West Hill House B&B

Category Archives: West Hill House B&B

You’ll Get A Charge Out Of Lodging With Us – An EV Charger Charge!

March 24, 2017 by Corey A. Edwards

West Hill House B&B has 4 EV charger stations for your electric car!When you stay at West Hill House B&B the electrons are on us. How so? Our Vermont B&B has 4 EV charger stations to charge your electric vehicle.

That’s right: we have four (4) EV charging stations! Two 240V Tesla chargers rated at 80A, a 240V J1772 rated at 40A, and another EV charger rated at 25A. This means that you can charge your electric car overnight or, if you own a Tesla Model S, in about 4 hours. So much for “range anxiety” here in Warren, VT!

This wealth of electric car chargers means no waiting around to charge your EV. Best of all, when you stay with us, you may use them free of charge. This makes West Hill House B&B the perfect lodging solution when visiting Vermont in your Tesla, Chevy Bolt, Chevy Volt, or any other EV or plug-in hybrid.

Another great aspect of our EV charger stations is that they’re all solar-powered. In fact, our entire Warren area B&B is 100% solar-powered!

West Hill House B&B has always worked hard to be environmentally sound. We have never stopped looking for ways to reduce our footprint while still providing the best lodging possible. In fact, West Hill House B&B has been a certified Green Hotel since 2008.

While small changes can have big impacts over time, being a Green Hotel means a lot more than just shutting out the lights when leaving a room. We’ve tried to be comprehensive in our approach. Small steps, like composting food waste and replacing incandescent bulbs with green alternatives where possible are just part of the job. Larger steps, such as upgrading appliances, adding EV charger stations, and providing 100% solar-powered lodging do even more.

But you really don’t need to know most of this.

We’re proud of our green efforts but keep it behind the scenes so you can concentrate on your job while you’re here: relaxing. All we wanted you to know was that we have four EV chargers that we hope will help you to make your Vermont vacation that much more enjoyable. See you soon!

Stars at Night are Big & Bright, Deep In the Mad River Valley

March 14, 2017 by Susan

In the Mad River Valley the 20 mile stretch of winding road from Moretown to Warren in darkest winter is studded with brightly lit stars of all shapes and sizes.

Reign Vermont's Stars

Bridget LaMell’s shop, Reign Vermont.

Standing anywhere from 3 to 15 feet in height and beckoning to visitors and locals alike, they can be found on residential lawns and hanging from the front of shops, businesses and barns.

A year after tropical storm Irene, Bridget LaMell, who owns Reign Vermont, wanted to draw attention to her shop which sits a bit back and closer to the Mad River than the other historic buildings surrounding the covered bridge in Historic Waitsfield Village. Bridget created a few simple stars made out of tree saplings and wound Christmas lights around them. People loved them — it created a whimsical tableau which charmed people driving by on Route 100.

Stars on the covered bridge.

Historic Waitsfield Bridge.

As a result of these attractive stars, neighboring residents and business owners got together in late fall the next year to create a multitude of new ones using found materials and pooling their money to buy the lights. By 2014, the shops at Historic Waitsfield Village were ablaze with lights setting Historic Waitsfield Village apart. Since then, the stars have created a unifying theme which now extends all the way to Warren.

In October of 2016 numerous locations displayed five stars together. This display is in honor and remembrance five of the valley’s high school students who were killed by a wrong way driver on Interstate 89.

Shop window stars.

Stars in the window of Valley Arts Foundation.

Currently there are over 500 celestial creations, all hand made, shining brightly in the valley and taking the darkness out of the long winter evenings. Each year more and more are being added by residents, perhaps the idea will catch on and Route 100 will become Vermont’s Route of the Stars.

Or… are these brightly shining stars here because as the shooting stars fall from the heavens they look for the most beautiful place in Vermont to land and they choose the Mad River Valley.

Biscotti made with Espresso & Chocolate Chips: What a treat!

