Our annual thank you to Veterans – Remembrance Day

August 19th, 2013 by Peter MacLaren

Once again as a special ‘Thank You” to US and Canadian retired and active military, West Hill House B&B is joining with many other B&Bs across Canada and the US to offer one complimentary night of accommodation for military personnel in two of our guest rooms on Sunday November 10, 2013, with the option to add Saturday or Monday nights at a 50% discount. (These two rooms are now both booked.)

All our other available rooms can be booked for a two night stay, including Sunday November 10th, at a 50% discount—except for the Logan Suite, which has a 3 night minimum booking and the discount will apply to two of those nights. Of course our wonderful breakfast is included each morning.

In prior years this offer has sold out, so we encourage you to book early.

Choose your accommodation wisely…

July 24th, 2013 by Peter MacLaren

VermontWhile West Hill House B&B is the #1 rated B&B in the Mad River Valley on Trip Advisor at the time this blog is published, we know you have other excellent choices when you come to visit the beautiful State of Vermont. However be sure you choose wisely, as not all accommodation meets the safety and regulatory standards set by the State.

For your protection, West Hill House B&B is licensed and annually inspected for Lodging and as a Restaurant by the Vermont Dept. of Health, it is approved by the Vermont Division of Fire Safety, all fire extinguishers are serviced annually, all smoke and heat detectors are tested annually, and it carries commercial liability insurance.

The B&B is licensed for the sale of alcohol by the Vermont Dept. of Liquor Control. It is registered with the Vermont Dept. of Taxes and remits the applicable Rooms & Meals, Alcohol and Sales taxes that are included in the bill you pay us when you check out.

When you book your accommodation, do make sure you are going to be staying somewhere that is State licensed and inspected. Ask before you book, and when you are there you should see all the relevant certificates on display:

  • Lodging license
  • Restaurant license (if meals are served)
  • State tax IDs for Rooms & Meals and general Sales taxes
  • Liquor license (if alcohol is served)
  • Current fire extinguisher test tags on each unit
  • Current inspection certificate on the fire alarm panel

and the certificate of insurance should be available for your inspection.

You can check the list of all State licensed accommodation (and restaurants) in Vermont. If it’s not there, it’s not licensed.

Sugarbush Golf Course

July 11th, 2013 by Katie Pate

The West Hill House Bed and Breakfast is located adjacent to one of the loveliest golf courses in all of Vermont: The Sugarbush Resort Robert Trent Jones Senior Championship Golf Course. One of the fairways is directly across the street from the B&B, and the clubhouse is less than a mile down the road.

Mr. Jones is one of history’s great golf course architects and you will enjoy his talents on every one of the 18 holes of the Sugarbush Golf Club. Designed to enhance and feature the natural surroundings, this par-72 course is as beautiful as the game itself. The course will bring you through the hilltops of the Mad River Valley, where you can enjoy inspiring views at every tee!

Sugarbush offers a golf school with one-on-one instruction catering to all skill levels as well as group clinics and custom club-fitting.

Green Fees

These rates are good for unlimited golf until dusk and includes a cart rental and tax.

Monday – Thursday
7 a.m. – 2 p.m. tee time: $90
2 p.m. and later: $60153553821

Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Holidays
7 a.m. – 2 p.m. tee time: $100
2 p.m. and later: $65

Every Day, 5 p.m. or later tee time is $40

Vermont Golf Packages at Sugarbush

The club holds a Short Game Clinic on Wednesdays and a Long Game Clinic on Thursdays, followed by a lunch entree and non-alcoholic beverage at Hogan’s Pub, then unlimited golf with cart for the remainder of the day for just $75!

If traveling in a group, you may want to take advantage of $30 Thursdays. Foursomes play golf at the Sugarbush Golf Club for just $30 per person on Thursday’s after 11:00 a.m., cart included.

Inn Lodging for your Vermont Golf Vacation

We can arrange your tee times for you in advance – one less thing for you to worry about – just let us know when you reserve your room.

Vermont’s Mad Marathon

June 23rd, 2013 by Katie Pate

The organizers call it “The World’s Most Beautiful Marathon” and you aren’t going to hear us disagree! Our bed and breakfast is in the Mad River Valley because this place is truly a year-round natural wonderland. We think the marathon is a wonderful and sustainable way for folks to see this corner of the nation we love so much, hence we are a sponsor again this year.

If you are a runner, no matter your skill level, we encourage you to come to central Vermont for the Third Annual Mad Marathon, taking place on July 7.

You will be running through our extraordinary community on back roads, some of which will be gravel. There will be breathtaking views of the Green Mountains, challenging rolling farmlands with tough climbs and descents.MMLogo Cruise through quaint villages, under covered bridges, past old barns and fields of famous Vermont cows!

