West Hill House B&B

Category Archives: Summer activities

A 4th of July to Remember

June 16, 2012 by Susan

Red stunt planeOur Sap-bucket list is overflowing with activities for one super week of 4th of July celebrations for all tastes and interests!

The 3rd annual Stars and Stripes Air Show on June 30 will bring excitement to the Sugarbush Airport in Warren with vintage planes, stunt flying by both planes and gliders, glider rides, classic motorcycles, food and fun for children and adults alike. Tickets may be purchased on line or at the gate. Check out the air show website for more information and some video of last year’s show. Sorry but dogs and coolers must be left at home.
Cooking class

If cooking is your delight, you can learn to impress your family and friends at the cooking classes at The Kitchen at The Store in Waitsfield.  Chef John shares his wisdom and makes learning in the kitchen most enjoyable.

On Saturday, Chef’s Table-Aound the World offers participants not only the opportunity to create food from 4 different countries but to eat it too!

July 2 and 3 will have you creating scrumptious pies at the Butter, Sugar & Sin-Pies class and the Easy Entertaining-Soups and Paninis classes. The best thing is you don’t have to be an expert cook to take these classes, they are fun for all skill levels.

Of course on the 4th of July is the world famous, wild and wacky, 4th of July Parade which makes its way down the main street of Warren to the delight of thousands, yes thousands, of spectators. Family fun, kids games, music, food an more follow the parade in the town as well as up at Sugarbush. FireworksThe parade starts at 10AM but be there early, no cars are allowed in town but buses will be making the circuit from various parking places to town. The day closes with a bang a fireworks will light the sky over Sugarbush starting shortly after 9PM.

As well as all these activities, don’t forget there are mountain walks, energetic hikes, river and lake kayaking, refreshing swimming holes, eclectic shopping, golf and plenty of relaxing to be had here in the valley.

Join the residents of the Mad River Valley and celebrate the 4th of July Vermont style. With the many lodging opportunities here in the Valley, from welcoming B&Bs to condos and rental houses, there will surely be something perfect for you.

See you soon!

Farmer’s Market

June 15, 2012 by Susan

Waitsfield Famers' MarketA must on our Sap-bucket list is our local Farmers’ Market which is held every Saturday morning from now until October 20th–rain or shine–on the Mad River Green in Waitsfield.

Local farmers bring a vast array of items including seedling plants, freshly harvested vegetables and fruits, cheeses, local meats, maple syrup, honey, eggs, jams and fresh baking–ummm I can almost smell the fresh pies! When you are at the market, be sure to visit the artisans’ booths where you’ll see beautiful intricate blown glass, colorful woven goods, hand crafted wooden items, finely turned pottery pieces and much more. Everything’s super and everything’s for sale.

If you are visiting the valley and had to leave your canine baby at home you’ll especially love the Waitsfield Farmers’ Market as dogs are invited to attend as long as they promise to stay on their leash and  be polite and friendly to everyone they meet.

Sap-bucket list

June 10, 2012 by Susan

What’s on your bucket list?

There are so many wonderful places to visit and things to do in Vermont that we have created none other than our own Vermont Sap-Bucket list!

In the 6 years we have been in Vermont we have taken the opportunity explore this wonderful Green Mountain state. We’re excited when our guests ask “What’s there to do in Vermont?” because we are more than happy to fill them in on what’s what.

As our guests at West Hill House B&B, we will help you to plan your itinerary and activities by providing you with ideas based on your interests and driving routes that will show off the beautiful scenery.

So we invite you watch this space for our Sap-bucket list.

