Archive for the ‘Attractions & Events’ Category

National Parks Week April 21-29

May 21st, 2012 by Peter MacLaren

In Vermont we are proud of our woodlands, our mountains and our waterways. In fact, the mission of our Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation is to practice and encourage a high quality of stewardship of Vermont’s environment by managing forests for sustainable use and by providing and promoting opportunities for compatible outdoor recreation. This mission echos the concern for the environment expressed by John Muir in the late 1800′s as he explored the vast magnificence of the natural wonders of the US west.

John Muir, a Scottish born American naturalist was an early advocate of the preservation of the American wilderness. His many writings tell of his adventures in nature and especially his love of the Sierra Nevada. An outspoken supporter and active defender of  nature preservation,  his enthusiasm for nature was boundless.

An early advocate of the idea of national parks, Muir petitioned the US Congress to pass the Nation Park bill which, when passed in 1890, brought about the creation of both Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks. Today the name John Muir graces numerous trails, glaciers, camp-grounds and monuments in national park lands. Founded by Muir, The Sierra Club continues to be one of the most active and important conservation groups today.

If you watched the Ken Burns documentary on the National Parks you will remember the first part focuses on the life of John Muir.

Today in the United States, this Scottish born naturalist is referred to as the “Father of the National Parks”. Thank a Scot and go out and enjoy a national park this week.  April 21-29 isNational Parks Week .

Father of the National Parks John Muir

"Father of the National Parks" John Muir April 21, 1838- December 24, 1914

 

A Gem of a Restaurant

March 28th, 2012 by Peter MacLaren

A kitchen with space to work.

Today Peter and I (Susan) had a marvelous lunch at MINT, a local vegetarian restaurant in Waitsfield.

In the wake of  tropical storm Irene, which flooded the restaurant with 5 feet of muddy water, MINT has been reborn through the hard work of  it’s owners Savitri and Iliyan. The restaurant now boasts a new layout, including an open kitchen, comfortably cushioned chairs and a colorful, relaxing and inviting ethnic decor with much of the decoration having been done by the owners themselves.

Thinking we would just stop for a pot of one of their many tea varieties, we were enticed by the menu and chose lunch instead; mushroom and flava bean soup, a tomato-mozzarella sandwich, and yes, a pot of tea, White Darjeeling. The soup was as tasty as it was aromatic (I should have ordered a large bowl!) and was accompanied by a lightly grilled slice of hearty artisan bread.

A tempting tart.

A small salad of mixed greens was served with our toasty warm sandwich making it hard to decide which to start on first. Tea of any kind hits the spot with me so enjoying a pot of perfectly steeped tea at the end of our meal was delightful. Unfortunately time was ticking away and we had to forego dessert but the Pumpkin and Chocolate tart with Belgian chocolate and crunchy crust sounded awfully good!

The lunch and dinner menus are inventive and delectable so don’t expect a vegetarian menu of plain-old pasta with tomato sauce. Using an abundance of local produce allows the creativity of both Iliyan and Savitri to shine through in both menu and presentation.

Whether an omnivore or vegetarian your appetite is surely to be tempted and satisfied at MINT,  it is a gem of a restaurant in the heart of the Green Mountains.

Tell them Susan and Peter sent you!

Photos taken from the MINT website.

Church Street Burlington

March 23rd, 2012 by Peter MacLaren

The Church Street Marketplace, Downtown Burlington Vermont’s award-winning open air mall, is a hub of activity where you’ll find historical architecture, year-round festivals, street entertainers, music, over 100 places to shop and dine, and even quiet places to ponder.

Church Street is a great place to visit when you come to West Hill House, in particular during the summer months.

Susan and Peter had the opportunity of spending a couple of hours there on March 22nd, during a day of record setting temperatures in the 80s F, above 25 C. The gorgeous weather allowed us to take the photographs below.

Church Street, Burlington

Looking north on Church Street

"Big" Joe Burrell

Caption for "Big" Joe Burrell

One of the many café's and restaurants


Bear sculpture in front of City Hall


Spring crocuses

Ben & Jerry's - of course

Winter Wonders

March 5th, 2012 by Peter MacLaren

Icy Falls on Rt.100

 

Winter is one of the most beautiful seasons in Vermont, a real treat for the eyes. Snow covered mountains, evergreen trees laden with heavy snow, thick morning frost on bare tree branches, fresh animal tracks in the snow and brilliant stars in the clear winter night skies are truly awe inspiring.

