Opening Day in Stowe, Vermont!

Mt. Mansfield, 11/14/17

November 14, 2017 image of Mt. Mansfield

Opening Day is November 17!  For those of us who embrace each and every season with similar enthusiasm there are activities here in Stowe, Vermont, that clearly help us transition into each of the wonderful four seasons of our area.  For the spring, it might be that first day when it is safe for the trail to hike to the top of the Pinnacle trail, and for the summer the opening concert of the Stowe Performing Arts, Music in the Meadows with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra and for us, the start of the Fall Foliage Season is marked by the British Invasion Weekend.

Of course this next, “opening day,” is all about alpine skiing and snowboarding.  Stowe Mountain Resort has been working diligently with the weather conditions and Mother Nature to blanket many of the trails on Mt. Mansfield with a base of snow (several feet by now in some areas).  The mountain has also received a bit of snow from a dusting to something more recognizable as a snowfall.

All of that has led to a backdrop (at least on the mountain side) that takes away the grayness of leftovers from our Fall Foliage Season and provides us with the beginnings of what we know will be our winter wonderland of New England.  And while of course we would love to have that opportunity to take that “first chair” up the mountain tomorrow, we will have to postpone our own opening day until we get back from our own vacation.

We have had a wonderful little respite ourselves the past two weeks having closed the Inn since the first weekend in November and will be returning to the Green Mountain State this Sunday evening.  And yes, even Innkeepers need some time to recharge the batteries and get refreshed for the next busy season!  For this and the past six Stick Seasons we have made a quick trip to one of our favorite southern spots, Sanibel Island, Florida.  Oh, yeah, we open Stick Season with a flight out of Vermont to Florida.

And just like many of our returning guests to the Brass Lantern Inn, we have the chance to catch up with our friends, snowbirds here in Sanibel each November.  Even with wonderful weather, great reunion with friends here, and sleeping in each morning, we are truly looking forward to trading in our view and experiences along the Gulf Coast with the ever changing views of Mt. Mansfield from our Inn and of course, welcoming our guests to Stowe.  Home is home and we continue to feel so very fortunate to have this ability to call Stowe and the Brass Lantern Inn our home these past 8 years.

With Thanksgiving just on the near horizon I guess this note has a multitude of meanings to us.  We wish you all a Thanksgiving Season that is filled with wonderful memories, traditions and a sense of gratitude for whatever life has provided to you as well.  Hope you have your own Opening Day memories!

Warmly,

George and Mary Anne

Ski Like a Local

Ok, this isn’t me skiing, but, it was the scene here in Stowe just 5 months ago (3/18/17 to be exact)!

I know, it is still summer and trust me, we aren’t wishing this wonderful summer here in Stowe away anytime soon.  However, we wanted to pass along this bit of news regarding what we anticipate to be valuable information for our ski and snowboard guests.

As you may have heard, Vail Resorts purchased the Stowe Mountain Resort this summer.  While there are expected to be some positive operational changes (traffic and parking, no. 1) with that transfer of ownership, everything we have heard, and read in the paper, indicates that the experience on the mountain will be even better than ever this coming 2017/2018 winter season.

One significant change and one that we hope gets the attention of our skiing/riding guests is the Epic Pass.  As many may already know, the Vail Resort model seems focused on selling passes versus daily lift tickets.  And as you investigate this difference further you will note that the skiing/riding experience at Stowe has new way to have a more valuable ski/ride experience through the Epic Pass.

The most popular Epic Pass provides the pass holder an amazing option for Unlimited Access to Stowe, several resorts west of the Mississippi as well as access, with some restrictions, to several exclusive Resorts in Europe within the coming ski season 2017/2018.  This standard Epic Pass is listed at $849 (now through Sept. 4, when we understand it is expected to increase in price).  The typical walk up rate last year at Stowe Mountain Resort was $122.  While there were certainly some deals to be had and we did have access to some of those deals and pass along the savings from the Resort to you, the point is with the new price of the Epic Pass at $849 you would pay for the pass with the $122 walk up rate in less than 7 days of skiing/riding, either here OR a combination of here AND out west!

And, the beauty of this pass, especially for those within driving range of Stowe or even fly/drive you can “Ski Like a Local” here in Stowe.

