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

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

Mid-Winter Report from Stowe, 2/2/16

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,

George

Welcome Back Winter!

While others may lament the onset of, what has for us, always proven to be a wonderful winter season, we, of course, are looking forward to the next change in scenery and activities!  Winter in Vermont is celebrated by locals and those fortunate to travel here for all the reasons you might think and may not.  And while we are known as the skiing/riding capital of the east, you may be surprised to know that more than half of our guests come here in the winter for something other than this signature activity of alpine skiing/snowboarding in Stowe.

Many of our guests love and seek us out for the scenic beauty of our winter wonderland.  Certainly a scene on par with those of Vermont’s fall foliage or summer hiking scenes from the top of Mt. Mansfield.  Many of our guests have told to us that there is just something so calming and peaceful with watching a snowfall from the warmth of our living room next to the wood stove, a good book in one hand and perhaps a glass of hearty Cabernet in the other.  Or, other outdoor activities that may not get quite the same marketing exposure as alpine skiing/riding but no less enjoyable such as; snowshoeing, snowmobiling, dog sledding, cross-country skiing or perhaps catching a sleigh ride through the valley floor of Mt. Mansfield.

Ski Magazine recently listed Stowe and Stowe Mountain Resort as the #2 ranked ski destination.  Of course we think we are #1 (leaving that for another discussion) but what the writer of the Ski Magazine noted as a significant reason for our high ranking beyond just the incredible skiing and riding is our unique and truly special collection of restaurants both on and off the mountain.  We are so lucky to have so many high quality, mostly family owned/operated restaurants, in Stowe.  Only challenge you should have, confirming which restaurant/pub to try out this trip!

Check out our winter specials that yes, include several ski/ride and stay deals but also lots of other unique discount packages that will get you reaching for your calendar to confirm when you can get up here.  Another season is upon us, don’t get caught being too busy to take some time for yourself and get out here and enjoy our little corner of paradise.

See you outside!

George and Mary Anne