GSI’s Six Ways to Beat the Heat

Golden Stage Inn’s guide to staying cool on your summer vacation!

1. Get yourself to Vermont!

Hop on in the car and hit the road – because unless you’re in Maine or Canada, no place is cooler than Vermont in the summer.  South Central Vermont has it all – mountains, lakes, waterfalls, historic towns, gardens…

 

A drive on Vermont's scenic country roads.

What’s at the end of the rainbow? Vermont!

2. Lounge in Golden Stage Inn’s garden-flanked pool.

Sometimes guests don’t realize we have a pool until we tell them!  That’s because it’s tucked away in the backyard, surrounded by flowers and a fence.  You’ll have privacy to lounge about the poolside and splash in the water.  Once you’ve cooled off, take a stroll around the gardens and relax in one of the outdoor sitting areas or in the shade of the front porch.

Outdoor swimming pool Inn amenities

3. Sip on an icy glass of our signature ginger-honey lemonade.

Commonly known as switchel, ginger-honey lemonade is a classic Vermont summer drink.  Farmers make cold switchel in the summer to cool down while working in the fields.  Always made from local honey, switchel can even help with summer allergies.  After you’ve finished your drink, you can take a honeybee hive tour to see where the honey came from – the B&B’s own front lawn!

Switchel is made from lemons, local honey, and ginger.

4. Take a stroll in the shade.

Golden Stage Inn is adjacent to the Proctor-Piper State Forest.  In fact, we’re so close the woods are just a short stroll across the lawn!  You’ll walk into the shady forest, cross a babbling brook on a footbridge, and explore the peaceful calm of nature away from the glare and heat of the sun.  Perhaps you’ll see some woodland creatures – especially if you go for a walk closer to dawn or dusk.

5. Hang out in the B&B’s air-conditioned sitting rooms.

Golden Stage Inn is a fully air-conditioned bed and breakfast, so if you need to just get out of the sun, our sitting rooms are the place to be!  Read a book, play a game or solve a puzzle.

Sitting Room in VT Bed and Breakfast

6. Explore a swimming hole.

Our bed & breakfast is not far from several great places to swim in a natural setting.  There are several great swimming places within a short drive from Golden Stage Inn.  In Cavendish, visit the Cavendish Gorge and play in the rocks and falls (see the photo below!).  The Black River meanders through Ludlow.  Buttermilk Falls is also located in Ludlow, and boasts a small waterfall with a large swimming hole at the bottom.  Brockway Mills is a spectacular spot in Springfield, VT.  Jamaica State Park is so much fun: a short hike to a swimming hole dotted with huge rocks to play on.  Like to jump off of things?  Dorset Quarry, with massive cliffs, is the place for you.

For a complete list of Vermont swimming holes, visit Swimmingholes.org

Photos below courtesy of www.swimmingholes.org/vt.html

Photo 1: Cavendish Gorge (Cavendish, VT)    Photo 2: Dorset Quarry (Dorset, VT)    Photo 3: Brockway Mills (Springfield, VT)

Cavendish Gorge, VT

Dorset Quarry Swimming Hole VT

 

Brockway Mills VT

 

A Chorus Line at Weston Playhouse

One singular sensation!

If you’ve seen the musical, you’ll be singing the song!  You can see this production with Golden Stage Inn’s Summer Theater Package.  Tickets are reduced when you book a 2-night stay with Golden Stage Inn over the summer season, saving you as much as $60 per couple for a night at the theater!

Summer Theater B&B Package

The Weston Playhouse’s production of A Chorus Line is a treat not to be missed.  The cast is comprised of equity actors.  The costumes for the finale of ‘One’ are a hit.  The songs were flawless.  Whether you are a long-time fan of A Chorus Line or simply enjoy theater, this production is sure to please.  Afterwards, you may even want to be a star…

I hadn’t been to the Weston Playhouse for at least ten years, and was excited to get back.  The town itself is quaint and makes a fun day trip, but we were just there for the evening so we headed straight to the theater.  There is a restaurant below the theater that looks out onto the river.  We weren’t dining, but were able to enjoy a glass of wine before the show.  Just be sure to finish your beverage before the show starts – no food or drink in the theater itself!  The restaurant is called Cafe at the Falls; view their menu here.

