Picture yourself doing your Christmas shopping and enjoying Christmas music in the quiet serenity of the green mountains of Vermont.
Saturday, December 3 marks the 13th annual Country Christmas Open House in the Mad River Valley. Over 30 local shops and services are offering special discounts which will make your pocketbook happy and may offer free refreshments which will make your tummy happy. Pick up a punch card at any merchants displaying the Participating Merchant sign then visit 5 businesses and have your card punched at each. When you leave your card with the 5th business it will be entered for a prize drawing. Check out the list of participating merchants and services.
On Friday, December 9 The Vermont Symphony Orchestra presents Holiday Pops “Fun and Games” at the Barre Opera House, just under one hour from West Hill House. Favorite Christmas music with a twist as they take a look at the youthful side of the holiday. Fun for everyone. Tickets required.
Thursday, December 15 the Warren United Church will host the Vermont Symphony’s Brass Quintet and Counterpoint for a perfect mix of brass and voices to ring in the season. Free admission although tickets are required.(802-496-9714).
And of course the area also offers skiing and riding at Sugarbush, skiing at Mad River Glen, and cross country skiing at Ole’s and Blueberry Lake. Dog sled rides, sledding, skating, and moonlight snowshoe tours are just some of the other ways to enjoy a white Christmas in Vermont – oh and you can also curl up with a warm beverage and watch the movie White Christmas.
Imagine a Christmas Card snow scene, a house surrounded by snow on a quiet country lane, a quintessential red barn, snowshoes, sleigh rides, shushing down the slopes or gliding on trails through the trees on your skis… Then comfortable beds, Jacuzzi tubs, steam showers, amazing breakfasts, and of course a cat or two curled up in front of a blazing fireplace…
Your imagination can become reality when you book this year’s ski holiday at West Hill House!
To make things even simpler this year, while we will be happy to put together a custom package for you for two or more nights, we have two inclusive deals you can choose from:
3 nights of B&B over the weekend and 3 days of skiing at Sugarbush
4 weeknights of B&B and 4 weekdays of skiing at Sugarbush
All you have to do is choose your room and the same all inclusive price (including taxes) applies:
Queen Room Package – $899
King Room package – $999
Suite package – $1099
You can add dinner for two at The Common Man on any of Tuesday through Saturday evenings for just $99 including tax and gratuity (drinks are extra).
So time to stop imagining, and start planning. We are looking forward to seeing you at West Hill House. Smoky and Snowball are standing by!
Note that these package prices are not available over Christmas/New Years, MLK weekend and Presidents Week, although of course we will be pleased to have you stay at those time as well!
We dropped by the Porter Music Box Museum in Randolph, Vermont on Monday. While many of our guests have been there it was our first chance to visit. Take the guided tour and you will be transported back to the hey day of the music box.
The tour begins with an informational video on the manufacturing of the music boxes and then leads into a guided tour of the museum. You will see music boxes acquired from private collections as well as see some of the Porter music boxes which are manufactured on the premises. During the thirty minute tour of the Porter Music Box Museum you will also have a chance to view other items including a Steinway Duo-Art Aeolian reproducing piano.
On your way out of the Museum, be sure to stop at the gift shop. Susan did and the video tells you a bit about our outing and the music box she bought – you can see and hear it when you visit West Hill House.
(Regrettably this museum closed for good in the fall of 2012, although they are still building music boxes.)
The problem with Archer Mayor’s detective mystery books, featuring fictitious Vermont detective Joe Gunther, is that once you start them you can’t put them down!
Three deaths – one an apparent rape and murder, one an apparent suicide and one an apparent drunk driving accident. Totally unrelated, or are they? And are any of them really what they seem to be?
Another case for Joe Gunther. He focuses on the apparent “red herring”–a single drop of blood left on, or near, each body. And, as it turns out, not from the bodies themselves.
One of Joe’s many assets is that he has been in his profession a long time. He has many useful contacts, both orthodox and less so, that can help with analyzing the elements of the crime scene, including some rather high tech approaches for identifying the probable source of the blood in the blood spots.
However establishing the fact that there is a link among the three deaths, what it is, and who is responsible, takes Joe’s intuition as well as analysis, playing some hunches, and getting help (or maybe not) from two woman, one part of his past, and one that may become part of his future.
Red Herring is a page-turner right to the last page, and the interesting twist at the very end will make you eagerly anticipate reading about the next challenge for Joe Gunther.
The book is available at Tempest Book Store in Waitsfield and also in iBooks.
Tickets are still available to see Archer Mayor in person at West Hill House on Friday 26th and Saturday 27th August. Call 802-496-7162 for details.
Our gardens were recently featured on the Garden Tour, part of the Vermont Festival of the Arts. For days leading up to the tour dates our landscape artist Patty Weston and her crew worked diligently to have the gardens looking their best. On each of the past two Sundays we welcomed a bus full of garden lovers to come explore the peaceful garden setting and ooh and ahh over the colourful displays of various types of hydrangea, delphinium, lobelia, snow cap daisies, day lilies of various kinds, hosta, and heather just to name a few. Dotty, a local artist came along to paint a picture of our pond and garden shed.
