West Hill House B&B

Category Archives: Mad River Valley

Glider Rides above the Mad River Valley

June 9, 2013 by Katie Pate

One of the most beautiful soaring sites in the United States is right here in the Mad River Valley. See the stunning Vermont landscape in a whole new way: from above. Warren-Sugarbush Airport, less than five miles from our Inn, is a well-known glider airport and home to Sugarbush Soaring. It has served as the venue for National Championship Soaring events.

The airport provides sightseeing rides – a particular joy for anyone who loves heights and lives for a great view. A glider ride is a wonderful gift – for a birthday, romantic anniversary, Father’s Day, you name it.Soaring_SB_Soaring

Sugarbush Soaring offers 15, 20, and 30 minute rides. Experienced commercial pilots treat you to a magnificent view of the Mad River Valley. On a clear day you can see the Adirondacks and Lake Champlain to the west, Camel’s Hump and Mt. Mansfield to the north, and Mt. Washington and the White Mountains to the east.  In the fall – when the mountains turn fiery with fall foliage – the view is truly spectacular.

Call the office at (802) 496-2290 for current rates.

Types of Glider Soaring

Circling Thermal Lift
Thermal lift is the most common in soaring and is formed when solar radiation heats the ground which then heats the surrounding air. Rising like a hot air balloon, the warm air forms thermals, a source of surprisingly strong lift.

Ridge Lift
Ridge lift is completely different. Formed when the wind is at right angles to a ridge line, ridge lift can extend for hundreds of miles along a mountain range. Sailplane pilots have flown over a thousand miles in ridge lift.

Wave Lift
Soaring in mountain waves is for many glider pilots the epitome of the soaring experience. Under certain atmospheric conditions, huge standing waves of rising and falling air can form on the leeward side of a mountain, just as the water ripples downstream of a rock. Point the ship’s nose into the wind and enjoy the elevator ride up at sometimes 1,500 feet per minute while staying over the same point on the ground far below.

Spring Lodging in Mad River Valley

Come to Warren this spring and experience the gentler (and greener) side of Vermont. Once the skiing is over, all kinds of other outdoor activities like its place – like golf, hiking, cycling and gliding. For whatever adventure lies ahead of you, make West Hill Bed and Breakfast your home base for exploring central Vermont.

Springtime in the Mad River Valley

April 24, 2013 by Katie Pate

For us, Spring in Vermont is about rejuvenation. After a long cold winter, we like to stretch our legs and watch springtime bring life back into the plants and ecosystems of this beautiful valley. A popular activity during this season is nature and wildlife photography.

With rivers and creeks melting, buds popping out on branches and flowers pushing their way up, the opportunity capturing these transitions in photos abounds.

Look for and film birds migrating back to their summer homes during this time of year. The fields, meadows, ridge tops and hillsides of the Mad River Valley provide excellent habitat for Northern Forest bird species. Some of these include Bicknell’s Thrush, Scarlet Tanager and Black-throated Blue Warbler.

The spring migration welcomes the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Common Yellowthroat, Indigo Bunting, and Meadowlark back to the Mad River Valley. spring-budsTake a drive to Vermont’s Green Mountain Audubon Center in Huntington (about 45 minutes from the Inn) featuring 5 miles of birding trails, a butterfly garden, and a sensory trail. Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS) North Branch in Montpelier is celebrating 10 years with 10 free bird walks in Central Vermont this spring.

Other fun ways to spend a spring weekend at our bed and breakfast – get together with friends or family for a group project like quilting or scrapbooking. We have a beautiful boardroom table available for up to 12 people, and the bright Sun Room can seat up to 16. In the warmer months, our covered Garden Terrace is a great place for a group gathering and can seat up to 30 people. The Living Room and Library can serve as additional break-out rooms.

Lastly – take some scenic drives through the Valley. A landscape cloaked in the myriad shades of light green is the signature of springtime in Vermont. Vermont Route 100 & 100B, as well as Rt 17 to the top of the Appalachian Gap have been designated as the Mad River Scenic Byway, stretching from Middlesex to Granville. View covered bridges, a winding roadside river, waterfalls, historic architecture and working farms along the byway.

 

 

Snowshoe Vermont’s Mad River Valley

February 24, 2013 by Katie Pate

Are you interested in exploring Vermont back country this winter? Why not have a true backwoods snowshoe experience with Clearwater Sports? We think this company offers superb tours through unmarked and off-trail areas. On special dates you can snowshoe through the scenic Mad River Valley forest to a secluded log cabin nestled into the woods and enjoy a warm fire, delicious hors d’oeuvres and a hearty, down-home Vermont dinner. Here is more information about the tours that Clearwater Sports offers through the Mad River Valley. Come up to Vermont and enjoy the end of the winter!

