West Hill House B&B

Category Archives: West Hill House B&B

Calling All B&B First timers…

May 17, 2016 by Peter MacLaren

Guests Marie & Matt McCrary

Guests Marie & Matt McCrary

We all know you always remember your first time and West Hill House B&B is out to be the place for “B&B virgins” to try their first B&B getaway.

All B&B first-timers are invited to enter the “B&B Virgins” contest to evolve to becoming an inn-convert.  All you have to do is tell us why you’ve never stayed at a B&B and what you hope it’ll be like. Then explain why we should pick you by filling out an easy form. Then as a B&B first-timer you may just be on your way to your first B&B getaway.

Two B&B newbies will be awarded with a complimentary two-day getaway each month in June, July and August.  West Hill House B&B is out to turn hotel, motel, campground and vacation rental fans into inngoers this summer!

Good news! If you have stayed at an AirBnB you can still enter, as that was not the REAL B&B experience!

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Welcome! So many ways to be friendly

April 16, 2016 by Susan

It’s summer vacation time and no matter where your  travels may take you, it is nice to be given a warm welcome upon arrival at your destination.

Fredericksburg Texas, now there’s a town that knows how to welcome folks!

Some years ago, I went on a girls-weekend to A Place In Time B&B in Fredericksburg, TX. We chose the Ruby Bell Suite on the second floor as it was perfect for the three of us. We received a warm greeting from Jon (innkeeper/owner) as well as from the local shopkeepers and restaurant staff we met as we explored the area. In the intervening years I have continued to receive their newsletter, which highlights events going on at the B&B as well as festivals and activities in the town. The newsletter makes me feel welcomed all over again. While visiting this delightful town may not be in your immediate plans, I highly recommend a visit to Fredericksburg, TX because it’s a friendly and welcoming.

And why is this such a friendly and welcoming place? Because as the town points out…

Welcome spelled in street names

Taken from A Place in Time newsletter.

Isn’t this a wonderfully creative idea? Now we can’t all rename the streets in our towns but we can all give a warm welcome to visitors. Hospitality always gives visitors and guests feel a warm feeling. Whether you are greeted in your own language; Welcome! !Hola! Aloha! Bienvenue! Willkommen! Ciao! Välkomnde! or perhaps Witja!, or you meet with helpful folks when you need directions, receive excellent service in a shop, are greeted with a cheery smile from a local or are welcomed by the names of the streets, it’s a good feeling.

In the 10 years we have owned West Hill House B&B we have welcomed guests from every continent (we counted the scientist who had been stationed for a number of months in Antarctica). Whether you come for romance, relaxation or recreation, we will  be delighted to say “Welcome!” and extend the hospitality of West Hill House B&B to you. Come visit us and teach us to say “welcome” in your mother tongue!

Maple Syrup? Pancakes? Vermont’s Got It!

March 25, 2016 by Susan

Glenn at West Hill Maple Orchard

Glenn at the door of his West Hill Sugar Orchard

Maple syrup and Vermont go together like, well, maple syrup and pancakes! Forty years are required to grow a sugar maple tree large enough to tap. A tree ten inches (25 cm) in diameter is considered minimum trappable size for one tap. A grove of sugar maples is called a sugar bush or sometimes a maple orchard. It takes 4-5 taps to produce enough maple sap (40 gallons – 150 liters) to produce one gallon of syrup. And right now the sap is being boiled down to make the world famous Vermont Maple Syrup with Maple Festivals happening here in the Mad River Valley as well as across the state.

Maple Sap bucket

Maple Sap bucket

Vermont has strict Maple Laws governing the production of maple syrup to ensure that you get the highest quality maple syrup. For such a deliciously complex flavor, maple syrup is surprisingly simple to make. Seeping spring-time sap from a maple tree is collected and boiled down to a golden syrup. Nothing is added in the entire process and only water is removed, leaving one of nature’s remarkably culinary gifts.