March 11, 2017 by Susan

Serving it up:

Biscotti, crunchy and crispy, nothing is a better pick-me-up with a hot beverage. From a google search we learn that though modern biscotti are associated with the Tuscan region of Italy, this popular Italian cookie traces its origins to Roman times. The word biscotto (biscotti is the plural) derives from “bis,” Latin for twice, and “coctum” or baked (which became “cotto,” or cooked). These Italian treats have become a favorite among North Americans. Easy to make and even easier to eat, this recipe takes no time to put together and after two, twenty minute bakings – buono appetito!

I hand wrote this recipe in the back of a cookbook so I’m not sure of its origin.

Homemade WHH Biscotti

Biscotti awaiting guests.

Ingredients:

  • 2T Hot water
  • 2T Instant Espresso coffee
  • 1 c White sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 t Vanilla
  • 1/3 c Vegetable oil
  • 2 3/4 c  Flour, all purpose (King Arthur is my favorite)
  • 1T Baking powder
  • 1 t Baking soda
  • 1/8 t Salt
  • 1/2 c Chocolate chips

Method:

  • Set oven to 350°F
  • Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper. The sides help keep the dough and parchment from sliding off the pan.
  • Dissolve the espresso powder in the hot water and set aside to cool.
  • In a large bowl mix the sugar, eggs, vanilla and oil together.
  • Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Mix with a few strokes then add the chocolate chips and mix until the chips are incorporated.
  • Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and divide the dough in two.
  • Adding more flour if needed, roll one half of the dough into a log about 2″ in diameter and shorter than the baking pan.
  • Repeat with the other half of the dough.
  • Lift each half onto the baking pan leaving space between then for the dough to spread while baking.
  • Slightly flatten down the roll.
  • Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes.
  • Carefully lift one of the baked logs onto a cutting board and cut into slices diagonally or straight across.
  • Replace the cut pieces on the baking pan leaving a little bit of space between the slices.
  • Repeat the cutting process with the other log and replace it on the pan.
  • Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes at 350°F or until crunchy.  As ovens differ keep an eye on the baking process.
  • Cool on a rack and enjoy with your favorite hot beverage – dunking is encouraged!
Biscotti and coffee.

Looks good!

If they last long enough, store in an airtight container. They also freeze well so you can make a couple of batches to have on hand.

Dishing it out:

Years ago when I used to frequent chain coffee shops I loved to see the glass canisters filled with biscotti that were clustered around the cash register. All kinds of biscotti: chocolate, walnut, pumpkin, coconut, chocolate dipped, the varieties seem endless. I always though biscotti was a bit of an exotic baked treat perhaps it was because of the name or maybe because of the price.  And for some reason I felt a bit decadent enjoying a biscotti with my coffee. After making biscotti every couple of weeks for the past eleven years here at West Hill House B&B, I now know that that there is no trick to making this wonderfully crisp and crunchy treat. The only challenge is how to keep the cookie jar full!

I must say, I still feel a bit decadent enjoying a biscotti with my coffee.

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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Is It Lake Champlain Bridge or Crown Point Bridge?

January 21, 2017 by Susan

A covered bridge is what most folks picture when they think of a bridge in Vermont, however, Vermont is home to newer, unique bridges which employed advanced technology during the construction process.

The Original 1929 build Champlain Bridge.

The original Champlain Bridge, the major connection point between Vermont and NY. Photo from NYSDOT Region 1 Construction presentation.

The original Champlain Bridge, commonly referred to as The Crown Point Bridge, was the was a major route connecting Vermont and New York at Chimney Point, Vermont and Crown Point, New York. The bridge opened in August 1929 as a toll road and was closed in October 2009 due to concerns that it might collapse. About 3,400 drivers per day used this bridge in 2009.  The bridge was demolished by controlled, explosive demolition on Dec 29, 2009 and the demolition was watched by thousands of people via a location web cam. Only problem was, it was a snowy and foggy day so the viewing wasn’t terribly clear. Check out the video of the demolition. Read on to see what replaced this bridge.

