
That Earth-Spirit-Human connection is clear in her pendants, honey and her organically-grown Vermont harvested flowers used in her smudge sticks and smokable blends—for which she’s also designed a pipe necklace for smoking.
"I wanted to design something discrete that women could use and enjoy when consciously consuming,” she says of the pipe necklace. “Most of the products I saw targeted male consumers and lacked sophistication. How was it that 40 percent of cannabis users were female but there were hardly any products that spoke to us?”
Indeed, it’s the first fashion-forward tool for self-healing the space was really missing, especially if you don’t want to draw any unwanted attention—unless of course it’s attention from a fellow fan.
After sketching her design, Caroline says she visited several different maker shops throughout New England and settled on another family-owned one in an even more rural town in Vermont. Her pipes are created in small batch runs with other tiny US-based businesses—something Caroline’s intensely proud of.
It’s no surprise that Caroline was able to marry functionality with beauty. Before her life growing flowers and designing jewelry, she worked as a fashion stylist for spreads in every glamorous magazine available. Her attention to aesthetics and making every person feel special makes her one to watch and one to wear.
“A big component of the brand is travel and I really think the more open-minded you can be about the places that you spend time in, and especially places that are outdoors and are kind of off-the-grid, the more connected you can get to yourself," she says about anyone drawn to INDA.
It’s easy to see how she’s kept that feeling front and center when I look up to notice that the sun is setting behind the Vermont hills and the lightening bugs have come out.
We take it as our cue to walk back down the hill, muddy feet and all, before I hop in my car to begin the long drive away from a truly magical place.
I hug Caroline and the kids goodbye. I’m content with the smell of lavender flowers pressed into my hands from rolling smudge sticks, the dirt under my nails from playing with the goats and a heart full from a day spent with a lifelong friend—now a friend to everyone who wears an INDA Creations.
As I roll away from the farm I stop to get out and take one last photo. While looking out at the misty farm lit by the last touch of sun, I’m confident Caroline gave me the right direction.