The marathon course is certified and sanctioned by the US Track & Field.  The certification number is VT11012RF and is a Boston Marathon qualifier. Walkers are more than welcome for the Mad Half and there is also a category for Mad Half Walkers.

Marathon Course Description

The race starts at the Mad River Green in central Waitsfield Village, heading north on Rte. 100. You will pass under a covered bridge almost immediately and your first hill at around mile one. Once you finish your climb up Joslin Hill Road, you will head gently downhill for about 2.5 miles. Once you hit the third aid station, you will be on dirt roads through farmlands until about mile six.

You get to our neck of the woods, Warren, at just over 12 miles into the route. You will spend about 3 miles running on East Warren through rolling countryside.  When you reach Roxbury Mountain Road, you take a four mile loop amongst back country lanes before returning to East Warren Road around mile 19 and heading back to the Finish line. See the full route and map on the Mad Marathon website.

Lodging for the Mad Marathon

Our bed and breakfast is seven miles from the starting point of the race. You can see a video about our Inn on the Course Map page. We are delighted to be full for the weekend with Marathon runners— and we wish them all good luck!

Chocolate Mint Cookies

June 16th, 2013 by Susan

Stirring it up:

IMG_2120

Help your self.

Who doesn’t like chocolate? And what about chocolate and mint? A yummy combination to be sure. These absolutely delicious chocolate cookies have just a hint of peppermint and pack a mouthful of chocolaty goodness.

Makes 36 cookies
Oven 350F
Bake 5 – 6 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. white sugar
  • 6 T. canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. baking cocoa
  • 1 T. baking soda
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. peppermint extract
  • 4 T. milk (whole, 2% or fat free)

In a bowl, beat sugar and oil until crumbly. Add eggs and beat for 1 minute. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt and gradually beat into the sugar mixture. Add the milk and mix well

With lightly floured hands roll dough into 36 balls and place 2″ apart on a parchment lined or non-stick sprayed baking sheet. Flatten slightly with your fingers.

Bake at 425° F for 5 – 6 minutes just until the edges are set and the tops crack. Cool a couple of minutes before removing to cooling racks. Enjoy as excellent plain chocolate cookies or make cookie sandwiches with some fluffy vanilla butter icing or you could make larger cookies and make ice cream sandwiches with them – now that would be great for a 4th of July party!

Dishing it out:

Outside our Garden Room we have an herb garden which at this point is growing like crazy because of all the rain we have been having. The first crop of chives has been snipped and dried in the oven for use in the winter and the remaining sprigs have flowered. The flowers make a lovely garnish and are good in soup and cream sauces as well. You’ll see in the photograph that I have put some mint along with the cookies. This isn’t just ordinary mint but chocolate mint. It looks like “regular” mint but it has a chocolate brown stem and it actually smells and tastes like chocolate mint—like the cookies! While I considered chopping the mint and mixing it into the cookies I wasn’t sure how guests would react to bits of green stuff in their cookies. Maybe I’ll try that another time. In the meantime, this mint is really nice floating in black tea or just in hot water. A real treat is mint with strawberries and some whipped cream. There is a tasty summer watermelon salad that has mint, feta cheese, english cucumber among other ingredients—you’ll find that in the June 13, 2010 blog. Happy munching.

Glider Rides above the Mad River Valley

June 9th, 2013 by Katie Pate

One of the most beautiful soaring sites in the United States is right here in the Mad River Valley. See the stunning Vermont landscape in a whole new way: from above. Warren-Sugarbush Airport, less than five miles from our Inn, is a well-known glider airport and home to Sugarbush Soaring. It has served as the venue for National Championship Soaring events.

The airport provides sightseeing rides – a particular joy for anyone who loves heights and lives for a great view. A glider ride is a wonderful gift – for a birthday, romantic anniversary, Father’s Day, you name it.Soaring_SB_Soaring

Sugarbush Soaring offers 15, 20, and 30 minute rides. Experienced commercial pilots treat you to a magnificent view of the Mad River Valley. On a clear day you can see the Adirondacks and Lake Champlain to the west, Camel’s Hump and Mt. Mansfield to the north, and Mt. Washington and the White Mountains to the east.  In the fall – when the mountains turn fiery with fall foliage – the view is truly spectacular.

Call the office at (802) 496-2290 for current rates.

Types of Glider Soaring

Circling Thermal Lift
Thermal lift is the most common in soaring and is formed when solar radiation heats the ground which then heats the surrounding air. Rising like a hot air balloon, the warm air forms thermals, a source of surprisingly strong lift.

