West Hill House B&B

Category Archives: Mad River Valley

Skiing at its best

December 20, 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 17, 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 15, 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!

Green Mountain Stage Race 2014

August 8, 2014 by Katie Pate

The Green Mountain Stage Race will take place August 29 – September 1, 2014, offering, as always, 4 days of exciting and challenging racing in the mountains of Vermont. We are honored to have had many accomplished cyclists stay at West Hill House B&B for the Green Mountain Race and look forward to the event again this year!

Lodging for the Green Mountain Stage Race

ITT-500M-to-goIf you are coming into town for the race and need lodging in the Mad River Valley, here are a few perks to staying with us you might consider:

  • We have a large barn (our Handsome Red Barn) where there is room for you to set up and make adjustments
  • We have indoor storage for your bikes
  • We provide breakfast at the time you need it for your race schedule
  • If you stay with us for the race for three or more nights we offer a 15% discount

AND: If you are staying with us and finish in the top three in your class on any of the first three stages we will comp your room for that night! 

Registering for the Green Mountain Stage Race

You can register for the race online or by mail to: Green Mountain Stage Race, LLC P.O. Box 1172 Waitsfield VT 05673.

Recreational Cycling in the Mad River Valley

While future Olympians partake in races here, anyone can enjoy the beautiful vistas from our quiet back country roads, perfect for cycling. We can help you with everything you need to get your cycling trip underway. Bikes are available for rent at the Sugarbush Adventure Gear Shop, a few miles down the road, and we can provide you with maps and directions for miles of well-maintained blacktop routes.

If you would like to mountain bike, Sugarbush offers biking on some of their ski routes in the summer months.

Fresh from the Farm

May 6, 2014 by Susan

If you live in or near a farming community you have doubtless heard of CSA, Community Supported Agriculture, which enables consumers to purchase local, seasonal produce direct from the farmer.Unknown

Farmers and consumers both benefit from the CSA scenario. Farmers have time to market their food before the start of their long days in the fields, they receive payment for their produce early in the season which helps with their cash flow, and they have the opportunity to meet the people who purchase the results of their labors.

Consumers benefit as well with absolutely fresh food full of vitamins and flavor, they learn about new foods and new recipes, they know where their food is coming from, and they develop a relationship with “their farmer(s)”.

Here in the Mad River Valley there are several CSA programs underway and we recently bought a “share” in Muddy Boots, a CSA collaborative effort between three organic farms, Kingsbury Market Garden, Wood’s Market Garden and Burnt Rock Farm. Other smaller producers will also be involved  so we will have the option of also receiving fresh bread, butter, sunflower oil, dry beans and a variety of other wonderful items.

Claytonia

Claytonia ready for harvest.

Aaron prepares his tractor,

Aaron prepares his tractor


Muddy Boots recently had an open house where we met one of “our farmers”, Aaron of Kingsbury Market Garden, who was getting his tractor ready for onion planting, and Marisa of Bragg Farm in Fayston, one of the smaller producers, who will be providing butter and cheese products.

Not only did we meet these two, we met a new-to-us food, Claytonia, which is quite delicate in appearance, tastes somewhat sweet, is full of vitamin C and will make a lovely addition to a salad of fresh greens.

This year at West Hill House B&B we will be incorporating items from our CSA share into our breakfasts so you, our guests, will be able to taste fresh, farm-to-tummy produce from our neighbors.

Springtime in Vermont

April 16, 2014 by Corey A. Edwards

Springtime In Vermont - Blue Winged Teal

a Blue-Winged Teal shows off its colors

That shift in the weather, that smell of maple sugaring in the air can only mean one thing: Springtime in Vermont is here!

Ah, springtime in Vermont: runoff swells the creeks back to bubbling life, the trees fill with the activity of birds. Both year-round residents and migratory species can be seen winging their way back to – and through – our neck of the woods: the Scarlet Tanager, Bicknell’s Thrush, the Indigo Bunting, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, the Common Yellowthroat, the Meadowlark, the Blue-winged Teal, and many, many more.

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SKIING ENTHUSIASTS – save the date!

December 20, 2013 by Susan

Jeremy-Davis-photo-for-NELSAP

Jeremy Davis with 1934 Ski Area Historical Marker

SATURDAY, JANUARY 25

 MAD RIVER GLEN

7 – 9 PM

Did you know that over 120 ski areas throughout Vermont have closed, from the 1930’s through the 2000’s? From local, town operated rope tows, to major resorts with high speed quads, these areas all played an important role in the development of skiing in the state.

Join ski historian and author Jeremy Davis for his presentation on:

SATURDAY, JANUARY 25
at
MAD RIVER GLEN, 7 – 9 PM.

A wide variety of ski areas will be discussed, including nearby areas as well as those featured in Davis’ book, Lost Ski Areas of Southern Vermont.

As well as Jeremy’s presentation, the evening will include light fondue refreshments,  a special showing of the new T-Bar film, United We Ski, and more. Admission by donation at the door .