For years, Vermont maple syrup has been divided into one of four grades based on color and flavor.  As consumer preference has changed over the past century, so too has the grading system evolved to provide a more accurate description based on consumer preference.  The names of each grade, however, did not necessarily provide a meaningful description of the syrup.  With the old system of grading, Grade B was often mistaken for being a lower quality than Grade A, when in fact the quality was just the same it just had a stronger taste.

Beginning in 2014, Vermont maple syrup producers started using a newly developed “Vermont” grading system that provides a better description of each grade, or class, of syrup.  

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Lorne Sausage is a great breakfast accompaniment.

March 6, 2016 by Susan

Serving it up 

Lorne Sausage, also known as Square Sausage, Flat Sausage or Slice Sausage, is a traditional Scottish  food made with beef and pork. It is said to have originated in Lorne, Argyll in Scotland. If you are in Scotland and ask for a full Scottish Breakfast you will see Lorne Sausage on your plate.

The following recipe is my version using turkey. It has received “thumbs up” from our guests who prefer not to eat beef or pork.

Ingredients:

Lorne sausage in a lined pan

Lorne Sausage ready for the first freezing.

  • 2 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 1/2 c. Fine Bread Crumbs   (seasoned or not as you prefer)
  • 1 tsp. Pepper
  • 1 tsp. Nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Coriander
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 3/4 c. of Water
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 3 T. Maple syrup (optional)

Method:

Slicing Lorne sausage ready for second freezing.

Slicing Lorne sausage ready for second freezing.

  • Mix really well by hand then place in a wax paper or saran lined oblong pan about 10″ x 4″ x 3″.
  • Fold the wrap over top of the meat and place in the freezer until it’s just starting to set.
  • Remove it from the pan and peel the paper away, it might be a bit sticky.
  • Cut into slices to the thickness you like.
  • Separate the slices with wax paper, wrap the whole sliced loaf in waxed paper and put it into a freezer bag and put it back in the freezer.
  • When required, pop off a slice, defrost and fry it in a little fat or oil until crispy brown and cooked through.

If you make this using the traditional recipe, instead of using ground turkey, use 1 lb. of ground beef and 1 lb. of ground pork – neither being too lean or the sausage will be dry. You may wish to leave out the egg as these meats will have more moisture than turkey. Recipe can be doubled however use a very large bowl.

I serve this on half a lightly toasted English muffin or Kaiser roll or on toast and topped with mornay sauce. Next time I think I will make it with chicken instead of turkey and see how that turns out.

Lorne sausage with a fried egg.

Lorne Sausage topped with a fried egg.

Dishing it out

When we travel in Scotland, if we aren’t staying with family, we usually stay at B&Bs as it is a real treat to have someone else make breakfast for us!

fry_up-e1418992494674

A typical Scottish Breakfast

If you have never had a typical Scottish Breakfast, aka ‘Fry Up’, at a B&B or hotel (if you must!) here is a sample of what you will find on your plate and traditionally it is the same breakfast which is served every day. Ready? Going clockwise: baked beans, parsley (just for show), fried mushrooms, tomatoes -again the basil is just so you can say you had something really healthy, pork sausages, bacon, Lorne sausage or haggis, and tattie (potato) scone. OK, push back from the table now and you’ll want to loosen your belt about now – or maybe reach for something to settle your tummy.

If you keep eating these breakfasts belt loosening won’t help, you’ll need new clothing. I certainly don’t recommend eating like this every day of your Scottish holiday but you need to do this a few times just for the experience! We get smart after a couple of days and ask for the full breakfast minus whatever we have had enough of previously and often end up with egg (not fried), scone and Lorne sausage or haggis.   Now the average family is not subjected to this high fat diet so oatmeal, breakfast roll with butter and marmalade, some fruit and tea are the main stays and greatly enjoyed.

