Archive for the ‘West Hill House B&B’ Category

Composting is us!

March 9th, 2013 by Peter MacLaren

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Last week we signed up for a year-round composting service with the Central Vermont Solid Waste Management District (CVSWMD), as part of our ongoing efforts as a Green Hotel to reduce our environmental impact.

While we have tried composting before, it never worked out very well. First of all it was practical only in the summer months when the ground was not frozen, and during those warm months there was often the problem of animals getting into the food scraps before they were fully composted.

The program now provided by CVSWMD for commercial operations solves these problems nicely. We collect the food scraps then store them in sealed wheel-able totes, which are emptied monthly. The truck then takes all the food waste to a central processing location where it is efficiently turned into beautiful compost and sold to farmers and gardeners.

Organic materials, such as food scraps and yard waste, comprise 20 – 40% of the waste Vermonters send to the landfill. Not only do these organic materials take up a lot of landfill space, they produce greenhouse gases as they decay. However when used to form compost, farmers and gardeners can build healthy soil for growing healthy plants. Healthy plants suffer from less pest pressure—which means less botanical and chemical fertilizers and pesticides are needed to grow the vegetables and fruits we serve and which are used in our local restaurants—and that’s good for all of us.

So while we hope you will not leave any of our wonderful breakfasts on your plate, you can rest assured that any such scraps will now be put to a good use!

Fantastic Pancakes

February 12th, 2013 by Susan

breakfast

Stirring it up: Pancakes…just the name conjures up the sights and smells of a marvelous breakfast. These Ricotta Pancakes are easy to make and will provide you with great taste, fluffy pancakes and enough energy to tackle a day on the slopes.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 1/2 T.  sugar
1-2 t. finely grated orange zest
4 T. melted butter
1/2 c. ricotta cheese
1 lg egg
1/2 c. orange juice
1/3 c. milk (or almond milk or silk)
1/2 t. vanilla extract

In a large bowl, combine the flour with the baking powder, soda, salt,  orange zest,  and sugar. In another bowl, whisk together the butter, ricotta cheese, egg, orange juice, milk, and vanilla. Combine the wet into dry ingredients until just blended,  the batter will be thick and you may add a bit more milk if you wish but you still want it to be fairly thick.  Onto a lightly greased, medium-hot skillet pour about 1/4 c. of batter for each pancake. Flip when bubbles appear on the top of the pancake. Serve with all the fixings and don’t forget the maple syrup.

Dishing it out: In our house they were flapjacks. My dad was a great flapjack maker and we loved the mornings when we would smell them cooking. Dad would tell the story of Paul Bunyon and flapjacks: Paul Bunyon was a giant of a lumberjack. Paul’s lunber jack friends (who were also very large) loved flapjacks too so Ole the Blacksmith, made a griddle so large you couldn’t see across it when the smoke was thick. Sourdough Sam had fifty men with pork rinds tied to their feet skating around the griddle to grease it. The batter was mixed in large barrels and it took a strong cook just to turn the flapjacks, let alone get them to the table. Check here for more Paul Bunyon stories. We would always ask Dad if he would  make Paul Bunyon sized flapjacks for us. He never made them  quite that large but they were delicious and we gobbled them up just the same. I think Paul Bunyon would have liked Dad’s flapjacks!

Whether you call them pancakes, hotcakes, flannel cakes, drop scones (Scottish),  oatcakes (English), griddle cakes, or flapjacks this is one breakfast that will surely hit the spot.

Time to Retire Bottled Water? Yes!

December 8th, 2012 by Peter MacLaren

Bottled waterSome facts to ponder:

  • Bottled water costs the eager buyer up to 10,000 as much as tap water.
  • We are shipping 1 billion water bottles a week around the U.S. in ships, trains, and trucks.
  • Plastic bottles require energy to make and transport. Currently, the amount of oil we use to produce water bottles each year (17 million barrels) could fuel over 1,000,000 cars for an entire year.
  • Only 22% of the bottles get recycled; the rest end up in landfills (or worse).
  • Roughly 50 billion plastic water bottles end up in U.S. landfills each year — 140 million every day!
  • It takes over 700 years for plastic to decompose.
  • The University of Vermont UVM will be the first public university in the country to end the sale of bottled water, effective January 1st 2013.
  • Tap water in the United States is subject to more stringent federal safety regulations than bottled water.
  • West Hill House has beautiful spring-fed well water available free of charge from every faucet in the B&B.

