West Hill House B&B

Category Archives: Attractions & Events

Don’t be Directionally Challenged

April 22, 2017 by Susan

Mud season is upon us here in rural Vermont. A time when the snow melts, the ground thaws and the rains come. Although the ski season has come to an end many B&B owners like ourselves remain open and welcome guests while we catch up on the B&B ‘honey-do’ list.

Mud season is a perfect time to get away from your day-to-day routines and enjoy relaxing at a B&B with your special someone. It is a quiet time in this part of the country, and although the skiers have left, the roads still lead to the beautiful Green Mountains of Vermont —if you follow the driving directions.  Of course on our website we do provide you with a 98% mud-free route to our B&B.

Yankee Magazine had a lovely oh-so-true story this month entitled ‘Hard Drive’ which described perfectly the challenges of not only mud season but, mud season in combination with GPS.

Directions to keep you mud free.

Knowing which way can keep you mud free.

Vermont has 8,600 miles of unpaved roads (that’s twice the length of the continental US) and only 6,000 miles of paved roads. Those who live here appreciate the gravel roads and the beauty found along these roads less taken.

One of the challenges of mud season is that many of the gravel roads turn to a wonderful chocolaty brown layer of mud. While looking innocent enough, in some places the mud is ready to challenge you: will you make it through or will you be caught.

During mud season Vermont’s B&Bs want to help you journey smoothly so we all recommend the same thing, “We live here and know the roads well — please read through our recommended directions and don’t let your GPS or mapping website lead you astray!”

Forest gravel road

Gravel road through verdant forest – no mud here.

The subtitle of Yankee Magazine’s ‘Hard Drive’ story is “The GPS crowd learns that when it comes to country roads, some are less taken for a reason.”

Absolutely true! While GPS may give you the shortest route, that route might actually turn out to be a farm road or a gravel-road mountain pass deep in mud. In winter you may be led to a road actually closed in winter one which has been closed in winter since the beginning of time!

The key words are “we live here and know the roads well”. While the route we suggest may be a bit longer, the timing is usually within minutes of the same and in the long run may require lots less time than waiting for a tow truck to pull you out of the mud!

We want you to arrive happy and relaxed, not stressed out!

So what’s to do in Mud Season you ask? Plenty. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Sign up for a Brews and Snooze tour
  • Visit the Valley Arts gallery or take part in one of their special classes
  • Shop at the ‘Almost World Famous Warren Store’ they have a great deli too!
  • See the vast array of Vermont artisan talent at the Artisan Gallery Shop
  • Get a jump on Christmas decorations at All Things Bright and Beautiful
  • Check out the paintings and photographs by local artist at the Parade Gallery in Warren
  • Enjoy dinner at one of the local restaurants. While some are closed in mud season, there is still good dining to be had. Perhaps even dinner at the B&B.
  • Visit the waterfalls or one of the other self-driving tours we have created for you
  • The Three Mountain Café is a good stopping spot for a bite to eat and to check out local antiques
  • Visit The Store for all things kitchen related and they have classes as well

Watering can with flowersWhether you venture out and about or cozy up at the B&B; breath deeply, enjoy the mountain air and above all, r e l a x !

We are ready help you get started on your Vermont get-away. Check out out our Spring Showers bring May Flowers special or just give us a call at 802-496-7162 to make your relaxation reservation.

Sunny Day Road Trip: Discovering Vermont Artisans

April 16, 2017 by Susan

A beautiful, warm and sunny mid-April day just begs to be enjoyed so, having no overnight guest to attend to, we set out to enjoy the afternoon and view the works of area artisans.

Our afternoon outing started in Middlebury, about 45 minutes from the B&B, where we stopped at the Vermont Coffee Company for coffee and some lunch. The Vermont Coffee Company is a small company that began slow-roasting small batches of coffee in 1979. As they note, “All the coffees we buy are organic and fair trade. While on their own these aren’t ‘quality standards’ they are standards for a higher quality of living for the farmers who grow the coffee.” (Open weekdays only, until 2PM.)

Vermont coffee Company logo.

Coffee roasting artisans create”Coffee made for friends”.

Our guests love the dark roast that we use for our breakfast coffee. Buy Vermont Coffee Company coffee, save the brown paper wrappers and trade them in for some cool stuff – a travel mug? Perhaps, but saving up for a special Vermont Teddy Bear with a “Friends” t-shirt won’t take too much longer!

