Archive for the ‘Attractions & Events’ Category

Happy Chinese New Year!

February 1st, 2013 by Susan

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Welcome to Chinatown, Ottawa, Canada

The magnificent 11 meter tall Royal Arch,  a symbol of Bejing-Canada friendship, welcomes visitors and residents alike as they explore Chinatown in Ottawa, Canada. Built entirely of reinforced concrete and stone it is in the style of the wooden arches found in China. Artists from China undertook the detailed hand painting and finishing work.  The Royal Arch glistens in the sun and even on a snowy day like the day we took this photo, the colours are outstanding and the size quite amazing. After many years of planning and fund raising by the local Chinese business community, the Arch was officially dedicated in  2010.

Many Asian cultures including Thai, Vietnamese, Korean and Chinese are represented in this area of Ottawa which is replete with shops, markets, restaurants and residences. If you are in Ottawa it’s a “must see” –  you will find the Arch at Cambridge St N and Somerset St. W.

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Celebrate the 254th birthday of Robert Burns

November 27th, 2012 by Peter MacLaren

Robert Burns

On January 26th 2013 we will be holding our 5th annual Burns Supper at West Hill House to celebrate the 254th anniversary of the birth, on January 25th 1759, of this great Scottish Poet, often referred to as “The Bard”. (Bard is a Scots word for a poet.)

A Burns Supper is a significant tradition in Scotland and among Scots around the world. The evening will consistent of traditional Scottish fair including Haggis (which really is worth trying!) and Scottish Trifle. Wine will be served with dinner and a wee dram of Scottish whisky will be served  to toast The Bard (for those 21 and older; soft drinks will also be available).

The Haggis will be piped in by a local piper and will be addressed in the traditional manner by Peter:

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang’s my arm. …

We will then encourage you to try some Scottish Dancing after dinner – we’ll show you how!

The Burns Supper will be held in our handsome Red Barn and we have room for only 30 guests. We expect a sell-out so don’t wait till the last minute to book. Tickets must be purchased by January 21st.

The Burns Supper is just $50 per person (including tax), and it is sure to be a memorable evening. Book two nights including the 26th and we will include the supper at the reduced rate of $80 per couple. Advance reservation is required for all tickets.

The Red Chair visits West Hill House B&B

November 2nd, 2012 by Susan

Red Chair warming up and being admired by Snowball at West Hill House B&B

Warming up with Snowball

The Red Chair getting shelter at West Hill House B&B

Dry again!

The Red Chair checks out the Lincoln Gap - the highest road crossing in the State of Vermont

I feel high!

Ski School for the Red Chair at Mad River Glen

Teach me if you can!

The famed Single Chair at Mad River Glen has a date with the Red Chair

I am sure I could ski it – need snow!

The Red Chair visits with the Sugarbush cow

Please don’t sit on me!

Red Chair socializing with skier at Sugarbush

This guy looks a bit stiff

Hay there! The Red Chair enjoys a high perch at Hartshorn's Farm in Waitsfield Vermont

David Hartshorn gave me this perch

Red Chair at the Hartshorn Farm Stand in Waitsfield VT

I can’t help feeling squashed!

The Red Chair visits the Alpacas at Hartshorn's Farm in Waitsfield Vermont

I think they are staring at me!

Red Chair at Warren Vermont covered bridge

The river is not too Mad today!

Hi everyone, I’m the Red Chair that has been traveling throughout New England for the past several months.

I arrived at West Hill House B&B in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and rain was the order of the day. Fortunately my hosts offered rain boots and an umbrella so I stayed pretty dry. Inside I was given a place by the fire to warm up a bit even had a pussy cat come curl up with me for a bit.

Once the weather cleared my first stop was at the top of the Lincoln Gap Road, the highest road pass in Vermont, where I set foot, or should that be feet, on the Long Trail. The air was so fresh I’m felt I could have walked the full 273 miles of the trail but I had places to go and things to see.

With winter just around the corner I wanted to be introduced to the Mad River Glen ski area. I checked out the ski school meeting place then of course had to have my photo taken with the single chair.

