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,
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,
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
What an interesting winter this 2015/2016 has been so far in Stowe, Vermont. Guests who have stayed with us this season can certainly attest to the typical and atypical weather patterns we have experienced so far.
Even as late as Christmas Eve, I was golfing. We hit a record high of 68 degrees that day and with a full blue sky and sunshine the greens of the golf course were just too inviting to pass up. While we typically expect to be shoveling snow and hitting the slopes this record warmth had me reaching for the summer outdoor gear.
Within a week of that event we had a full blanket of snow on the ground, thanks to an 8” snowfall, something that is much more indicative of that point on the calendar here in Stowe. And while so far this season we have missed out on a “real snowstorm,” and had serious snow envy for those who experienced the Blizzard of 2016 on the Mid-Atlantic coast, we still have had some truly amazing ski days on the mountain. With the help of modern day snow-making technology and the hard work of the snow-making crew at Stowe Mountain Resort they have saved this season from what many who may be tracking our weather forecasts from afar would assume to be an abysmal ski season into a true Vermont winter experience.
At the risk of sounding like your local Chamber of Commerce and putting the best spin on things we truly have had some really wonderful ski days so far this season. Yesterday, for example, we had a great spring skiing conditions, buttery snow, warm temperatures and no lift lines. Bonus day for sure! Granted, we have the luxury of waiting things out for a day of rain (way too many of those this season/year) or very windy and below zero temperatures and hit the slopes the following day or two. And yes, our Innkeeper ski days are a bit behind where they typically are at this time of year though some of that is due to our business needs (we are planning some major building improvements – more on that in follow up blogs) and of course some not so perfect weather conditions.
Throughout all of this winter season we know our guests have been making the most of their time here. Our incredible selection of restaurants, breweries, other Vermont local attractions in harmony with other outdoor adventures/pursuits have made for some lively discussions around the fireplace each evening.
We continue to do our snow dances as we know there is still plenty of winter left in the Green Mountain State. Call us and we can fill you in on the real time conditions.
See you outside,
While others may lament the onset of, what has for us, always proven to be a wonderful winter season, we, of course, are looking forward to the next change in scenery and activities! Winter in Vermont is celebrated by locals and those fortunate to travel here for all the reasons you might think and may not. And while we are known as the skiing/riding capital of the east, you may be surprised to know that more than half of our guests come here in the winter for something other than this signature activity of alpine skiing/snowboarding in Stowe.
Many of our guests love and seek us out for the scenic beauty of our winter wonderland. Certainly a scene on par with those of Vermont’s fall foliage or summer hiking scenes from the top of Mt. Mansfield. Many of our guests have told to us that there is just something so calming and peaceful with watching a snowfall from the warmth of our living room next to the wood stove, a good book in one hand and perhaps a glass of hearty Cabernet in the other. Or, other outdoor activities that may not get quite the same marketing exposure as alpine skiing/riding but no less enjoyable such as; snowshoeing, snowmobiling, dog sledding, cross-country skiing or perhaps catching a sleigh ride through the valley floor of Mt. Mansfield.
Ski Magazine recently listed Stowe and Stowe Mountain Resort as the #2 ranked ski destination. Of course we think we are #1 (leaving that for another discussion) but what the writer of the Ski Magazine noted as a significant reason for our high ranking beyond just the incredible skiing and riding is our unique and truly special collection of restaurants both on and off the mountain. We are so lucky to have so many high quality, mostly family owned/operated restaurants, in Stowe. Only challenge you should have, confirming which restaurant/pub to try out this trip!
Check out our winter specials that yes, include several ski/ride and stay deals but also lots of other unique discount packages that will get you reaching for your calendar to confirm when you can get up here. Another season is upon us, don’t get caught being too busy to take some time for yourself and get out here and enjoy our little corner of paradise.
See you outside!
George and Mary Anne