Indian Cuisine, June 7

Among the so many other reasons to visit Vermont this Spring, we invite both the public and our inn guests to join us at the inn for an Indian dinner on Saturday, June 7, 2014.  We are very excited to have Lini Mazumdar as our guest chef for the evening.  We’ll begin the evening’s festivities at 6pm with informal hors d’oeuvres and a BYOB cocktail hour, but don’t snack too much — there is an Indian feast coming out next!  Lini will delight us as she serves up her homemade daal, rice, chicken, vegetable curry, and raita. Then we’ll wrap up the gastro-delights with coffee, teas, and our signature Saturday Night Chocolate Cake.

Tickets are still available.  $50 per person.  Staying the night?  Dinner guests will enjoy over 25% discount on lodging.  Dinner for Two plus 1 night lodging (choice of any available double occupancy room), $225 plus tax, or Dinner for Two plus 2 nights lodging, $350 plus tax.  Call soon to make your reservation!  (802) 226-7744. Or email us at innkeeper@goldenstageinn.com

Holiday Shopping, Round Two

Chester, Vermont is one of those towns you can drive through and admire, or dive into and discover.  I’d recommend the diving route, as it was the perfect place for me to tackle some pressing holiday shopping without feeling rushed, worried or overwhelmed.  It is eclectic, full of hidden treasures, and quaint without being frilly. Seasonal white lights have already gone up on the trees at the town center where a fantastic array of small stores surrounds the village green.  I always stop first at the Moon Dog Café to fuel up with curried chicken salad and a hot drink.  The long, soft-colored room has a small grocery section and an extensive collection of body care products, as well as scarves, tableware, and various odds and ends.  For those who love the organic, natural side of things, this place will hold your attention for a while.  At the far end of the café is a set of stairs leading to a vast playroom for young children called the SongYard.  The SongYard hosts events and arts ‘n’ crafts, and features a children’s clothing thrift rack.

Next down the line of Chester’s main street stores is Country Treasures, a quilting shop.  My mom took a beginner’s class there and made a gorgeous baby blanket.  Though I am not one for sewing, I still love looking at their creative fabrics and use them to wrap my Christmas gifts in a more personal and sustainable way.  Misty Valley Books is probably the best place to find something for everyone on your holiday shopping list.  This small bookstore often hosts local or visiting authors, and has a great selection of including a shelf full of Vermont and New England based fiction and non-fiction.  I found a small book full of early photos of my hometown, Springfield VT, to give to my parents for Christmas!  Other unique stores include a Polish Pottery shop, Mountain Leather Design, and DaVallia, a jewelry and home accent boutique a bit pricier than the rest of the plaza.

If you head east through the center of town, you’ll come to Meditrina Wine and Cheese and Pear Tree Home and Garden. I have not been to Pear Tree, but Meditrina is an intimate space with very knowledgeable staff. Continue east to get to the Vermont Country Store, an ever-bustling hotspot for Vermont products of every imaginable sort.

If you head north on Route 103, even more surprises await! Vermont Institute of Contemporary Arts, or VTica, is an absolute gem that sits across from the gas station. I recently attended a gallery opening and was not only in love with the artists the owners chose to feature, but also the affordability of the entire collection. ‘Something to Celebrate,’ their current collection, shows the work of Vermont artists who have a high level of finesse comparable to those featured in high end galleries in New York, said President Robert Sarly. One does abstract glasswork that hangs like clouds from the ceiling. Another paints poppies on top of roadmaps of Chester and surrounding towns. At the back of the exhibit was the star of the show, a collection of 33 top contestants in an abstract challenge set up by both VTica and the VT Water Color Society.

Across from VTica is a combination antique gallery and seafood restaurant called Austin’s Antiques and the Wheelhouse Restaurant. I have yet to explore it, and am so curious to find out what the place could possibly look like inside! The chef has a weekly column called ‘Catch of the Week’ in the local paper with seafood recipes to try at home. (This week was lobster quiche – yum!) Continue up 103 and you’ll find a thrift store and a massage therapy office, followed by a woodworking business that hosts an annual chainsaw carving festival and competition every October! I attended the festival and was surprised at how affordable some of the carvings were. Beyond the creative displays of wooden statues and benches is Lisai’s market and grocery near the train station. Bonnie’s Bundles Dolls is an especially unique store, which hand-crafts old-fashioned Vermont dolls. They are gorgeous to look at, but certainly an investment. Finally, you’ll find an open-air roadside market selling Christmas trees and wreaths. In the spring they feature flowers and in the summer and fall are chock full of Vermont produce.

Though we are in the last week of availability for our I Hate Malls package, we are likely to make it an annual occasion! Keep us in mind next Christmas if the consumerism and advertisements are starting to get to you.

-Sophi Veltrop, Golden Stage Inn

Snow is here…

…and we hope it’s here to stay! We’ve received a few flurries and snowshowers, in addition to some rain and sunny days. We are certainly ready for a heaping dose of snow, and with what we’ve had so far it seems like we’re in for a good winter ahead! Check out some powdery dustings at the Inn back in November, as well as our front yard view of Okemo’s already ski-able trails:

 

 

 

Holiday Shopping Without the Stress

Along with supporting local arts, The Golden Stage Inn has much pride in our local businesses. We try to source our foods and products from small businesses in the area as often as we can. Lucky for us, this is a fairly easy task because Vermont has legislation that makes it tough for chain stores to open in the Green Mountain State. I believe I’ve seen two McDonalds during my entire time wandering the state, and certainly never a single Walmart, Target, or mall! As a way of encouraging guests to visit these mom-and-pop stores, we have set up a promotion that allows you to get holiday shopping done in a stress-free – dare I say delightful – way. Check out the I Hate Malls  package to see what sort of savings and complimentary treats are currently available at the Inn. Meanwhile, take a peek at our smorgasbord review of Ludlow’s small businesses and gift shops that provide an eclectic diversity of offerings for seasonal shoppers in Vermont.