From there we went to Sugarbush where I had my photo taken with a local cow before going  to sit beside the year ’round skier. He didn’t say much, we just enjoyed the solitude of the moment.

I visited the Hartshorn Farm and hey, for fresh food, maple syrup from their own trees and hay, head to their farm stand. And speaking of stand – look at me standing atop a huge bale of hay!

With my feet firmly back on the ground I posed with some squash then climbed up on the wall to sit with the boxes of pumpkins for a while.

My legs were getting a bit cramped so I hopped down and headed over to visit with the alpacas, The Finkles,  who didn’t seem to mind my company.  I certainly did not expect to see alpacas in Vermont!

A stop to pose in front of the Warren Covered Bridge that spans the Mad River then back to my temporary home at the West Hill House B&B and ready for a warm cup of hot chocolate and a little cake.

Wow, have I had fun! I can’t wait for my next adventure! Tomorrow I am off across the Green Mountains to visit Middlebury, Vermont – I wonder what adventures await me there.

 

A Traveling Chair?

October 24th, 2012 by Susan

The Red ChairYes, a Red Chair is traveling throughout New England and having a great time visiting B&Bs, historic sites, museums, gardens and beaches.  

Keep your eyes open, it may be coming to a B&B near you!

Soaring over the Mad River Valley

October 17th, 2012 by Peter MacLaren

Guest Blog by David & Tracy Platt…

Sugarbush Airfield and Airport Building with Café at Sugarbush Soaring

Sugarbush Airfield and Airport Building with Café

Tow plane and Sailplane at Sugarbush Soaring

Tow plane and Sailplane

Sunset on the Field at Sugarbush Soaring

Sunset on the Field

If you happen to be looking for something to do in Sugarbush, try the Soaring!

Had a great time during my visit and a chance to get a few flights in over 2 days.  The folks at Sugarbush Soaring are fantastic and their instructors are excellent.  It’s a great way to see the countryside and especially see the sights during foliage season.  And who knows, you might find you like flying (the best part for me).

Getting to the airport takes you through some nice country and it’s not too far from the B&B.  The airport itself I think is the prettiest airport I’ve seen.  Panoramic views of the hills and a beautiful open grass meadow that can double for a runway.   If you’re looking for a place to have a picnic (seriously) this is a place to consider.  Even waiting between flights is just so peaceful over there.  At times they also have a small café open in the main building which makes good food and has a great view.

When I went they paired me up with an instructor who walked me through everything and was very good about answering any questions.  It was clear the folks there really know their stuff, want to help, and want you to have fun.  Sailplanes are amazing machines.  They’re very good at taking advantage of rising air and use it like an elevator.  They’re sometimes called gliders but they’re really sailplanes and with a skilled pilot taking advantage of the various air currents can stay aloft for hours.  I think its as close to flying like a bird as you’ll get.

Going up for my flights was an experience.  My experience for one of my flights went something like this:  You buckle in, close the canopy, and the tow-plane (after all you have to get in the air somehow) takes up the slack in a tow line.  You give the signal, and off you go getting towed into the sky by another airplane!  Climb for a few thousand feet and pull the cable release.  The tow plane flys away and the real fun begins.  We headed over to a hillside on our first flight that we thought would generate some lift (mostly thermals or rising columns of air).  After some searching we found some and gained a little more altitude.  Yes, we’re climbing with no engine!  A thousand feet or so later and we’re off to another part of the valley looking for more.  During this time we’re enjoying the amazing views from that height.  We could see Lake Champlain and rolling hills for miles with the trees starting to turn colors.  Amazing.  After having our fill of the experience we came back in to a smooth landing and rolled to a stop on the grass at the airport.

Sorry, I was too busy flying to take pictures from the air!

I can’t recommend going to the airport enough.  Personally, we came up from Weston mostly for this.  Do call and make reservations though if you plan to go just to be safe as they can get busy at times.

PS – we also enjoyed our stay at the inn.  Fantastic place!

(For more information about soaring check the Specials listing.)

