February 24th, 2013 by Katie Pate
Are you interested in exploring Vermont back country this winter? Why not have a true backwoods snowshoe experience with Clearwater Sports? We think this company offers superb tours through unmarked and off-trail areas. On special dates you can snowshoe through the scenic Mad River Valley forest to a secluded log cabin nestled into the woods and enjoy a warm fire, delicious hors d’oeuvres and a hearty, down-home Vermont dinner. Here is more information about the tours that Clearwater Sports offers through the Mad River Valley. Come up to Vermont and enjoy the end of the winter!
For the speed seekers: Meet the Rocketsled!
Try out the infamous Mad River Rocketsled. Conceived and built here in Warren, Vermont, this totally controllable sled allows you to carve down the mountains.
The rocketsled! Brought to your by Clearwater Sports in Warren VT
Snowshoe up the Green Mountains along the Lincoln Gap road, which is closed during the winter. This curvy, steep road becomes your rocketsled route the whole length down. You can control your speed by the way you carve your way down. This is a fun and safe adventure that will make you feel like an Olympic champion! $55 per person (including equipment rental) 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily, reservations required.
Vermont Back Country Snowshoe Tours
Clearwater Sports offers true backwoods experiences with experienced guides. The showshoe trips lasts three hours and brings you to unmarked and off-trail areas. Choose a level of difficulty from beginner or if you are able, a more strenuous level. Guides are naturalists that provide plenty fun animal tracking and naturalist skills. This is a truly wonderful Vermont winter experience!
A Big Breakfast and a Beautiful Bed
Complete your winter trip to Vermont by staying at our B&B. Whether you plan to hit the slopes or snowshoe, we know a hot and filling breakfast is the right way to start your day. Every morning, we serve a three course breakfast. Menu items in the past included: Sweet Pepper Scrambled Eggs, Breakfast Casserole, Ginger Pancakes with Lemon Sauce, Pain Perdu (French Toast) with local Mad River Valley Maple Syrup, Asparagus filled Crêpes, or Granny’s Cheesy Soufflé. Along with amazing breakfasts, we have nine private, unique and comfortable guest rooms. We look forward to seeing you this winter!
February 18th, 2013 by Katie Pate
One of the aspects of Mad River Glen that makes it so unique: the ski resort is a co-op. Those that love this place are committed to seeing it remain in pristine condition. Plus, everyone skiing is happy to be there – they love Mad River! So even on busy weekends, the crowds are personable, not snarly or competitive.
But please note: there is no snowboarding at Mad River Glen.
About Skiing at Mad River Glen
Mad River Glen is famous for its beautiful and varied trails, with routes for both beginners, intermediates and experts. It is also home to the nation’s last surviving single chairlift – which was completely rebuilt a few years ago.
The extensive trail system follows the contours of General Stark mountain to a single base area, making it easy for families and friends to ski together. Located in the “snow corner” of New England, Mad River’s 250 inches of annual snowfall combined with a pristine mountain environment to create a wonderful skiing experience!
West Hill House Bed and Breakfast Ski & Stay Package
For the rest of the 2013 ski season, West Hill House bed and breakfast has a great deal for any skier. Until March 31st (with some blackout periods) we have three and four day ski packages that include lodging and breakfast at West Hill House, along with “passports” for skiing at Mad River Glen, Sugarbush and Ole’s cross-country skiing.
The Innkeepers at Mad River Glen
These Ski Passports also include coupons for discounts or freebies at local stores and restaurants.
Come during the week and stay for four days. Come during a weekend and stay for three days. The price for both packages is the same. So, if you can afford to get away during the week, you get rewarded with a better deal and less crowded skiing conditions!
Transport to the Ski Resorts
The Lincoln Peak base at Sugarbush is only two minutes away and there is a free shuttle bus from our front door. You can come back anytime during the day. Mad River Glen is about a 15 minute drive, and Olé’s is about a 10 minute drive.
February 12th, 2013 by Susan
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.
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.
February 1st, 2013 by Susan
Welcome to Chinatown, Ottawa, Canada
The magnificent 11 meter tall Royal Arch, a symbol of Bejing-Canada friendship, welcomes visitors and residents alike as they explore Chinatown in Ottawa, Canada. Built entirely of reinforced concrete and stone it is in the style of the wooden arches found in China. Artists from China undertook the detailed hand painting and finishing work. The Royal Arch glistens in the sun and even on a snowy day like the day we took this photo, the colours are outstanding and the size quite amazing. After many years of planning and fund raising by the local Chinese business community, the Arch was officially dedicated in 2010.
Many Asian cultures including Thai, Vietnamese, Korean and Chinese are represented in this area of Ottawa which is replete with shops, markets, restaurants and residences. If you are in Ottawa it’s a “must see” – you will find the Arch at Cambridge St N and Somerset St. W.
January 30th, 2013 by Susan
Bring on the honey-butter!
Stirring it up! Cornbread is often thought of as a southern US food and seldom served in the northern states which is a pity. This cornbread recipe has become a favorite of our guests especially when served warm with honey-butter and along side an eggy breakfast casserole. Can’t say where I found this recipe as it’s been in my collection for ages.