 

Cats -Three Cheers Fur our General Manager

February 2, 2016 by Susan

smoky keeps any eye on things

Surveillance kitty style.

Hello all, I’m Smoky, I usually help greet you when you arrive at the B&B and I am introduced to you as The General Manager.

When our humans bought West Hill House B&B nearly 10 year ago now, they knew that it was a house just calling out for a cat to complete the home-like feel of the place. Being thoughtful humans, they decided that two cats would keep each other company and lots of good things come in pairs so what could be better than two cats.

Thus we were adopted from Turner’s Simplicity Farm on the north end of Waitsfield. We moved from being B(arn) kittens to B&B kittens and we are quite at home here. We are indoor cats, we don’t go outside as there are nasty critters out there that just might like cat for their dinner—yikes!

In an earlier blog (May 24th, 2015) you met my brother Snowball, we’re great buddies and each have our jobs around the B&B. Since arriving, I made it my job to keep an eye on everything that was going on in the B&B. I undertook surveillance duties when I was quite young and became very good at doing this subtly so that no one would notice me. Sometimes I got down very low, under a table for example (I was better at this when I was a tiny cat) and now that I am bigger I hightail it, sorry—no pun intended—up the spiral stairs to get a good overview. Other times I just stretch out pretending to do my cat yoga just to get out there and take a good look around.

Keeping an eye on things from the stairs.

Keeping an eye on things

Serious yoga

Serious yoga

Please don’t think that I just a lazy lay-about cat, absolutely not. I help with many tasks for example, at Christmas I help to organize Christmas wrapping paper.

I know that in this B&B business it is important to stay up to date with the latest in technology so you can often find my helping Susan at the computer and I must say, as a cat I have become quite adept at using the keyboard. For me, 5 ‘finger’ typing is so last Tuesday, I have 6 toes on each foot which makes much more of an impact on typing emails and gets a good rise out of Susan too! And I try my darnedest to keep up with my reading, taking every opportunity to stick my nose into a good book.

Helping with wrapping paper.

Helping with wrapping paper.

Tech savvy

Tech savvy

While you are here at West Hill House B&B, please feel free to give Snowball and me a pat, we may even jump up onto your lap for a little snuggle or even a cat-nap. Remember though, we are cats and we have our own cat agendas which may include visiting, sleeping, eating, or being sociable. On the other hand, we might just plain ignore you but don’t take it personally because, if you are a cat, that’s what you do.

Keeping up to date with my reading.

Keeping up with my reading

Focused on other things, it's what cats do sometimes.

Focused on other things

Carrot Greens Salad

June 23, 2015 by Susan

Stirring it up: Last week was the first week for our Community Supported Agriculture share for this year and it got me thinking about carrot greens.  Carrot greens are most often thrown away during meal prep but I thought there had to be a use for them. I searched the internet, got some inspiration from a number of websites then opened the fridge and built a salad. I used various quantities of veggies untill it looked and tasted good.  Quantities are to the best of my memory!

Sooo good!

Carrot Greens Salad

  • 1 1/2 – 2 c. cleaned & chopped carrot greens
  • 1 c. black beans, pre cooked or canned
  • 1 – 1 1/2 c. garbanzo beans (aka chick peas), pre cooked or canned
  • 3 med carrots, diced
  • 4-5 stems parsley, fresh & chopped
  • 1 scallion thinly sliced
  • 5-6 mint leaves, fresh & chopped
  • 1 1/2 c. quinoa, cooked & cooled
  • 4-5 green peas in the pod, fresh and thinly sliced

Dressing

  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 3T. red wine vinegar
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed or 1/4 t. dry garlic bits (not powder)
  • 2-3 T. lemon juice, fresh
  • 2 t. sugar

Prepare all the vegetables and place them in a large bowl along with the cooled quinoa. Prepare the dressing by putting all the ingredients in a small jar and, with the lid on,  shaking it well. Pour the dressing over the veggies about 10 minutes prior to serving and lightly toss the salad. Be sure to adjust the quantities and veggies to your liking! It tastes great the following day too and the carrot greens are still fresh looking. Bon appétit!