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Ski it! Enjoy it! Participate in winter activities

January 9, 2017 by Peter MacLaren

As we look out the windows at West Hill House B&B during the winter months, we are thankful for the beautiful snowfalls, the ski areas and the great outdoor activities the local mountains and surrounding area offer.

Perry Merrill

While one man may not be able to move a mountain he surely can shape what happens on a mountain. Perry Merrill (1894-1993) is often called the “the father of Vermont’s State Parks and Alpine Ski Areas…Merrill was the Vermont State officer who could lease State land…”. (The History of Vermont Skiing by Jeremy Davis). It was Merrill who seems to have put Vermont on skis. With his help, Vermont received workers and money as part of  government project know as the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC). In the 1940s, the CCC was responsible for building ski rails in Vermont which were the foundation for much of today’s ski industry.

Vermont currently boasts some 15 major ski resorts as well as a number of smaller ski areas. Suicide Six, near Woodstock, VT., was the earliest resort opened in 1934. Others, including Mad River Glen- Ski It If You Can – and Sugarbush Resort – Be Better Here – both here in the Mad River Valley, were not far behind. Once night  temperatures fall to freezing, mountain resorts start snowmaking to provide base coverage then Mother Nature takes over. It is not unusual for Sugarbush to record 300″ (7.62m) or more of snow in a good winter.

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Calling All B&B First timers…

May 17, 2016 by Peter MacLaren

Guests Marie & Matt McCrary

Guests Marie & Matt McCrary

We all know you always remember your first time and West Hill House B&B is out to be the place for “B&B virgins” to try their first B&B getaway.

All B&B first-timers are invited to enter the “B&B Virgins” contest to evolve to becoming an inn-convert.  All you have to do is tell us why you’ve never stayed at a B&B and what you hope it’ll be like. Then explain why we should pick you by filling out an easy form. Then as a B&B first-timer you may just be on your way to your first B&B getaway.

Two B&B newbies will be awarded with a complimentary two-day getaway each month in June, July and August.  West Hill House B&B is out to turn hotel, motel, campground and vacation rental fans into inngoers this summer!

Good news! If you have stayed at an AirBnB you can still enter, as that was not the REAL B&B experience!

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Welcome! So many ways to be friendly

April 16, 2016 by Susan

It’s summer vacation time and no matter where your  travels may take you, it is nice to be given a warm welcome upon arrival at your destination.

Fredericksburg Texas, now there’s a town that knows how to welcome folks!

Some years ago, I went on a girls-weekend to A Place In Time B&B in Fredericksburg, TX. We chose the Ruby Bell Suite on the second floor as it was perfect for the three of us. We received a warm greeting from Jon (innkeeper/owner) as well as from the local shopkeepers and restaurant staff we met as we explored the area. In the intervening years I have continued to receive their newsletter, which highlights events going on at the B&B as well as festivals and activities in the town. The newsletter makes me feel welcomed all over again. While visiting this delightful town may not be in your immediate plans, I highly recommend a visit to Fredericksburg, TX because it’s a friendly and welcoming.

And why is this such a friendly and welcoming place? Because as the town points out…

Welcome spelled in street names

Taken from A Place in Time newsletter.

Isn’t this a wonderfully creative idea? Now we can’t all rename the streets in our towns but we can all give a warm welcome to visitors. Hospitality always gives visitors and guests feel a warm feeling. Whether you are greeted in your own language; Welcome! !Hola! Aloha! Bienvenue! Willkommen! Ciao! Välkomnde! or perhaps Witja!, or you meet with helpful folks when you need directions, receive excellent service in a shop, are greeted with a cheery smile from a local or are welcomed by the names of the streets, it’s a good feeling.

In the 10 years we have owned West Hill House B&B we have welcomed guests from every continent (we counted the scientist who had been stationed for a number of months in Antarctica). Whether you come for romance, relaxation or recreation, we will  be delighted to say “Welcome!” and extend the hospitality of West Hill House B&B to you. Come visit us and teach us to say “welcome” in your mother tongue!

