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!
Last week West Hill House lost part of an old friend. Our Sickle Tree dating from before the Civil War was deemed unsafe and had to be largely removed.
A Sickle Tree illustrates the tradition of farmers hanging their sickle in a tree on the property when they went off to war, then retrieving it on their return – if indeed they did. While we have no specific records we assume it was a member of the original Allen family who had the house built around 1856 who never returned to resume work on the farm.
Since we bought West Hill House in 2006 Adam Whitney of Whitney Tree Service has been carefully pruning dead limbs. As you can see on the right of the top photo the tree has not been in good shape for many years. However when Adam inspected it this year he advised that the tree was largely dead and was being dramatically weakened by various fungal growths. So as the tree is right beside West Hill Road and there was a danger that it could fall across the road at any time, we took the difficult decision to have it largely cut down.
The base of the tree up to the fork where the sickle was imbedded has been retained, so the history is preserved even if the grandeur of the original tree has now been lost.
Of course the property still has many maple tree that date to the same era and probably earlier, that still surround the house on the east and south sides, as well as on the north side of the barn.
You can see more photos on our Facebook Page, and many photos of the maples tree on and near the property in the fall in our photo albums.
Yankee, in the July/August 2011 magazine, ranked the Waitsfield Farmers’ Market as one of the 5 best Farmers’ Markets in New England. Here’s what they say…
Waitsfield Farmers’ Market
It seems that the entire population of the Mad River Valley turns out to partake in a boisterous round of festivities: face painting, arts and crafts, live music, picnicking, and more. More than 60 vendors; space is equally shared among agricultural, craft, and prepared-food booths. Mad River Green, off Main St. (Route 100), Waitsfield. Saturdays 9am-1pm, May-October. waitsfieldfarmersmarket.com
We agree! This weekend, whether you are here to attend the Vermont Symphony outdoor concert, the Warren July 4th parade, the air show or the fireworks at Sugarbush be sure you take in the fun and excitement of the Farmers’ Market. On this July 4th long weekend it will be the place to be if you are in the Mad River Valley on Saturday morning.
The holiday weekend in Warren is chock full of excitement this year, starting on Friday July 1st and running through to Monday July 4th. Plan to stay at West Hill House for all four nights and we will make all the arrangements you need to enjoy your visit at an all inclusive price!
July 1st. The Vermont Symphony Orchestra offers “Symphony Royale” with Anthony Princiotti, conducting music fit for a king…or a summer evening in Vermont! Handel’s fireworks begin the program and Northstar’s fireworks conclude it, in this musical homage to royalty. The noble procession includes Scheherazade’s Kalendar Prince, the King and Queen of Troy, and the King of Siam. In honor of Independence Day, we celebrate our freedom from monarchical rule with America’s own version of royalty, Duke Ellington! The performance will be crowned, as always, by the majestic 1812 Overture and selections from Sousa, the March King. The performance is being hosted at Sugarbush.
The gates open at 5:00 PM for an included barbecue dinner and the concert begins at 7:30 PM.
Waitsfield Farmers' Market
George Bernard Shaw
July 2nd. The renowned Waitsfield Farmers’ Market will be open from 9AM till 1PM. You will find fresh produce, flowers, seedlings, honey, wool, eggs, meat, cheese and other farm products. In addition you will find crafts made in Vermont, baked goods, and prepared food. There will also be live entertainment provided by local musicians. You will also find community groups such as the Vermont Festival of the Arts, Localvores, local libraries and fire departments.
Dinner on Saturday evening will be your choice from the many excellent nearby restaurants.
Still on July 2nd enjoy a performance by the excellent Valley Players of the classic George Bernard Shaw’s play “Arms and the Man”.
The play is set during the four-month-long Serbo-Bulgarian War that occurred between November 1885 and March 1886, this play is a satire on the absurdity of glorifying war, as well as a satire on the foolishness of basing your affections on idealistic notions of love. These themes brought reality and a timeless lesson to the comic stage. Consequently, once Shaw’s genius was recognized, Arms and the Man became one of Shaw’s most popular plays and has remained a classic ever since. The Performance starts at 7:30PM.
