West Hill House B&B

Category Archives: Summer activities

The Road Less Traveled – Draw Bridge on Route 2

July 13, 2012 by Peter MacLaren

VT Route 2 through Lake Champlain Islands

Courtesy of Google Maps – click for larger view

For our guests from the north and west, a delightful daytime route in the summer to West Hill House from northern New York State is Route 2 down the island chain in Lake Champlain.The road runs from just the south and east of Alburg to I89 intersection 17 just north of Burlingon, and is the alternative to following Route 78 from the same point over to Swanton and I89 intersection 21 (which is the faster route).

In addition to driving through picturesque small communities and having marvelous views of the lake, you will go over an arm of Lake Champlain on the North Hero – Grand Isle Draw Bridge. This structure was built in the 1950’s and consists of a double leaf bascule* girder draw bridge with a total draw span of 130 feet.

We were driving on the route this week and were fortunate to arrive to find the bridge open to allow the passage of a small yacht. When you are taking the road less travelled this kind of interruption is not a delay but an added attraction! We enjoyed the wait by taking some photographs.

The bridge operator told us that the draw bridge is opened for lake traffic every half hour on the hour and half hour from 8AM to 8PM if a boat is waiting.

North Hero – Grand Isle Draw Bridge open Waiting at North Hero – Grand Isle Draw Bridge
Yacht traversing the North Hero – Grand Isle Draw Bridge The North Hero – Grand Isle Draw Bridge closing
The North Hero – Grand Isle Draw Bridge re-opening for traffic North Hero – Grand Isle Draw Bridge

*A bascule bridge is a moveable bridge with a counterweight that continuously balances the span.

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!

National Parks Week April 21-29

May 21, 2012 by Peter MacLaren

In Vermont we are proud of our woodlands, our mountains and our waterways. In fact, the mission of our Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation is to practice and encourage a high quality of stewardship of Vermont’s environment by managing forests for sustainable use and by providing and promoting opportunities for compatible outdoor recreation. This mission echos the concern for the environment expressed by John Muir in the late 1800′s as he explored the vast magnificence of the natural wonders of the US west.

John Muir, a Scottish born American naturalist was an early advocate of the preservation of the American wilderness. His many writings tell of his adventures in nature and especially his love of the Sierra Nevada. An outspoken supporter and active defender of  nature preservation,  his enthusiasm for nature was boundless.

An early advocate of the idea of national parks, Muir petitioned the US Congress to pass the Nation Park bill which, when passed in 1890, brought about the creation of both Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks. Today the name John Muir graces numerous trails, glaciers, camp-grounds and monuments in national park lands. Founded by Muir, The Sierra Club continues to be one of the most active and important conservation groups today.

If you watched the Ken Burns documentary on the National Parks you will remember the first part focuses on the life of John Muir.

Today in the United States, this Scottish born naturalist is referred to as the “Father of the National Parks”. Thank a Scot and go out and enjoy a national park this week.  April 21-29 isNational Parks Week .

Father of the National Parks John Muir

"Father of the National Parks" John Muir April 21, 1838- December 24, 1914

 

Church Street Burlington

March 23, 2012 by Peter MacLaren

The Church Street Marketplace, Downtown Burlington Vermont’s award-winning open air mall, is a hub of activity where you’ll find historical architecture, year-round festivals, street entertainers, music, over 100 places to shop and dine, and even quiet places to ponder.

Church Street is a great place to visit when you come to West Hill House, in particular during the summer months.

Susan and Peter had the opportunity of spending a couple of hours there on March 22nd, during a day of record setting temperatures in the 80s F, above 25 C. The gorgeous weather allowed us to take the photographs below.

Church Street, Burlington

Looking north on Church Street

"Big" Joe Burrell

Caption for "Big" Joe Burrell

One of the many café's and restaurants


Bear sculpture in front of City Hall


Spring crocuses

Ben & Jerry's - of course

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