Our gardens are a favorite spot for guests to sit and enjoy the surroundings as well as for wedding celebrations. Come and enjoy the gardens yourself!
Traditional Scottish Country Dancing, which runs the gamut from fast and furious to slow and stately, is the norm at Scottish weddings, family reunions and modern cèilidhs (pronounced kay-lees). Children learn these dances from an early age and many schools, clubs, small towns, and pubs have regular cèilighs where everyone joins in the dancing.
Dances such as the “Gay Gordons”, ”Walls of Limerick” and ”The Stack of Barley” are dances which are named after famous regiments, historical battles and every day items. Other dances have more intriguing names such as the “Canadian Barn Dance”, “Eightsome Reel”, and “The Dashing White Sergeant”.
Celebrating the Scottish heritage of the MacLaren family, Peter encouraged me to join a Scottish Country Dance group in Edmonton shortly after we were married. Each week we would learn a new dance and enjoy dancing to the ones we previously learned.
The dance lessons have come in handy each January as dancing is an integral part of any Burns Supper. A Burns Supper is a gathering to celebrate the birth of Scottish poet Robert Burns. An important date to Scots around the world, this event embraces Scottish food, poetry, libations and dance.
To prepare for our upcoming Burns Supper (January 28, 2012) – as well as just for some fun – we are opening our Handsome Red Barn for Scottish Country Dance lessons. We are going to teach very simple dances and we invite you to join us on:
Wednesday evening, September 7th
From 7:00 to 9:00PM
Was $5 per person, now $10 and 100% of the proceeds go to the Mad River Valley Community Fund
Advance tickets required as space is limited.
Come on your own or with a friend. Refreshments. Wear flat shoes. Other Scottish Country Dance evenings are scheduled through out the year.
Both of these attractions are well worth a visit when you stay at West Hill House.
The 600 ft deep Rock of Ages granite quarry in nearby Barre is a favorite destination for our guests. It is reputed to be the largest such quarry in the world. With the scale of the geological formation it is estimated that at current production rates there is enough granite for 4,000 years! There is a Vistors’ Center where you can learn all about the quarry, the factory where you can see how monuments are carved, and of course the tour of the quarry itself which leaves every 45 minutes or so. Check out some photos in our photo album on Facebook.
The granite is on display in its finished form as beautiful monuments in nearby Hope Cemetery. This cemetery in Barre is an unusual tourist attraction but please do not pass this up – it doesn’t sound like a great side trip, but it is.
Many grave monuments were carved for their own family members by stonemasons, who worked at the Rock of Ages Quarry. Find the soccer ball, the biplane, the eighteen-wheeler, the stock car, and the cube on one of its points. There are family portraits including a husband and wife sitting up in bed and lots of intricately carved floral arrangements. Have a look at our photo album on Facebook.
The Quarry and Hope Cemetery are about 40 minutes from the B&B. The cemetery is open year round and the quarry is open from late May till mid October. A visit to the State Capital of Montpelier, the smallest State Capital in the US, is easily included in the day’s outing and is also well worth a visit.
On July 1st Anthony Princiotti conducted the Vermont Symphony Orchestra in the open air at Sugarbush offering “Symphony Royale” with music fit for a king…or a summer evening in Vermont! Handel’s fireworks began the program and Northstar’s fireworks concluded it, in this musical homage to royalty. The noble procession included Scheherazade’s Kalendar Prince, the King and Queen of Troy, and the King of Siam. The concert was in honor of Independence Day celebrating America’s freedom from monarchical rule with their own version of royalty, Duke Ellington! The performance was crowned by the majestic 1812 Overture and selections from Sousa, the March King, which were both accompanied by an amazing fireworks display with the finale captured in this short videoby Susan.
Intriguingly the concert, being on July 1st, was on Canada Day when Canadians celebrated their royalty with the visit of its newest couple, William and Catherine, who were at Parliament Hill in Ottawa to join Canadians country wide to celebrate the 144th anniversary of Confederation.
The holiday weekend in Warren is chock full of excitement this year, starting on Friday July 1st and running through to Monday July 4th. Plan to stay at West Hill House for all four nights and we will make all the arrangements you need to enjoy your visit at an all inclusive price!
July 1st. The Vermont Symphony Orchestra offers “Symphony Royale” with Anthony Princiotti, conducting music fit for a king…or a summer evening in Vermont! Handel’s fireworks begin the program and Northstar’s fireworks conclude it, in this musical homage to royalty. The noble procession includes Scheherazade’s Kalendar Prince, the King and Queen of Troy, and the King of Siam. In honor of Independence Day, we celebrate our freedom from monarchical rule with America’s own version of royalty, Duke Ellington! The performance will be crowned, as always, by the majestic 1812 Overture and selections from Sousa, the March King. The performance is being hosted at Sugarbush.
The gates open at 5:00 PM for an included barbecue dinner and the concert begins at 7:30 PM.