On Sunday July 3rd enjoy the Stars and Stripes Charity Airshow at Warren-Sugarbush airport featuring bi-plane aerobatics and other great stunts. This year there will be a model airplane demo, glider aerobatics and with both vintage plans and classic motorcycles on display. Check the video to see what you will be in for! Gates open at 11:00 a.m. and show starts at 1:00 p.m. All proceeds to benefit the Vermont National Guard Charitable Foundation, a nonprofit organization which serves to meet the emergency financial needs of the men and women of the Vermont National Guard and their families.
The Common Man
On Sunday evening we will make reservations for you at The Common Man Restaurant, in our view the best restaurant in the area. (It will be open specially for the Sunday of the holiday weekend.)
Over 150 years old, the soaring hand hewn rafters of the timbered interior are lit by crystal chandeliers, soft candlelight, and a huge open-hearth manor fireplace in season. (See the photo alongside.) Dining is elegantly casual and casually elegant, definitely romantic, and is applauded by Vermonters and visitors alike. The restaurant has earned scores of prestigious awards.
Then the pièce de resistance on Monday, the 63rd consecutive Warren 4th of July Parade.
The event celebrates independence with a wild, wacky, and wickedly fun parade, street dance, and family festivities! The theme is “ACT LIKE A LOCAL:_________” (blank to be filled in by the participants!). This is always an “interesting” event with political correctness being left at home as floats assembled by area denizens broadcast their point of view to visitors from far and wide! The Parade starts at 10AM. Live Music will begin following the parade with Jimmy Yozell at the Warren Store porch for the big street dance and Mad Mountain Scramblers at Brooks Field (elementary school), a short walk from the village.
The video was compiled by Sugarbush from last year’s parade.
On Monday evening West Hill House will provide an alfresco dinner sitting out on our Garden Terrace overlooking our gardens. Then in the evening about 9:45PM you can watch an amazing Fireworks display at Sugarbush.
Enjoy this exciting and unique long weekend with an all inclusive price from West Hill House, with four night packages starting at $999 per couple. The price includes tickets for all the events and meals described above, one of our beautiful well appointed en-suite queen-bedded guest rooms for four nights, and breakfast each morning of course. (Only extras are lunches, dinner at your choice of restaurant on Saturday evening and any alcoholic drinks.) We will also be happy to customize the weekend package to your preferences. Tickets for the various events are subject to availability.
Three cousins visiting from France delighted us with this guest blog about their visit to the Mad River Valley. Nous disons, “Merci, Fanny, Audrey, et Valerie pour votre visite.”
Nous avons passé quelques jours au West Hill House chez Susan et Peter en août 2010. Et quel séjour au coeur des Green Mountains, dans le Vermont. Les hôtes sont charmants et très accueillants, heureux de nous faire partager leur passion pour leur magnifique région. La maison est très jolie et confortable, rappelant les maisons Américaines (exterieur), Canadiennes et Ecossaises (intérieur). Quant aux petits déjeuners de Susan : exquis !! Et en tant que Français, tout le monde sait à quel point nous aimons les mets de qualité!
Et pour finir deux grands chats adorables : Smoky et Snowball!
La région du Vermont vaut le détour : de belles randonnées dans les Green Montains, des baignades dans la rivière, beaucoup d’expositions d’artistes et artisans d’art, The Warren store à voir absolument (Magasin qui rappelle le magasin de Mr Olson dans la petite maison dans la prairie!!), vous pourrez y déguster de délicieux petits plats et trouver des objets insolites, The Store à Waitsfield (petite ville à quelque kilometres de Warren) où l’on vous accueille avec une tasse de thé ou de café, vous y trouverez tout le necessaire pour cuisiner : des ustensiles aux condiments. Cette région regorge de “red barn” = fermes typiques rouges, de ponts couverts, et de restaurants où nous avons toujours très bien mangé.