For the speed seekers: Meet the Rocketsled!

Try out the infamous Mad River Rocketsled. Conceived and built here in Warren, Vermont, this totally controllable sled allows you to carve down the mountains.

The rocketsled! Brought to your by Clearwater Sports in Warren VT

The rocketsled! Brought to your by Clearwater Sports in Warren VT

Snowshoe up the Green Mountains along the Lincoln Gap road, which is closed during the winter. This curvy, steep road becomes your rocketsled route the whole length down. You can control your speed by the way you carve your way down. This is a fun and safe adventure that will make you feel like an Olympic champion! $55 per person (including equipment rental) 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily, reservations required.

Vermont Back Country Snowshoe Tours

Clearwater Sports offers true backwoods experiences with experienced guides. The showshoe trips lasts three hours and brings you to unmarked and off-trail areas. Choose a level of difficulty from beginner or if you are able, a more strenuous level. Guides are naturalists that provide plenty fun animal tracking and naturalist skills. This is a truly wonderful Vermont winter experience!

A Big Breakfast and a Beautiful Bed

Complete your winter trip to Vermont by staying at our B&B. Whether you plan to hit the slopes or snowshoe, we know a hot and filling breakfast is the right way to start your day. Every morning, we serve a three course breakfast. Menu items in the past included: Sweet Pepper Scrambled Eggs, Breakfast Casserole, Ginger Pancakes with Lemon Sauce, Pain Perdu (French Toast) with local Mad River Valley Maple Syrup, Asparagus filled Crêpes, or Granny’s Cheesy Soufflé. Along with amazing breakfasts, we have nine private, unique and comfortable guest rooms. We look forward to seeing you this winter!

 

 

A Co-Op Ski Resort? Welcome to Mad River Glen!

February 18, 2013 by Katie Pate

One of the aspects of Mad River Glen that makes it so unique: the ski resort is a co-op. Those that love this place are committed to seeing it remain in pristine condition. Plus, everyone skiing is happy to be there – they love Mad River! So even on busy weekends, the crowds are personable, not snarly or competitive.

But please note: there is no snowboarding at Mad River Glen.

About Skiing at Mad River Glen

Mad River Glen is famous for its beautiful and varied trails, with routes for both beginners, intermediates and experts. It is also home to the nation’s last surviving single chairlift – which was completely rebuilt a few years ago.

The extensive trail system follows the contours of General Stark mountain to a single base area, making it easy for families and friends to ski together. Located in the “snow corner” of New England, Mad River’s 250 inches of annual snowfall combined with a pristine mountain environment to create a wonderful skiing experience!

West Hill House Bed and Breakfast Ski & Stay Package

For the rest of the 2013 ski season, West Hill House bed and breakfast has a great deal for any skier. Until March 31st (with some blackout periods) we have three and four day ski packages that include lodging and breakfast at West Hill House, along with “passports” for skiing at Mad River Glen, Sugarbush and Ole’s cross-country skiing.

Mad River Glen

The Innkeepers at Mad River Glen

These Ski Passports also include coupons for discounts or freebies at local stores and restaurants.

Come during the week and stay for four days. Come during a weekend and stay for three days. The price for both packages is the same. So, if you can afford to get away during the week, you get rewarded with a better deal and less crowded skiing conditions!

Transport to the Ski Resorts

The Lincoln Peak base at Sugarbush is only two minutes away and there is a free shuttle bus from our front door. You can come back anytime during the day. Mad River Glen is about a 15 minute drive, and Olé’s is about a 10 minute drive.

Ski & Stay & Save at Sugarbush & MRG

November 28, 2012 by Peter MacLaren

Sugarbush Quad-PackThe snow is flying, Sugarbush is open and Mad River Glen is opening soon.  It’s time to plan to your ski vacation!

You have an IMMEDIATE, but fleeting, opportunity to get a great deal on Sugarbush ski tickets for the coming season with their Quad-Pack.  The great thing about this pack is that there are no black-outs and you can share it.  So 4 unrestricted tickets at $50 each! These are ideal if you plan to ski during Christmas week, MLK weekend or President’s Week as our Ski and Stay Passport is blacked-out at those times. But you must buy them in advance on or before November 30th.

From December 15th onwards, other than the black-out dates, our Ski and Stay Passport offers great value as you can ski freely at Mad River Glen, Sugarbush and Olé’s cross-country, as well as enjoy offers and freebies at local stores and restaurants most evenings.

If you are planning to come during the Christmas season from December 21st to January 1st, please finalize your plans now!  We do have some rooms still available for some dates, but we are filling up fast!

The Red Chair visits West Hill House B&B

November 2, 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.

 

Soaring over the Mad River Valley

October 17, 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 5, 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.

Happy 4th of July!

July 4, 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 21, 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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