West Hill House B&B

Category Archives: Summer activities

Vermont Symphony and Fireworks at Sugarbush on Canada Day

July 3, 2011 by Peter MacLaren

Fireworks at Sugarbush, Vermont with Vermont Symphony Orchestra

Fireworks at Sugarbush - click to play

On July 1st Anthony Princiotti conducted the Vermont Symphony Orchestra in the open air at Sugarbush offering “Symphony Royale” with music fit for a king…or a summer evening in Vermont! Handel’s fireworks began the program and Northstar’s fireworks concluded it, in this musical homage to royalty. The noble procession included Scheherazade’s Kalendar Prince, the King and Queen of Troy, and the King of Siam. The concert was in honor of Independence Day celebrating America’s freedom from monarchical rule with their own version of royalty, Duke Ellington! The performance was crowned by the majestic 1812 Overture and selections from Sousa, the March King, which were both accompanied by an amazing fireworks display with the finale captured in this short videoby Susan.

Intriguingly the concert, being on July 1st, was on Canada Day when Canadians celebrated their royalty with the visit of its newest couple, William and Catherine, who were at Parliament Hill in Ottawa to join Canadians country wide to celebrate the 144th anniversary of Confederation.

Farmers’ Market-Top Rated

June 29, 2011 by Peter MacLaren

Local produce

Yankee, in the July/August 2011 magazine, ranked the Waitsfield Farmers’ Market as one of the 5 best Farmers’ Markets in New England. Here’s what they say…

Waitsfield Farmers’ Market
It seems that the entire population of the Mad River Valley turns out to partake in a boisterous round of festivities: face painting, arts and crafts, live music, picnicking, and more. More than 60 vendors; space is equally shared among agricultural, craft, and prepared-food booths. Mad River Green, off Main St. (Route 100), Waitsfield. Saturdays 9am-1pm, May-October. waitsfieldfarmersmarket.com

We agree!  This weekend, whether you are here to attend the Vermont Symphony outdoor concert,  the Warren July 4th parade, the air show or the fireworks at Sugarbush be sure you take in the fun and excitement of the Farmers’ Market.  On this July 4th long weekend it will be the place to be if you are in the Mad River Valley on Saturday morning.

The gang's all here.

Hiking the Long Trail, and other walks, from West Hill House B&B

June 29, 2011 by Peter MacLaren


View from Mt Abraham, VT

View from Mt Abraham

Some guests who enjoy walking asked us the other day to help them with their planning for the upcoming stay by telling them more about the hiking around West Hill House B&B than we currently provide on our Things to do page.  So given that we know many of our guests have similar interests, here is a blog on the topic.

The most popular walk to a summit on the Long Trail is to Mt Abraham. It is an exciting hike to one of the most impressive summits in New England. You start by driving to the Lincoln Gap just over 5 minutes from the B&B. As the gap is at about 2500ft, you are already more than half way to the top! The trail is a combination of high mountain forest and rocky terrain and may have numerous wet portions during the spring and after heavy rains. Elevation gain is moderate during the first portion increasing significantly as you approach the summit. At the 1.7 mile mark the trail passes the Battell Shelter a frequent overnight stop for Long Trail hikers. The shelter also marks the intersection of the Long Trail and the Battell Trail, a Long Trail access trail from the west. It is wise to note the intersection as to not get confused on your return trip. Once at the summit at just over 4000 feet you have 360 degree views of the Adirondack Mountains and Lake Champlain to the west, the White Mountains to the east and the Green Mountains from Killington Peak to Belividere Mountain to the south and north. (Please stay on the trail as the summit is home to a number of extremely rare arctic vegetation currently considered endangered.) You can go back the way you came, or continue to Lincoln Peak and come down on the ski trail to the Sugarbush base and back to West Hill House. (We’ll take you back to get your car!) Plan for 4 to 5 hours.

Sunset Rock

Sunset Rock

For a shorter walk, you can access the Long Trail at the same place – the Lincoln Gap, and walk south. The first landmark is Sunset Rock which is about half an hour in, so about a one hour round trip plus viewing time!  Several guests have come back and told us they are not sure if they made it to Sunset Rock or not.  We can tell them authoritatively that then they definitely did not! The view is so dramatic you’ll know when you have arrived.

The next nearest trail head is the App Gap on Route 17 about 20 minutes from the B&B, where you can climb south to General Stark at Mad River Glen. This is a much more ambitious outing involving steep grades and probably close to a 5 hours round trip. At the start of the hike there are ropes and ladders on the steep parts – this is not a casual stroll! An option is to come down the trail at Mad River Glen which would cut about an hour or more out, but then you are stuck from a transport point of view unless you take two cars. (It’s a little far from the B&B  for us to come and shuttle you!)