Bref, je gardais du Vermont un souvenir exceptionnel, 15 ans après mon premier voyage, j’ai retrouvé la même authenticité et le même accueil chaleureux.
N’hésitez plus, West Hill House et le Vermont sont des lieux que l’on n’oublie pas ! Pour ma part, je reviendrai en automne ou en hiver, cela doit être magique!
My husband and I celebrated our 30th Anniversary with a 3 week New England vacation in October. It had always been my dream to see the fall foliage and experience the charm of New England and we were not disappointed.
We saw many beautiful areas but when people ask me what was my favorite part, I do not hesitate to respond. West Hill House in Warren, Vermont was tops! Our expectations were exceeded in every way. Peter and Susan made us feel like family the moment we arrived. We even did laundry in the newly renovated barn.
Their home is gorgeous, spacious and so relaxing. There are large areas to sit and enjoy quiet time or visit with wonderful guests. The grounds are stunning and the fall colors were absolutely vivid. We loved taking early morning walks and photographing all the beauty that we were surrounded by. My husband thought the golf course would be fun to try sometime.
Susan’s breakfasts were absolutely delicious and Peter spent a good amount of time mapping out drive routes for our visit. The surrounding area offers so many wonderful restaurants and things to see and do. We saw covered bridges and had fun at the Ben & Jerry’s factory tour. We ate one night at American Flatbread and waiting is half the fun. There are bonfires outside and people just enjoying each other. The food was made with organic ingredients and was fresh and yummy.
My only regret is that 2 nights was not nearly long enough and I was sad when it was time for us to leave. I keep telling my husband that for any occasion he can give me a gift certificate to West Hill House! I hope we can come back soon and I thank Peter and Susan for truly making our dream a reality.
Editor: An addition to Susie’s comments is that she is an exceptional photographer. She shared some of her photos with us and the one shown is a beautiful view of our barn from behind the Beaver Pond.
Last weekend we attended our local Thanksgiving Mad River Valley Farmers’ Market. There was a definite feeling of winter in the air so it was fortunate that this event was held indoors at the Inn at the Round Barn Farm.
What a variety of food, handicrafts and even some music! Locals and visitors alike wandered among the displays filling their bags with local fare.
Everything from beautiful handicrafts, to amazing cheeses made by Three Shepherds Cheese (we really liked the strong King Louis cheese), to chair massages from Mad River Massage (always relaxing), to a magnificent array of vegetables from local farms. The amazing displays pictured here are from David Hartshorns’ Santa Davida Farm.
Although this is our last Farmers’ Market for the year we invite you to come experience our winter wonderland – see our immediately prior blog entry about Ski Time in the Mad River Valley – then return next summer to visit our Summer Farmers’ Market held every Saturday morning from Memorial Day through to the end of October.
The First Annual Mad Marathon is scheduled for July 10, 2011 in the gorgeous Mad River Valley, located in Central Vermont.
You will be running through this extraordinary rural community on 26.2 miles of back and dirt roads, with breathtaking views of the Green Mountains, rolling farm lands, quaint villages, historical barns, covered bridges and fields of our famous Vermont cows!
Wow – we had a lot of rain in the Mad River Valley over the last couple of days. All of the North East was inundated. While we had no problems at West Hill House (we are almost 1000 ft above the valley floor, so well away from surging rivers), there were a few problems that needed remedial action along Route 100. The photographs on the Valley Reporter website tell the story. The photo shown here, from their collection, is an amazing view of the Warren Falls taken by Jeremy Montemagni.
However the good news is that it is over. Sun is forecast for the next 10 days, the colors are amazing both on the trees and among the leaves already on the ground, so come and admire the foliage. We still have some openings this week (October 3rd and 4th only), and we still have our amazing and fun “Leak Raving Special” open from the 17th onwards.