Posts Tagged ‘West Hill House B&B’

Scottish Country Dance Lessons

August 9th, 2011 by Peter MacLaren

Peter & Susan dancing the St. Bernard's Waltz

Now a fund raiser for the Mad River Valley Community Fund... Moved to Thursday September 8th at the West Hill House Handsome Red Barn

Traditional Scottish Country Dancing, which runs the gamut from fast and furious to slow and stately, is the norm at Scottish weddings, family reunions and  modern cèilidhs (pronounced kay-lees). Children learn these dances from an early age and many schools, clubs, small towns, and pubs have regular cèilighs where everyone joins in the dancing.

Dances such as the “Gay Gordons”,  “Walls of Limerick” and  “The Stack of Barley” are dances which are named after famous regiments, historical battles and every day items. Other dances have more intriguing names such as the “Canadian Barn Dance”, “Eightsome Reel”, and “The Dashing White Sergeant”.

Celebrating the Scottish heritage of the MacLaren family,  Peter encouraged me to join a Scottish Country Dance group in Edmonton shortly after  we were married. Each week we would learn a new dance and enjoy dancing to the ones we previously learned.

The dance lessons have come in handy each January  as dancing is an integral part of any Burns Supper. A Burns Supper is a gathering to celebrate the birth of Scottish poet Robert Burns. An important date to Scots around the world, this event embraces Scottish food, poetry, libations and dance.

To prepare for our upcoming Burns Supper (January 28, 2012) – as well as just for some fun – we are opening our Handsome Red Barn for Scottish Country Dance lessons. We are going to teach very simple dances and we invite you to join us on:

  • Wednesday evening, September 7th
  • From 7:00 to 9:00PM
  • Was $5 per person, now $10 and 100% of the proceeds go to the Mad River Valley Community Fund
  • Advance tickets required as space is limited.

Come on your own or with a friend.  Refreshments. Wear flat shoes. Other Scottish Country Dance evenings are scheduled through out the year.

Summer Weddings

August 6th, 2011 by Peter MacLaren


Royal Wedding

Prince William and Katherine did it in London. Prince Albert and Charlene did it in Monaco. And you too can do it …it’s not too late to have a summer 2011 wedding at West Hill House!

Whether an elopement with just the two of you or  a small wedding with yourselves and an intimate group of friends, we are here to help you have a stress free wedding and one which won’t break the bank.

A beautiful garden to be married in, a handsome barn in which to dine and dance, an inviting bed and breakfast in which to relax, and  a magnificent Vermont setting – what more could you ask for?

Make your dreams come true with a Vermont wedding this summer.  We only need a couple of days to help you get everything organized.

LED Light bulbs – have they arrived?

August 2nd, 2011 by Peter MacLaren

GE LED Bulb

GE LED Bulb

LED light bulbs are the promise of the greener future.  We have for some time used LED bulbs outdoors for low intensity flood-lighting and for light strings to mark our front parking lot and highlight our gazebo, but never for mainstream use as real lightbulbs!

Well it seems times have changed.  GE is now selling the bulb shown here, which looks very like the real thing!  Quite uniquely it spreads light omni-directionally, a real breakthrough for LED bulbs.

So West Hill House burnished our Green Hotel credentials and bought 4 of these yesterday.  (Peter is also Scottish so the deal from Lowe’s at only $14 each really swung the decision – most places list it for more than twice that much.)

Given the hype about LEDs you will be surprised that the efficiency is only about 50 lumens per watt, i.e. 450 lumens for the 9W rating of the bulb.  A 14W CFL produces about 900 lumens for about 65 lumens per watt, so contrary to expectations LEDs are still less efficient.

However how about actual results?  We are amazed at the bright white omni-directional light, which gives the impression of more than a 40W incandescent equivalent bulb.  Then there is the 23 year lifetime and no mercury to worry about when they do need discarded.  Plus it looks like a light bulb – not a twisted tube! AND it comes on full brightness instantly.

So maybe not quite the time to plan a wholesale replacement, but viable LED bulbs are definitely on the near horizon!  We’ll be pleased to show them to you next time you stay.

Scott Joplin lives at West Hill House!

July 5th, 2011 by Peter MacLaren

Morning Serenade

A Scott Joplin serenade after breakfast – what a treat!

Jeanne and John, long time friends from Texas, were making a cross country tour in June and stopped in to visit us. Always traveling with this very small trumpet he has often times surprised folks with a musical interlude.

They told the story of being stuck in an airport around Christmas one year, and, as happens in such a situation, found themselves wandering up and down the terminal. They came upon a group singing carols a cappella. They listened for a bit, then, unbeknownst to the singers, John slipped in behind the group, pulled out his trumpet and began to accompany them. Were they surprised!

Thank you for the visit and the wonderful music.

July 4th Weekend 2011 in Warren Vermont

June 11th, 2011 by Peter MacLaren

Vermont Symphony 2011 Summer Tour Banner

Vermont Symphony 2011 Summer Tour

The holiday weekend in Warren is chock full of excitement this year, starting on Friday July 1st and running through to Monday July 4th. Plan to stay at West Hill House for all four nights and we will make all the arrangements you need to enjoy your visit at an all inclusive price!