Next time I might add about 1/2 c. corn kernels and 1 med tomato, diced. I served this with a side of a couple of slices of Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar cheese. This salad was a great meal in itself.

Dishing it out: As a child I was sometimes called “carrot top” by those out to tease me but seriously, I had red hair and a carrot top is green.  Obviously those folks had no idea what they were talking about and, thus far in my life, I’ve never seen anyone with naturally green hair!

CSA first share of the season.

CSA first share of the season.

That being said, we love the carrot greens we get from Muddy Boots CSA and we love being part of the Muddy Boots CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) which is a collaborative venture of  Kingsbury Market Garden, Wood’s Market Garden and Burnt Rock Farm.  It also includes dairy products from several of the local farms including Von Trapp Farmstead and Ploughgate Creamery at Bragg Hill Farm. Our week one share was a marvelous selection of absolutely fresh produce including brie cheese, luscious tomatoes, tasty shallots, crisp carrots and cucumber, crunchy kale, dried black beans, beautiful lettuce, pungent basil, deep red beets, and more. How could you not like any of it, or waste any of it which is why I wondered about the carrot greens. Carrot Greens Salad, what a perfect way to celebrate the wonderful farms and hard working farmers this 4th of July or on Canada Day if you are north of the border!

Let sleeping cats lie!

May 24, 2015 by Susan

Snowball, CPO at West Hill House B&B

Snowball, CPO at West Hill House B&B

I’m Snowball, CPO, that’s Chief Purr Officer, I’m in charge of Purrs and Snuggles here at West Hill House B&B. You’ll meet my brother, Smoky, another day, but today is my day to shine. First a little history about us. My brother and I were born on the Turner’s farm, Simplicity Farm, just a bit north of where we live today.

Our mom was beautiful, she was pure white with one blue eye and one green eye. I look a lot like her except for my eyes, they are both a lovely shade of green, the color of  an old copper roof. Our mom looked after us when we were very tiny and when we got a bit older she was soon off on her own adventures around the farm and we were moved into the farm house where we learned about litter boxes and eating from a bowl. We mastered both of these new challenges with flying colors by the way.

First steps at our new home.

First steps at our new home.

I knew we were off on adventures of our own when Susan and Peter came to pick us up and take us home with them. We were so little that we fit into the palm of their hands. We felt warm and happy there and we let them know with our purrs. The ride home was a bit strange as we were put into a carrier and strapped into the back seat of the car. We were safe though because the carrier didn’t move a bit and the nice clean towel we sat on was quite snuggly.

When I started to explore on my new home, I was a bit wobbly on my feet, maybe because I have so many extra toes, somehow I kept tripping over my feet and sometimes I just needed to go  into my basket and do some kitty yoga to relax.

Here I am doing kitty yoga.

Here I am doing kitty yoga.

I like to do a lot of things like chasing light around the room, climbing on chairs, and of course rolling around on the red rugs and leaving as much white fur on them as possible!

You see, because I’m deaf it does not bother me that the vacuum is not far behind me making a big noise as it is clearing up my mess! One of my most favorite activities, well, perhaps not exactly an activity, anyway, I love to take cat naps. I have experimented with several different beds,  here are some recommended and some not so much.

A colander, whiile just the right size tends to be a bit drafty underneath.

A colander, while just the right size tends to be a bit drafty underneath.

An egg carton, definitely not recommended

An egg carton, definitely not recommended; it makes for a lumpy mattress!

Cozy but I spent ages getting my fur clean.

Cozy but I spent ages getting my fur clean.

A bit of a squeeze but I managed!

A bit of a squeeze but I managed!

An unusual pillow, cat grass, and I don't even like the stuff.

An unusual pillow, cat grass, and I don’t even like the stuff.