You can go north from the same trail head to Molly Stark’s Balcony. It’s a 2.6 mile round-trip hike that gains over 500′ of elevation to a unique lookout. You hike north on the Long Trail, which climbs steeply, passes a spur to the Mad River Glen Lookout, then reaches a high point at the flat ridge of Molly Stark Mountain summit. The trail goes over the summit and on to Molly Stark’s Balcony where there is a great view of Camel’s Hump, the intervening peaks, with the Worcester Mountains visible to the east. Return by the same route.

Another good, quite ambitious, walk is to Burnt Mountain.  The challenge here is to find the trail head! It’s a steep, 5.2 mile round-trip hike that takes you up to some of the best viewing on the Long Trail. The trail begins at the parking lot at the end of Big Basin Road before the steel pipe gate. You follow the Hedgehog Brook Trail along a stream. The trail ascends gently at first, becoming steeper as you get higher. After 2.5 miles, it joins the Long Trail. Shortly after joining the Long Trail, a short spur trail to the left leads to a small glacial pothole, one of the largest in New England. Burnt Rock Mountain is named for the fact that the bare summit, at only 3168′, is well below the scrub line. The fantastic views take in peaks and ranges visible in most directions, including Camel’s Hump and the Allens. Descend by the same route.  Be sure to check with us for detailed directions to the starting point.

Stetson Hollow Walk

Stetson Hollow Walk

Another really nice walk that you pick up from Route 100 just south of Warren is Stetson Hollow Trail.  It does not go all the way up to the Long Trail but is a beautiful walk in the woods.  It’s a 4-mile round-trip fairly flat hike that ascends modestly that is a local well-kept secret. You begin at Stetson Hollow (marked by a small sign) on the west side of Rt. 100 south of Warren Village. This is a scenic hike along the brook and is marked by small waterfalls and cascades. The path is wide enough for two! You’ll know you’ve reached the end when the path peters out. Turn around and return the same way.

About an hour north from the B&B, but close to Ben & Jerry’s (!), is the Hunger Mountain hike. From where Rt 100 crosses I89 at exit 10 follow VT 100 north just past the Cabot Cheese outlet then turn right on Howard Avenue toward the Waterbury Center Post Office. At 0.3 miles, turn left on Maple Street. Just past the Fire Station, turn right on Loomis Hill Road. At the top of the hill the road bears left and you reach a small parking area at 3.8 miles on the right which is where the walk starts.  The hike from there is about a 4 hour round trip and there are good views from the top all around.

There are also other more ambitious all day hikes for those interested.  You can check with us for full details, either before you arrive or when you get here.  As alway when walking in the hills, be sure to prepare by having the right equipment:  sturdy boots, layers of clothes, water bottles, and some energy food. Note that counter-intuitively cellphone coverage on the Long Trail – even though it is high up – is very spotty.  So never walk alone.

July 4th Weekend 2011 in Warren Vermont

June 11, 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.

Who Done It? A weekend with Vermont mystery writer Archer Mayor

June 4, 2011 by Peter MacLaren

Archer Mayor Detective Mystery Red Herring

Red Herring

Vermont Author Archer Mayor

Archer Mayor

Mystery fans seldom get to meet their favorite writer let alone sit down with him and  talk about the secrets of the trade. On August 26 and 27, at the West Hill House B&B in Warren, VT, you will get that chance, with Vermont’s own detective mystery writer Archer Mayor.

The author wears many hats: medical examiner, cop, fire fighter, reporter, photographer … stir these all together, add a pinch of intrigue and one large helping of a mysterious murder and from these ingredients Archer Mayor has created Vermont’s own fiction super sleuth Joe Gunther. Joe is a local policeman, who is best described as kind and compassionate but sharp and intelligent, in short the kind of cop you hope shows up when you need one.

If you have never read an Archer Mayor mystery, go get one (or more). Red Herring is his latest in paper back.

All these events are being held in the Handsome Red Barn at West Hill House B&B in Warren, VT. The details are:

  • Friday evening, August 26 at 7 pm: Archer Mayor brings his personal experience as a medical examiner to the front with an enjoyable and informative talk, “Not CSI: Forensics – Truth or Fiction.” $10/person. Light refreshments provided.
  • Saturday afternoon, August 27 at 2 pm: aspiring writers will gather to attend a 2-hour workshop entitled “How Archer Does What He Does”. Attendees will gain insight into site, plot and character development. $30/person, $15 for students with ID. Light snack provided.
  • Saturday evening, August 27 at 7 pm: “Archer Mayor Let Loose”. This informal evening will be fun filled as Archer Mayor entertains with his insight, experience, humor and storytelling. Autographed book included. $25/person. Dessert buffet provided.

Advance tickets are required, space is limited. This is a sanctioned event of the Vermont Festival of the Arts. Call 802-496-7162 for tickets.

