Summer Theatre at Weston Playhouse, 2013

Summer theatre at Weston Playhouse in Vermont is one of my favorite attractions of Okemo Valley.  Earlier this month, I went with my daughter Samantha and our exchange-student family member Yui to see Educating Rita.  The cast of two put on an engaging performance.  Even though the play was not my favorite selection, the play was thought provoking and insightful. The acting, the set, and overall the whole evening was a delight – as it typically is at Weston.

The line-up for the rest of the 2013 season looks great!  At the beautiful historic Main Stage, located on the green in the heart of Weston village, the Weston Playhouse Theatre Company is performing three more shows this season. They’ll plunge directly into some heavy issues about family life and mental health in Next to Normal, a rock musical with a Tony-award winning score.  And then they turn to some long-standing classics as they perform 42nd Street, the Tony-award winning musical about an actress trying to make it on Broadway , and To Kill A Mockingbird, a play that brings to life two of America’s favorite characters, Scout and Atticus Finch.

Just a few miles from the Main Stage is the “Other Stage,” located in the Weston Rod & Gun Club building on Route 100.  Tickets are a bit less expensive for shows performed here, but really, I don’t see why – every seat is a great one, and the quality of each performance is just as good too!  Each summer starts with a children’s show and this year’s was Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.  (My kids loved this book, I’m sad that we missed this performance.)  Upcoming shows include Loving Leo, a new musical that explores family relationships, and The Blessed Plot, a one man play about the battle for free Shakespeare in Central Park.

Whether you are a seasoned theatre-goer or someone who thinks maybe it’s time to try theatre for the first time, Weston Playhouse is a great choice.  Of course, we recommend that you consider our theatre package so you can enjoy two nights at our Vermont Bed and Breakfast.  It’s a gorgeous drive between our inn in Proctorsville (Cavendish) and the Weston Playhouse.  And our breakfasts are sure to impress you at least as much as the theatre does!

-Julie-Lynn, Innkeeper, Golden Stage Inn

Witnessing A Honeybee Swarm (2013-July)

A swarm in May is worth a load of hay,

A swarm in June is worth a silver spoon,

A swarm in July ain’t worth a fly.

 

Simply put, a swarm is a beehive’s way of reproducing.  In the Spring, if the queen of a hive is strong and the population of bees plentiful, the queen will leave the hive with nearly two-thirds of the hive’s bees to find a new home, leaving the original hive to rear a new queen and continue on.  A honeybee swarm is an amazing sight to witness.  A strong hive may have 60,000 bees, so when the queen leaves with her followers, she’s in the air with nearly 45,000 bees.   An awesome vision, the bees fill the air like snowflakes in a blizzard.

 

So it was this that Michael noticed through our solarium window.  We have three beehives at our Vermont Bed and Breakfast and one of them is just outside our breakfast room.  This is the hive that had released its bees into the yard, completely consuming the front lawn – bees in the grass, bees climbing the hive boxes, bees in the air.   We watched for several minutes, waiting to see where the bees would land – because that’s what the poem up above is all about.  Ideally, the honeybee swarm will land in a place that we can catch them and relocate them to an empty hive box.  If it’s early enough in the season, say May or June, the bees will have plenty of time to draw out their honeycomb and fill it with enough honey to survive the inevitable winter season.  The earlier, the better, because a May swarm will not only make enough for its own stores, but honey for the beekeeper too!  But if it’s late in the season, the bees prospects for survival are just not as strong, so they’re not as valuable to a beekeeper.

 

Our own honeybee swarm was in the first couple days of July so I was feeling pretty optimistic about the bees being able to pull it together and make a go of it.  With this eagerness, we waited for the bees to settle.  A honeybee’s swarm schedule is pretty predictable.  The bees leave the hive in a flurry, then they settle on a nearby branch dispatching several bees to scout the area for a suitable new home.  This can take a few hours or a few days.  The swarm waits patiently in a cluster – well, a “cluster” is sort of an understatement.  The mass of bees crawling over one another and hanging off of one another is the size of a basketball with thousands of bees sprawling along the branch for several inches in every direction.  One of the coolest parts of seeing bees in this state is that the bees are super passive and very unlikely to notice a human’s presence, so we’re able to stand freely and watch the magic.

 

Unfortunately for us, these bees settled on a branch three stories high.   There was no prudent way to catch them, so we were forced to accept this a donation to nature.  The bees would find a new home, move into it and continue the tradition of bee-ness elsewhere. (In the photo — which was taken from 30 feet below –you can see the brown clump.   That’s the mass of 40,000 bees or so.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes a picture just doesn’t do justice.)

 

The bees remained on their branch for two overnights, through the torrential downpours that have so marked this Spring. And then on a sunny afternoon, after returning from errands, we found the branch bare.  The queen and her acolytes found a new space while the hive they left behind awaited the birth of their new queen.  Within days, their new queen would emerge and this ‘daughter hive’ would be complete once again.

 

Our Bed and Breakfast is located in the Okemo Valley of Vermont.  We have two sheep, nearly two dozen chickens (fresh eggs!), and three beehives.  Ask about getting a tour of a beehive.  You can don a beekeepers suit and veil — or watch through the windows from the comfort of our solarium.

-Julie-Lynn Wood, Innkeeper, Golden Stage Inn