Lorne Sausage is a great breakfast accompaniment.

March 6, 2016 by Susan

Serving it up 

Lorne Sausage, also known as Square Sausage, Flat Sausage or Slice Sausage, is a traditional Scottish  food made with beef and pork. It is said to have originated in Lorne, Argyll in Scotland. If you are in Scotland and ask for a full Scottish Breakfast you will see Lorne Sausage on your plate.

The following recipe is my version using turkey. It has received “thumbs up” from our guests who prefer not to eat beef or pork.

Ingredients:

Lorne sausage in a lined pan

Lorne Sausage ready for the first freezing.

  • 2 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 1/2 c. Fine Bread Crumbs   (seasoned or not as you prefer)
  • 1 tsp. Pepper
  • 1 tsp. Nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Coriander
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 3/4 c. of Water
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 3 T. Maple syrup (optional)

Method:

Slicing Lorne sausage ready for second freezing.

Slicing Lorne sausage ready for second freezing.

  • Mix really well by hand then place in a wax paper or saran lined oblong pan about 10″ x 4″ x 3″.
  • Fold the wrap over top of the meat and place in the freezer until it’s just starting to set.
  • Remove it from the pan and peel the paper away, it might be a bit sticky.
  • Cut into slices to the thickness you like.
  • Separate the slices with wax paper, wrap the whole sliced loaf in waxed paper and put it into a freezer bag and put it back in the freezer.
  • When required, pop off a slice, defrost and fry it in a little fat or oil until crispy brown and cooked through.

If you make this using the traditional recipe, instead of using ground turkey, use 1 lb. of ground beef and 1 lb. of ground pork – neither being too lean or the sausage will be dry. You may wish to leave out the egg as these meats will have more moisture than turkey. Recipe can be doubled however use a very large bowl.

I serve this on half a lightly toasted English muffin or Kaiser roll or on toast and topped with mornay sauce. Next time I think I will make it with chicken instead of turkey and see how that turns out.

Lorne sausage with a fried egg.

Lorne Sausage topped with a fried egg.

Dishing it out

When we travel in Scotland, if we aren’t staying with family, we usually stay at B&Bs as it is a real treat to have someone else make breakfast for us!

fry_up-e1418992494674

A typical Scottish Breakfast

If you have never had a typical Scottish Breakfast, aka ‘Fry Up’, at a B&B or hotel (if you must!) here is a sample of what you will find on your plate and traditionally it is the same breakfast which is served every day. Ready? Going clockwise: baked beans, parsley (just for show), fried mushrooms, tomatoes -again the basil is just so you can say you had something really healthy, pork sausages, bacon, Lorne sausage or haggis, and tattie (potato) scone. OK, push back from the table now and you’ll want to loosen your belt about now – or maybe reach for something to settle your tummy.

If you keep eating these breakfasts belt loosening won’t help, you’ll need new clothing. I certainly don’t recommend eating like this every day of your Scottish holiday but you need to do this a few times just for the experience! We get smart after a couple of days and ask for the full breakfast minus whatever we have had enough of previously and often end up with egg (not fried), scone and Lorne sausage or haggis.   Now the average family is not subjected to this high fat diet so oatmeal, breakfast roll with butter and marmalade, some fruit and tea are the main stays and greatly enjoyed.

 

Cats -Three Cheers Fur our General Manager

February 2, 2016 by Susan

smoky keeps any eye on things

Surveillance kitty style.

Hello all, I’m Smoky, I usually help greet you when you arrive at the B&B and I am introduced to you as The General Manager.

When our humans bought West Hill House B&B nearly 10 year ago now, they knew that it was a house just calling out for a cat to complete the home-like feel of the place. Being thoughtful humans, they decided that two cats would keep each other company and lots of good things come in pairs so what could be better than two cats.