- 1/4 c. butter, melted
- 1 c. yellow cornmeal (I use coarse cornmeal)
- 3/4 c. flour
- 2-3 T. Sugar
- 4 t. baking powder
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1 can creamed corn (8oz)
- 1 c. milk
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
Turn the oven temp to 450°F. Pour 2T. of melted butter into an 8×8 pan and bake for 5 minutes until the cake pan is very hot. While the pan is heating, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center of the mixture and pour in the creamed corn, milk, egg and the remaining 2 T. of melted butter. Stir until smooth then pour into the hot cake pan. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until golden brown and tests done in the center. Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving. Makes 9 pieces.
Dishing it out! When I was about 10 years old, a friend and I decided to start a cooking club with only ourselves as members and our moms as consultants. We took turns week about in each other’s kitchens and choose recipes from our mom’s recipe collections. With their blessings we’d cook up a storm and of course have to clean up after, this part was not nearly as fun as the making part! I cannot remember what we made or how long we did this but I do remember we enjoyed the time in the kitchen. I wonder if Brenda still loves to bake?
January 30th, 2013 by Katie Pate
Sugarbush is famous as home to the most diverse terrain in the North East. In fact, it was ranked #1 in Terrain Variety by SKI Magazine in 2010. Many Olympian skiers and riders fell in love with the sport and perfected their technique on the Sugarbush slopes.
Sugarbush resort is only a couple of minutes from the front door of our B&B in Warren. The ski shuttle will stop here to whisk you from the inn to the slopes in style.
Experience the adrenaline rush of a ride down a Sugarbush slope!
We’ve also found that the Sugarbush riders and skiers are among the friendliest at the top ski resorts in the North East.
First Tracks Tours at Sugarbush Resort
If you are an early riser, than let us book something really special for you: A first-tracks tour. 12 passengers can ride the Lincoln Limo and experience pristine, deep powder as they cruise down the mountain before anyone else. The route taken is determined by the weather and snow conditions on the mountains that day. Tours may go to the top of Heaven’s Gate or North Lynx, into the Slide Brook Wilderness Area or elsewhere, based on the judgment of the guide. The tour includes an en route pastry breakfast from Timbers Restaurant, a movie to get the adrenaline pumping, Sugarbush guides and one or two cat-served runs. (First Tracks-trips are available for advanced skiers and riders only.)
Our Vermont Ski & Stay Package
From now until March 31st (note black-out periods) we are offering you great prices AND flexibility for an inclusive skiing vacation in Vermont. Stay at our Bed and Breakfast and receive two Ski Passports per room. The Ski Passport includes skiing at not only Sugarbush, but also Mad River Glen and Olé’s cross-country. The Passport also provides promotions like freebies and discounts at local stores and restaurants. Visit our Ski & Stay page for prices and further details. We look forward to seeing you this winter!
December 25th, 2012 by Susan
Hearty soup and artisan bread, what a meal!
Stirring it up! Until a few weeks ago I had never cooked with chestnuts. Many years ago I had chestnuts roasted on an open fire (as one does at Christmas time!) from a street vendor in Toronto but nothing since then. I purchased some a few weeks back, sautéed them with some bacon and red onion and the results weren’t bad at all. The next day however, I decided that left-over chestnuts weren’t going to be on my list of favourite foods. Always ready for an experiment though I decided to try making some Chestnut Soup. I opened the pantry and this is what I came up with.
- 1 lb chestnuts, precooked and roughly chopped
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 4 slices bacon cut into 1/4″ bits
- 1 medium potato, diced
- 2 c. chicken stock or vegetable stock
- thyme, a couple of good shakes
- salt & pepper
In a heavy bottom saucepan, sauté the bacon bits till cooked but not quite crispy. Add the red and yellow diced onions and continue to sauté until the onions are soft and the bacon is crispy. Add the diced potatoes, chestnuts, thyme and stock. Cook on low heat until the potatoes are soft then simmer for a bit so the flavours can blend. Using a hand blender, purée the soup to a smooth thick consistency. Use caution when blending the hot soup and do NOT pour hot soup into a blender or processor to purée it.
Dishing it out! My dad was the soup maker in our family and his experiments in making vegetable soups were renowned amongst our friends. Dad could make soup out of just about anything and it was always ”terribly healthy”. Although at the time we often thought ”Not soup again”, recently a homemade soup experiment is often dinner for Peter and myself. Dad would be proud!
December 8th, 2012 by Peter MacLaren
Some 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.
We 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!
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.
November 28th, 2012 by Peter MacLaren
The snow is flying, Sugarbush is open and Mad River Glen is opening soon. It’s time to plan to your ski vacation!
You have an IMMEDIATE, but fleeting, opportunity to get a great deal on Sugarbush ski tickets for the coming season with their Quad-Pack. The great thing about this pack is that there are no black-outs and you can share it. So 4 unrestricted tickets at $50 each! These are ideal if you plan to ski during Christmas week, MLK weekend or President’s Week as our Ski and Stay Passport is blacked-out at those times. But you must buy them in advance on or before November 30th.
From December 15th onwards, other than the black-out dates, our Ski and Stay Passport offers great value as you can ski freely at Mad River Glen, Sugarbush and Olé’s cross-country, as well as enjoy offers and freebies at local stores and restaurants most evenings.
If you are planning to come during the Christmas season from December 21st to January 1st, please finalize your plans now! We do have some rooms still available for some dates, but we are filling up fast!