How?  Well, say you planned your escape to Stowe, and ok, New England weather becomes, well, New England weather. You find yourself on the mountain and the conditions are as we say, not exactly pristine.  Well, if you had plunked down the walk up rate (or even a discounted rate) you may have felt the need to “tough it out” and ski/ride through that weather.  With this pass you can do as the locals, try a few runs, say, ok this isn’t my cup of tea, count it as a ski day, and head for early après ski happenings in town and not feel the loss as you would before; just like a local.  All knowing you can come back and ski it again as you have paid for unlimited lifts this season through that pass.

As a “local” ourselves (a transplanted local, for sure) we love the pass idea as it allows us to get as many runs in as possible between check out and check in on select weekdays and the occasional Sunday!  We, as you may be able to see here, are very excited to welcome our new neighbor to Stowe with their Epic Pass.  Give us a call and let us help you coordinate a unique experience here in Stowe, Vermont.

See you outside,

George

Insert yourself in this scene!

“What I did on Summer Vacation”

How has your summer been going?  Were you able to get your well earned and much appreciated Summer Vacation?  We can help you fix that if you haven’t with a Stowe Summer Vacation.

We have had and continue to have a busy summer here at the Brass Lantern Inn. Our summer has been filled with welcoming and hosting guests from near and far, renovations and furnishing replacements, expansion of our front gardens and replacement of the front walkway. In between and as a highlight of activities, we have had the wonderful opportunity to dine al fresco at the Stowe Performing Arts, Music in the Meadows Sunday evening Concert Series at the Trapp Family Resort. Other activities out and about in Stowe; working with our son, Patrick, at his Farmer’s Markets for Purely Patrick products, hiking, exploring swimming holes, and as mentioned in several prior blogs, mountain biking.

  Toe tapping/wiggling music from Black Market Trust!

And speaking of Mountain Biking – oh my goodness, I have found another passion to take on here in Vermont. As you may know, Mary Anne and I met on a bike tour here in Stowe (many more years than I care to admit to). That chance meeting was on road touring bikes. Still a wonderful way to see Vermont (and get to know your future wife…), but, my mountain bike now allows me to explore deep into the back-country on single tracks providing a truly unique experience. Not really a replacement to my other biking interests, just another thing to fit into our already busy summer season. My summer vacation is a wonderful staycation exploring the myriad of mt. bike trails in Vermont.

     Into the woods…

Renovations – if you have been following us on Facebook/Instagram you know that this past June we completely overhauled the bathrooms in Sugarloaf Mountain and Roundtop Mountain rooms. These two guest rooms are our most requested rooms in the Inn and admittedly had been showing that level of activity. All new work from the face of studs out allowed us the opportunity to completely change the feel of the room. In place of the shower stall, with three walls, we now have a shower enclosure with floor to ceiling glass walls/door on two sides of the shower. New floor and wall tile, pedestal sink, eco-friendly toilet and exhaust system, and fresh coat of paint round out the improvements. We are very proud of the final product and hope you will appreciate the updates as well.  New photos to come!

Furnishings – The baby grand piano, after much effort, and some heavy lifting help from family and friends, has been removed from the living room. As many may know, the sound board had become cracked and even the best piano technician in Vermont gave us the advice, “best to put her down.” With the piano now removed it has allowed us to create another sitting area in its place that has become a new favorite hang out space of our guests.

Already took a summer vacation, but, realize it wasn’t enough and/or it would be great to get away again, even for just a brief break? There is still plenty of summer left in this season and certainly an amazing Fall Foliage Season to anticipate. We look forward to helping you plan your stay!

Happy Travels,
George

Look Beyond the Obstacles

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In the spring of 2016 I had the opportunity to take a 6 week (one night a week) Mountain Bike Clinic with the IMBA Certified Instructor and owner of Four Points Mountain Bike School, Rick Sokoloff (and past President/Founder of Stowe Mountain Bike Club).  Ultimately, Rick taught me much more than just how to safely navigate the trees for the forest within some of the amazing local single track mountain bike trails of Trapp Family Resort or Cady Hill Forest.

One of the many lessons learned over the course of that clinic and one that clearly spans a much wider influence on me other than mountain biking, was the coaching from Rick that I still hear in my head as I zig and zag through the woods; “stay loose” and “look beyond the obstacles.”  These two instructions, I can attest, have informed me of how to navigate my mountain bike through the wood while also guiding my latest life’s adventure as co-owner/Innkeeper of the Brass Lantern Inn here in Stowe, Vermont.