July 1st. The Vermont Symphony Orchestra offers “Symphony Royale” with Anthony Princiotti, conducting music fit for a king…or a summer evening in Vermont! Handel’s fireworks begin the program and Northstar’s fireworks conclude it, in this musical homage to royalty. The noble procession includes Scheherazade’s Kalendar Prince, the King and Queen of Troy, and the King of Siam. In honor of Independence Day, we celebrate our freedom from monarchical rule with America’s own version of royalty, Duke Ellington! The performance will be crowned, as always, by the majestic 1812 Overture and selections from Sousa, the March King. The performance is being hosted at Sugarbush.
The gates open at 5:00 PM for an included barbecue dinner and the concert begins at 7:30 PM.

Waitsfield Farmers' Market

Waitsfield Farmers' Market

George Bernard Shaw

George Bernard Shaw

July 2nd. The renowned Waitsfield Farmers’ Market will be open from 9AM till 1PM. You will find fresh produce, flowers, seedlings, honey, wool, eggs, meat, cheese and other farm products. In addition you will find crafts made in Vermont, baked goods, and prepared food. There will also be live entertainment provided by local musicians. You will also find community groups such as the Vermont Festival of the Arts, Localvores, local libraries and fire departments.

Dinner on Saturday evening will be your choice from the many excellent nearby restaurants.

Still on July 2nd enjoy a performance by the excellent Valley Players of the classic George Bernard Shaw’s play “Arms and the Man”.
The play is set during the four-month-long Serbo-Bulgarian War that occurred between November 1885 and March 1886, this play is a satire on the absurdity of glorifying war, as well as a satire on the foolishness of basing your affections on idealistic notions of love. These themes brought reality and a timeless lesson to the comic stage. Consequently, once Shaw’s genius was recognized, Arms and the Man became one of Shaw’s most popular plays and has remained a classic ever since. The Performance starts at 7:30PM.

On Sunday July 3rd enjoy the Stars and Stripes Charity Airshow at Warren-Sugarbush airport featuring bi-plane aerobatics and other great stunts. This year there will be a model airplane demo, glider aerobatics and with both vintage plans and classic motorcycles on display. Check the video to see what you will be in for! Gates open at 11:00 a.m. and show starts at 1:00 p.m.  All proceeds to benefit the Vermont National Guard Charitable Foundation, a nonprofit organization which serves to meet the emergency financial needs of the men and women of the Vermont National Guard and their families.

The Common Man Restaurant

The Common Man

On Sunday evening we will make reservations for you at The Common Man Restaurant, in our view the best restaurant in the area. (It will be open specially for the Sunday of the holiday weekend.)

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 manor fireplace in season. (See the photo alongside.) Dining is elegantly casual and casually elegant, definitely romantic, and is applauded by Vermonters and visitors alike. The restaurant has earned scores of prestigious awards.

Then the pièce de resistance on Monday, the 63rd consecutive Warren 4th of July Parade.

The event celebrates independence with a wild, wacky, and wickedly fun parade, street dance, and family festivities! The theme is “ACT LIKE A LOCAL:_________” (blank to be filled in by the participants!). This is always an “interesting” event with political correctness being left at home as floats assembled by area denizens broadcast their point of view to visitors from far and wide! The Parade starts at 10AM. Live Music will begin following the parade with Jimmy Yozell at the Warren Store porch for the big street dance and Mad Mountain Scramblers at Brooks Field (elementary school), a short walk from the village.

The video was compiled by Sugarbush from last year’s parade.

On Monday evening West Hill House will provide an alfresco dinner sitting out on our Garden Terrace overlooking our gardens. Then in the evening about 9:45PM you can watch an amazing Fireworks display at Sugarbush.

Enjoy this exciting and unique long weekend with an all inclusive price from West Hill House, with four night packages starting at $999 per couple. The price includes tickets for all the events and meals described above, one of our beautiful well appointed en-suite queen-bedded guest rooms for four nights, and breakfast each morning of course. (Only extras are lunches, dinner at your choice of restaurant on Saturday evening and any alcoholic drinks.)  We will also be happy to customize the weekend package to your preferences. Tickets for the various events are subject to availability.

Tea Primer

April 23rd, 2011 by Peter MacLaren

Granny's favourite.

When we moved to Texas from Canada, two new friends, knowing of our Canadian & Scottish backgrounds, offered us tea – cups with water heated (not to boiling) in the microwave and presented with a tea bag on the side. YIKES! My mission from then on was to teach them to make a good cup of tea, properly made! Both new friends, who have since become near and dear, were excellent students and can now make a great cuppa’.

Here are a few basic terms that are useful to know when reading about and making tea.

Tea pot -The vessel from which hot tea is poured. Buy a tea pot if you haven’t one. Whether from a simple Brown Betty tea pot or an ornate fine china tea pot, pouring tea from a tea pot makes the experience of having a cuppa’ all the more enjoyable. (don’t use aluminum though it reacts badly with tea).