And sometimes it 's good just to have company when you nap.

And sometimes it ‘s good just to have company when you nap.

Best friends for ever!

Best friends for ever!

I look forward to having visitors at West Hill House B&B because when I’m up and around I’m always ready for pats and snuggles (on my terms of course) from guests. Please remember that because I can’t hear you coming, if you pat me when I’m napping, I’m going to be startled.

Smoky and I are waiting for you, meantime… yawn… I think perhaps a little nap.

Oh, and you know the most wonderful thing about having cat naps?

Whether sleeping alone or with my brother, our humans just let sleeping cats lie!

 

 

Have Tesla, Can Travel – to our BEB!

March 20, 2015 by Peter MacLaren

The Special Ontario Green Vehicle Tags

Ontario “Green Vehicle” tags

What “range anxiety”? On March 19th we welcomed Matt and his Tesla Model S85D at West Hill House B&B. Matt was making his inaugural trip in what is apparently the first 85D model—all wheel drive—delivered to an owner in Ontario, and perhaps in Canada.

Canada you say?  Yes, Matt lives in Toronto and he is heading to Boothbay Harbor in Maine. With a little bit of planning this is now an easy trip to make in a Tesla, with of course an overnight stop at our BEB—bed, electrons and breakfast!  You can read on our earlier Blog all about the official opening in December of our Tesla fast charging facility for our guests.

Matt contacted us at the beginning of February.  At that point he was awaiting imminent delivery of his Tesla Model S85D, and he told us he had plans to be a guest at a wedding in Maine on March 21st.  So what could be a better first road trip for his new wheels?

Toronto to Maine by Tesla

Plotting a course from Toronto to Boothbay Harbor

Matt's Tesla Model S 85D getting charged

Thumbs up from Matt charging his Model S85D

After checking the Tesla website he realized that our BEB was the perfect half-way stop-over point for his two-day trip. The Tesla Supercharger in Cornwall made for an easy drive to West Hill House B&B, and the next day the recently opened Supercharger at Hooksett NH could give him an electron boost on his way from us to his final destination.

His visit was also really exciting for us: a first opportunity to see the new all-wheel drive Tesla.

Not only that, but Matt gave Peter a short ride, and during that headed up a steep snow covered side road with no problem—we could have been in a Subaru, except it was all so quiet!

So the secret is out. “Have Tesla, can travel!”. With the greater than 200 mile/320 km range of the Model S85 even in winter (up to 275 miles/440 km in summer for the Model S85D), with the Superchargers in Canada (there is also one in Montreal by the way) and all over the US, there is no reason not to explore the country with your Tesla.  And now with all-wheel drive, even Vermont’s back roads are fair game!

A warm welcome, and lots of complimentary electrons, await you at West Hill House B&B – oops sorry, that is BEB! We can also help you plan a multi-desination road trip with overnight stops at other Select Registry BEBs. We shall hope to see you, and your Tesla, soon.

Farewell to the BEB

Farewell from Matt to West Hill House BEB

 

 

Very Yummy Granola

March 9, 2015 by Susan

Stirring it up:

Our guests love this granola. It takes little time to prepare and packs a good measure of fiber into your daily diet. Granola is great sprinkled on fruit, eaten as breakfast cereal or used  as a topping for a fruit crisp or ice cream!

Tastes as good as it looks.

Tastes as good as it looks.

Very Yummy Granola

  • 4 cups oats (not quick oats)
  • 1 cup corn flakes
  • 1 cup grape nut flakes
  • 1 cup coconut
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • ¼ to ½ cup real maple syrup or honey
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • ¾ cup golden raisins
  • ¾ cup Craisins

Mix all dry ingredients together in big a bowl, except raisins, craisins and dates and any other dried fruit you use—they will be added later.

Mix liquids together and pour over dry ingredients.

Stir well until completely moistened.

