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.
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,
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,
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.