Next stop was Bristol nestled at the foot of the Green Mountains just over the Gap from Warren. The town dates back to 1762. While many of the buildings date from a later time period, the entire downtown is a National Historic District. The town green has been a central part of village life throughout the town’s history. The Bristol Band has presented outdoor summer band concerts in the gazebo on the town green every Wednesday from June through Labor Day since shortly after the Civil War.

Art on Main sign.

A bright and beautiful shop.

Two beautiful shops on the main street in Bristol that are not to be missed bring to light the incredible talent of Vermont artisans.

Art On Main is a charming community supported artist cooperative showcasing the talents of artisans from around the state. This small gallery exhibits and sells an abundance of delightful creations, the work of over 80 artists both well known and newly emerging talent.

A wide variety of media are represented including hand thrown pottery, exquisite jewelry, textiles in various styles, woodenware, fine art, glass, small furniture items and photography.

The creations are attractively displayed making each item a treat for the eye. Numerous community events are scheduled throughout the year at Art On Main: rotating exhibits, featured artist series, open studio weekend, artist demonstrations and an emerging artists exhibit.

Huge elm lumber dwarfs Vermont Tree Goods artisan and owner John.

Giant slices from the ancient elm dwarf John, Vermont Tree Goods artisan and owner. Photo: Jon Varricchio

Vermont Tree Goods is an absolute joy to visit. This local company mills lumber and creates the most incredibly beautiful furniture from recycled heirloom trees that have reached the end of their growing years. Through the transformation into furniture, these magnificent beings extend their legacy by living on in homes and businesses. Using trees that are too large to fit into the usual lumber mill saws, Vermont Tree Goods artisans take the large trees and using their vision create what the tree wants to be made into.

From bedsteads to bookcases and tables to trivets, each piece of wood has a story. Each piece is hand crafted, natural-edged, Vermont grown and Vermont made. The pieces have timeless design and so stunningly finished that the grain of the wood cries out to be caressed. Unfortunately, in 2016, the largest elm in the entire northeast succumbed to Dutch Elm Disease. Fortunately however, at the end of its life Vermont Tree Goods and the Nature Conservancy worked together to continue the legacy of that beautiful tree and may lovely pieces have been created from the wood of this historic tree.

All the tables, benches and home goods crafted from this magnificent red elm by the VTG artisans are branded with the unique VT Elm logo, a silhouette of the tree.

Vermont Tree Goods hand made table.

A magnificent table handcrafted by artisans at Vermont Tree Goods. Photo: Vermont Tree Goods

We are proud that our guests are able to be part of this legacy as we have four teapot trivets made from this stately elm.

Peter enjoying afternoon tea.

Enjoying a sunny afternoon tea and baked goods at the Bristol Café.

Before heading back to West Hill House B&B we stopped at a favorite, the Bristol Café, to sit outside in the warm sunshine and enjoy a mug of tea and some home baked goodies.

With explorations over for the day we headed back home and across the Gap to Warren.

If you are ready to escape from your usual routines for a while, your explorations can be just around the corner. We invite you to come stay with us at West Hill House B&B, adjacent to the Sugarbush Resort and Golf Club and just a few miles from the town of Bristol. Let us work with you to plan your road trip in the beautiful Green Mountains of Vermont.

Hit The Road On A Self-Guided Vermont Waterfalls Tour!

March 17, 2017 by Corey A. Edwards

Warren Falls, photo by Dean Goss

Warren Falls

One of the best ways to get acquainted with our picturesque area is on a self-guided Vermont waterfalls driving tour. There are a number here in the Green Mountains, conveniently close to our Mad River Valley B&B. So come on along – the tour’s just beginning!

There’s something undeniably attractive about a cascade of water. Beyond the negative ions, which are generated by the flow and have a proven positive effect on our moods, the sight of a waterfall is naturally soothing.

The white noise generated by the falls; the feel of the cool spray on your skin; the smell of the water on the air. Combine these with the hypnotic sight of water splashing down over rock and crevice and it adds up to a simple yet very pleasant experience.

Vermont waterfalls are some of the most beautiful you will see (though we may be biased) and the scenery along the way is nothing to sneeze at, either. This is especially true when the Appalachian Gap is part of the tour – but enough yapping! It’s time to get on with your self-guided, Green Mountains loop tour of Vermont waterfalls!

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Don’t Miss Out On These Upcoming Sugarbush Events!

February 11, 2017 by Corey A. Edwards

Don't miss out on upcoming Sugarbush events!There is always something going on in Vermont’s Mad River Valley as these two, upcoming Sugarbush events demonstrate so well: a Photography Outback Tour and Lawson’s Beer Dinner at Allyn’s Lodge!