Fall In Love with Vermont

May 21, 2012 by Peter MacLaren

Total relaxation at West Hill House

  • Does adventure mean exploring quiet back roads, hiking beautiful forested trails, jumping into cool river swimming holes, kayaking down splashing rivers or  sailing on pristine lakes?
  • Would you get a thrill out of soaring over the hilltops in a glider? Does the thrill of the hunt mean looking for treasures at antique shops and purchasing produce at  farmers’ markets?
  • Do you enjoy the excitement of country fairs? Are you fascinated watching artisans at work?
  • Do you search for enticing shops in quaint villages?
  • Does relaxation at the end of the day mean enjoying the hospitality of a bed and breakfast?
  • Are you a fan of opera, art exhibits, five-star dining or quick lunches in little cafés?
  • Want to add to your birding list?
  • Does relaxation mean contemplating life while sitting in a beautiful garden or gently swaying in a hammock?

Answer “Yes” to any of these questions and you may not know it, but you’ve already fallen in love with Vermont. All this and more is part of our way if life in the magnificent state of Vermont.

Whether your summer takes you to Bennington in the south, Warren and Sugarbush in the Mad River Valley in the center of the state or to the spectacular scenery of the Northeast Kingdom, we invite you to come to Vermont for romance, relaxation and recreation. Vermont has it all – see you soon.

Summer fun on the Winooski River

Summer fun on the Winooski River

Picnic by the pond

May 21, 2012 by Peter MacLaren

West Hill House Bed and Breakfast

Grace & Charlie enjoy a picnic.

A basket filled with Vermont cider, cheeses, crackers, home made cookies and other goodies brings smiles to Grace and Charlie who welcomed the warm spring weather with a picnic by our pond. Spring has indeed sprung in the Mad River Valley. Signs of the season are all around us; chipmunks are sunning themselves on the rocks, peepers are singing our guests to sleep each evening and our beautiful gardens are coming back to life with brilliant daffodils now in bloom. We won’t even mind a few April showers. Sugarbush has opened the golf course, folks are out walking and cycling as well as hiking on the many local Green Mountain trails.

Though we can’t guarantee that there will be warm picnic weather when you come, we can guarantee that a warm welcome awaits you.

See you soon!

National Parks Week April 21-29

May 21, 2012 by Peter MacLaren

In Vermont we are proud of our woodlands, our mountains and our waterways. In fact, the mission of our Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation is to practice and encourage a high quality of stewardship of Vermont’s environment by managing forests for sustainable use and by providing and promoting opportunities for compatible outdoor recreation. This mission echos the concern for the environment expressed by John Muir in the late 1800′s as he explored the vast magnificence of the natural wonders of the US west.

John Muir, a Scottish born American naturalist was an early advocate of the preservation of the American wilderness. His many writings tell of his adventures in nature and especially his love of the Sierra Nevada. An outspoken supporter and active defender of  nature preservation,  his enthusiasm for nature was boundless.

An early advocate of the idea of national parks, Muir petitioned the US Congress to pass the Nation Park bill which, when passed in 1890, brought about the creation of both Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks. Today the name John Muir graces numerous trails, glaciers, camp-grounds and monuments in national park lands. Founded by Muir, The Sierra Club continues to be one of the most active and important conservation groups today.

If you watched the Ken Burns documentary on the National Parks you will remember the first part focuses on the life of John Muir.

Today in the United States, this Scottish born naturalist is referred to as the “Father of the National Parks”. Thank a Scot and go out and enjoy a national park this week.  April 21-29 is National Parks Week.

Father of the National Parks John Muir

“Father of the National Parks” John Muir April 21, 1838- December 24, 1914


Church Street Burlington

March 23, 2012 by Peter MacLaren

The Church Street Marketplace, Downtown Burlington Vermont’s award-winning open air mall, is a hub of activity where you’ll find historical architecture, year-round festivals, street entertainers, music, over 100 places to shop and dine, and even quiet places to ponder.

Church Street is a great place to visit when you come to West Hill House, in particular during the summer months.

Susan and Peter had the opportunity of spending a couple of hours there on March 22nd, during a day of record setting temperatures in the 80s F, above 25 C. The gorgeous weather allowed us to take the photographs below.