Bottles in LandfillWe think the above says it all! As a Green Hotel in the Green Mountain State, West Hill House feels it is time to encourage a change in perspective.  While we have never offered bottled water to our guests, effective immediately we are updating our booking page and confirmation information to also request that guests do not bring bottled water to the B&B.

To help the process along, by January 1st 2013 each of our guests will be offered a complimentary West Hill House re-usable aluminum water bottle to use while they are here and take home with them if they wish.

Please make giving up bottled water YOUR New Year’s resolution!

Winter Wedding

November 29th, 2012 by Susan

Ryan & Jeff married by Greg Trulson, Justice of the Peace

 

With early season snowflakes whirling about them, and the temperature sitting at about 28°F, Ryan and Jeff were married in the meadow at West Hill House B&B. Our favorite Justice of the Peace, Greg Trulson officiated at the wedding making it a very meaningful occasion, as he always does. Following the ceremony,  the newly married couple asked Peter to continue taking photos as they enjoyed a short stroll around our wintery gardens.

Warming up by the fireplace a few minutes later Ryan and Jeff enjoyed an intimate wedding reception complete with wedding cake, made here at West Hill House, and a bottle of  Champagne. They were kind enough to invite Greg and Peter and Susan to join them.

Ryan loves experimenting with recipes. Check out her food blog called Skinny Supper. It’s a fun site with lots of photos to help you along.

Celebrate the 254th birthday of Robert Burns

November 27th, 2012 by Peter MacLaren

Robert Burns

On January 26th 2013 we will be holding our 5th annual Burns Supper at West Hill House to celebrate the 254th anniversary of the birth, on January 25th 1759, of this great Scottish Poet, often referred to as “The Bard”. (Bard is a Scots word for a poet.)

A Burns Supper is a significant tradition in Scotland and among Scots around the world. The evening will consistent of traditional Scottish fair including Haggis (which really is worth trying!) and Scottish Trifle. Wine will be served with dinner and a wee dram of Scottish whisky will be served  to toast The Bard (for those 21 and older; soft drinks will also be available).

The Haggis will be piped in by a local piper and will be addressed in the traditional manner by Peter:

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang’s my arm. …

We will then encourage you to try some Scottish Dancing after dinner – we’ll show you how!

The Burns Supper will be held in our handsome Red Barn and we have room for only 30 guests. We expect a sell-out so don’t wait till the last minute to book. Tickets must be purchased by January 21st.

The Burns Supper is just $50 per person (including tax), and it is sure to be a memorable evening. Book two nights including the 26th and we will include the supper at the reduced rate of $80 per couple. Advance reservation is required for all tickets.

RoadID – Wear it!

November 14th, 2012 by Susan

I wear mine


RoadID. Pro cyclists wear it. Marathon runners wear it. Ironman competitors wear it. And, not that I fall into any of these categories, I wear one too. Whether you are an athlete or not, this comfortable little wrist band is a great way to have ID on you at all times.

For years we have watched the Tour de France on TV and have not only seen Bob Roll in some pretty funny ads for this ID but have also seen commentators Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen and of course cyclists wearing the RoadID. The ID is available in numerous colors and styles including a style to thread in your shoelaces and even a RoadID for Fido.

Thanks to encouragement from Ted King we’re on board.

RoadID – never leave home without it – you just never know when it might help save your life.

The Red Chair visits West Hill House B&B

November 2nd, 2012 by Susan

Red Chair warming up and being admired by Snowball at West Hill House B&B

Warming up with Snowball

The Red Chair getting shelter at West Hill House B&B

Dry again!

The Red Chair checks out the Lincoln Gap - the highest road crossing in the State of Vermont

I feel high!

Ski School for the Red Chair at Mad River Glen

Teach me if you can!

The famed Single Chair at Mad River Glen has a date with the Red Chair

I am sure I could ski it – need snow!

The Red Chair visits with the Sugarbush cow

Please don’t sit on me!

Red Chair socializing with skier at Sugarbush

This guy looks a bit stiff

Hay there! The Red Chair enjoys a high perch at Hartshorn's Farm in Waitsfield Vermont

David Hartshorn gave me this perch

Red Chair at the Hartshorn Farm Stand in Waitsfield VT

I can’t help feeling squashed!