Waitsfield Farmers' Market
George Bernard Shaw
July 2nd. The renowned Waitsfield Farmers’ Market will be open from 9AM till 1PM. You will find fresh produce, flowers, seedlings, honey, wool, eggs, meat, cheese and other farm products. In addition you will find crafts made in Vermont, baked goods, and prepared food. There will also be live entertainment provided by local musicians. You will also find community groups such as the Vermont Festival of the Arts, Localvores, local libraries and fire departments.
Dinner on Saturday evening will be your choice from the many excellent nearby restaurants.
Still on July 2nd enjoy a performance by the excellent Valley Players of the classic George Bernard Shaw’s play “Arms and the Man”.
The play is set during the four-month-long Serbo-Bulgarian War that occurred between November 1885 and March 1886, this play is a satire on the absurdity of glorifying war, as well as a satire on the foolishness of basing your affections on idealistic notions of love. These themes brought reality and a timeless lesson to the comic stage. Consequently, once Shaw’s genius was recognized, Arms and the Man became one of Shaw’s most popular plays and has remained a classic ever since. The Performance starts at 7:30PM.
On Sunday July 3rd enjoy the Stars and Stripes Charity Airshow at Warren-Sugarbush airport featuring bi-plane aerobatics and other great stunts. This year there will be a model airplane demo, glider aerobatics and with both vintage plans and classic motorcycles on display. Check the video to see what you will be in for! Gates open at 11:00 a.m. and show starts at 1:00 p.m. All proceeds to benefit the Vermont National Guard Charitable Foundation, a nonprofit organization which serves to meet the emergency financial needs of the men and women of the Vermont National Guard and their families.
The Common Man
On Sunday evening we will make reservations for you at The Common Man Restaurant, in our view the best restaurant in the area. (It will be open specially for the Sunday of the holiday weekend.)
Over 150 years old, the soaring hand hewn rafters of the timbered interior are lit by crystal chandeliers, soft candlelight, and a huge open-hearth manor fireplace in season. (See the photo alongside.) Dining is elegantly casual and casually elegant, definitely romantic, and is applauded by Vermonters and visitors alike. The restaurant has earned scores of prestigious awards.
Then the pièce de resistance on Monday, the 63rd consecutive Warren 4th of July Parade.
The event celebrates independence with a wild, wacky, and wickedly fun parade, street dance, and family festivities! The theme is “ACT LIKE A LOCAL:_________” (blank to be filled in by the participants!). This is always an “interesting” event with political correctness being left at home as floats assembled by area denizens broadcast their point of view to visitors from far and wide! The Parade starts at 10AM. Live Music will begin following the parade with Jimmy Yozell at the Warren Store porch for the big street dance and Mad Mountain Scramblers at Brooks Field (elementary school), a short walk from the village.
The video was compiled by Sugarbush from last year’s parade.
On Monday evening West Hill House will provide an alfresco dinner sitting out on our Garden Terrace overlooking our gardens. Then in the evening about 9:45PM you can watch an amazing Fireworks display at Sugarbush.
Enjoy this exciting and unique long weekend with an all inclusive price from West Hill House, with four night packages starting at $999 per couple. The price includes tickets for all the events and meals described above, one of our beautiful well appointed en-suite queen-bedded guest rooms for four nights, and breakfast each morning of course. (Only extras are lunches, dinner at your choice of restaurant on Saturday evening and any alcoholic drinks.) We will also be happy to customize the weekend package to your preferences. Tickets for the various events are subject to availability.
Mystery fans seldom get to meet their favorite writer let alone sit down with him and talk about the secrets of the trade. On August 26 and 27, at the West Hill House B&B in Warren, VT, you will get that chance, with Vermont’s own detective mystery writer Archer Mayor.
The author wears many hats: medical examiner, cop, fire fighter, reporter, photographer … stir these all together, add a pinch of intrigue and one large helping of a mysterious murder and from these ingredients Archer Mayor has created Vermont’s own fiction super sleuth Joe Gunther. Joe is a local policeman, who is best described as kind and compassionate but sharp and intelligent, in short the kind of cop you hope shows up when you need one.
If you have never read an Archer Mayor mystery, go get one (or more). Red Herring is his latest in paper back.
All these events are being held in the Handsome Red Barn at West Hill House B&B in Warren, VT. The details are:
Friday evening, August 26 at 7 pm: Archer Mayor brings his personal experience as a medical examiner to the front with an enjoyable and informative talk, “Not CSI: Forensics – Truth or Fiction.” $10/person. Light refreshments provided.
Saturday afternoon, August 27 at 2 pm: aspiring writers will gather to attend a 2-hour workshop entitled “How Archer Does What He Does”. Attendees will gain insight into site, plot and character development. $30/person, $15 for students with ID. Light snack provided.
Saturday evening, August 27 at 7 pm: “Archer Mayor Let Loose”. This informal evening will be fun filled as Archer Mayor entertains with his insight, experience, humor and storytelling. Autographed book included. $25/person. Dessert buffet provided.
Advance tickets are required, space is limited. This is a sanctioned event of the Vermont Festival of the Arts. Call 802-496-7162 for tickets.
Come and stay at West Hill House B&B on the Friday and Saturday night and attend all three events for $50 per person plus the cost of your room.