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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.

Guest blog: 30th Anniversary Celebration

December 4, 2010 by Peter MacLaren

West Hill House B&B Barn and its reflection in the Beaver Pond

West Hill House Barn reflection

From guest Susie:

My husband and I celebrated our 30th Anniversary with a 3 week New England vacation in October. It had always been my dream to see the fall foliage and experience the charm of New England and we were not disappointed.

We saw many beautiful areas but when people ask me what was my favorite part, I do not hesitate to respond. West Hill House in Warren, Vermont was tops! Our expectations were exceeded in every way. Peter and Susan made us feel like family the moment we arrived. We even did laundry in the newly renovated barn.

Their home is gorgeous, spacious and so relaxing. There are large areas to sit and enjoy quiet time or visit with wonderful guests. The grounds are stunning and the fall colors were absolutely vivid. We loved taking early morning walks and photographing all the beauty that we were surrounded by. My husband thought the golf course would be fun to try sometime.

Susan’s breakfasts were absolutely delicious and Peter spent a good amount of time mapping out drive routes for our visit. The surrounding area offers so many wonderful restaurants and things to see and do. We saw covered bridges and had fun at the Ben & Jerry’s factory tour. We ate one night at American Flatbread and waiting is half the fun. There are bonfires outside and people just enjoying each other. The food was made with organic ingredients and was fresh and yummy.

My only regret is that 2 nights was not nearly long enough and I was sad when it was time for us to leave. I keep telling my husband that for any occasion he can give me a gift certificate to West Hill House! I hope we can come back soon and I thank Peter and Susan for truly making our dream a reality.

Editor: An addition to Susie’s comments is that she is an exceptional photographer. She shared some of her photos with us and the one shown is a beautiful view of our barn from behind the Beaver Pond.

Great Golf and Great Scenery

June 5, 2010 by Peter MacLaren

Sugarbush Golf Course, Warren, VT beside West Hill House B&B

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. Mr. 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 and provide discounted green fees including tax and a golf cart. Golf club rentals are available. Rates vary by date so when you book please select the dates of your planned stay to see the price of a round. To take advantage of these rates please book at least two nights. The standard package is a round for two people – let us know if you need something different. The course is available through October 31st. You can book your Sugarbush golf package directly or call us to discuss.

Memorial Day Adventures

May 18, 2010 by Peter MacLaren

Vermont Open Studio WeekendStart summer off with a relaxing weekend in the Mad River Valley with 3 nights of accommodation and a barbecue dinner included, and several optional activities to choose from. To make it easy we will do the planning for you, but you must book by Monday May 24th so that we can make all the arrangements. Check out the full details on our Memorial Day Package page.

Activities you can include:

  • Open Studio Weekend: The Mad River Valley has many artists who work a wide variety of crafts and their studios are exciting places to visit because they reflect the dynamic yet organized process that is used to produce the finished work of art. Over Memorial Day weekend it is Open Studio Weekend in Vermont and there will be many studios close by for you to visit and enjoy at no charge.
  • Soaring above the Valley: One of the most beautiful soaring sites in the United States is nestled in the Mad River Valley here in Warren. Memorial Day weekend is a great time to take to the skies over the Valley. The cost is about $135 per person for a 20 minute visit to the heavens, or about $180 for 30 minutes. Soaring is available every day, weather permitting.
  • Kayaking on the Mad River: You will head out after breakfast from West Hill House and our friends at Clearwater Sports will give you the opportunity to see the Mad River Valley from the water! No prior experience is required. The cost is $80 per person and is available Saturday and Sunday.
  • A round of Golf at Sugarbush: 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. A round of golf for 2 people, including a cart is just $150 on Saturday or Sunday and $100 on Monday.
  • Check out the full details on our Memorial Day Package page.

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