 

Blue Sky Trading Company is one of my top two favorite gift shops in Ludlow…mostly because everything (and I mean everything) inside the store appeals to my taste. They offer a few Vermont Products, most notably the slate coasters from Vermont Stoneworks and fine natural candles for Bennington Candle. Even if you wander in with no money, as I did, the stunning visuals of colorful scarves, seasonal photography and creative earrings may keep you occupied and exploring for several minutes, and Greg or Betsy will likely strike up a conversation with you in the meantime.

 

The Silver Spoon Gallery is my other top Ludlow shopping destination. When I walked in for the first time, I expected to spend my time quietly staring at do-not-touch paintings and statues way out of my price range. While there are indeed some amazing pieces of art that I didn’t even think about laying my hands on (including pieces by Robert Sydorowich featured on the Inn’s first floor!), the Gallery is an accessible, almost participatory New England-based artisan and craft store. I found myself unashamedly laughing out loud at the custom magnets and cards in one room. The best part is – many of the products are totally affordable! I bought two hilarious refrigerator magnets from Maine for my dad, handmade Hawaiian soap for my aunt, and the Silver Spoon’s own cutlery earrings (for myself…oops). The owner brings his own crafts, which usually involve cutlery in unexpected ways, to fairs and festivals across New England. When he meets artists he finds particularly compelling, he offers to sell their products in his store. So not only does The Silver Spoon exhibit the owners own imaginative flare, it showcases his personal taste when it comes to offering a well-selected array of appealing products.

 

Right next-door to the Silver Spoon Gallery is the Wine and Cheese Depot. I don’t need to go into any more detail about how well wine and cheese are received at any point in the year, only to mention that many of the cheeses and a few of the wines and hard ciders are Vermont-sourced and produced. Across the road is Tina’s Fun Stuff to Wear clothing and accessories store. I have yet to go inside, but I’ll bet the name speaks for itself. Other stores within walking distance include Chrisandra’s Home and Furniture, a small pet boutique, Chaos Casbah and Chapter XIV Bookstore. Within a five minute drive is The Fletcher Farm School, a dynamic organization whose VT crafts gift shop is just one facet of what it has to offer.

 

Stay tuned for more profiles of nearby towns with abundant locally owned businesses – up next week: Chester!

Featured Artist: Robert Sydorowich

We are blessed this winter to be displaying several watercolors and oils by talented Vermont impressionist Robert Sydorowich. His landscapes depict Andover, VT, where he has resided for over 40 years, as well as surrounding towns such as Weathersfield, Windsor, Shrewsbury, Ludlow, Wallingford, Plymouth, Weston, Quechee, Waitsfield, and Salem. In his own words, his creations strive to be “simple, focused, capturing the truth of the moment.” His work is featured in galleries across the state, in New York City, and even in London, as well as his own gallery in Andover. While his gallery, a converted 1000-square-foot barn, is in hibernation for the snowy months to come, a few of his paintings have found a temporary home in the Golden Stage’s living room and dining room, and the Inn’s walls are practically shivering with delight to be so beautifully adorned!

These gorgeous landscapes that our guests can now enjoy from the comfort of the indoors are reminiscent of the scenic country roads wandering to and from the Inn. Cows graze peacefully, ice-covered creeks wind between evergreen trees, snow-covered hills shelter silos and barns, and shadowy mountains undulate before lavender winter skies. Even the rusty, smoky colors of Stick Season become idyllic when interpreted by Robert Sydorowich’s paintbrush. [Stick Season, for those who may be hearing the term for the first time, is that period after the fall colors but before the winter snow, when deciduous trees are bare to the bones. Though this may sound bleak at first glance, many rejoice in November's comforts: cider-pressing, root-crop and winter squash harvests, wool sweaters, pre-Christmas shopping, and the first wood-stove fires of the year!]

 

At this Bed & Breakfast, we do our best to support and advocate the abundance of local artistic talent available year-round. Robert Sydorowich will especially appeal to those of you who take an interest in art that reflects the natural world while giving you a full sense of what it means to call Vermont home. You can see two of the pieces featured at the Golden Stage Inn at Robert Sydorowich’s website, entitled Winter Reflections and Nancy Brook. The remaining paintings housed here cannot be viewed online, but there are several images on his website that depict scenes you’d be certain to see during a winter stay in the Okemo Valley region! These include maple syrup taps; a covered bridge; views of Okemo; and – most importantly – a cozy stove warming a sleepy cat and a pot of tea.

If you live in the area, we encourage you to seek out Robert Sydorowich’s fantastic impressionism in person, whether at a gallery near you or at our own first-floor-turned-art-gallery. This past fall, Sydorowich was featured in the Vermont Open Studio Weekend in conjunction with 130 other artisans and craftspeople. Hopefully he will be a part of the Spring 2014 Open Studio Tour as well, since it will be the Vermont Craft Council’s 20th year putting on this incredible promotion for VT crafts and art!

 

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