Vermont Fall Scene

Skiing at its best

December 20th, 2014 by Peter MacLaren

Have you been reading “Top 10″ lists over the last few weeks? If so you will have you see lists of almost everything under the sun, Top 10 Ugliest Cars, Top 10 Best Places to Live, Top 10 Best Companies to Work For, Top 10 Best Universities, and who knows, maybe even a list for the Top 10 Best Top 10 Lists!

Well…  here’s our “Top 4″ list – Four Great Reasons to come Ski in the Mad River Valley this Winter.

1.  Mad River Glen - Mad River Glen – Ski It If You Can. Seriously, don’t miss out on skiing this legendary co-op owned ski area. Ranked by Ski Magazine as one of the most challenging on the east coast of the US, Mad River Glen provides an opportunity for skiers of all levels to ski a variety of trails on natural snow though narrow trails which follow the terrain. Riding the Single Chair, chairlift is an absolute must! Lessons, ski shop and General Stark Pub are hillside amenities. Down hill, telemark, and cross country skiers will love MRG but be warned snowboarders… you will  have to look elsewhere for your downhill excitement as no snowboards are allowed.

Mad River Glen's unique single chair.

Don’t miss this ride to the top of Mad River Glen.

2. Sugarbush Ski ResortAs one of the largest ski areas in the northeastern US, and with two mountains to choose from, Lincoln Peak and Mount Ellen, snowboarders and skiers alike will enjoy the range of it’s 111 trails from beginner slopes to the more challenging black diamond runs. Sugarbush is locally owned and offers lessons, a variety of places for foodies, ski shop and accommodations.

3. Blueberry Lake Cross-Country Center- Is a cross country skiers’ delight. Designed for the average skiers,  outdoor enthusiast can enjoy the classic or skating style of skiing or can snowshoe on the 11 trails which includes 30km of groomed trails. Ski and snowshoe rentals are available as are lessons. Pre-skiing age children can also enjoy the outdoors in the comfort of a pulk which can also be rented. And for dog lovers, your well behaved dog is welcome and please, remember to clean up after your pooch.

Skiing at Olé's.

Skiers at Olé’s.

4. Olé’s Cross-Country CenterOffering about 40km of groomed trails, lessons, rentals of both skis and snowshoes, a deli and friendly staff, Olé’s beckons to cross-country skiers of all ages to come and enjoy winter. With relatively flat terrain skiers can explore the trails while getting great mountain views and if quiet woodland trails are your choice you’ll find them here too. There are about 15km reserved for snowshoeing only and today’s modern snowshoes are a lot easier to walk in that the old, oversized ‘tennis rackets’ and you don’t need special boots, your regular winter boots fit these snowshoes nicely.

Ready. Set. Visit!

The Mad River Valley offers skiing of all sorts, comfortable B&Bs and slope-side accommodations, friendly folks, great food, beautiful shops, gorgeous mountains, stately trees, as well as wonderful snow, more mountains, more trees, more snow and lots of fresh, crisp mountain air.

Get your mittens and scarf ready and consider this your invitation to visit Vermont, winter in its natural state. Come experience skiing at its best. We’re ready and waiting for you…what are you waiting for?

Beds, Electrons & Breakfasts; ready for Tesla!

December 17th, 2014 by Peter MacLaren

The Times They Are A-Changin’. Bob Dylan’s words were written over 50 years ago in 1963 and they continue true today. The changes we are talking about here though are not political, but environmental and technical!

On December 16th 2014 West Hill House B&B launched a new accommodation category, which we are calling a “BEB”, or Beds, Electrons & Breakfasts! Read on for details…

Interestingly our approach of providing fuel for your transportation has strong historical roots in the accommodation business.  Think back.  In the 19th century when personal transportation was still largely by horse, providing hay for your steed was an important part of the service provided by Inns and Guest Houses. Susan has some personal experience here.  When we lived in Edmonton she volunteered as an interpreter at Fort Edmonton historic park as the proprietor of Mrs Egge’s Stopping House, a reconstruction of a property from the 1880s located in its day about a day’s travel by horse north of Edmonton. Green Hotel logoLooking after your horse at Mrs Egge’s was just as important, perhaps even more so, than breakfast for its rider. (See 1885 Street on the Fort Edmonton Park site.)

Here in Vermont, the Green Mountain State, we are at the leading edge of environmental practices. Electricity used in Vermont has probably the lowest carbon footprint of any state, with a major proportion coming from hydro-electric generators and now an increasing proportion from solar arrays. And the approach to green practices is very comprehensive, including encouraging energy efficiency, recycling, composting and using environmental sound practices for agriculture and domestic needs. As part of this effort, West Hill House B&B has been a Green Hotel in the Green Mountain State since 2008 and we have continued to invest in and utilize green practices both before and since that date.

Ribbon Cutting by Megan SmithOn the transportation side, Vermont residents have been leaders in moving to plug-in hybrid and all electric (EV) cars to reduce their carbon footprint when traveling. The use of electricity as a source of power is particularly environmentally friendly in Vermont given the low carbon footprint of the power sources. In additional to a large number of plug-in hybrids, like West Hill House B&B’s own plug-in Prius, there are now over 800 EVs registered in the state of Vermont.

