Winter’s Last Hurrah?…

As I write this post on the evening of March 13, 2017, we are positively giddy with excitement waiting for our next big dump of snow.  The National Weather service and local reports are calling for snow depths of anywhere between 16 to 20+” of snow between tomorrow, mid-day through Weds., evening, 3/15.  And we say, “it’s about time!”

Admittedly, it has been a schizophrenic kind of winter.  We were skiing, as if on cue, on the Saturday right after Thanksgiving, 2016.  We received more than 5 feet total of snow in the month of December, 2016, alone.  Then, the dreaded January thaw hit us.  And hit us again in the second week of January.  The Stowe Mountain Resort crews did an amazing job taking whatever Mother Nature threw at them and turning it into (for the most part) some really great conditions.  Ok, there was a day that we did two runs and called it and then had a early lunch in town!  So yes, you had to have the luxury of an extended stay this past January to get in any consistently good skiing/riding conditions.

February was ushered in with, and I really do not use this term lightly, some epic powder days.  We had a couple of days where we easily hit 16 to 18″ of absolute champagne powder.  There was so much excitement in town during that period I heard of people, and felt some of this myself, having trouble falling asleep the nights before, because of the anticipation of the stellar conditions that we were predicted and hit us with even more than what was predicted.  It was truly a nice little reward for getting through those January thaws.

After President’s day Weekend we had our February thaw.  We actually hit 62 degrees and a few follow up days of mid to upper 50’s.  Oh, and I forgot to mention, rain, yes, lots of it during that brief period.  Fortunately, the mountain had a 60″ base or more on the vast majority of trails but the couple of days of 1/2″ or more of rain did take its toll.  When the temps. the snow guns were fired back up and greatly improved the conditions.

All that to say, we have a full house set up for this weekend and anyone who skis, snowboards, cross-country skis, snowshoes or even if you just like to drink hot chocolate (or perhaps a Vermont Craft Beer) by the fire and watch it snow will be in the perfect spot this week and weekend here in Stowe, Vermont.  Typically, March is one of our best months of the year to play outside with our snow equipment.  The sun is getting closer to the position of vernal equinox as our days are getting longer, the temperatures resist those below zero (and more with that silly wind chill factor) levels and many times, we can have lunch outside at the Midway Lodge.  Also, many times, the snowfalls in March are more legendary than any other time of the preceding winter.

We are hopeful that with this pending Vermont snow storm and perhaps another one to to finish out the season we will be able to keep the skis firmly in place within the truck to allow us, on a moments notice, to spring for the mountains.  And a “Last Hurrah” offer – watch the forecasts, plan your “sick day” or “snow day” (call it what you will) and if you can make a last minute trip to get outside with us, we can offer you a wonderful stay here at the Brass Lantern Inn, fabulous breakfast, that we can make early if you want, so that you can grab that “first chair” up Mt. Mansfield.

See you outside,

George

All Dressed in White

All Dressed in White

Have you experienced winter in Stowe?  If you have, you understand the wonderful transformation of the Stowe Area and Mt. Mansfield from our summer playground to the most scenic winter wonderland.  While of course Stowe is well known as the ski capital of the East, there is so much more to experience here in the winter for those who may not be as enamored with strapping a couple of fiberglass boards or a single snowboard onto your feet and gliding down the mountain, testing the laws of gravity and feeling that rush of sheer joy of being outside.

And while we do happily and graciously host many skiers and snowboarders each winter we actually have just as many guests who come here at this time of the celestial calendar for the sheer beauty of our winter scenery or to perhaps experience this winter landscape in other ways; snowshoeing, cross country skiing, dog sledding, outdoor ice skating, snowmobiling and not just limit their options to downhill skiing or riding.  And then many may just be looking for a peaceful retreat with a book, glass of wine or mug of hot cocoa, next to the fireplace in our common areas, or your personal fireplace in your guest room, all the while watching the snow fly beyond the windows.  Can’t you just picture that?

We love Vermont for so many reasons, but, certainly the opportunity to experience each of our distinct and memorable four seasons is a huge part of why we think we have such a special place here to share with our guests.  We look forward to sharing our “backyard” of Stowe, Vermont with all who, for any length of time, look to call our home their home away from home.

See you outside,

George and Mary Anne

Living the Dream

Living the Dream

This past December 16th marked our 7th anniversary of the start of this wonderful journey of owning the Brass Lantern Inn in Stowe, Vermont.  I still vividly recall putting up Christmas Holiday lights on the Inn on 12/17 on a beautifully clear, crisp, bright sunny day.  The temperature that day reached a high of -12.  Perhaps, and most likely due to the excitement of finally being here in Stowe and “living the dream” it never really felt that cold (“it’s a dry cold,” I convinced myself…).

And while we recognize winter as our signature season, we soon discovered that Stowe is an amazing place to live and visit in any of our distinct four seasons.  Moving here from Baltimore, Maryland, what struck me initially was the enthusiastic embrace of winter by the town, and of course, its visitors.  If you going to have winter, you might as well go all the way, right?  While we loved our experiences in Baltimore, winters there could be grey and wet most of the time.  Schools would close on a forecast of 4” of snow (and then not snow….).  Here, in Stowe, for many Fridays in the winter, the school kids get to experience Friday afternoons as a “Friday Program.”  The school buses line up at 11 a.m., picking up the students and the educational programs move to the slopes of Mt. Mansfield where the kids learn to ski or snowboard.  What a wonderful life, right?

The excitement we feel today when we see that first snowfall of the season or any of our several “freshies” (new snow over old) is just as strong today as it was in that first week of ownership, 7 years ago.  Much of the reason for this, I believe, is that we have the truly special opportunity to see and experience our winter landscape through the eyes of each and every guest (new and returning).  The dream remains strong through the opportunity to be of service to you, our guests.  Thank you all for supporting our dream over the past 7 years.

It has been a wonderful, enriching journey so far, and we are looking forward to what lies ahead.  Sign on a shop window viewed today; “Don’t look back, you’re not going that way.”

Happy Travels,

George

Spring is a Great Time to Explore Stowe

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)!

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