Archive for the ‘Attractions & Events’ Category

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.)

Archer Mayor’s Red Herring – a review

August 22nd, 2011 by Peter MacLaren

Red Herring - a mystery by Archer Mayor

Red Herring by Archer Mayor

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.

Garden Tour

August 16th, 2011 by Peter MacLaren

Admiring the Gardens

Our pond on canvas

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!

Scottish Country Dance Lessons

August 9th, 2011 by Peter MacLaren

Peter & Susan dancing the St. Bernard's Waltz

Now a fund raiser for the Mad River Valley Community Fund... Moved to Thursday September 8th at the West Hill House Handsome Red Barn

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.

Rock of Ages Quarry & Hope Cemetery in nearby Barre, Vermont

August 8th, 2011 by Peter MacLaren

Rock of Ages Quarry Barre Vermont, near West Hill House B&B

Rock of Ages Quarry

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.

Hope Cemetery Barre, Vermont, close to West Hill House B&B

Hope Cemetery

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.

Vermont Symphony and Fireworks at Sugarbush on Canada Day

July 3rd, 2011 by Peter MacLaren

Fireworks at Sugarbush, Vermont with Vermont Symphony Orchestra

Fireworks at Sugarbush - click to play

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.

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