We enjoyed our wine in a sitting room, and soon the lights flickered and the curtains were rising.  My grandmother was like a little girl; she loves A Chorus Line and knows the movie by heart.  Since Weston Playhouse is so intimate, it was an amazing experience for her to get to see the show up close – I think we were in the third row!

For those of you who haven’t seen A Chorus Line, here’s the set up (no spoilers –  I promise.)  A dozen or so dancers are auditioning for eight parts in a big show, and the pressure is on.  In the opening song, each one sings “Please God, I need this job!”  The story shows that working in the performance arts is no easy feat.  The musical takes the form of an audition, one where the dancers and actors are asked to tell the choreographer about their real self.  This opens a door to some real emotion, some great songs, and a very unique performance.  A Chorus Line shows that the performing arts may treat actors, singers and dancers as head shots – but there’s more behind the photo.

The applause was thunderous as the credits rolled.  The songs played over and over again in my head for the following week.  We didn’t have time, but usually after each show, there is a Cabaret act at the small stage downstairs to which you may buy tickets.

I’d say the only reason not to see A Chorus Line at the Weston Playhouse is if you absolutely hate musicals.  Otherwise, get yourself over to Weston, Vermont!  Save on tickets with Golden Stage Inn’s Summer Theater Package…when you book two nights or more at our B&B during the summer, you’ll receive tickets at a steeply discounted rate.

VT Summer B&B Package

Mushroom Hunting in Vermont
Mushroom hunting in Vermont proves fruitful!

Chanterelles (left) and lobsters (right) are just two of the delicious mushrooms found in the woods of Vermont.

Are you a fan of fungi?  Then Vermont’s the place to be this summer.

With one of the wettest Julys on record, Vermont’s mushrooms are fruiting to the fullest this summer!  Before you read on, please note that this blog post is not a mushrooming guide!  Eat and identify wild mushrooms at your own risk.

Lobster mushrooms are easy to spot when foraging.  Not only are they a similar color to a cooked lobster - but they also have a seafood aroma when cooked.

Lobster mushrooms are easy to spot when foraging. Not only are they a similar color to a cooked lobster – but they also have a seafood aroma when cooked.

Happy mushroom hunters are finding edible mushrooms such as chanterelles, oysters, lobster mushrooms, chicken-of-the-woods, and even the prized black trumpet.  Medicinal mushrooms can be found in Vermont as well, and include chaga, turkey tail, and reishi.

Can you spot the prized black trumpet amongst the leaves? Black trumpets are easy to miss - luckily grow in large numbers.  My favorite wild mushroom in Vermont!

Can you spot the prized black trumpet mushrooms amongst the leaves? Black trumpets are easy to miss – luckily, they grow in large numbers. By far my favorite wild mushroom in Vermont!

Love to eat mushrooms, but not a mushroom hunter yourself?

You don’t have to brave the woods (and that first-time-mushrooming fear).  Two grocery stores near Golden Stage Inn sell local mushrooms when available: The Jersey Girls’ Cafe & Market and the Springfield Co-Op.  You can also get your mushroom fix at a farm-to-table restaurant in the area, such as The Downtown Grocery, SoLo, or the Inn at Weathersfield.

Want to learn to identify wild mushrooms?

The Grafton Nature Museum is hosting a Mushroom Walk on the weekend of August 22nd!  The Grafton Nature Museum is about a half hour drive from Golden Stage Inn, and also puts on a fairy house exhibit with local artists on the last weekend of September.  But back to the ‘shrooms…

You can register to be on the waiting list for The Wild World of Mushrooms at the Grafton Nature Museum here.  Unfortunately both walks are already full, but hey, you never know!  Here’s a quick description of the event from the Grafton Nature Museum’s website:

“Ari Rockland-Miller will introduce participants to the Northeast’s safest and most distinctive gourmet and medicinal fungi, emphasizing his “ForageCast” strategy. Workshop participants will also discover how to best cook these fruits of the forest and will get a taste when our wild finds are served up right on the spot following our foray. Once you put on your forager’s eyes, your hikes will never be the same again!”

If you’re up for a further drive, check out more mushrooming workshops in Vermont from the Mushroom Forager here.  In addition to foraging, you can learn about growing mushrooms yourself!