Church Street, Burlington

Looking north on Church Street

"Big" Joe Burrell

Caption for "Big" Joe Burrell

One of the many café's and restaurants

Bear sculpture in front of City Hall

Spring crocuses

Ben & Jerry's - of course

Archer Mayor’s Red Herring – a review

August 22, 2011 by Peter MacLaren

Red Herring - a mystery by Archer Mayor

Red Herring by Archer Mayor

The problem with Archer Mayor’s detective mystery books, featuring fictitious Vermont detective Joe Gunther, is that once you start them you can’t put them down!

Three deaths – one an apparent rape and murder, one an apparent suicide and one an apparent drunk driving accident. Totally unrelated, or are they?  And are any of them really what they seem to be?

Another case for Joe Gunther. He focuses on the apparent “red herring”–a single drop of blood left on, or near, each body. And, as it turns out, not from the bodies themselves.

One of Joe’s many assets is that he has been in his profession a long time.  He has many useful contacts, both orthodox and less so, that can help with analyzing the elements of the crime scene, including some rather high tech approaches for identifying the probable source of the blood in the blood spots.

However establishing the fact that there is a link among the three deaths, what it is, and who is responsible, takes Joe’s intuition as well as analysis, playing some hunches, and getting help (or maybe not) from two woman, one part of his past, and one that may become part of his future.

Red Herring is a page-turner right to the last page, and the interesting twist at the very end will make you eagerly anticipate reading about the next challenge for Joe Gunther.

The book is available at Tempest Book Store in Waitsfield and also in iBooks.

Tickets are still available to see Archer Mayor in person at West Hill House on Friday 26th and Saturday 27th August.  Call 802-496-7162 for details.

Garden Tour

August 16, 2011 by Peter MacLaren

Admiring the Gardens

Our pond on canvas

Our gardens were recently featured on the Garden Tour, part of the Vermont Festival of the Arts. For days leading up to the  tour dates our landscape artist Patty Weston and her crew worked diligently to have the gardens looking their best. On each of the past two Sundays we welcomed a bus full of garden lovers to come explore the peaceful garden setting and ooh and ahh over the colourful displays of various types of  hydrangea, delphinium, lobelia, snow cap daisies, day lilies of various kinds, hosta, and heather  just to name a few. Dotty, a local artist came along to paint a picture of our pond and garden shed.

Our gardens are a favorite spot for guests to sit and enjoy the surroundings as well as for wedding celebrations. Come and enjoy the gardens yourself!

Rock of Ages Quarry & Hope Cemetery in nearby Barre, Vermont

August 8, 2011 by Peter MacLaren

Rock of Ages Quarry Barre Vermont, near West Hill House B&B

Rock of Ages Quarry

Both of these attractions are well worth a visit when you stay at West Hill House.

The 600 ft deep Rock of Ages granite quarry in nearby Barre is a favorite destination for our guests. It is reputed to be the largest such quarry in the world. With the scale of the geological formation it is estimated that at current production rates there is enough granite for 4,000 years!  There is a Vistors’ Center where you can learn all about the quarry, the factory where you can see how monuments are carved, and of course the tour of the quarry itself which leaves every 45 minutes or so. Check out some photos in our photo album on Facebook.

Hope Cemetery Barre, Vermont, close to West Hill House B&B

Hope Cemetery

The granite is on display in its finished form as beautiful monuments in nearby Hope Cemetery. This cemetery in Barre is an unusual tourist attraction but please do not pass this up – it doesn’t sound like a great side trip, but it is.

Many grave monuments were carved for their own family members by stonemasons, who worked at the Rock of Ages Quarry.  Find the soccer ball, the biplane, the eighteen-wheeler, the stock car, and the cube on one of its points. There are family portraits including a husband and wife sitting up in bed and lots of intricately carved floral arrangements. Have a look at our photo album on Facebook.

The Quarry and Hope Cemetery are about 40 minutes from the B&B. The cemetery is open year round and the quarry is open from late May till mid October. A visit to the State Capital of Montpelier, the smallest State Capital in the US, is easily included in the day’s outing and is also well worth a visit.