There’s no denying the incredible natural beauty of Vermont’s Mad River Valley. Come discover it for yourself and take some of it back home with you in your camera when you attend Sugarbush’s Photography Outback Tour!

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Enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner At West Hill House B&B!

February 9, 2017 by Corey A. Edwards

West Hill House B&B Thanksgiving dinner!Come to Vermont’s Mad River Valley this Thanksgiving and enjoy dinner at our house with the West Hill House B&B Thanksgiving dinner add-on!

Thanksgiving is a time when we gather together and give thanks for all that is good in our lives: our friends and family, health, happiness, and more. It is meant as a time of reflection and coming together as the days shorten. A way of celebrating the good, warm, and friendly aspects of our lives together in this world.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way.

All too often there is a tussle over who hosts the dinner. Feelings are in danger of being hurt and the negative emotions can color the holiday. Or maybe the job of creating the meal causes more stress than any one holiday can possibly mitigate. Getting all those dishes done well and on time is no easy task!

If you’re facing these or any other issues, why not take advantage of West Hill House B&B’s Thanksgiving Dinner offer?

Every year, West Hill House B&B hosts a Thanksgiving dinner – and you and your family are invited! Come on and join us as we gather ’round our big dining room table for a traditional dinner.

Our feast always features lots of Thanksgiving favorites created with lots of locally grown produce. You’ll enjoy soup, roast turkey, and farm fresh mashed potatoes with Cabot butter. There will also be sweet potatoes with maple syrup from just down the road, a variety of fresh green vegetables, stuffing made with Red Hen bread, gravy, and cranberries. Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cold Hollow Apple Cider will be on hand to wash down your meal. And no, we won’t forget the pumpkin pie!

And all for only $39! (plus 9% tax)

Menu details may change slightly, depending on what’s available. We’re pretty traditional when it comes to Thanksgiving, though, so you can count on all of the usual favorites.

Thanksgiving Dinner at West Hill House B&B

In order to take advantage of the West Hill House B&B Thanksgiving dinner, we ask that you stay with us for at least two nights. Come by Wednesday night and stay as long as you can. Make a four-day weekend of it, if possible! Just let us know your plans ahead of time.

You can call ahead at 1 (802) 496-7162 to just  book your stay online over Thanksgiving and we will automatically add Thanksgiving dinner for everyone in your party!

This year, let someone else (us!) worry about the meal while you sit back and enjoy yourself.

Novel idea, eh? We thought you’d like it!

Maple Syrup? Pancakes? Vermont’s Got It!

February 5, 2017 by Susan

Glenn at the door of his West Hill Sugar Orchard

Glenn at the door of his West Hill Sugar Orchard

Maple syrup and Vermont go together like, well, maple syrup and pancakes! Forty years are required to grow a sugar maple tree large enough to tap. A tree ten inches (25 cm) in diameter is considered minimum trappable size for one tap. A grove of sugar maples is called a sugar bush or sometimes a maple orchard. It takes 4-5 taps to produce enough maple sap (40 gallons – 150 liters) to produce one gallon of syrup. Would you like to see it in action?

The Vermont Maple Open House Weekend will be held the weekend of March 25th and 26th in 2017, and you can experience it right here around West Hill House B&B.

The West Hill Sugar Orchard is a short walk from the B&B and is a small scale, locally operated and community supported maple syrup producer. The orchard gathers its sap by bucket and boils it over a wood fire using traditional maple sugaring techniques. Owner Glenn and his associated will be ready to welcome you for a visit over the weekend!

For breakfast we shall of course be serving maple syrup to accompany Susan’s delicious dishes, and maybe even as part of breakfast dessert. Newly produced 2017 will be available to purchase packaged in Glenn’s signature glass bottles decorated by his own wood prints. To help you enjoy this special weened we have created a special package just for you!

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Enjoy A Vermont Country Christmas at Country Holiday Fest 2016!

November 14, 2016 by Corey A. Edwards

Vermont Country Holiday Fest 2016The 18th annual Vermont Country Christmas, renamed “Country Holiday Fest” because Hanukkah starts on Christmas day this year, is scheduled for December 2nd through the 4th, 2016.

The name change isn’t the only difference. This year the Country Holiday Fest is being sponsored by Valley Arts, and they’ve added some new attractions to the event, as well. Despite these updates, this popular annual celebration of the season promises similar attractions and the same festive air as prior years.

The three-day event includes the Great Winter Paint-In, a book signing, craft vendors, oxen rides, and so much more!

