Posts Tagged Stowe Vermont

Golf, Anyone?

17 July 2016

With a “backyard” of Vermont such that we have here in Stowe, I have a lot of outdoor passions to enjoy with golf being right up there at the top of the list.  While it is true our distinct seasons put a premium on the number of available days for golf, we are really quite fortunate to have so many wonderful courses right here in Stowe, within 10 miles or so radius, and at several nearby mountain resorts.

Admittedly, Stowe might not be the type of golf destination that golfers think of but I can tell you that with even some basic planning you can experience unique mountain golf setting that I believe easily rivals many other golf destinations.  I have golfed at many of the courses in the area and would enjoy the opportunity to help you coordinate a stay here with several golf options.

My local favorite is Stowe Country Club which is just a five minute drive from the Inn.  The course has these incredible views of the nose of Mt. Mansfield, the peak of Camels Hump, the broad face of Elmore Mountain and glimpses of Spruce Peak.  Especially for a first time golf experience at SCC, it may be hard to “keep your head down” for any golf swing given the incredible scenery all around you.

Through a special partnership that we have with Stowe Country Club we can offer you an amazing golf experience for an equally amazing value.  Stay two or more nights here at the Brass Lantern Inn and add our “Golf Day” Package and you will get “Unlimited Golf” for the day (replay subject to availability), range balls and cart.  Total cost for TWO golfers for a day of Golf at Stowe Country Club: $159.00.  I know, what a great deal, right?  If you set your first tee time for 9 a.m. you can have a leisurely lunch, and have a replay round of golf in the afternoon.  Two rounds of golf (36 holes each golfer), range balls, and cart for less than $80.00/person!  Call us and we can set this up for you before summer and fall slip away.

Tag on a round of golf at nearby, Jay Peak or Sugarbush, both approximately 45 mins. drive away for a really special golf holiday.

See you outside,

George

Mountain Biking Update

9 July 2016

Recently, I finished a six week Mountain Bike Clinic through Four Points Vermont.  In a class of 10 riders with two instructors led by our business to business partner and friend and owner of Four Points Vermont, Rick Sokoloff, I have discovered a new way to enjoy the mountains of Vermont.  In each of the classes we typically spent an hour or more in the field going over the fundamentals of this sport followed up by a hour plus of riding beginner to intermediate double and single track trails.  As Rick put it, he was working with us to “create a solid foundation that is reinforced through several skills that we will then have in our ‘tool box’ to safely and fully enjoy mountain biking.”  As with so many things like this, taking lessons to understand the fundamentals of the sport is critically essential to a., doing it safely, and b., giving yourself a real chance to enjoy it.

Ok, full disclosure, I was a bit anxious to take on this sport that is probably more embraced by those in their mid twenties versus those of us in our ummm, mid fifties (and taking this up at this stage of my life).  But, thanks to Rick and his assistant Shelley, I am truly hooked and hopelessly addicted to this sport of mountain biking.

This past Wednesday morning I ventured into what most would consider some real mountain bike terrain here in Stowe; Cady Hill Forest.  I have driven past the parking lot/trail head for this area numerous times and always wondered what it would be like to actually ride there as the trail I see from the road seems to just disappear among the trees and dense foliage.  Well, I can honestly report, it was the most fun combined with the most intense work out I have probably ever experienced since my days of youth when I used to run road races from 10K to full marathons.  I realized quickly that I had not huffed and puffed so much since those running days and also realized I need to do this more to make sure I can continue to experience the outdoor wonders of Vermont directly and personally.

Unlike downhill skiing, which if you follow us on FB, realize is probably our favorite winter sport, in mountain biking you definitely have to earn your downhill rides.  Now, with that said, I know there are some smart ski resorts here in Vermont and elsewhere that can provide you a lift to the top of the mountains with handy racks on the back of ski lifts.  I’m sure that I would love that assistance against the laws of gravity to quickly transport me to the top myself, but, I mostly realize, I can and will certainly benefit from the healthy work out needed to find myself gliding down a pathway through the woods that’s not much wider than my handlebars.  The downhills are so nice, especially when earned.

I just can’t adequately explain the joy and the feeling of riding through the woods.  And as there are so many levels of terrain (similar to downhill skiing) you can enjoy this sport whether you’re an adrenaline seeker bent on finding the most technically challenging terrain to someone that is just looking for a way to get off the busy roads and really check out the back roads and bike trails that seem to disappear into the woods!