Stetson Hollow Trail and Falls

August 5th, 2012 by Susan

Stetson Hollow waterfallToday on our Sap-bucket list we highlight the Stetson Hollow Trail and Falls. A perfect activity for a hot summer day in the Mad River Valley, the tree shaded Stetson Hollow trail follows along the Stetson Brook and is an easy 1.2 mile hike.  Take your camera – there is some gorgeous scenery on this 45 minutes hike to the falls.

At the head of the trail you will be treated with the sight of a 40 foot ‘horsetail’ falls. A seasonal falls, spring and fall are when the water is most abundant however during other times of year this is still a lovely trail. While the water is cooling, swimming is not permitted.

Heading south from the town of Warren, Stetson Hollow Road is on the right 2.2 miles from the Lincoln Gap/Rte 100 intersection. It looks like you are  driving into someone’s yard and actually you are (please respect their privacy) but keep going, you’re on the right track to the start of the trail and a bit  farther along is space for parking.

Have fun and keep cool.

Vermont Cheese Tour

July 30th, 2012 by Peter MacLaren

Vermont Cheese Trail

Guests Laurent and Julia created this list of some of the excellent Vermont Cheese makers–and they visited many of them as you will see from their comments!  If you like cheese you may want to follow in their footsteps.

See also the Vermont Cheese Trail which is the source of the map on the right – the numbers before each Cheese maker refers to their number on that map. The header image on this blog is also from that site.

The letters following Cheese maker names mean the following:

  • C = Cow’s milk
  • S = Sheep’s milk
  • G = Goat’s milk

Vermont Cheese Trail MapCheese makers are listed south to north:

14. Grafton Village Cheese C
400 Linden St/Rte 30,
Brattleboro
open daily, 10-6
Comment: Large store, good amount of samples, must pay to see animals, can view cheese making through window.

39. Vermont Shepherd S                             
281 Patch Farm Road, Putney
Farm Store is open year round 9-5
Comment: No people around to greet or show you around. Small honor store. No samples.

33. Taylor Farm C                                    
825 Route 11, Londonderry
Open daily 10-6
Comment: Small store. Free range chickens running around. Some samples.

16. Hildene Farm Signature Cheese C & G
1005 Hildene Rd, Manchester
Open daily 9:30-4:30

31. Southwind Farm C
3783 Vermont Route 30, Pawlet
Open daily 9am-6pm

8. Consider Bardwell Farm C & G
1333 VT Route 153, West Pawlet
Self-serve farm store is open year
round ~ The farm is open to visitors on weekends
Comment: Small store. Can pet goats. Some samples.

27. Plymouth Artisan Cheese C
106 Messer Hill Rd,
Plymouth Notch
Open to the Public

23. Neighborly Farms of Vermont C                           
1362 Curtis Rd,
Randolph Center
Open Monday-Friday 8-4
Comment: Small store. Gave free tour of cheese making.  Can pet calves.  Some samples. Unpaved roads.

12. Fat Toad Farm G                               
787 Kibbee Rd, Brookfield
Open daily
Comment: Best small farm experience. Small store. Lots of samples of cheese and caramel.  Got tour of farm. Unpaved roads.

35. Turkey Hill Farm C                            
55 Turkey Hill Rd,
Randolph Center
Farm store is open daily 7am-5pm

37. Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery C & G                       
Vermont Cheese Trail Map40 Pitman Rd, Websterville
Open Monday-Friday 9-5
Comment: More industrial.  Small visitor center.  Samples only when asked for.  Save time and buy it at other stores.

5. Cabot Creamery Cooperative Visitors Center C
2878 Main St, Cabot
June-Oct 9-5;
800.837.4261
AlsoWaterbury 802-244-6334 and
Quechee 802-295-1180, 9-6 daily

Dakin Farm
5797 Route 7
Ferrisburg, VT 05456
Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. – seven days a week
Comment: Not a farm.  Medium size store. Lot’s of samples of cheeses and jams.  Good Maple frozen yogurt.  Has a sugaring house.

