One of the most beautiful soaring sites in the United States is nestled in the Mad River Valley here in Warren. Spring, Summer and Fall are great times to take to the skies over the Valley. Sugarbush Airport, on the east side of the valley, is a well-known glider airport and home to Sugarbush Soaring. It's sometimes the venue for National Championship Soaring events. The sailplanes are beautiful to see, up close on the ground, or in the air, gliding silently overhead.
The airport provides sightseeing rides - a particular joy during foliage time. For more timid souls, it's a treat to go to the airport to watch the tow planes take the sail planes into the sky and let them go, to soar for miles before returning to touch down gently on the one runway. The viewing is up close and personal. The planes sit on the grass where visitors may peek inside, ask questions of the pilots and, perhaps, gather the courage to take a ride.
Click on the video to enjoy a preview. We offer a "Snore and Soar" package and we can make the booking for you.
On a warm summer's day where better to be than on the water? We have made arrangements with local outfitter Clearwater Sports to give you the opportunity to see the Mad River Valley from the water with a Kayak Tour! They will provide all the equipment you need and full instructions for kayaking or tubing. Then they will be your guides as you explore the river, or get you set up to go off on your own.
Please call us at least a week or so before your visit to reserve a spot on one of their paddling tours or tubing outings on the Mad River or on the Winooski River (depending on water conditions). For a group of 8 or more there can be a great barbecue waiting for your shore-side at the end of your trip downriver.
Built by the Green Mountain Club between 1910 and 1930, the Long Trail is the oldest long-distance trail in the United States. The Long Trail follows the main ridge of the Green Mountains from the Massachusetts-Vermont line to the Canadian border as it crosses Vermont's highest peaks. It was the inspiration for the Appalachian Trail, which coincides with it for one hundred miles in the southern third of the state.
The trail runs right along the ridge above West Hill House. Casual hikers will enjoy the short hike south on the Long Trail from Lincoln Gap to Sunset Ledge. This is about a one hour trip including time to admire the view.
Serious hikers will appreciate the views from the top of Mount Abraham, third highest peak in the state. That's a half-day hike north on the Long Trail from the Lincoln Gap. The photo is from the top of Mt Abraham looking west and is courtesy of guest Mary Jensen. It's hard to describe how spectacular it feels emerging from the trees about 300 ft below the summit and suddenly having a view to the horizon in every direction.
In the video Iris & Thomas tell you about their experience—in Austrian!
Experienced hikers will want to challenge the gap-to-gap hike from the Lincoln Gap to the Appalachian Gap which takes about 8 hours. Don't worry—we'll meet you at the far end!
There are also many other trails to hike - check with us when you get here to discuss what best suits your hiking ambitions! For example have a look at Stetson Hollow and Lincoln Brook hiking trails. Also there are a number of trails at the Mad River Glen ski area. For more information on these walks on others check our Hiking the Long Trail blog.
Hiking boots, water bottles which we will fill for you and an extra layer of clothing are important suggestions for happy hiking.
When you come to the Mad River Valley you will discover an extensive network of mountain biking trails as well as miles and miles of well-maintained two-lane blacktop. We will provide you with maps and directions. At West Hill House B&B we offer indoor storage for your own bikes, or if you prefer to rent once you arrive, there are bike rentals available in Waitsfield at Infinite Sports.
Sugarbush Resort just one mile from us has added to its network of legendary mountain bike trails! Whether you prefer high-speed downhill runs, North Shore-style free ride features in the park, long technical descents on your cross-county bike, or leisurely loop rides, Sugarbush Resort has it all. The trails are open every day from 10 till 4, and till 6 on Fridays and Saturdays. You can bring your own mountain bike or rent one here. And the good news is that you can ride the ski lift up the mountain with your bike and it's all downhill from there - almost 1600ft of descent! The lifts are open daily from late June through till the Labor Day weekend, and weekends through till October 17th.
In addition there is a growing network of mountain bike trails throughout the Mad River Valley, reading from the beginner level through to expert. We shall be glad to pull out the maps and show you the latest when you are here!
During the summer months Sugarbush offers mountain biking on some of the ski trails, and runs a lift daily from late June through to Labor Day, then weekends through till Columbus Day, to get you to the top of the trails.
Towards the end of the summer there is a major cycling event–the Green Mountain Stage Race. This multi-day event is usually held Labor Day weekend and offers 4 days of exciting and challenging racing in the Green Mountains of Vermont.
We love hosting cyclists. We have had the honor and pleasure to welcome now retired pro-cyclist Ted King a couple of times. Ted was an Economics Major from Middlebury College, so while he was living in Spain he came back “home” to Green Mountains. He was a member of the Cervélo Test Team in the 2010 Giro d’Italia, and subsequently in the Cannondale/Garmin Road Racing Team and rode in the Tour de France. Also Tim Johnson, a member of the Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld Team, has been our special guest several times. His wife Lyne Bessette joined him on one occasion—she was a member of the Canadian Olympic team in 2000 and 2004. We have also welcomed many other accomplished cyclists as guests, just here for fun or to ride in the Stage Race.
