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

Our Golden Season is Upon Us

September 18, 2016

While of course we enjoy each of our distinct four seasons here in Stowe, without a doubt, we love our Fall Foliage Season.  We also know that this golden season is one of the most popular with our guests as many of our rooms from late September through mid October have been reserved since February/March of this year.

It is a “bucket list” kind of adventure for many of our guests as most “fall” into the category of retired teacher (typically, always working at this time of year), British (visiting New England with scenery unlike what they would find on the other side of the pond), and photobugs that are here to find that postcard scene.  It is also a time for distant guests from across the world, Australia, Japan, and India to make this migration to Vermont at this point in the lunar calendar year.

So far, the colors have been a bit hesitant to show and the temperatures have mostly been above normal, however, there are signs that autumn is just around the corner.  As I write this note, the British Invasion is wrapping up and is our official kick-off for the season.  This town wide event is a great way to start the season with a Friday night block party with live music, dancing in the streets, with antique and new British cars on display all along Main Street.

Oktoberfest!  First one was yesterday hosted by the von Trapp Brewing company at their new Bierhall.  What a great day it was, German oompah music, roving singer/accordionist, amazing food, magnificent setting in the mountains and of course plenty of wonderful Trapp Lager.  My favorite beer, “Oktoberfest” (of course).  I like this beer so much I explained to Johannes von Trapp that after the season he should just change the name – it’s that good!!  I think the von Trapp’s have hit a home run with their new Bierhall.  If you are in Stowe we think this is a must stop.

Our next Stowe Oktoberfest is the weekend long event produced by the Stowe Rotary Club.  Starting on Friday night, Sept. 30 is Rocktoberfest, live music, bratwursts, and Trapp Lager Beer (yep, the Stowe Rotary knows a good thing when they see it and well, Johannes is a Stowe Rotarian and a very generous donor for this event).  Saturday and Sunday is a full day each of oompah music, yodeling, and yes, Trapp Lager Beer, all in celebrating the season.  We typically see more than 2,500 people through the front door of the big tent.  If you are in town you have to check it out.

Prost!!

Mountain Biking Update

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