So back to December 16th. Over a year ago we installed a 240V 20A Level 2 charging point for EVs of overnight guests, which we also use for the B&B’s plug-in Prius. A few guests have used it, however we realized that most EVs on the road today simply can’t drive here from home if they are out of state—as the vast majority of our guests are—because of the limited battery range.

Not so for Tesla owners; when fully charged their vehicles have a range of around 250 miles. We thus took the opportunity offered by Tesla Motors to work with them to install two high power 240V 80A chargers specifically for Tesla vehicles. Tesla ChargingEach of these can fully charge a suitably equipped Tesla Model S in about 4 hours.

We were delighted to welcome Vermont Commissioner of Tourism and Marketing Megan Smith who cut the ribbon on December 16th to formally launch this capability, the first B&B in Vermont to offer dedicated Tesla charging for guests. (Two larger hotels in the state also offer this service.)

Now Tesla owners, for example from the metro areas around Boston (190 miles), Montreal (140 miles) and New York (300 miles with a top-up en-route from the complimentary Tesla Supercharger in Albany), can drive their Tesla to Vermont’s beautiful Mad River Valley and enjoy all the area’s attractions, including Sugarbush next door to us, one of the premier ski and golf resorts in the north-east, while enjoying our hospitality at the top rated B&B accommodation in the area as per Trip Advisor. (Future Tesla Superchargers are planned for Vermont and New Hampshire.)

And, of course, the electrons are on us! We shall hope to see you and your Tesla here soon.

 

Dreaming of a White Christmas?

December 15th, 2014 by Susan

MV5BMjA0Mzg0OTU0OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNTM4MjY5._V1_SY317_CR5,0,214,317_AL_Dreaming of a White Christmas but live where there isn’t any snow? Stop dreaming and come live your dream. Come to Vermont!

The movie White Christmas is indeed a classic and a must see Christmas movie in our family and perhaps yours too. The holidays are not complete without a visit, via DVD, to the the Columbia Inn in Pine Tree, Vermont.

Starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye as successful broadway producers, and Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen as a sister, singing act, a twist of fate brings the foursome to The Columbia Inn in Pine Tree, in late December. Dreaming of a white Christmas and that “Vermont should be beautiful this time of year, all that snow” the four arrive and find, to their great disappointment, that there is no snow at all. The sisters find, with few registered guests, their singing contract is to be cancelled. Meanwhile, the two men discover that the innkeeper is their former commanding general.

Despite the lack of guests and the challenge of the weather, the four decide to stay and the story develops as a light-hearted romance suitable for family viewing. With songs sung by Crosby and Clooney and beautiful dancing by Vera-Ellen and Kaye, the movie is a good way to spend a winter evening.

WHH_Winter_Logo

While there is no Columbia Inn, there is West Hill House B&B in Warren, Vermont, a place to enjoy a white Christmas and winter in all its glory.

We can predict with some degree of certainty that we will have a white Christmas and we most certainly have a copy of the movie for you to watch!

Ski Catamount Trail - the Length of VermontSkiing at  Mad River Glen  and Sugarbush will be in full swing with people from around the world enjoying the opportunity to ski some of New England’s best slopes. On the Sugarbush golf course just behind our Handsome Red Barn, is a perfect hill for sledding on one of the Mad River Rocket Sleds created here in Warren. If your pace is slower, there are miles of cross-country skiing at Olé’s and  Blueberry Lake only 10 minutes from West Hill House B&B. If skiing isn’t for you, our snowshoes are perfect for exploring around our property or farther afield.

If you’re not an outdoors type or your skiing days are past, there are numerous artisan shops, small stores and coffee shops to visit but that will have to wait for another blog.

If  a white Christmas to you means looking at snow through a window,  how about curling up in a big chair by the fireplace and losing yourself in a good book, or playing a board game with your special someone.

If you are dreaming of a white Christmas look no further than Vermont in winter. Winter in its natural state!

Sugarbush’s Tour de Moon!

December 13th, 2014 by Corey A. Edwards

Sugarbush's Tour de MoonWhat do snowshoeing, skiing, Mad River Valley’s Sugarbush resort, and winter’s beautiful, moon-lit, night sky have in common? Tour de Moon, of course!

Tour De Moon is the brainchild of Sugarbush resort and involves a snowshoe hike up Mount Ellen to Glen House – the mid-mountain lodge – for a hearty, skier’s drinks and dinner, then strap on the skis and glide back down the mountain – and all of it under the beautiful, warm glow of winter’s full moon!

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Dog Sledding Mad River Valley

November 29th, 2014 by Corey A. Edwards

Dog Sledding Mad River ValleyYou knew you could ski, sled, and snowshoe Mad River Valley – but did you know dog sledding Mad River Valley was an option as well?

You hear a lot about those other winter sports because you can do them just about anywhere (albeit not as nicely as you can here) and, thus, people expect them – but dog sledding doesn’t come up all that often because, unless you’re headed to Alaska, right? Well, think again! Dog sledding Mad River Valley isn’t just a possibility, it’s a popular pastime!