It all starts at 5pm on the evening of December 2nd with a First Friday reception at Three Mountain Cafe. There is also and a book signing at The Collection that same evening with John Churchman. The Great Winter Paint-In kicks off at this time, too, and runs all weekend.

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The Mad River Valley Strawberry Festival

June 11, 2016 by Corey A. Edwards

Mad River Valley Strawberry FestivalThe first annual Mad River Valley Strawberry Festival is almost upon us – scheduled for the weekend of June 18th and 19th, 2016 – featuring strawberry picking, strawberry-themed food an drink, contests, live music, and summer merriment. The entire valley is getting into the act!

The strawberry is one of those unique foods that is both a deliciously sweet treat while being good for you at the same time – no wonder we’re giving this humble and delectable red berry its own festival – and you’re invited!

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Green Mountain Stage Race 2016 – domestiques r us!

June 7, 2016 by Peter MacLaren

The Green Mountain Stage Race will take place September 2nd to 5th, 2016, offering, as always, 4 days of exciting and challenging racing in the mountains of Vermont. We are honored to have had many accomplished cyclists stay at West Hill House B&B for the Green Mountain Race and look forward to the event again this year!  In prior years our guests have monopolized the podium, probably because of Susan’s great breakfasts!

Lodging for the GMSR

We know how to be great domestiques and here are a few other perks to consider:

  • We have a large barn (our Handsome Red Barn) where there is room for you to set up and make adjustments
  • We have indoor storage for your bikes in the barn, and we’ll be happy to store them for you if you ship them ahead
  • Guests rave about how comfortable our beds are
  • We provide breakfast at the time you need it for your race schedule
  • If you stay with us for the race for three or more nights we offer a 15% discount

AND: If you are first in your class as of the end of the 3rd day of racing, that night will be compliments of the B&B!
ITT-500M-to-go

Registering for the GMSR

You can register for the race online or by mail to: Green Mountain Stage Race, LLC P.O. Box 1172 Waitsfield VT 05673. Then book your room online here at West Hill House B&B or give us a call at 802-496-7162.

Biking all summer long!

In addition to the GMSR there is great cycling and mountain biking in the Mad River Valley all summer.  Please checkout our Cycling page and the Road & Mountain Biking page on the Mad River Valley website.

Vermont Mountain Bike Festival 2016

May 27, 2016 by Corey A. Edwards

Vermont Mountain Bike Festival 2016The Vermont Mountain Bike Association’s annual Vermont Mountain Bike Festival is being held at Mount Ellen at Sugarbush this year – July 22nd through the 24th, 2016.

Vermont’s passion for mountain biking continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Here in the Mad River Valley, a growing number of mountain biking trails have sprung up, making us home to some of the state’s finest mountain biking. One of the best, multi-use trail networks in the Green Mountains has its base here: a 45-plus mile series of trails that includes the most popular Mad River Valley trailheads for biking, hiking, skiing, and snowshoeing. There are beginner-friendly trails, like Blueberry Lake in the Green Mountain National Forest, and more challenging, classic mountain biking trails in places like Camel’s Hump State Park.

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Sugarbush Brew-Grass 2016 Craft Beer Festival!

May 14, 2016 by Corey A. Edwards

Sugarbush Brew-Grass 2016 Craft Beer FestivalGet ready for the 6th annual return of the Mad River Valley’s popular, craft beer festival: Sugarbush Brew-Grass 2016. Scheduled for Saturday, June 11 and promising more great beer, food, and music!

Held each year at the Sugarbush Resort in Vermont’s Mad River Valley, the Sugarbush Brew-Grass Festival is rapidly becoming a beloved tradition – and why not? Tastings of regional craft beers, ciders, and distilled liquors, fresh and fabulous food from local restaurants, plus live Bluegrass music from area bands.

If you had to find something to complain about, here, it might be that this is an annual, not a bi-annual or more often, festival!

Sugarbush Brew-Grass 2016 includes a few new events:

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Visit Rock Of Ages Granite Quarry

April 25, 2016 by Corey A. Edwards

Rock of Ages Granite QuarryRock Of Ages Granite Quarry, in Graniteville, VT (where else?) has been harvesting granite from Vermont soil since the late 1800’s – and providing tours of their operations since the 1920’s!

Rock Of Ages Granite Quarry has been selling Medium and Dark Barre granite from Graniteville since time out of mind. Granite sourced from these quarries have been used in countless monuments, memorials, construction, and decorative architecture for almost 150 years and show no signs of slowing down any time soon.

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