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
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
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,
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
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.