Spread evenly on a large jelly roll pan which you have lined with parchment paper or very lightly sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake in 350°F oven for about 25 minutes, but keep an eye on it as it will go from toasted to burnt, quickly.

Stir 3 or 4 times during cooking – this is important so that the oats toast evenly,  you want them to be golden brown.

Add fruits after baking is done and while the oat mixture is still warm.

Cool completely then store in an air-tight container.

Experiment with ingredient, more nuts, different dried fruits, chocolate chips, wheat germ, ground flax… remember to adjust the amount of syrup and oil when you add dry ingredients. Dice larger pieces of dried fruit such as apricots, peaches or the like, into raisin sized bits.

Have fun and enjoy the fruits, nuts and oats of your labour.

Dishing it out:

Growing up, granola was a staple in our home. My dad had his special recipe and for years I thought this was the only taste for granola. Not that Dad’s recipe wasn’t good, actually it was quite wonderful, it’s just that I guessed it was the recipe everyone used. I was soon set straight on that one, and when I cook,  Dad’s words echo in my mind, “Be creative and never be afraid to experiment.” His granola recipe?  He was creative and made it up himself. Thanks Dad!

Mad River Valley Valentine’s Day Getaway

January 17, 2015 by Corey A. Edwards

Mad River Valley Valentine's Day

With February just around the corner, love is in the air and now is the time to plan your West Hill House B&B, Mad River Valley Valentine’s Day Getaway!

February is for lovers, as they say, and we here at West Hill House B&B in Warren, VT are not immune to affairs of the heart. On the contrary, we truly enjoy helping you to express and celebrate your love. With that in mind, we have created a number of specials, packages, and add-ons designed to make your Mad River Valley Valentine’s Day getaway the best it can possibly be!

To help you celebrate this special date we are offering a Valentine’s Weekend Special.  It includes our Romance package, dinner at The Common Man, and more for a three-night weekend at an all inclusive price. (SOLD OUT! However we would be delighted to work with you to customize a similar getaway at some other time.)

Or you can choose the West Hill House B&B Romance Package, for only $75 in addition to the cost of the room of your choice, which includes:

  • Six Roses in your room, awaiting your arrival
  • A Bottle of Bubbly for two
  • Two Champagne Flutes
  • and some delectable Lake Champlain Chocolates

You are more than welcome to take the roses and flutes home with you. The champagne flutes make a nice keepsake, reminding you of the wonderful Mad River Valley Valentine’s Day you spent together!

A romantic dinner may be one of the most universal ways of enjoying time together with that special someone in your life – and we have a special with just that in mind:

Add Dinner to your Mad River Valley Valentine’s Day getaway for one or more evenings and enjoy the reward of fine dining AND savings. We’ve teamed up with two of the best restaurants in the area to give you a fantastic, 3-course dining experience that wont break the bank. Taxes and gratuities for dinner are included in the price while beverages are additional.

Seating is still available at The Common Man for Valentine’s Day evening, but will doubtless sell out soon. It features a wide range of selections on their menu for you to choose your three courses from – and the romantic ambiance of an historic barn will go a long way towards making your evening the best it can be. The Common Man is just a few minutes drive from West Hill House B&B, adding convenience into the mix.

West Hill House B&B also has a number of delightful add-ons for your Mad River Valley Valentine’s Day:

You can have a Bouquet of Flowers awaiting you in your room. We’re also more than happy to wrap them up for you to take home, should you so desire.

How about some champagne? Our Champagne on Ice Package nets you a bottle of our house French bubbly on ice, in your room and ready to serve in two, beautiful champagne flutes that are yours to keep. Upgrades from our house champagne to Duval-Leroy or Moet et Chandon are also available.

For pricing and more details about our Mad River Valley Valentine’s Day getaway specials, please visit our specials page. Be sure to mention the special, package, or add-ons you’re interested in at time of booking and, if there’s something else you’d like, please don’t hesitate to inquire!

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