Ridge Lift
Ridge lift is completely different. Formed when the wind is at right angles to a ridge line, ridge lift can extend for hundreds of miles along a mountain range. Sailplane pilots have flown over a thousand miles in ridge lift.

Wave Lift
Soaring in mountain waves is for many glider pilots the epitome of the soaring experience. Under certain atmospheric conditions, huge standing waves of rising and falling air can form on the leeward side of a mountain, just as the water ripples downstream of a rock. Point the ship’s nose into the wind and enjoy the elevator ride up at sometimes 1,500 feet per minute while staying over the same point on the ground far below.

Spring Lodging in Mad River Valley

Come to Warren this spring and experience the gentler (and greener) side of Vermont. Once the skiing is over, all kinds of other outdoor activities like its place – like golf, hiking, cycling and gliding. For whatever adventure lies ahead of you, make West Hill Bed and Breakfast your home base for exploring central Vermont.

The Winooski River

May 22nd, 2013 by Katie Pate

Canoeing is increasing in popularity, especially in ecologically-minded states like Vermont. It is both peaceful and physically challenging, a rewarding, aesthetic and ecologically sound recreational activity.

The Winooski River is one of Vermont’s many spectacular resources. The second longest river in the state, it flows through mountains and farmland, the state’s capital and the largest city before emptying into Lake Champlain.

The river corridor brings the towns, farms and people of the Green Mountain State within the direct view of the canoeist.

One of  the paddling routes near our Bed and Breakfast is from Montpelier to the Middlesex Dam, about a six mile trip. You can get to Montpelier from our Inn along Route 100 & 100B North in 35 minutes.

When beginning a canoe trip from Montpelier, there are several good places to put in. One is at the northeast corner of Montpelier High School located on Bailey Avenue. Another is underneath the Interstate 89 overpass on the right side of the river on Rt. 2. Plenty of parking is available at both areas. If you would like to run a short section of easy rapids, put in another 1.25 miles upstream from the high school on the right bank. This access can be reached through local parking areas.

Canoeing the stretch between the Interstate 89 overpass and Middlesex Dam is very relaxing and pleasant.

Take a relaxing canoe trip on the Winooski River this Spring

Take a relaxing canoe trip on the Winooski River this Spring. Photo courtesy of Ryan McCall

The current is slow and the course meanders past farmhouses and pastureland. Many large dairy farms are visible along this stretch and much of the land is cultivated. Trees are of the wetland variety, such as willows and alders.

About 2.5 miles downstream where Interstate 89 and the train tracks closely parallel the river, there is a small section of rapids. Pull out on the left bank before the rapids to decide on the best route to proceed.

Another take-out and launching area is 1.25 miles further downriver, before the Route 100B bridge where Route 2 curves with the bend of the river. The bank is low here and from this access a store is within easy reach by foot. If you are unsure of your ability to reach the Middlesex Dam access area safely or do not want to negotiate its short, yet steep hill, you can disembark here.

Middlesex Gorge just above the dam is one of the most spectacular areas on the river with rock walls towering 75 feet above the water in some places. Remember that like all dams on the river, the Middlesex Dam is potentially dangerous and should be approached with caution. Boat barriers in the form of floating barrels span the river under the Route 100B bridge. DO NOT GO BEYOND THE BRIDGE!

The take out is on the left side of the river, just before the bridge. The bank here is quite steep and though it is a short distance you may require a rope to pull your canoe up to the road.

Paddling on the Winooski River is a great way to spend a spring day in Vermont!  If you wish you can rent canoes and associated equipment from Clearwater Sports, and depending on your plans they may be able to assist with transportation.

 

 

Add a Romantic Dinner to your Bed and Breakfast Stay

May 4th, 2013 by Katie Pate

Are you looking for a simple Vermont weekend getaway? Having half of your meals covered makes a trip a bit easier to organize, right?

This spring, we are offering our “Add Dinner to a Bed and Breakfast” package. Stay for two nights in the room of your choice and add dinner to one of those evenings. Your meal will take place at the Common Man, one of the best restaurants in central Vermont. You get a three-course meal (selected off the menu) along with coffee and tea.

About the Common Man Restaurant

Common man owners and longtime couple Lorien Wroten and Adam Longworth. Photo by Jeb Wallace-Brodeur

Common man owners and longtime couple Lorien Wroten and Adam Longworth. Photo by Jeb Wallace-Brodeur

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 fireplace (lit during the cool nights). Now in its fourth decade of continuous operation the restaurant has earned scores of prestigious awards and accolades including Three Stars from both The Boston Globe and the Mobil Travel Guide.

A couple sample items from the menu:

  • Smoked Salmon Burschetta. Red onion, apple, potato, lemon caper aioli
  • Halibut, served with potato, cauliflower, swiss chard, mushroom in a white wine emulsion

See the full menu on the Common Man’s website.

