We’ve found it! The Pot of Gold is in the Mad River Valley!
November brought us 11″ (28cm) of snow for our Thanksgiving Day guests to enjoy and 60°F (15°C) weather a few days later. November also brought us this magnificent rainbow on the 30th. While we can’t guarantee you a rainbow or a pot of gold when you visit West Hill House B&B, Sugarbush or Mad River Glen, we can guarantee you beautiful scenery and warm Mad River Valley hospitality.
Picture yourself doing your Christmas shopping and enjoying Christmas music in the quiet serenity of the green mountains of Vermont.
Saturday, December 3 marks the 13th annual Country Christmas Open House in the Mad River Valley. Over 30 local shops and services are offering special discounts which will make your pocketbook happy and may offer free refreshments which will make your tummy happy. Pick up a punch card at any merchants displaying the Participating Merchant sign then visit 5 businesses and have your card punched at each. When you leave your card with the 5th business it will be entered for a prize drawing. Check out the list of participating merchants and services.
On Friday, December 9 The Vermont Symphony Orchestra presents Holiday Pops “Fun and Games” at the Barre Opera House, just under one hour from West Hill House. Favorite Christmas music with a twist as they take a look at the youthful side of the holiday. Fun for everyone. Tickets required.
Thursday, December 15 the Warren United Church will host the Vermont Symphony’s Brass Quintet and Counterpoint for a perfect mix of brass and voices to ring in the season. Free admission although tickets are required.(802-496-9714).
And of course the area also offers skiing and riding at Sugarbush, skiing at Mad River Glen, and cross country skiing at Ole’s and Blueberry Lake. Dog sled rides, sledding, skating, and moonlight snowshoe tours are just some of the other ways to enjoy a white Christmas in Vermont – oh and you can also curl up with a warm beverage and watch the movie White Christmas.
As a special ‘Thank You’ to US and Canadian, retired and active military, West Hill House joins with many other B&Bs across Canada and the US in offering one free night of accommodation for military personnel on November 10, 2011 in either the Garden Room or the Highland Room (occupancy 2 people per room). We are also offering additional nights at a 50% discount. Of course our wonderful breakfast is included.
Come relax and enjoy Vermont hospitality in the peaceful surroundings of the the Mad River Valley in the heart of the Green Mountains. Our regular cancellation policies apply and a cc is required to hold the reservation. Proof of status may be requested upon check in.
This ‘Thank You’ Special is valid for the nights of Nov 9 – 13, 2011. Call to reserve. See you soon.
Here in the Mad River Valley we eagerly await the arrival of those of you who are coming to enjoy the many activities this area has to offer. Whether you come in your 1941 Oldsmobile, your mini-van or your little red sports car, come with a smile and you’ll have a great time!
True, much of Vermont has been extremely hard hit by flooding and a number of town have been isolated due to damaged roads and bridges. Many of our local businesses and farms have suffered significant losses. But take note, Vermonters are a tough and determined lot and we are all working hard to get our beautiful state cleaned up. Here in the Mad River Valley the road crews have been hard at work since the rain stopped and neighbors are helping neighbors with clean up.
If you are traveling to The Mad River Valley along Interstate Highway 89 you will want to take exit 10 (only – not any other exit). Please don’t rely on your GPS just now, it may not be up to date with certain rural road closures or detours. Highway 89 is operating normally throughout Vermont and for those of you traveling from MA, we understand the Mass Turnpike/I93 is operating normally.
I87 in NY appears to have some areas where there are detours. Also if you are coming this way, plan your route through Vermont taking account of the latest updates from 511.Vermont, as there are currently road closures on Route 4 east of Rutland, Route 7 north of Rutland and Route 100 south of Warren. Taking the ferry across at Crown Point then Route 17 through Bristol then over the Lincoln Gap looks best at the moment.
As always check the Directions on our website for the latest guidance.
The mountains are still beautiful, the leaves will still be exhibiting their magnificent colors come foliage and you will find innkeepers, restauranteurs and shopkeepers happy to welcome you to their little piece of beautiful Vermont.
Route 100 near Jamieson Insurance, David Dion Realty and Alteris in Waitsfield VT
Well, it has been quite an amazing 24 hours! As with most of you, we were hooked on the weather channel keeping up to date with the progress of Irene. Our trusty garden rain gauge measured 6″ of rain between 8:30 yesterday morning and the same time this morning. We forgot to put the gauge out on Saturday evening when the rain started. The winds were not too extreme so with the exception of a few limbs, all our trees are still with us.
Being on the mountain side, our B&B was certainly not hit as hard as those of you along the coast in the direct path or our friends and neighbors in the lower elevations in the towns of Waitsfield and Warren.
The Mad River Valley did get an enormous amount of flooding. The Mad River lived up to its name. The lovely Pitcher Inn’s kitchen and wine bar, Tracks, were flooded with 4′ of water and they are now digging out – literally. Many farmers lost their crops under copious amounts of water–hopefully their animals are all safe. All this after finally getting crops in following huge flooding in May. Lots of roads and bridges are washed out so travel is quite disrupted. Nearby towns including Montpelier, our state capital, were again inundated.
We trust that our guests and friends up and down the eastern seaboard–both in the US and Canada–are safe.
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.