Thus we were adopted from Turner’s Simplicity Farm on the north end of Waitsfield. We moved from being B(arn) kittens to B&B kittens and we are quite at home here. We are indoor cats, we don’t go outside as there are nasty critters out there that just might like cat for their dinner—yikes!

In an earlier blog (May 24th, 2015) you met my brother Snowball, we’re great buddies and each have our jobs around the B&B. Since arriving, I made it my job to keep an eye on everything that was going on in the B&B. I undertook surveillance duties when I was quite young and became very good at doing this subtly so that no one would notice me. Sometimes I got down very low, under a table for example (I was better at this when I was a tiny cat) and now that I am bigger I hightail it, sorry—no pun intended—up the spiral stairs to get a good overview. Other times I just stretch out pretending to do my cat yoga just to get out there and take a good look around.

Keeping an eye on things from the stairs.

Keeping an eye on things

Serious yoga

Serious yoga

Please don’t think that I just a lazy lay-about cat, absolutely not. I help with many tasks for example, at Christmas I help to organize Christmas wrapping paper.

I know that in this B&B business it is important to stay up to date with the latest in technology so you can often find my helping Susan at the computer and I must say, as a cat I have become quite adept at using the keyboard. For me, 5 ‘finger’ typing is so last Tuesday, I have 6 toes on each foot which makes much more of an impact on typing emails and gets a good rise out of Susan too! And I try my darnedest to keep up with my reading, taking every opportunity to stick my nose into a good book.

Helping with wrapping paper.

Helping with wrapping paper.

Tech savvy

Tech savvy

While you are here at West Hill House B&B, please feel free to give Snowball and me a pat, we may even jump up onto your lap for a little snuggle or even a cat-nap. Remember though, we are cats and we have our own cat agendas which may include visiting, sleeping, eating, or being sociable. On the other hand, we might just plain ignore you but don’t take it personally because, if you are a cat, that’s what you do.

Keeping up to date with my reading.

Keeping up with my reading

Focused on other things, it's what cats do sometimes.

Focused on other things

Carrot Greens Salad

June 23, 2015 by Susan

Stirring it up: Last week was the first week for our Community Supported Agriculture share for this year and it got me thinking about carrot greens.  Carrot greens are most often thrown away during meal prep but I thought there had to be a use for them. I searched the internet, got some inspiration from a number of websites then opened the fridge and built a salad. I used various quantities of veggies untill it looked and tasted good.  Quantities are to the best of my memory!

Sooo good!

Carrot Greens Salad

  • 1 1/2 – 2 c. cleaned & chopped carrot greens
  • 1 c. black beans, pre cooked or canned
  • 1 – 1 1/2 c. garbanzo beans (aka chick peas), pre cooked or canned
  • 3 med carrots, diced
  • 4-5 stems parsley, fresh & chopped
  • 1 scallion thinly sliced
  • 5-6 mint leaves, fresh & chopped
  • 1 1/2 c. quinoa, cooked & cooled
  • 4-5 green peas in the pod, fresh and thinly sliced

Dressing

  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 3T. red wine vinegar
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed or 1/4 t. dry garlic bits (not powder)
  • 2-3 T. lemon juice, fresh
  • 2 t. sugar

Prepare all the vegetables and place them in a large bowl along with the cooled quinoa. Prepare the dressing by putting all the ingredients in a small jar and, with the lid on,  shaking it well. Pour the dressing over the veggies about 10 minutes prior to serving and lightly toss the salad. Be sure to adjust the quantities and veggies to your liking! It tastes great the following day too and the carrot greens are still fresh looking. Bon appétit!

Next time I might add about 1/2 c. corn kernels and 1 med tomato, diced. I served this with a side of a couple of slices of Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar cheese. This salad was a great meal in itself.

Dishing it out: As a child I was sometimes called “carrot top” by those out to tease me but seriously, I had red hair and a carrot top is green.  Obviously those folks had no idea what they were talking about and, thus far in my life, I’ve never seen anyone with naturally green hair!