As a road bike enthusiast and bike touring veteran, my focus on the paved roads was to keep my vision very close to the immediate obstacles.  That focus in concert with my awareness of the vehicular traffic from behind keeping me safely on the seat of my bike.  From that first mountain bike lesson I realized my concept of seeing, minimizing and hopefully avoiding the obstacles of this new terrain in the woods was going to need some radical adjustment.  I discovered a very strong relationship with identifying the obstacles but trusting muscle memory and the technology in today’s mountain bikes to avoid injury and allowing me to ride again the next day.

On the mountain bike I’ve discovered, very first hand, that if I keep my focus on that boulder, the one just a bit off center of the trail, just beyond the knobby front tire of my bike that, guess what, if I keep my eyes on it, I will absolutely run smack dab into that boulder.   And transfer “boulder” for “tree” or “edge of bridge” or any number of other obstacles on the trail and the same reality applies.  Hard lesson(s) learned early on.  Fortunately, by maintaining a conservative speed on the bike, and that coaching from Rick from directly behind me on the trail, it left only my pride hurt and thankfully no real damage to me or the bike.

As part of the clinic, Rick had our class practice drills on an open field with just small orange cones spaced in the layout of a slalom course to help us train our brain to look past the most immediate cone to the next cone all while keeping a peripheral eye on the cone we were just passing.  My brain did not trust that my inexperience of this concept would allow me to safely navigate the course and not roll over each and every one of those cones.  With lots and lots of practice I continued to improve (and perhaps “trick my brain?”) into accepting that all is good, that tree root and boulder combination ahead is not a threat as long as I apply the skills of weight shifting, trusting the bike, and rolling over this obstacle all the while as I look ahead to the next challenge.  “Stay loose and look past the obstacles.”

This whole metaphor thing of life, mountain biking and obstacles hit me suddenly one afternoon as I took a break at the bottom of a successfully run single track.  And perhaps discovering this new sport of mountain biking at this “mature stage of my life,” and experiencing this thrill of earning your downhill rides, has provided yet another explanation for how and why I so appreciate and enjoy my landing spot here in Vermont in this magical place of Stowe.

Look for me outside,

George

Welcoming Back Friends in Stowe, Vermont

Of the many rewards of this adventure of being Owners and Innkeepers of the Brass Lantern Inn here in Stowe, Vermont, one of the most special to us is the opportunity to welcome back guests, rather, friends.

We recognize that part of the experience of staying in an intimately scaled Bed & Breakfast such as ours is the sense of place that is only available in this unique style of lodging.  In our search for a lodging business we were continually attracted to those B&B’s that were in the 8 to 12 guest room size.  With our 9 guest rooms, and, both of us directly involved in the day to day operations of this Inn, we then have the reward of meeting and hosting so many wonderful guests that when they can, and in every way, return as our friends.

Just this past Memorial Day Weekend I was able to slip out of the Inn (thank you Mary Anne!) and go mountain biking with a friend who has stayed here multiple times over the past 7-1/2 years of our tenure here.  And due to the generous offer of another returning friend, I have had the chance to drive a Ford Mustang, “Bullitt,” created in similar style to the 1968 Mustang GT and movie of the same name, starring Steve McQueen.  Remember those car chase scenes through the streets of San Francisco?  Ok, in my little tour through the back country roads of Vermont, I kept all four wheels on the ground (as we of course want our friends to return…).  It was just so much fun getting behind the wheel of 300 horses.

Through the various stays of our friends, we catch up with guests who have become engaged, married, are expecting their first child, are taking their first trip away from the kids, visiting their kids for Parent’s Weekend at one of the local colleges and universities, and/or, just returning in search of a peaceful retreat.  We continue to share book recommendations with our friends both while here during their stay and through e-mail, exchange holiday cards, etc.  We have “regulars” affectionately regarded as “Inn-mates” but always, always recognized as Friends.

As those who have stayed here or other small lodging properties can most likely attest, the social component of interacting with the Innkeepers, staff and other guests is just one of the things that make a stay at a B&B a positively memorable stay.  We recognize, very directly, the gift of each guest who stays here and for those who return whether only once or regularly of each friend that through their direct support of our business we are permitted the “pinch-me-to-make-this-real” kind of lifestyle.

Arrive as guests, depart as Friends” – the photo at the top of this post, is a custom designed and created tray by one of our Friends!

Happy Travels,

George