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.
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.
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.
You 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!
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.
While 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:
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.
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. 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!
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.
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.
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. Take 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.
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
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!
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.
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.
The 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!