If we can help in any way to introduce you to mountain biking please let us know and please note that we have several stay and ride packages for the beginner through advanced via the intense single day, private lessons to weekend (two day) clinics on our reservation page.

See you outside,

George

Spring is a Great Time to Explore Stowe

9 May 2016

The skis, snowshoes, snow shovels and winter gear have all been put away.  We took our last turns on Mt. Mansfield at the Stowe Mountain Resort on the last Sunday in April followed up with a great tailgate party with friends to celebrate the passing of winter and the full onset of spring.  The bikes have now been tuned up with tires inflated back up to optimum road/trail pressure.

We have begun to turn some dirt preparing our garden beds for the summer season.  The daffodils are now in full bloom and the tulips that we snuck into the ground before the hard freeze of last November are just about ready to break open in bloom.  Pansies have been added to the window boxes adding some welcomed color to the front of the Inn.  Vegetable seeds will go into the freshly turned soil by this coming weekend.  We have to be careful, though, and not get too far ahead of mother nature as our last frost can and has come as late as Memorial Day Weekend.

We do truly enjoy our four distinct seasons here in Vermont.  We feel a bittersweet sense of loss with the passing of the winter season though we are more than encouraged by the signs of spring as his new season upon us brings a whole new set of opportunities to get outside.  While spring is typically a quiet time here in Vermont the secret of all that there is to do and see here in this follow up season is quickly becoming a secret that is being spread far and wide as though dandelion seeds of the season.

Mountain Biking is our new sport to explore this spring/summer.  George is taking a six week Skills Clinic through our friends at Four Points Mountain Bike School and Guide Service.  He is very excited to check out our mountain trails from the seat of a bike versus the hiking boots on the ground.  We are so fortunate to have the Stowe Mountain Bike Club here for outdoor recreation development and advocacy for mountain biking in our community.

And we have readied the Inn to be bike friendly with an outside, bike, hose off wash station, dry/secure storage areas within the Inn, and lots of maps and recommendations for rides from a light stroll along the 5.5 mile rec. path to the wide variety of terrain options in places such as Cady Hill Forest.

So, pack your bags and your bikes (or rent here) and join us as we get outside and enjoy life.

George and Mary Anne

Happy Anniversary (to us this time)!

26 November 2014

 

November 26, 2014

This coming December 29th, Mary Anne and I will be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary!  We will also be celebrating our 5th anniversary as Innkeepers of the Brass Lantern Inn which will occur on the 16th of December, 2014.

In both cases it’s amazing to realize how quickly time and events pass through our lives.  For our wedding anniversary, we have, in part, Stowe to thank as this was the special place where Mary Anne and I first crossed paths in that fateful summer of 1983.  It was that summer where I met Mary Anne here in Stowe at the start of a week long, guided bike tour of Vermont.  Who knew that 26 years later from that summer encounter that we would find ourselves back here in Stowe.  And of course we never imagined at that time that we would return here as Innkeepers of the Brass Lantern Inn.  Ok, to be fair, the Brass Lantern Inn, Bed & Breakfast, didn’t exist in 1983, but, you get the idea!

As Innkeepers, the stories that we have shared with so many literally thousands of guests over these past 5 years could fill pages and pages of blogs.  Fortunately, I am usually so busy experiencing this life that I typically don’t have time to record it on this keyboard.  Our guests provide us with a renewed sense of excitement about Stowe and this area of Vermont as we get to see this place through each guests’ unique perspective (each and every day).  Throw in how very different this setting is with each passing season and you can see how life just quickly marches on with us just trying to squeeze every moment and experience all that we can from it in passing.

So, you see, these two anniversaries are really so very intertwined that it is impossible for me to respond to those guests who ask, “what brought you to Stowe?” and “what made you want to be an Innkeeper?” without mentioning our very personal connection to this unique place in Vermont.

And finally, to finish this celebratory note I give a nod to the Thanksgiving holiday – we are so very grateful for this opportunity we have had as Innkeepers over the past 5 years.  We have and know that we will continue to meet funny, touching, gracious, caring and friendly guests that in many instances become our most recent friends.  I am so very thankful that I had that chance meeting with my incredible wife, dearest friend, Mary Anne, and know clearly that without her I would not be living this dream today.  Thank you my dear!!