Common Man Reviews from Yelp.com:

“Go. Just go. Get a sitter. Save the money and splurge. It’s worth it.
Boston ain’t New York but I’ve had my fair share of great meals. This makes the ‘Top Ten’ list. Food, service and ambiance combine to make the whole more than the sum of its parts.” – Christopher L. 2/19/13

“Lorien, Adam, and their staff continue to amaze. New York strip was a beautiful cut cooked perfectly with a side of au gratin potatoes that were out of this world. They now have house made blue cheesed stuffed olives for you martini people. The desserts were unbelievable too. The service was impeccable. The Common Man is hands down my favorite restaurant anywhere right now. Do yourself a huge favor and have a meal here next time you are in the Mad River Valley!” – Chris H. 12/20/12

Keep in Mind: This offer is available Tuesday through Saturday night. Please order this dinner add-on when you book your room. Taxes and gratuities for dinner are included. Drinks are additional.

Springtime in the Mad River Valley

April 24th, 2013 by Katie Pate

For us, Spring in Vermont is about rejuvenation. After a long cold winter, we like to stretch our legs and watch springtime bring life back into the plants and ecosystems of this beautiful valley. A popular activity during this season is nature and wildlife photography.

With rivers and creeks melting, buds popping out on branches and flowers pushing their way up, the opportunity capturing these transitions in photos abounds.

Look for and film birds migrating back to their summer homes during this time of year. The fields, meadows, ridge tops and hillsides of the Mad River Valley provide excellent habitat for Northern Forest bird species. Some of these include Bicknell’s Thrush, Scarlet Tanager and Black-throated Blue Warbler.

The spring migration welcomes the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Common Yellowthroat, Indigo Bunting, and Meadowlark back to the Mad River Valley. spring-budsTake a drive to Vermont’s Green Mountain Audubon Center in Huntington (about 45 minutes from the Inn) featuring 5 miles of birding trails, a butterfly garden, and a sensory trail. Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS) North Branch in Montpelier is celebrating 10 years with 10 free bird walks in Central Vermont this spring.

Other fun ways to spend a spring weekend at our bed and breakfast – get together with friends or family for a group project like quilting or scrapbooking. We have a beautiful boardroom table available for up to 12 people, and the bright Sun Room can seat up to 16. In the warmer months, our covered Garden Terrace is a great place for a group gathering and can seat up to 30 people. The Living Room and Library can serve as additional break-out rooms.

Lastly – take some scenic drives through the Valley. A landscape cloaked in the myriad shades of light green is the signature of springtime in Vermont. Vermont Route 100 & 100B, as well as Rt 17 to the top of the Appalachian Gap have been designated as the Mad River Scenic Byway, stretching from Middlesex to Granville. View covered bridges, a winding roadside river, waterfalls, historic architecture and working farms along the byway.

 

 

Glasgow Soufflé

April 19th, 2013 by Peter MacLaren

Peter is from Glasgow and this recipe is from his mum. Susan evolved it into a West Hill House B&B favorite.

Glasgow SouffléServes 4-5   Oven 350°F     30 to 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 slices sandwich bread white or whole wheat, buttered
  • 3 slices sandwich bread white or whole wheat cubed approx. ¾”
  • 1 c. grated cheddar cheese
  • ¼ c. grated cheddar cheese
  • ¾ cup Major Gray chutney
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 c. whole or 2% milk
  • 1 t. yellow mustard
  • 1 ½ oz Drambuie
  • 1 T. minced onion dry flakes  or ½ small onion finely chopped
  • ½ t. salt
  • ¼ t. pepper

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9”x7” Pyrex baking pan or 4 or 5, 4” diameter ramekins.
  • Fit the bread, butter side down, into the pan – it’s ok to cut pieces to fit. (If using ramekins cut bread round to fit into the bottom of the ramekin and you may need more slices of buttered bread.)
  • Spread the chutney over the bread cutting any large pieces of fruit into small pieces. Sprinkle the onion over the chutney. Sprinkle the 1 cup of cheese over the chutney. Toss the cubed bread over the top so that it is evenly distributed.
  • In a medium sized bowl beat the eggs then add the milk, Drambuie and mustard and mix well. Pour this mixture over the cubed bread being sure that some liquid goes on each piece of bread. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ c. cheese over the top.

At this point you may either cover the pan and refrigerate it overnight or let it sit for 20 minutes to be sure the bread has had time to soak in the milk mixture. There will still be liquid in the pan, which will turn into a nice custardy mix once cooked.

Bake at 350°F for 30 to 40 minutes or until the center is firm and the top is golden. Serve hot.

»