Stick Season

15 November 2011

We are currently in one of our “quiet seasons” that is known locally as “Stick Season.” This being the time after all of those beautiful Vermont leaves have fallen and the snow has yet to begin to fill in the voids. It is a great time to be here as the weather is typically moderate, and of course I mean moderate by northern Vermont standards. Though today, 11/14, it was a balmy 58 degrees in Stowe, Vermont. The village is quiet, and has the feel as if a big party just blew through and now everyone is catching their breath waiting for the next big season. Of course that would be winter.

Stick season allows me to jump on my bike for a brisk ride on our paved Rec. Path without the need to constantly call out, “on your left” as we do in the summer and fall (and hope those ahead of me a., hear it and b., understand that statement) and now experience this ride as if I were on my personal trail. The cool crisp air as I ride along the trail certainly gives me pause to consider how many more trips I can get in before this trail becomes a cross-country ski trail? And then, when I get a glimpse of the mountain and see the upper ski trails coated with the first layers of snow (both natural and with a little help from the snow guns) I know it will just be a matter of weeks till I am gliding down those trails on skis. Winter, bring it on, please.

Our hiking trails in Stick Season yield views and vistas previously shrouded by our dense forest of trees. The openness of the forest may also provide you with a glimpse of deer, moose or even a bear, though most likely those bears are beginning to settle in somewhere deep in the forest for their long hibernation. And I am thinking, why would I want to hibernate when one of the best seasons of the year is about to begin? Yes, winter.

At this time of year it is definitely easier to find a table at one of our amazing restaurants and the slower pace gives us the opportunity to catch up on the latest local news with our restaurant owner friends. The town and businesses are busily preparing for the holiday season, pulling out the Christmas lights, ordering the garland and wreaths and even, in my case, putting a fresh coat of paint on the front door (lots of traffic through that door this year and the door was starting to show some wear and tear).

The firewood is all stacked, and the first fire in the main living room fireplace has been set. Guests are now happily congregating around the hearth with a glass of wine, some Cabot Cheese and crackers and enjoying the opportunity to share stories with other guests and with us Innkeepers.

So, the nesting instinct is in full swing here in Stowe, Vermont and we would be happy to share this quiet time with you. And, if you have managed to get all the way to this point in this lengthy blog, we offer you a deal as a reward – take 10% off any room any night. This discount on top of our already discounted quiet season rates, is based on a two night minimum stay and valid until Thursday, Dec. 14, 2011. This special offer is good only for phone reservations directly with us and other restrictions may apply. Call us to confirm availability and don’t forget to tell us you read this in our blog!

Happy Stick Season!

Helping our Neighbors

1 September 2011

Tropical Storm Irene was very selective in wreaking damage on communities in Vermont. Stories of Vermont Floods have been central news topics in all national news and the devastation shown through this media is truly tragic.

Stowe seemed to be an oasis as less than 15 miles to the south, our neighbors in Waterbury suffered significant damage to homes, public infrastructures, and businesses. All the while, Stowe appears to have survived the storm relatively unscathed.

In Waterbury, one of our favorite restaurants, The Alchemist, is reported to be a total loss and has closed indefinitely. We know how well liked this restaurant was so we know that they will return. It will just take time and unfortunately a lot of hard work on the part of the owners to bring this great restaurant back to this great community.

While The Alchemist has had to close, other favorite Waterbury restaurants of ours such as Hen of the Wood, have been fortunately spared any significant damage. We had dinner at Hen of the Wood last night and had a wonderful evening.

We want to help our neighbors in Waterbury. There are a couple of immediate things we can and will be doing:

1. Support those businesses that are still open. While it is tragic for the loss of business for those who were flooded out, there are other businesses, especially restaurants, that still want to pay their staff and serve wonderful dinners. If we stop patronizing those who remain open the devastation to the business community expands.
2. We will be donating 5% of our gross revenues for all room sales from Sept. 1 through Sept. 15 to the United Way managed Vermont Disaster Relief Fund, www.vermont211.org, and we encourage other business owners in Stowe to join us with similar offers and efforts.

We know how fortunate we are here in Stowe when we see and read the reports of such significant losses in areas as close to us as Waterbury. We wish we could do even more as we know our neighbors in Waterbury, Morrisville, Jeffersonville, Hardwick and others would do what they could for us if the situation was reversed. Our prayers and thoughts are with all of our Vermont Neighbors during this time of clean up and re-build.

Summer Rain Storms

30 August 2011

Recently, due to Hurricane, then Tropical Storm, Irene, Vermont has received a lot of air time on CNN, WeatherChannel and other round the clock “news” organizations. And if you watched much of it you would think all of us here in Vermont may need to pull the Ark out of the garage for the next 40 days or so. Not exactly the kind of exposure on the news that us in the travel and tourism industry like to work with. The Brass Lantern Inn as your Stowe Lodging choice is very much open and ready to welcome you.

The Green Mountain State of Vermont is overall in great shape. While there are some tragic conditions spread throughout the state (mostly in southern Vermont) we feel like we live in an oasis here in Stowe, Vermont. The extent of our damage at the Brass Lantern Inn – 1. One sunflower blown over – restaked with a bamboo pole left over in the garage and now the sunflower seems happy to be facing the sun again, 2. One wall planter/container blown off the wall and cracked, decided, or rather rationalized, that the new crack “adds some character to the container” so now back on the wall, 3. Small puddle of water inside the doorway to hot tub deck (door faces the typical wind direction), shop vacuum and dehumidifier and the situation is resolved. That is the full extent of the damage. Thank goodness and this rain helps keep our valleys and mountains green.

