Banff Mountain Film Festival comes to Lebanon, NH

I continue to be astounded by the way the world comes to our neck of the woods in Vermont and New Hampshire.  The mountains surrounding our bed and breakfast in Cavendish are known for their impressive hiking, biking and skiing, but they are also constantly celebrated through art.  I realized this last night, as the tour of the Banff Mountain Film Festival passed through Southwestern New Hampshire.  Though it was a bit of a hike to get to Lebanon, NH from the Ludlow and Okemo area, it was completely worthwhile to experience the moutain film of a lifetime.  Well, really, it was many films of a life-time, and they were only a microscopic snapshot of the entire collection shown at the original Banff Film Festival back in October of 2013.  Though the Green Mountains of Vermont and the Whites of New Hampshire are small in size compared to the Himalayas, the tapuis of South America, and the cliffs of Morocco, this was the perfect setting in which to watch mountain-themed films.  The culture of our area is shaped by the mountains just as the mountains and hills have been shaped by time.  Though every range and peak has its own character, people who love the mountains have a deep passion in common.  It was that passion that every theater-goer that night shared as we watched with eyes wide at the dramatic scenes before us.

Below are brief accounts and review of a sampling of mountain films showed in the Lebanon Opera House this past Friday.  Check out the United States Tour to see if the film festival is coming your way in the future…it may just stoke your passion to gain elevation!

  • The first half of the evening’s feature film was Ready to Fly, a documentary profiling the fight to end discrimination against women in the Olympics.  Lindsey Van, a woman ski jumper who can jump farther than most men, led the fight by suing the International Olympic Committee.  If you’ve been following the Olympic Games News for the Sochi Winter Games of 2014, you’ll already know the ending to the story (it’s a happy one with victory for ladies!) but this film is absolutely stunning and will make you think about equality in sports today.
  • A short film called Cascada showed impressive imagery and cinematography.  Kayakers journey to Mexico to tackle waterfalls, but reflect upon their experience with people and wilderness in the process.  The shots are absolutely gorgeous!

  • My favorite piece was The Burn, simply because it did not try to impress…because it did not have to.  The entire mountain film was simply two skiers pounding powder in the back country that had burned down in a wildfire the day before a snowstorm.  Not only was the landscape desolately captivating, but the trees were still glowing with embers from the fire before. Sparks flew off from under the skiers when their skis sank through the powder and hit still-burning wood, red embers reflecting off of ice and snow.

  • Two 20-minute films were shown in the second half.  One, Keeper of the Mountains, told the story of an old woman named Elizabeth Hawley, who has kept records her entire life of the ascents of Mount Everest.  She knows every traverse, camp, and crevasse, but has never and will never climb the mountain herself.  Another impressive lady was profiled in Spice Girl, the story of perhaps the best female trad (traditional) climber of her age.  Her name is Hazel Finlay, and she was the first girl to trad climb an E9 (that’s a very hard thing to do!).  As you watch her make ascents, your palms sweating, she speaks about the experience, saying “It’s a bit scary.”  Amazing.  The first half shows her conquering rock walls with her dad, and the second half chronicles her adventure to Morocco to climb a 12-pitch wall that took from before dawn to far after dark.

Visit Vermont not just for the mountains, but also for the amazing creative work they inspire and celebrate from across the world!

 

Natural Homes Exhibit for all ages
Explore the life-sized termite mound (termites not included!). Just like honeybees, we can learn a lot about living in harmony with nature from these fascinating creatures.
Take a look at nature’s dwellings through a sustainable inn

A new exhibit at the Montshire Museum of Science teaches us how our homes can become sustainable.

Dwelling Within the Forces of Nature Exhibit Norwich VT

 

The Golden Stage Inn strives to be eco-friendly whenever possible, to create a lifestyle of low-impact traveling and give guests the option of choosing a sustainable inn.  That’s why we can’t wait to check out the new ‘Sustainable Shelters’ exhibit at Montshire Museum in Norwich, VT!