CSA first share of the season.

CSA first share of the season.

That being said, we love the carrot greens we get from Muddy Boots CSA and we love being part of the Muddy Boots CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) which is a collaborative venture of  Kingsbury Market Garden, Wood’s Market Garden and Burnt Rock Farm.  It also includes dairy products from several of the local farms including Von Trapp Farmstead and Ploughgate Creamery at Bragg Hill Farm. Our week one share was a marvelous selection of absolutely fresh produce including brie cheese, luscious tomatoes, tasty shallots, crisp carrots and cucumber, crunchy kale, dried black beans, beautiful lettuce, pungent basil, deep red beets, and more. How could you not like any of it, or waste any of it which is why I wondered about the carrot greens. Carrot Greens Salad, what a perfect way to celebrate the wonderful farms and hard working farmers this 4th of July or on Canada Day if you are north of the border!

Let sleeping cats lie!

May 24, 2015 by Susan

Snowball, CPO at West Hill House B&B

Snowball, CPO at West Hill House B&B

I’m Snowball, CPO, that’s Chief Purr Officer, I’m in charge of Purrs and Snuggles here at West Hill House B&B. You’ll meet my brother, Smoky, another day, but today is my day to shine. First a little history about us. My brother and I were born on the Turner’s farm, Simplicity Farm, just a bit north of where we live today.

Our mom was beautiful, she was pure white with one blue eye and one green eye. I look a lot like her except for my eyes, they are both a lovely shade of green, the color of  an old copper roof. Our mom looked after us when we were very tiny and when we got a bit older she was soon off on her own adventures around the farm and we were moved into the farm house where we learned about litter boxes and eating from a bowl. We mastered both of these new challenges with flying colors by the way.

First steps at our new home.

First steps at our new home.

I knew we were off on adventures of our own when Susan and Peter came to pick us up and take us home with them. We were so little that we fit into the palm of their hands. We felt warm and happy there and we let them know with our purrs. The ride home was a bit strange as we were put into a carrier and strapped into the back seat of the car. We were safe though because the carrier didn’t move a bit and the nice clean towel we sat on was quite snuggly.

When I started to explore on my new home, I was a bit wobbly on my feet, maybe because I have so many extra toes, somehow I kept tripping over my feet and sometimes I just needed to go  into my basket and do some kitty yoga to relax.

Here I am doing kitty yoga.

Here I am doing kitty yoga.

I like to do a lot of things like chasing light around the room, climbing on chairs, and of course rolling around on the red rugs and leaving as much white fur on them as possible!

You see, because I’m deaf it does not bother me that the vacuum is not far behind me making a big noise as it is clearing up my mess! One of my most favorite activities, well, perhaps not exactly an activity, anyway, I love to take cat naps. I have experimented with several different beds,  here are some recommended and some not so much.

A colander, whiile just the right size tends to be a bit drafty underneath.

A colander, while just the right size tends to be a bit drafty underneath.

An egg carton, definitely not recommended

An egg carton, definitely not recommended; it makes for a lumpy mattress!

Cozy but I spent ages getting my fur clean.

Cozy but I spent ages getting my fur clean.

A bit of a squeeze but I managed!

A bit of a squeeze but I managed!

An unusual pillow, cat grass, and I don't even like the stuff.

An unusual pillow, cat grass, and I don’t even like the stuff.

And sometimes it 's good just to have company when you nap.

And sometimes it ‘s good just to have company when you nap.

Best friends for ever!

Best friends for ever!

I look forward to having visitors at West Hill House B&B because when I’m up and around I’m always ready for pats and snuggles (on my terms of course) from guests. Please remember that because I can’t hear you coming, if you pat me when I’m napping, I’m going to be startled.

Smoky and I are waiting for you, meantime… yawn… I think perhaps a little nap.

Oh, and you know the most wonderful thing about having cat naps?

Whether sleeping alone or with my brother, our humans just let sleeping cats lie!

 

 

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