Jeremy Davis is the founder of the New England Lost Ski Areas Project, a website dedicated to the history of lost ski areas throughout the region. He is the author of three books: Lost Ski Areas of Southern Vermont, Lost Ski Areas of the White Mountains,  and Lost Ski Areas of the Southern Adirondacks, and is currently working on his fourth book, Lost Ski Areas of the Northern Adirondacks. Davis serves on the Board of Directors on the New England Ski Museum in Franconia Notch, NH. He is a 2000 graduate of Lyndon State College, VT, and today works as a Senior Meteorologist at Weather Routing Inc. in Glens Falls, NY.

Plan to be there if you can – you might just find out what happened to that ski hill you skied on as a kid.

Print the poster!

This event is co-sponsored by West Hill House B&B and Mad River Glen.

MRG NELSAP pict

NELSAP-MRG pict

We’re back, again! 2014 running of the World’s Most Beautiful Marathon

September 17, 2013 by Peter MacLaren

The Fourth Annual Mad Marathon and Mad Half are scheduled for July 6th, 2014 in the gorgeous Mad River Valley, located in Central Vermont. Registration is already open.

 Mad Marathon 2014 SponsorshipYou will be running through this extraordinary rural community on 26.2 miles of country roads, with breathtaking views of the Green Mountains, rolling farm lands, quaint villages, historical barns, covered bridges and fields of our famous Vermont cows!

Check out the full details on the Mad Marathon website.

West Hill House B&B is delighted to be a Sponsor of the Marathon for the fourth consecutive year, and we already have our sponsorship certificate on the dining room wall. (We are running out of space!)

Regrettably we are ALREADY sold out for the weekend of the Marathon, however please check the Marathon Lodging page for other options.  Plan ahead as accommodation is hard to find closer to the date.

Choose your accommodation wisely…

July 24, 2013 by Peter MacLaren

VermontWhile West Hill House B&B is the #1 rated B&B in the Mad River Valley on Trip Advisor at the time this blog is published, we know you have other excellent choices when you come to visit the beautiful State of Vermont. However be sure you choose wisely, as not all accommodation meets the safety and regulatory standards set by the State.

For your protection, West Hill House B&B is licensed and annually inspected for Lodging and as a Restaurant by the Vermont Dept. of Health, it is approved by the Vermont Division of Fire Safety, all fire extinguishers are serviced annually, all smoke and heat detectors are tested annually, and it carries commercial liability insurance.

The B&B is licensed for the sale of alcohol by the Vermont Dept. of Liquor Control. It is registered with the Vermont Dept. of Taxes and remits the applicable Rooms & Meals, Alcohol and Sales taxes that are included in the bill you pay us when you check out.

When you book your accommodation, do make sure you are going to be staying somewhere that is State licensed and inspected. Ask before you book, and when you are there you should see all the relevant certificates on display:

  • Lodging license
  • Restaurant license (if meals are served)
  • State tax IDs for Rooms & Meals and general Sales taxes
  • Liquor license (if alcohol is served)
  • Current fire extinguisher test tags on each unit
  • Current inspection certificate on the fire alarm panel

and the certificate of insurance should be available for your inspection.

You can check the list of all State licensed accommodation (and restaurants) in Vermont. If it’s not there, it’s not licensed.

Vermont’s Mad Marathon

June 23, 2013 by Katie Pate

The organizers call it “The World’s Most Beautiful Marathon” and you aren’t going to hear us disagree! Our bed and breakfast is in the Mad River Valley because this place is truly a year-round natural wonderland. We think the marathon is a wonderful and sustainable way for folks to see this corner of the nation we love so much, hence we are a sponsor again this year.

If you are a runner, no matter your skill level, we encourage you to come to central Vermont for the Third Annual Mad Marathon, taking place on July 7.

You will be running through our extraordinary community on back roads, some of which will be gravel. There will be breathtaking views of the Green Mountains, challenging rolling farmlands with tough climbs and descents.MMLogo Cruise through quaint villages, under covered bridges, past old barns and fields of famous Vermont cows!

The marathon course is certified and sanctioned by the US Track & Field.  The certification number is VT11012RF and is a Boston Marathon qualifier. Walkers are more than welcome for the Mad Half and there is also a category for Mad Half Walkers.

Marathon Course Description

The race starts at the Mad River Green in central Waitsfield Village, heading north on Rte. 100. You will pass under a covered bridge almost immediately and your first hill at around mile one. Once you finish your climb up Joslin Hill Road, you will head gently downhill for about 2.5 miles. Once you hit the third aid station, you will be on dirt roads through farmlands until about mile six.

You get to our neck of the woods, Warren, at just over 12 miles into the route. You will spend about 3 miles running on East Warren through rolling countryside.  When you reach Roxbury Mountain Road, you take a four mile loop amongst back country lanes before returning to East Warren Road around mile 19 and heading back to the Finish line. See the full route and map on the Mad Marathon website.

Lodging for the Mad Marathon

Our bed and breakfast is seven miles from the starting point of the race. You can see a video about our Inn on the Course Map page. We are delighted to be full for the weekend with Marathon runners— and we wish them all good luck!

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