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Amazing Peanut Butter Cookies

November 24th, 2014 by Susan

Serving it up:

These peanut butter cookies could be called by any number of names: I Can’t Believe It! Magic!, Too Simple To Be True!, the list could go on and you are welcome to make up your own name for these delicious, miraculously quick cookies. Amazing Peanut Butter Cookies will have to do for now. Perfect to whip up if unexpected guests drop in and, like Old Mother Hubbard, your cookie cupboard is bare. Amazing Peanut Butter Cookies can be created in 5 minutes and cooked in 15 minutes fresh cookies can be ready by the time the coffee is perked or the tea kettle is boiled.

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Amazing Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. peanut butter, smooth or crunchy
  • 1 c. white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 measures of tender loving care!

Measure the peanut butter, sugar and egg into a bowl.

Mix together until smooth. The batter will be slightly thick.

Using a scoop or teaspoons, scoop out dough about the size of a walnut.

Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

If desired, pattern the dough by pressing with a fork or by dressing it up with a chocolate chip. If you are making larger cookies use a Hershey’s Kiss- unwrapped of course! I leave the cookies in their rounded state prior to cooking so they flatten out while they cook becoming crackled on top and slightly chewy in the center.

Bake for 15 minutes at 350°F. Keep an eye on them.

Cool on the pan for a few minutes then remove to racks to continue cooling.

Serve with tea, coffee, milk or just a plate!

Makes about 24 amazing peanut butter cookies. They freeze well so you can stock up for the holidays.

Dishing it out:

My Dad would have loved these cookies – peanut butter was a favorite; on toast, with carrots or celery, with a spoon!, with just about anything. I remember as a child we always had peanut butter in the pantry and in two or three pound jars. We even had peanut butter in large bear shaped glass jars and I still have a couple of these jars, empty of course!

Peanut butter is a staple many North American kitchens but not so in the United Kingdom or Europe. When growing up in Scotland, Peter seldom had peanut butter and when living in France we only found peanut butter in pricy, small containers.

This recipe is from amazing peanut butter lovers like Carol and Colin who were guests here at West Hill House B&B while attending the 50th year reunion of Vermont College and Norwich Military Academy respectively. Carol mentioned that Colin liked peanut butter cookies and she proceeded to give me this recipe. I’m not prone to disbelieving recipes which are shared with me, and I’m usually ready to experiment, so I made these cookies then and there and about 20 minutes later presented Colin with a plate of his favourite amazing peanut butter cookies. Give the recipe a try, I’ll bet you say, “I can’t believe it, these are amazing peanut butter cookies!”

Learn more about things that include peanuts – check out the information on George Washington Carver.

Mad River Valley Snowshoeing Tours

November 16th, 2014 by Corey A. Edwards

Mad River Valley SnowshoeingWith all our recent talk about skiing, you might think that’s the only popular winter sport around here but au contraire, mon frere! Mad River Valley snowshoeing is also a popular winter activity!

Snowshoeing has existed for time out of mind and, like skiing, evolved into a leisure-time sport out of a need for traversing fields of snow with greater ease. As a winter sport, snowshoeing extends the hiking season into winter and combines a good, low-impact workout with a more contemplative way to enjoy those snow-blanketed woods and fields.

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Kick Off The Mad River Valley Ski Season at The Big Kicker!

October 25th, 2014 by Corey A. Edwards

The Big Kicker 2014Mad River Glen and Sugarbush Resort, two great, local ski and ride areas – and two of the best on the East Coast, period – are hosting an event to kick off the 2014/15 Mad River Valley ski season on November 22!

The Big Kicker’s co-hosts – Mad River Glen and Sugarbush Resort – throw this freestyle party every year to celebrate the beginning of the Mad River Valley ski season.

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Plan Your Mad River Valley Ski Vacation Now!

October 11th, 2014 by Corey A. Edwards

Mad River Valley Ski VacationSnow transforms Mad River Valley into a winter-wonderland of outdoor entertainment, replete with skiing, snowshoeing, dog-sledding, and more. If you’re thinking of a Mad River Valley ski vacation, West Hill House B&B has a deal for you!

Mad River Valley is all about winter. You can feel the electricity of excitement in those around you once the crisp scent of snow hits the air – and once the slopes are ready? Look out! That’s why West Hill House B&B has spent so much time crafting our Ski & Stay Passports: we want to help you make your Mad River Valley ski vacation the best it can possibly be – because we share your enthusiasm for the season!

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West Hill House B&B’s Mad River Valley Lodging Specials

September 27th, 2014 by Corey A. Edwards

Mad River Valley Lodging SpecialsThere is no reason that your Vermont vacation should be ordinary or break the bank and that’s why we here at West Hill House B&B have put together a number of Mad River Valley Lodging Specials designed to make your stay both affordable and unforgettable!

West Hill House B&B offers Mad River Valley Lodging Specials and Packages throughout the year, the most timely of which is our Leak Raving Special.

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