The Montshire Museum of Science is just 50 minutes away from our rurally located Vermont bed and breakfast.  Between February 1st and May 26th, the museum will feature an impressive exhibition entitled ‘Sustainable Shelter: Dwelling Within the Forces of Nature,’ created by the Center for Sustainable Building Research and the Bell Museum of Natural History at the University of Minnesota.  Visitors can explore how our homes can become more natural through two lenses; that of modern architectural green technologies and that of the the animal kingdom.  This is a fun-filled and educational trip for the kids, who will be sucked in by cartoons, games and interactive models.  Children can poke their heads into the living terrarium featured above, while parents learn about the life cycles of building materials and US water and energy consumption.  Animal nests and structures appear about museum, including a life-sized any colony and termite mound.  Participants can build their own sustainable homes, compare efficient architecture to ‘typical’ homes, and look at differences in dwellings across cultures and eras.

The Montshire Museum of Science is a riveting destination all year round.  For Vermonters and visitors alike, the 100-acre site is absolutely mind-opening no matter your age.  Wildlife can be spotted from the trails, and you can splash in the Science Park or step into space for a moment in the Planet Walk.  They offer an amazing variety of programs such as summer camps, talks and special events…on February 15th get ready for the annual Igloo Build, called the #1 Way to Winter Fun by Yankee Magazine! Attending this event would be taking low-impact dwellings to a whole new level. So head over to the Montshire Museum, and if a Green (Mountain) vacation to a sustainable inn is your idea of a guilt-free getaway, give us a call!

Here in our neck of the Vermont woods, we also strive to make ourselves a sustainable inn in a few key ways:

  • We love welcoming our guests to try the locally produced foods of Southern Vermont, including our own eggs and honey.
  • Leftover soaps are recycled through a program called ‘Clean the World,’ which reduces waste in landfills while providing sanitized soap to those in need.
  • We purchase green cleaning products and energy-efficient appliances.
  • Our amenities are of the “BeeKind” line, which minimizes environmental impact while donating a portion of profits to researching the plight of the honeybee.
  • As many of you know, we keep honeybees and promote education on the importance of local beekeeping to the survival of this important and delicate species.

Vermont Bed and Breakfast Offers Quality Amenities

Heavenly Banana Bread From Scratch

At our Vermont B&B, we’re often complimented on our breakfasts, but our banana bread recipe seems to get an extra dose of respect …and requests for the recipe itself. You can imagine that the guests who are here for hiking or skiing want a delicious breakfast that will keep them full all day — and this recipe will help do just that. Before we begin, here are a few of our tips to perfecting your own loaf of homemade banana bread goodness:

Make sure the bananas are old. Really old. Many people make banana bread when the fruits’ skins are dark yellow with a few brown spots…go for total over-ripeness and wait a few more days for the skins to blacken. We promise these super-ripe bananas are not only completely safe to eat but absolutely essential to making delectable banana bread!

If you’re looking for healthier and heartier versions of banana bread, add some ground flax to this recipe when you add the flour (start with 1/4 cup and work your up if you like it) or add a cup of oatmeal (decreasing the flour by a half cup).  Another way to add heartiness is to increase the ratio of wheat flour and/or decrease the amount of sugar.   These variations will diminish the silky smooth texture of this banana bread, but I think it’s well worth the added health benefits.

This recipe makes 1 single loaf or 3 mini loaves or 1 dozen muffins.

Ingredients

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2/3 cup milk

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten with a fork

3 very overripe bananas, mashed

2 cups white wheat flour (or use 1 cup white flour and 1 cup wheat flour)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

 

Recipes from the Golden Stage Inn Bed and Breakfast

The Banana Bread Recipe

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease your baking tin(s).

2) Add the lemon juice to the milk, stir and set aside. (It will curdle.  This is good.)

3) Cream together the butter and sugar.  If unsure how long this takes, do it a little longer than you think.

4) Add the eggs and bananas to the butter and sugar, and mix.

5) Add half the flour (one cup), baking soda, and salt. Mix.

6) Add the milk & lemon juice that you set aside at the beginning. Mix again.

7) Add the rest of the flour (one cup) and mix for the last time! Mix just until blended. Do not overmix.

8) Pour your finished mixture into your greased pan.

9)Bake until edges are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.  Use the cooking times listed below as a guideline, but remember that the bread continues to cook a bit after removing it from the oven.  An overcooked bread is a terrible thing!

For a single loaf pan, bake for 60-70 minutes.