For all of our cyclists, our barn offers not only space to store your machines but also lots of room to set them up and make adjustments.
And even through the "official" season is over by Labor day weekend, the fall is a gorgeous time to cycle in the valley to appreciate the amazing foliage display.
After the leaves are on the ground, you are rewarded with amazing views, so the month or so between mid October and Thanksgiving can also make for some great days in the saddle. Come and see for yourself!
Birdwatching is exceedingly popular in Vermont. The state is bird and birder-friendly in general and the Mad River Valley is no exception, hosting a great number of trails and other birding hotspots - many right near the B&B. The warmer months make for the perfect birder’s getaway.
The Valley has an abundance of northern forest natural community types. With acres of uninterrupted forest in the mountains, birders have the unique opportunity to witness neotropical migrants in their breeding grounds. Our Green Mountains are the home of such birds as the rare Bicknell’s Thrush, the Blackpoll Warbler and the Golden- crowned Kinglet.
For more information check out our Springtime in Vermont blog post.
The Vermont Festival of the Arts readies its canvasses each August. There are usually over 125 Events during August and through Labor Day. August is Art! Get Ready! Have a look at our Blog on the 2015 Arts Festival to get an idea of what all goes on!
Perennial Festival favorites, such as Art in the Big Red Barn, Art in the Garden, Photo Show in the Round Barn, Mad River Valley Craft Fair, A Passport to Open Studios and the Vermont Young Musicians Award Concert, are always joined by some new ventures.
The first Sunday in August usually heralds the Taste of the Valley, providing an opportunity to sample the best from Chefs and Caterers around the Mad River Valley, and see the best two of the event in a cook-off! Stay with us for the weekend and we can arrange discounted hard-to-get tickets for you.
Our B&B makes for a perfect location for a golf holiday in the Green Mountains of Vermont. We have the Sugarbush golf course right in front of the house, and the others listed here are all within about an hour's drive. Sugarbush and the National Course are both in Golf Digest's top 10 in Vermont. All the courses offer spectacular views and great golf. We can help you put together a package and arrange the tee times for you. You can also enjoy many other Summer Activities around West Hill House B&B. Also please look at our Golf & Stay packages.
Sugarbush Golf Course - We're right beside one of the fairways and less than a mile from the club house of the Sugarbush Resort Robert Trent Jones, Sr. championship golf course. Jones is one of history's great masters of golf course architecture and his legendary talent is apparent in every one of the 18 holes of the Sugarbush Golf Club. Designed with remarkable respect for the natural surroundings, this par-72 course is as beautiful as the game itself. You will experience a golf journey through the hilltops of the Mad River Valley, featuring inspiring views at every tee, making each hole a story unto itself. We can arrange your tee times for you in advance so that you will be all set to go - let us know when you reserve your room. Club rentals are available, and all green fees include a cart. The course should be available from May 1st to October 31st. Note that on Wednesdays a Short Game Clinic or Thursdays a Long Game Clinic, followed by a lunch entre and non-alcoholic beverage at Hogan's Pub, then unlimited golf with cart for the remainder of the day is just $75 inclusive.
Montague Golf Club - Open for play since 1913, the Montague Golf Club is the second oldest operating golf course in Vermont. It is about half-an-hour's drive from the B&B. They refer to themselves as "Vermont's Best-Kept Golf Secret". A beautiful, 6,300-yard links golf course with many holes fronting on the Third Branch of the White River. Montague's front nine is lined by maple and pine trees. The back nine is more of an open “links-style”, with rolling fairways and sloping land lined with tall heather grasses. We can arrange your tee times for you in advance - let us know when you reserve your room. It offers great value as on weekdays you can play 9 holes with a cart from $72 per couple or 18 holes from $92 per couple – and about $10 more at the weekend.
Green Mountain National Course - located about one hour south of the B&B down route 100 near Killington. It is ranked the No. 1 public golf course in Vermont and the exceptional layout and dedication to service offers a great experience for golfers of all ability levels. The course has gently sloping fairways that feature generous landing areas, distinctive changes in elevation and undulating greens that provide natural beauty. You can view the centuries old rock formations carved by the glaciers, and be sure to take a moment on the 16th tee where you can enjoy the panoramic views in a spectacular setting.
Country Club of Barre - Founded in 1924, the Country Club of Barre is considered one of the "must play" courses in central Vermont. Nestled in the rolling hills of Plainfield Vermont, the course a unique and rewarding golf experience. You will experience not only golf at its finest, but scenic views of the beautiful Vermont landscape. The course is designed with all players in mind, from the beginner to the experienced, from the high handicap to the low handicap, all levels of experience will find the course challenging and rewarding. It is about 45 minutes from the B&B.
We have several excellent suggestions for you to relax for the rest of the day:
For more summer fun ideas, read this blog post written about a guest's summer visit to the Mad River Valley.