Happy Thanksgiving all.  Hugs to our friends,

George

“Bed and something called, breakfast”

22 April 2014

Our family recently had the opportunity for a two night getaway to Boston (over the Easter weekend).  Great time, love Boston; diverse cultures, deep history, a proud sense of place for Bostonians and we were blessed with wonderful weather throughout our short two and a half day stay.  We also had our first experience at a Red Sox game at Fenway Park with the home team winning the game in a clutch, bottom-of-the-ninth-inning, kind of way.  Fenway was rocking and on our first visit!

We don’t travel outside of Stowe regularly as we truly enjoy what still feels like our new career as Innkeepers in our newly adopted town of Stowe, Vermont, but this trip helped me understand how important a local, friendly concierge can be to someone who is completely foreign to the area, to feel welcomed and appreciated for making an investment in this lodging establishment, and most importantly the value of a real breakfast.

Based on our personal budget needs and the special needs of those family members travelling together, we selected a franchise hotel brand near a commuter train station just west of Boston.  The location, near a commuter train line that provided easy in and out access to Boston was a prime decision maker for us.  Overall, we received about what you would expect from a mid/upper priced franchise hotel experience.  No major flaws, but nothing really to write home about or recommend to our friends either. 

The mattresses were fine, the bed linens were fine (though it would have been nice to have an extra blanket and pillows in the closet) the level of amenities in the bathroom was fine, etc.   The through-the-wall heater/ac unit was about as noisy as you would expect from these kind of devices, though, it was very efficient and I have to admit ultimately became somewhat effective as background noise to drown out the lawn mowing that started well before 8 a.m. on our last morning there.  Ultimately, everything (with one slight issue that I will leave for a separate story) was “fine.” 

Nothing really memorable about the entire experience and this at $200/night has me wondering.

I know we weren’t staying in a “Bed & Breakfast” type of lodging and the hotel truthfully advertised a complimentary “continental breakfast” but “continental breakfast” certainly can vary from passable food to “I’ll take a cup of hot tea/coffee to go please…”  In this case, it was passable as I made due with creating a toasted plain bagel, cream cheese and sliced hard-boiled egg sandwich from that which was presented to me in a series of baskets on a cloth draped banquet table with paper plates, plastic spoon and fork  (they were out of plastic knives on our last morning).  Trying to slice the hard-boiled egg and spread the cream cheese without a knife took some creativity.

So my question is, has breakfast lost its role in our fast paced society?  Why can’t a breakfast be as enjoyable, satisfying and yes, as memorable as a dinner?  Most certainly we all can tell you our favorite place to have a special dinner, but why is it that breakfast seems to be left out in our current culinary experiences?

The meal termed “Breakfast” means just that, to break our fast.  Thoughtfully considered I think that breakfast can, and should be, the most important meal of the day.  I think we have kind of lost that notion as you see television advertisements for “breakfast bars” and oh, my goodness, “Eggo Bites” that come in a bag that you pop in the microwave oven and eat on your way to school.  These Eggo Bites even have “maple flavor.”  Mmmm, mmm good.  Really, is that what breakfast has been reduced to in our society?

And I recognize that culturally, breakfast is experienced quite differently from guest to guest in their native homeland.  We have and do happily adjust our breakfast menus to that of our guests preferences, diet and allergies.  For instance, some of our guests like something “lighter” while our outdoor enthusiasts are looking for a fresh, hearty breakfast providing fuel to keep them energized while climbing, skiing, hiking, biking, etc. and are grateful for the attention we pay to this part of their lodging experience (extra buttermilk, blueberry pancakes please?, Absolutely!).

Since Breakfast is part of our lodging signature we happen to think it is critically important that breakfast is thought of as more than just a passable means of starting your day. I love to cook, and with all humility aside, I hope my passion is carried through to our guests from the variety and consideration of each day’s menu through and including the execution and presentation onto warm china plates that are all served with a bright, happy attitude each and every morning.  I want someone to recognize this isn’t your standard diner fare breakfast here at the “Brass Lantern Inn, Bed & Breakfast.”

Is it a long signature name; “Brass Lantern Inn, Bed & Breakfast,” for a lodging establishment?  Perhaps, but if we were just Brass Lantern Inn we could easily be lumped in with those franchise hotels that have “Inn” at the end of their names and that’s not the career and/or lifestyle I was looking for when we purchased this lovely Bed and Breakfast.

So many thoughts on this recent stay on the other side of the sheets and will post more thoughts on them soon as I’m sure we need to keep Google “happy” with our posts and keep that SEO strong and fresh!

Night all,

George

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