For three miniature loaves, bake for 40 minutes.

For muffins, bake 18 minutes.

And voila – you have warm, banana-flavored clouds of home-baked heaven.

Golden Stage Inn Original Recipes

Welcome to the “Inn Crowd”

When we have extra space at the Inn, we want to offer our loyal guests the opportunity to get away at the last minute for a lower price.  Ideal for those who have the freedom to escape to Vermont with just a few days’ notice, you can get exclusive access to discounted rooms or added bonuses such as free ski lift tickets or a night out to dinner on us.  We’ll always have something new and exciting to offer no matter the season, and we promise to keep your information confidential and not to flood your inbox.

For those of you who’ve arrived here through our newsletter, thank you for opting to receive our Spontaneity Pays Promotions through the “Inn Crowd” exclusive email list!  Your email address has just been added to our Inn Crowd mailing list.  Look forward to some fantastic and creative last minute deals!

If you’ve arrived at this page through our website or otherwise and want to become a part of the Inn Crowd, simply send an email to innkeeper@goldenstageinn.com to let us know.  We’ll add you to our email list and you’ll quickly see how Spontaneity Pays!

Locally Inspired Vermont Home Cooking

Our Treat to You

Swedish Smorgasbord Festivities

Seasons’ greetings and a happy new year to all from the Golden Stage Inn!

 

Our Christmas Eve of 2013 was as packed with merriment as the Inn’s dining rooms were packed with people for our traditional Swedish Smorgasbord.  Guests, family and friends all came together to celebrate the night with good food and good company.  Julie-Lynn’s  parents are each half Swedish, so it has become a family tradition to celebrate this joyful time of year with a Christmas Eve Swedish Smorgasbord featuring all varieties of Swedish food, drink and decor.  The Anderson-Wood family members spent the day preparing a multi-course meal – including appetizers, main dishes, and sweets for dessert.  Their efforts certainly paid off!  Supper attendees were welcomed into the living room glowing with a crackling fire and sparkling Christmas tree.  Conversations filled the rooms while we helped ourselves to hot drinks and appetizers.  Guests brought their own beverages as well; a sure hit was the mulled wine, which the Swedes call Glogg (pronounced ‘glug’).  The decor went far past traditional New England Christmastime to include Swedish-printed tablecloths and painted horses. Paper napkins wished us “God Jul,” or “Good Yule” in Swedish, and a few Santa Lucia dolls holding Advent wreaths adorned the tables along with the miniature Christmas trees. Nana Rosemary Anderson, who took the pictures below, was even wearing her favorite blue Swedish sweater for the occasion.

Delicious almond cake and apple cake

At a little past seven, the main dishes came to the table piping hot and we served ourselves buffet style.  Everyone left with stomachs stuffed after enjoying homemade Swedish meatballs, pickled herring (or sil), beet salad, and potatoes and peppers in cream. A few American favorites such as macaroni ‘n’ cheese and baked ham made an appearance as well, and were a hit with the teenagers that were present! My personal favorite Swedish Smorgasbord dish was the red cabbage, which is simmered with apples and molasses. Papa Bert Anderson is a staunch advocate of sil and was encouraging everyone to add it to their plate, and several were brave enough to rise to the challenge. My father and a one of my brothers loved it – but reviews from other diners indicated this northern snack may be more of an acquired taste.  When the desserts came around, however, every single mouth was watering in anticipation! There was almond kaka  and apple kaka (cake), perfect for dipping in an after dinner coffee. Spice cookies and dark chocolate covered clementines finished off the array of sweets.  My family headed out once our plates had been cleared and our bellies were ready to undertake the walk back to the car.  We were invited to participate in the event not only because I recently began working for Michael and Julie, but also because we are new to the Okemo Valley area and slowly getting to know the area and its community.  The hospitality and friendship that the Golden Stage Inn family continually extends our way has been perhaps the warmest welcome we’ve received so far – and we aren’t even the guests!  Check out some photos of us and the other dinner guests enjoying this seasonal family-style Swedish Smorgasbord meal at the Golden Stage Inn’s Facebook profile.

 

Until next time; God Jul to all and may your 2014 begin with warmth and joy!

 

Swedish Smorgasboard with decor at the Golden Stage Inn