This small 2-cup tea pot along with its wee cream and sugar was used for many years by Peter’s Granny who lived to be one week short of 100 years old. In the latter years of her life Granny was confined to bed and Peter’s mum brought her tea in this little set each morning. Looking as good as new, sadly its tea cup is missing.

Tea kettle - the vessel in which you bring fresh water to a boil. Can be electric or stove top.

Tea cup – A china tea cup or mug are my favourites – but then, I’ve also drunk tea from a birch bark cup so I’ll take tea no matter!

Infuse or Steep – the process of extracting the flavour of the tea from the leaves to the water.

Loose  leaf or Tea bag – Use good quality loose, leaf is best. Most commonly used are tea bags which contain tea dust which is known for it quick extraction. With a myriad kinds of tea, make a visit your local tea shop for advice on what to purchase. (If you are in the Mad River Valley checkout the tea shop and restaurant called MINT- they have about 50 different teas and tisanes.)

Tisane-Though prepared in the same manner as tea, tisane is a combination of dried flowers, herbs and fruit and does not contain tea leaves.

One-for-the-pot - This refers to how much loose leaf or how many teabags to use. My guideline is 1 bag or one slightly rounded teaspoon of loose leaf per 10 oz of water. You preferences may vary for weaker or stronger tea.

Tea Ball or Tea Infuser  or Tea Egg – A tea ball is not a fancy dress dance, it ‘s a device into which loose tea leave are put for steeping. Once in the tea pot, the hot water poured over it  can seep through the mesh of a tea ball to the leaves.

Ready to make some tea? Stay tuned!

Small Weddings: Budget & Family Friendly

April 20th, 2011 by Peter MacLaren

Family join Jennifer and Mark for their December 2010 wedding.

Your wedding should be a very special day which expresses your style and personality, even if you are working with a small wedding budget. Small weddings are the trend these days as couples are opting for a more personal occasion with just family and close friends. Small and intimate weddings provide an opportunity for the couple to visit with each guest, to relax and enjoy the occasion, to really put their personal touches on the celebration, and for the families to get to know each other in a comfortable setting. To say nothing of saving money to put towards a wonderful honeymoon, a house down-payment or even towards paying off student loans.

If you have an intimate wedding in mind why not consider a B&B venue? Such a location can provide a dramatic backdrop for your own special touches. Whether an elegant country estate, an urban city-scape, or like ours, a mountain setting with meadows, gazebo, handsome red barn, ponds and gardens, there is a B&B sure to suit your taste.

You can have the memorable, intimate wedding of your dreams with memories to last a life time, without breaking the bank. Small is beautiful!

At West Hill House B&B we work with highly qualified, local wedding professionals to help you plan a stress free occasion. We have facilities for weddings from 2 to 80 people and we still have a few June and July 2011 dates available for wedding bookings. We pride ourselves in providing you and your guests with personal attention and excellent service, all in a restful country setting near Sugarbush in the beautiful Green Mountains of Vermont.

Tranquility Base

April 17th, 2011 by Peter MacLaren

Ahhhhh....

 

 

The Thomsons from Ottawa, Canada were recent guests at West Hill House. At breakfast we asked if they had found their room comfortable. Their reply?

“Our room was an oasis of tranquility within an oasis of tranquility.”

We know how to make tea!

April 15th, 2011 by Peter MacLaren

A Ceylon tea set which was purchased by Peter's grandmother when she and her husband lived in Ceylon in the early 1900s.

Over the past few weeks I have attended two conferences, each providing various meals followed by coffee and tea,  but only if you asked for it.

My latest tea challenge came just the other day. I was brought a cup filled with very warm water (not hot enough to have been boiling) and a wooden case from which I could choose from about a dozen types of teas and tisanes. The tea bags were tucked into little cardboard boxes  1.75″ x 1.25″ x .75″ and wrapped with plastic wrap with a pull tab much like the wrapping on a cigarette package. By the time I had chosen my tea, finally removed the plastic from the box, got the box opened and the tea bag into the cup, the water had gone from very warm to warm. While the quality of tea was good, full-leaf tea in a triangular tea bag, I could only imagine what this would have tasted like had it been properly made.

It’s time tea was made and served correctly!

When you visit West Hill House, if you request tea, we will make you a proper cup of tea.Tea as it should be!

B&Bs Kick Gas!

April 10th, 2011 by Peter MacLaren

Save on Gas. Travel with Friends.

Remember these days?

Invite another couple or two other couples to join you for a gas-saving get-away at West Hill House Bed and Breakfast.  Make a reservation for 2 or more nights, pay on one credit card, travel here in one vehicle and take advantage of our B&Bs Kick Gas, Gas Saver Special.

Pay full price for each of the rooms for the first night and receive the second night(s) at a 50% saving. If you stay for 3 nights, the third night(s) – on the house. Think of the savings as our way of helping you fill your gas tank.
We are happy to provide you with touring ideas, dinner reservations or even a home cooked dinner at the B&B if there are 6 of you traveling together.
The Gas Saver Special good now through June 30, 2011 and cannot be combined with other specials we may be offering . The Paris Suite is not included in this offer.

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