Come and stay at West Hill House B&B on the Friday and Saturday night and attend all three events for $50 per person plus the cost of your room.

The World’s most beautiful Marathon

November 21, 2010 by Peter MacLaren

Mad Marathon, July 10th 2011

Mad Marathon, July 10th 2011

The First Annual Mad Marathon is scheduled for July 10, 2011 in the gorgeous Mad River Valley, located in Central Vermont.

You will be running through this extraordinary rural community on 26.2 miles of back and dirt roads, with breathtaking views of the Green Mountains, rolling farm lands, quaint villages, historical barns, covered bridges and fields of our famous Vermont cows!

Check out the full details on the Mad Marathon website.

West Hill House is delighted to be a Sponsor of the Marathon. We are also providing the perfect package for participants:

  • Welcome bag upon arrival
  • Carb-loading dinner on Saturday evening – included compliments of West Hill House if you stay with us for 3 nights
  • Extend your ‘marathon’ visit, if you stay with us 3 nights the 4th night is on the house.

Please call us to book to take advantage of this special package.

Guest Blog: Columbus Day Weekend

November 17, 2010 by Peter MacLaren

Breakfast in the Sun Room at West Hill House

Breakfast in the Sun Room

From guests Jessica & David:

We spent a long Columbus Day weekend enjoying the fall colors and exploring the area. The West Hill House met every expectation of what we wanted in a New England B&B. Susan and Peter went out of their way to make sure we enjoyed our stay. The WHH B&B was very clean, very cozy and Susan’s breakfasts were delicious.

The number of guests seemed just right (it was full up at 16 guests) and we enjoyed making new friends. The woodstoves in the common areas and the gas stoves in the bedrooms added to the ambiance, along with the decorative lighting throughout.

We travelled with another couple and the four of us are planning to return in the winter for a ski weekend.The West Hill House is about a 5-minute drive from Sugarbush. (Editor – actually about 2 minutes.)

Relaxing in the Hammock at West Hill House

Relaxing in the Hammock

We were surprised at the number of good restaurants in the area, and we enjoyed the farmer’s market, Sugarbush quad chairlift up Lincoln Peak, the Sugarbush zipline, and a glider ride at Sugarbush Soaring.

Editor:  As you can see from their photos, our guests enjoyed great breakfasts and some nice relaxation in the hammock.

Guest Blog: Fall Foliage Photographic Opportunities

October 17, 2010 by Peter MacLaren

Hammock at West Hill House B&B

From guest Ruth Wanless: “West Hill House is a charming Vermont Inn set in the picturesque mountains of Vermont. I came to photograph the fall foliage and was not disappointed. The inn was surrounded in wonderful color and was near to attractions such as Moss Glen Falls, Kent Pond and the quaint villages of Warren and Waitsfield. Early morning walks along the road provided many photographic opportunities.”

“Susan and Peter are the perfect hosts, creating an atmosphere where guests wished to linger over morning coffee or gather in the comfortable great room to share a glass of wine.”

Ruth sent us a number of her photos. We show here her photo of the new location this year for our hammock, beside one of our ponds. It proved to be very popular on sunny afternoons!

Welcome to the King!

August 24, 2010 by Peter MacLaren

Ted King Cyclist - member of Cervélo Test Team

Ted King

West Hill House is delighted to be welcoming pro-cyclist Ted King.  Ted will be staying with us during his participation in this year’s Green Mountain Stage Race.

Ted is an Economics Major from Middlebury College, so while he currently lives in Spain he is coming back “home” for this year’s event in the Green Mountains.

He is a member of the Cervélo Test Team and was part of this year’s team in the Giro d’Italia.

Last year we were honored to have James Mattis, the 2008 US Pro National Champion, stay at West Hill House while he was competing in the stage race.  Check out our Cycling page for more details.

While your innkeepers Peter & Susan have never counted cycling as one of their activities we are passionate followers of the Tour de France each year. We really enjoyed watching the almost unprecedented excitement of the close contest in this year’s race between Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck.

The Long Trail’s 100th Birthday – and cake!

August 2, 2010 by Peter MacLaren

Long Trail 100th birthday cake provided by West Hill House B&B

Long Trail 100th birthday cake

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.

To Celebrate the 100th anniversary of the start of the building of the trail, a month long Relay Hike up the entire Long Trail started on Saturday, July 17, 2010 with day hikes led by GMC Sections, board members, and local volunteers.

To ensure this is an end-to-end event, Prickles the Porcupine, the Trail Mascot, will be carried along each section and then handed off to be carried section by section all the way along the trail.

To mark the arrival of the Relay at the Lincoln Gap on August 2nd, West Hill House baked a cake. The arriving hikers enjoyed it along with water and soft drinks. Prickles of course had a photo op!