30. Shelburne Farms C                           
1611 Harbor Road, Shelburne
Open during summer 9-5

42. Willow Hill Farm S & C                     
313 Hardscrabble Rd, Milton
Farm store and viewing
room open daily 9-5

19. Lakes End Cheeses C & G                                 
212 West Shore Rd, Alburg
Open 10-7 daily mid-June
through Labor Day

15. Green Mountain Blue Cheese C
2183 Gore Rd, Highgate Center
Open daily 7am-7pm

4. Boston Post Creamery G                                    
2061 Sampsonville Rd,
Enosburg Falls
Open to the public: Tuesday-Friday
9-5, Saturday 9-4, Sunday 10-3

The Road Less Traveled – Draw Bridge on Route 2

July 13th, 2012 by Peter MacLaren

VT Route 2 through Lake Champlain Islands

Courtesy of Google Maps – click for larger view

For our guests from the north and west, a delightful daytime route in the summer to West Hill House from northern New York State is Route 2 down the island chain in Lake Champlain.The road runs from just the south and east of Alburg to I89 intersection 17 just north of Burlingon, and is the alternative to following Route 78 from the same point over to Swanton and I89 intersection 21 (which is the faster route).

In addition to driving through picturesque small communities and having marvelous views of the lake, you will go over an arm of Lake Champlain on the North Hero – Grand Isle Draw Bridge. This structure was built in the 1950’s and consists of a double leaf bascule* girder draw bridge with a total draw span of 130 feet.

We were driving on the route this week and were fortunate to arrive to find the bridge open to allow the passage of a small yacht. When you are taking the road less travelled this kind of interruption is not a delay but an added attraction! We enjoyed the wait by taking some photographs.

The bridge operator told us that the draw bridge is opened for lake traffic every half hour on the hour and half hour from 8AM to 8PM if a boat is waiting.

North Hero – Grand Isle Draw Bridge open Waiting at North Hero – Grand Isle Draw Bridge
Yacht traversing the North Hero – Grand Isle Draw Bridge The North Hero – Grand Isle Draw Bridge closing
The North Hero – Grand Isle Draw Bridge re-opening for traffic North Hero – Grand Isle Draw Bridge

*A bascule bridge is a moveable bridge with a counterweight that continuously balances the span.

Happy 4th of July!

July 4th, 2012 by Susan

Happy 4th everyone!

Wow! Awesome!

The Sugarbush area 4th of July celebrations got off to a great start on June 30 with the 3rd annual Stars and Stripes Air Show featuring vintage plane and glider aerial acrobatics.

This morning the focus is on the 64th annual Warren 4th of July parade with its collection of quirky floats which draw thousands of folks to the area for a day of celebration. Family activities, music, and food – including a roast pig from Gaylord Farm and pizza from American Flatbread- will help keep the celebration going all day.

Swimming holes will be a great attraction today too, as folks look to cool off. Sugarbush Resort  has activities throughout the day and to the enjoyment of everyone will conclude the day with a spectacular  fireworks display.

Come Sunday we’ll all be encouraging the runners in the 2nd annual Mad Marathon as it winds it’s way through the beautiful Mad River Valley. We have a house-full of runners booked in for the weekend. Go runners!

Wishing you all a safe and fun filled day.

Mad Marathon: The World’s Most Beautiful Marathon

June 21st, 2012 by Susan

Covered bridge on the route.

Our Sap-bucket list has just the thing for you runners, the Mad Marathon!

Billed as the World’s Most Beautiful Marathon, July 8, 2012  is the date for the 2nd annual run and it’s not too late to register to take part in either the full or half marathon. Walkers are also welcome.

Joining runners from around the world, the run will take you through the beautiful Mad River Valley on back and dirt roads offering breathtaking views of  the Green Mountains, covered bridges,  barns and of course, Vermont cows!

Professionally organized, this marathon course is certified and sanctioned by the US Track and Field. Check out the Mad Marathon website for full details.

West Hill House B&B, like many B&Bs in the area, requires a two night booking on the Marathon weekend so plan to stay for a few days to enjoy the many less strenuous activities such as visiting Ben & Jerry’s, photographing the covered bridges, standing in awe at the foot of beautiful waterfalls, enjoying the many great restaurants or just relaxing in a hammock.

The countdown is on to the World’s Most Beautiful Marathon – come be part of this amazing event.

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