We very much appreciate the thoughts, concerns and prayers of many of our past guests and those yet to come. We know we “dodged a bullet” and want you all to know that we are ok, especially for our guests that are planning to be here in the next month or so and especially for our Signature Fall Foliage Season guests.

Please feel free to contact us if you still have questions, concerns or stories of how you survived Irene. We would love to post the stories on our Brass Lantern Inn Facebook page.

By the way, become a Friend of ours on Facebook, and drop us a comment on our Brass Lantern Inn Facebook Page regarding how you survived Irene OR something special regarding your own hometown and we will give you a 12% discount on a two night or more stay (offer expires 12/31, discount applies to all rooms except Roundtop Mtn. and Sugarloaf Mtn., not valid during holidays, special events or Fall Foliage). And of course in true Facebook fashion if you let your Friends know about this deal, everyone wins!

Thanks again everyone for your concerns. Beautiful day here, think I will go golfing.

So, Are You Semi-Retired?

1 August 2011

Of course we very much enjoy the opportunity to chat with our guests and learn a bit about what our guests do or have retired from back home. And as part of the verbal exchange with our guests we also enjoy the opportunity to share things about ourselves as people are interested in how our family of five landed here in Stowe from Baltimore, Maryland.

There are a few general questions we typically hear from our guests and one that will instantly bring a smile to our face is, “So, are you semi-retired?” While it is certainly and most likely a popular belief that most B&B Innkeepers are semi-retired, the truth is that this Innkeeping gig is definitely not the lifestyle of the Gentle Farmer. Honestly, it is my hope that my semi-retirement includes a bit less work (especially paperwork) than what we currently accept as part of the deal to maintain this wonderful lifestyle.

And “work” has an entirely different meaning in this “Chapter 2” phase of our lives. In my corporate days I didn’t necessarily perceive a time clock but I did have a clear sense of work time and non work time. Sunday evenings in particular were dreadful to me as my head began to think about the meetings and pending deadlines of the coming work week. Now, I get so absorbed in the everday life and process of operating this Inn that I find myself looking at the newspapers in the living room to confirm the day of the week, seriously. I think that is pretty cool. The trade off; as it has become obvious to us in our short tenure as Innkeepers, there is a profound sense of realization that there just isn’t enough time in the day to do everything you want to do. But, truthfully, isn’t that the same for most of us anyway? And all things considered I am happy to be filling my days as an Innkeeper than anything else I can dream up.

So, in my semi-retirement life plan, I would be hiking more trails, hitting more golf balls, tacking and jibbing more on my sailboat “Oh Chessie” on Lake Champlain, bicycling many more miles through our beautiful valleys of cornfield and dairy cows, skiing trails such as Nosedive and Perry Merrill at Stowe Mountain on a much more frequent basis, and snowshoeing and/or x-country skiing along the Catamount Trail right after that perfect snowfall. Essentially, semi-retirement would appear to allow me the opportunity to become completely and totally absorbed in this amazing landscape of Stowe, Vermont.

Hmmmm, semi-retirement would be a great thing here in Stowe.

Sunsets in Stowe, Vermont

19 July 2011

We are very fortunate to have some pretty amazing sunsets here in Stowe.  This past Sunday afternoon/evening, for example, Mary Anne and I attended the “Music in the Meadows” Concert Series at the Trapp Family Lodge Meadow.   What a beautiful venue to watch the day turn into night. 

With a generous glass (or two…) of Chardonnay, some Extra Sharp Cheddar Cabot Cheese, French bread with a little prosciutto, live music, in this case, from “Crooked Still” (folk/bluegrass “with a contemporary twist”) and wonderful weather, I found myself absorbed with the ever changing natural light of the background scenery and keeping only an ear on the great music.  It is amazing how quickly and dramatically the light changes the sense of depth and scale of the Sterling Mountain Range.  As any amateur photographer can easily attest, it is impossible to capture that sense with a photograph, no matter how fancy of a camera you may or may not have. Ok, and maybe that glass of Chardonnay had some effect as well…

At this concert we shared the evening with some good friends that happen to also be Innkeepers in this small New England town.  Like most people, our community of friends and neighbors  is also closely tied with our type of business and profession which in our current station in life happens to be Innkeeping.  We all have a feeling of deep appreciation for where we live and the opportunities we have at this point in our lives to participate in this lifestyle.

Last night, the sunset from our back porch was as dramatic as last night but without the live music.  Instead, we shared that moment of the sun slipping behind “the slumbering man” (Mt. Mansfield) with some wonderful guests from Boston as they played a rousing game of scrabble on a blanket stretched out on the floor.  The sun going down behind Mt. Mansfield, highlighted by streams of light through the distant thunderhead clouds, again memorable, but so very difficult to fully capture or permanently record.  Good thing we can see this event repeated many times over in a typical summer! 

Summer in Stowe, Vermont, filled with great memories….  Why not come on up to Stowe and create your own here at the Brass Lantern Inn?

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