One of the coolest winter sights of winter can be found along the Vermont highways where tiny streams which spill over the rock-cuts turn into giant white pillars of ice. In the winter sunshine they glisten brightly and at night, in the  headlights of passing cars, they take on a ghostly glow. When the warm spring weather arrives these icy falls will be one of the last vestiges of a Vermont winter.

Valentine’s Day – Romance is in the snow!

January 31st, 2012 by Peter MacLaren

Sleigh Ride in the Mad River Valley Vermont

Sleigh Ride in the Mad River Valley

A picture postcard Valentine’s Day package awaits you…

A snow covered landscape, a beautiful room with a double Jacuzzi tub in its ensuite bathroom, a sleigh ride to whisk you through the snow, and a delicious dinner at The Common Man restaurant.

We have two all inclusive packages:

  • The Logan Suite for any 3 nights including the 14th of February  - just $999 inclusive
  • The Mountain Room for any 2 nights including the 14th of February – just $649 inclusive

Extra nights can be added at our regular rates less 10%.

Your package includes:

The Logan Suite Master Bathroom at West Hill House

The Logan Suite Master Bathroom

  • Your beautiful room and a delicious breakfast each morning
  • A wondrous sleigh ride with views over the Mad River Valley
  • Dinner at The Common Man Restaurant on the 14th
  • 6 Roses – that you can take home with you
  • A bottle of Champagne and two souvenir Champagne flutes
  • Lake Champlain chocolates
  • And most of all – a peaceful get-away among the snow covered Green Mountains of Vermont
Please plan ahead as these packages will doubtless sell out quickly.

Great Vermont Ski and Stay Packages

January 18th, 2012 by Peter MacLaren

For the 2011-12 Ski Season we are once again offering our guests great prices AND flexibility for skiing at Sugarbush – immediately adjacent to the B&B with door-to-door shuttle service, Mad River Glen – a few minutes drive away, and the option to also ski on Olé’s Cross Country Ski trails just down the road from the B&B.

Ski & Stay “Passport*” packages for Sugarbush & Mad River Glen start at $110 per person per day, plus tax (2-night minimum weekdays, 3-night minimum weekends) and we’ll be pleased to customize a package with your choice of room and days of skiing.

The best value packages are:

  • 4-day inclusive weekday package including Ski the Valley “Passports*” for two for 4 consecutive week-days of skiing and 4 week-nights of B&B
  • 3-day inclusive weekend package including Ski the Valley “Passports*” for two for 3 days & nights.

Pricing for both packages, including taxes, is just:

  • Queen Room Package: $899
  • King Room Package: $999
  • Suite Package: $1,049

Our King Room ensuite bathrooms have double Jacuzzi tubs.

You can add another weekday day (or more) at Mad River Glen to any package for just $35 per person per day if you stay an extra night at our regular rates. The Lincoln Peak base at Sugarbush is just two minutes away by free shuttle bus from our front door and you can come back anytime during the day.

*The Passport also includes skiing at Ole’s cross country resort, and specials and freebies at some restaurants and stores.

Check our Winter Activities page for more information on a winter holiday at West HIll House.

Offers are good for one pair of ski tickets per night stayed. Note ski conditions cannot be guaranteed! (The packages are not available on Presidents Week, and weekend packages require a minimum of 3 days & nights. Note that 7 days advance notice is required for all Ski the Valley passport packages.)

Photo credit Sugarbush and EKrylov.

The Pot of Gold

December 3rd, 2011 by Peter MacLaren

November Rainbow

We’ve found it! The Pot of Gold is in the Mad River Valley!

November brought us 11″ (28cm) of snow for our Thanksgiving Day guests to enjoy and 60°F (15°C) weather a few days later. November also brought us this magnificent rainbow on the 30th. While we can’t guarantee you a rainbow or a pot of gold when you visit West Hill House B&B, Sugarbush or Mad River Glen, we can guarantee you beautiful scenery and warm Mad River Valley hospitality.

White Christmas in Vermont

November 28th, 2011 by Peter MacLaren

Christmas finery

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.

Skiing in Vermont – time to act!

November 6th, 2011 by Peter MacLaren

West Hill House B&B in Winter

West Hill House B&B in Winter

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!

Porter Music Box Museum (now closed)

September 30th, 2011 by Peter MacLaren

Porter Music Box, Vermont

Porter Music Box – click to play

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.)

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