The Red Chair visits the Alpacas at Hartshorn's Farm in Waitsfield Vermont

I think they are staring at me!

Red Chair at Warren Vermont covered bridge

The river is not too Mad today!

Hi everyone, I’m the Red Chair that has been traveling throughout New England for the past several months.

I arrived at West Hill House B&B in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and rain was the order of the day. Fortunately my hosts offered rain boots and an umbrella so I stayed pretty dry. Inside I was given a place by the fire to warm up a bit even had a pussy cat come curl up with me for a bit.

Once the weather cleared my first stop was at the top of the Lincoln Gap Road, the highest road pass in Vermont, where I set foot, or should that be feet, on the Long Trail. The air was so fresh I’m felt I could have walked the full 273 miles of the trail but I had places to go and things to see.

With winter just around the corner I wanted to be introduced to the Mad River Glen ski area. I checked out the ski school meeting place then of course had to have my photo taken with the single chair.

From there we went to Sugarbush where I had my photo taken with a local cow before going  to sit beside the year ’round skier. He didn’t say much, we just enjoyed the solitude of the moment.

I visited the Hartshorn Farm and hey, for fresh food, maple syrup from their own trees and hay, head to their farm stand. And speaking of stand – look at me standing atop a huge bale of hay!

With my feet firmly back on the ground I posed with some squash then climbed up on the wall to sit with the boxes of pumpkins for a while.

My legs were getting a bit cramped so I hopped down and headed over to visit with the alpacas, The Finkles,  who didn’t seem to mind my company.  I certainly did not expect to see alpacas in Vermont!

A stop to pose in front of the Warren Covered Bridge that spans the Mad River then back to my temporary home at the West Hill House B&B and ready for a warm cup of hot chocolate and a little cake.

Wow, have I had fun! I can’t wait for my next adventure! Tomorrow I am off across the Green Mountains to visit Middlebury, Vermont – I wonder what adventures await me there.

 

A love story

October 23rd, 2012 by Peter MacLaren

Nicky & Daniel 20Oct2012 married at West Hill House B&B

Nicky & Daniel and JP Greg Trulson

Nicky & Daniel dancing in the Handsome Red Barn at West Hill House B&B

Dancing in the Handsome Red Barn

Nicky and Daniel were married at West Hill House on Saturday October 20th. Here is their story, as told by Nicky…

Who would have known 24 years ago that on a high school band trip up to Montreal, that my life would be forever changed.

As a young girl at age 16, I travelled from Long Island, NY, up to Montreal, Canada on a school trip where I met the love of my life.

Daniel and I met at La Ronde amusement park in 1988. We fell deeply in love and travelled back and forth (eight hours away) for over three and a half years. It was challenging but we were very determined.  Through snow storms and traffic, limitations of parents rules, school schedules and crossing the border… nothing was to stop us!

As our love was strong, so were our challenges. Eventually we parted and went our separate ways, although we were forever in each other’s hearts.

Twenty three years later, after many life changes and through the benefit of technology, we reconnected and our relationship flourished.  Quickly we planned our life together and our wedding at the beautiful West Hill House B&B. It was absolutely lovely to say the least. We were so fortunate to have the benefit of our closest friends and family by our sides, and the generosity of Peter and Susan to make our day magical and unforgettable.

September flower show

September 10th, 2012 by Peter MacLaren

Yesterday was such a gorgeous fall day that I (Peter) wandered round the garden with my camera.

A classic challenge with a garden is keeping color all season long. Our gardener Patty Weston has over the years selected a marvelous variety of species and as you can see from these photos we still have a gorgeous display in early September. (Click on each photo to see it full size.)

These beautiful colors on the ground will gradually be out-shone by the radiance of the leaves on the tress, which are already to starting to put on their fall show!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Priority PC

August 9th, 2012 by Susan

Priority Pussy Cat

 

 

 

OS X Mountain Lion has nothing on PC VI Barn Cat! For those who need clarification on the new coding PC VI,  read: pussy cat 6. While you computer geeks are all smiles and chuckles over the latest big cat – we got a few smiles and chuckles over this big cat who squeezed himself into a priority mailbox. Though proud to have have his soft-fur updated to the newer more streamlined  PC 13.1 model (that’s pussy cat 13.1 lbs) our 6 year old Snowball still finds himself drawn to compacting himself into small spaces.

Gotta’ love those big cats!

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