West Hill House B&B

Category Archives: Mad River Valley

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.

A 4th of July to Remember

June 16, 2012 by Susan

Red stunt planeOur Sap-bucket list is overflowing with activities for one super week of 4th of July celebrations for all tastes and interests!

The 3rd annual Stars and Stripes Air Show on June 30 will bring excitement to the Sugarbush Airport in Warren with vintage planes, stunt flying by both planes and gliders, glider rides, classic motorcycles, food and fun for children and adults alike. Tickets may be purchased on line or at the gate. Check out the air show website for more information and some video of last year’s show. Sorry but dogs and coolers must be left at home.
Cooking class

If cooking is your delight, you can learn to impress your family and friends at the cooking classes at The Kitchen at The Store in Waitsfield.  Chef John shares his wisdom and makes learning in the kitchen most enjoyable.

On Saturday, Chef’s Table-Aound the World offers participants not only the opportunity to create food from 4 different countries but to eat it too!

July 2 and 3 will have you creating scrumptious pies at the Butter, Sugar & Sin-Pies class and the Easy Entertaining-Soups and Paninis classes. The best thing is you don’t have to be an expert cook to take these classes, they are fun for all skill levels.

Of course on the 4th of July is the world famous, wild and wacky, 4th of July Parade which makes its way down the main street of Warren to the delight of thousands, yes thousands, of spectators. Family fun, kids games, music, food an more follow the parade in the town as well as up at Sugarbush. FireworksThe parade starts at 10AM but be there early, no cars are allowed in town but buses will be making the circuit from various parking places to town. The day closes with a bang a fireworks will light the sky over Sugarbush starting shortly after 9PM.

As well as all these activities, don’t forget there are mountain walks, energetic hikes, river and lake kayaking, refreshing swimming holes, eclectic shopping, golf and plenty of relaxing to be had here in the valley.

Join the residents of the Mad River Valley and celebrate the 4th of July Vermont style. With the many lodging opportunities here in the Valley, from welcoming B&Bs to condos and rental houses, there will surely be something perfect for you.

See you soon!

Farmer’s Market

June 15, 2012 by Susan

Waitsfield Famers' MarketA must on our Sap-bucket list is our local Farmers’ Market which is held every Saturday morning from now until October 20th–rain or shine–on the Mad River Green in Waitsfield.

Local farmers bring a vast array of items including seedling plants, freshly harvested vegetables and fruits, cheeses, local meats, maple syrup, honey, eggs, jams and fresh baking–ummm I can almost smell the fresh pies! When you are at the market, be sure to visit the artisans’ booths where you’ll see beautiful intricate blown glass, colorful woven goods, hand crafted wooden items, finely turned pottery pieces and much more. Everything’s super and everything’s for sale.

If you are visiting the valley and had to leave your canine baby at home you’ll especially love the Waitsfield Farmers’ Market as dogs are invited to attend as long as they promise to stay on their leash and  be polite and friendly to everyone they meet.

Sap-bucket list

June 10, 2012 by Susan

What’s on your bucket list?

There are so many wonderful places to visit and things to do in Vermont that we have created none other than our own Vermont Sap-Bucket list!

In the 6 years we have been in Vermont we have taken the opportunity explore this wonderful Green Mountain state. We’re excited when our guests ask “What’s there to do in Vermont?” because we are more than happy to fill them in on what’s what.

As our guests at West Hill House B&B, we will help you to plan your itinerary and activities by providing you with ideas based on your interests and driving routes that will show off the beautiful scenery.

So we invite you watch this space for our Sap-bucket list.

Fall In Love with Vermont

May 21, 2012 by Peter MacLaren

Total relaxation at West Hill House

  • Does adventure mean exploring quiet back roads, hiking beautiful forested trails, jumping into cool river swimming holes, kayaking down splashing rivers or  sailing on pristine lakes?
  • Would you get a thrill out of soaring over the hilltops in a glider? Does the thrill of the hunt mean looking for treasures at antique shops and purchasing produce at  farmers’ markets?
  • Do you enjoy the excitement of country fairs? Are you fascinated watching artisans at work?
  • Do you search for enticing shops in quaint villages?
  • Does relaxation at the end of the day mean enjoying the hospitality of a bed and breakfast?
  • Are you a fan of opera, art exhibits, five-star dining or quick lunches in little cafés?
  • Want to add to your birding list?
  • Does relaxation mean contemplating life while sitting in a beautiful garden or gently swaying in a hammock?

Answer “Yes” to any of these questions and you may not know it, but you’ve already fallen in love with Vermont. All this and more is part of our way if life in the magnificent state of Vermont.

Whether your summer takes you to Bennington in the south, Warren and Sugarbush in the Mad River Valley in the center of the state or to the spectacular scenery of the Northeast Kingdom, we invite you to come to Vermont for romance, relaxation and recreation. Vermont has it all – see you soon.

Summer fun on the Winooski River

Summer fun on the Winooski River

Picnic by the pond

May 21, 2012 by Peter MacLaren

West Hill House Bed and Breakfast

Grace & Charlie enjoy a picnic.

A basket filled with Vermont cider, cheeses, crackers, home made cookies and other goodies brings smiles to Grace and Charlie who welcomed the warm spring weather with a picnic by our pond. Spring has indeed sprung in the Mad River Valley. Signs of the season are all around us; chipmunks are sunning themselves on the rocks, peepers are singing our guests to sleep each evening and our beautiful gardens are coming back to life with brilliant daffodils now in bloom. We won’t even mind a few April showers. Sugarbush has opened the golf course, folks are out walking and cycling as well as hiking on the many local Green Mountain trails.

Though we can’t guarantee that there will be warm picnic weather when you come, we can guarantee that a warm welcome awaits you.

See you soon!

A Gem of a Restaurant

March 28, 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.

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