April Snow Showers on Mt. Mansfield bring…?

Our days are certainly getting longer here in Stowe, Vermont

…May projects!

Here at the Brass Lantern Inn, and especially on Mt. Mansfield, we recognize that there is typically quite a back and forth response in the tug of war between winter and spring.  We tend to just leave the skis in the truck (till closing day) to give us that last minute option to sprint up to Stowe Mountain Resort and put in as many turns as we can as the snow changes from packed powder, corn to mashed potatoes.  Spring skiing is definitely here.

We recognize that most people south of our latitude are either looking forward to or are already in the midst of the typical spring weather and scenes.  We get that, and will certainly be happy when spring does arrive here, but, for now, we are happy to ski on a mostly quiet mountain.  Many times you can find yourself gliding peacefully, without another person in sight along some of our favorite trails; Nosedive, Rimrocks, Sunrise and even the quiet reflection permitted on Toll Road.  Admittedly, it is a bit of a cat and mouse kind of game to predict best skiing conditions and certainly a clear indication that the last, last run of the season is drawing near.  April 23rd is final day for lift operations…

We have received some surprise snowfalls, twice already in this month of April.  On 4/1 we received well over 12″ of snow on the mountain and just yesterday morning we picked up another 10 to 13″.  Down here in the valley, much less, and with this time of year the snow here in Town melts quickly exposing the outline of our gardens and even the beginning sprout of our tulips.  Yesterday, I noticed that the grass is even doing its best to poke through the thin cover of snow on the front lawn.

The sap from the Maple trees is still running.  As long as the temps. keep this seesaw pattern of below freezing at night to the bright, warm sunny daytime temps. in the 40’s to even 60’s those who produce our wonderful maple syrup are taking everything that this season is providing.  The traditions of the Vermont seasons help us recognize we are so fortunate to have landed in this little corner of paradise.

April snow showers will ultimately make way for several spring projects.  On the drawing board right now are the plans for a new breakfast deck just off the main breakfast room.  You know, that area that is the crushed stone patio?  Our plans include adding the new deck that will be at the level of the current breakfast room floor with a door added such that we can go straight from the breakfast room to the outside deck.  We can’t wait to be able to serve you breakfast, outside, on those gloriously beautiful mornings in full view of Mt. Mansfield.  Follow us on our Facebook/Instagram feeds as we chronicle the construction of our breakfast deck!

Later this year we plan to fully gut and renovate our game room!  Watch for updates and stay tuned.

See you outside,

George

 

Sugar on Snow

Ok, as much as we love our winter activities we also embrace the upcoming Mud Season (more on that in a follow up blog) and the opportunity to celebrate the passing seasons, winter to spring with the traditional “Sugar on Snow.”

What?  Sugar on snow?  As you may know, Vermont is the single largest producer of maple syrup in the U.S.  “Sugar on snow” is a delicacy here in Vermont found this time of year at many sugar houses (where they produce the maple syrup).  Essentially this dish is made by drizzling hot maple syrup over a bowl of snow.  The syrup congeals and hardens to create a crystallized treat.  That’s right and to complete the tableaux the traditional Vermonters will have this sugar on snow with a donut and finish it off with a dill pickle. 

The coming weekend, March 28, 29 is the official Maple Sugar Festival celebrated all over Vermont.  There is a wonderful weekend celebration planned at our friends at Boyden Valley Winery just up the road from here.  More info: http://www.boydenvalley.com/maplesugarfestival.html and http://vermontmaple.org/events .

The Boyden family has been making Vermont maple syrup for five generations in the picturesque Lamoille River Valley using a traditional wood-fired evaporator with sap collected from over 300 acres of maple trees located on their farm.  Did you know it takes 40 gallons of Maple tree sap to produce 1 gallon of maple syrup?  Vermont farms produced approximately 1.3 million gallons of maple syrup in 2014.

There is typically only a week or two where the sap runs and the optimal conditions permit the process of sugaring to occur.  The sap from maple trees flows when the trees experience an abundance of sunshine (reawakening the growing season) with temperatures below freezing at night and daytime temperatures above freezing during the day.

The whole process of how we get local maple syrup to our breakfast table from those amazing maple trees is best described at the sugar house.  There you will find the true Vermont sense of tradition of producing high quality, all natural, maple syrup, nothing added, ever.

If you have never experienced sugar on snow you need to add it to the list of things to experience here in the Stowe area and of course we hope you will consider the Brass Lantern Inn as your home base, independent of the season at hand.

“Spring” is here, well, sort of…

What a winter it has been here in the north country of Vermont. And while the calendar says we are into day 3 of spring, the snow and the conditions for outdoor enthusiasts are probably the best they have been all winter. Truly!

All outdoor activities of skiing, riding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, snowmobiling, ok, you name your favorite winter activity, is still on here in the month of March (and most likely well into April) in Stowe, Vermont.

There are signs, however, that winter is losing some grip as our recent warm sunny days, cool crisp nights are also perfect for the true spring event in Vermont; Maple Sugaring. The sap is running now that we have the temperatures swinging from below freezing overnight and well into the 30’s and 40’s during the day. Have you ever tried “sugar on snow?” It is an amazing “culinary” experience and the whole experience of how those maple sugar farmers turn maple sap into maple syrup is well worth the trip to a local sugar house/shack to see for yourself.

And preparations for spring in Stowe and here at the Brass Lantern Inn are well underway. We plan to expand our wildflower meadow out back as the 8 pounds of flower seed mix has just arrived (now just waiting for the couple of feet of snow to melt…). Building Plans are being drawn up from retired architect, George, for a new deck off the dining room. We are looking forward to offering breakfast “al fresco” this summer with Mt. Mansfield as the perfect backdrop to that setting!

We hope you had a wonderful winter and if you haven’t had your fill of winter activities or perhaps you were too busy with life and just couldn’t fit us into your calendar this past season there is still time to enjoy it. The Stowe Mountain Resort is scheduled to be open for skiing and riding until April 20th. We know, great stuff, huh?