 

Oyster mushrooms are one of the edible fungi you can cultivate yourself.

Oyster mushrooms are one of the edible fungi you can learn to cultivate yourself.

And just for fun(gi)…

What room has no doors, no walls, no floors, and no ceilings?

A mushroom!

 

One month until the Vermont Golden Honey Festival!

Vermont’s only honey fair promises to be an outstanding event this year!

Golden Stage Inn, in partnership with the Okemo Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce, is hosting the Vermont Golden Honey Festival on September 13th, 2014.  The festival takes place on the green lawn of our bed and breakfast, at 399 Depot Street in Proctorsville, Vermont.  This event is a ton of fun, and we can guarantee that if you aren’t already a fan of the honeybee, you’ll be one after attending the VT Honey Festival!  Did you know the honeybee is the Vermont state insect, or that VT has its own Beekeeper’s Association?  Learn more at the honey festival with presentations and demonstrations galore.

VT Golden Honey Festival Live Honeybees

We are still accepting applications for vendors, but hurry because the event is just a month away!  Vendors who have a honeybee-themed or related product pay a reduced vendor fee of $35 (normal vendor fee is $40.)  Booths are 10 x 10 feet.

Admission to the VT Honey Festival is free.  There will be family-friendly activities for kids to enjoy.  Peruse vendor booths to see artists and their crafts, honeybee products, beekeeping supplies, and more.  We’ll have a scavenger hunt as well – complete the hunt and win some tasty honey sticks.

For lunch, enjoy wood-fired pizza from Goodman’s American Pie‘s mobile beehive oven.  Some of the pizza is honey-themed, yum!  There will be jams, pickles, produce, and other food for purchase as well – even mead!

VT Golden Honey Festival Scavenger Hunt

The Vermont Golden Honey Festival takes place on September 13th from 10 am to 4 pm.

Bring a friend because you won’t want to miss out on this festival – voted by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce as one of the Top Ten Fall Events for 2014!  See you there!

Contact Julie Wood at the Golden Stage Inn at (802) 226-7744, or email vtgoldenhoneyfestival@gmail.com.

 

Restaurant Review: The Downtown Grocery (Ludlow, VT)

The Downtown Grocery is less than 10 minutes from the Golden Stage Inn, and is located in the heart of Ludlow, Vermont.

We’d been hearing rave reviews from guests for some time, and decided it was time that Golden Stage Inn gave The Downtown Grocery a review of our own!  (We are far from food critics….but we are definitely food lovers all around.  Besides – what better excuse to go out do dinner than “It’s for work”?!)  Julie and Mike had dined there before, but I had only had a drink at the bar once last winter.  I’d really wanted something to eat, but the intimate restaurant was totally packed.  Downtown Grocery’s tables are usually completely booked, sometimes several weeks in advance during the busy ski season!  Naturally, I was dying to get a bite…

So this past week, I finally enjoyed a meal at the Downtown Grocery that defied my expectations.  My great-aunt and great-uncle were visiting, so my family wanted to treat them to a meal that would be memorable and eventful.  We sure got what we were asking for!

The hostess was enthusiastic, and our table was gorgeously placed at the intersection of two sunny windows.  Though the Downtown Grocery is a fine dining establishment, the atmosphere stays true to the name and is welcomingly laid back.  The restaurant consists of just two small rooms with plentiful sunlight streaming through the windows.  The menus strive to incorporate fresh, local ingredients as the season provides.  Each room has a full blackboard chalked up with seasonal specials – about five unique appetizers and entrees.  It is wonderful that there are so many specials because each dining experience will be unique.  However, I found it difficult to read the chalk board.  Although it is the size of a classroom blackboard, there are so many specials that the writing is very small, and not very clear in the first place.  Everyone in my family had to take turns standing awkwardly in the center of the small room to read the specials, which disturbed not only the flow of our dinner, but probably the peace of those around us as well.

Regardless, it is admirable how vast the array of fresh, local ingredients in Downtown Grocery’s menu can be.

Chef Rogan Lechthaler has quite the resume under his belt.  I respect that he came back to his Vermont origins to serve real food to real people (meaning, not celebrities and the grossly rich).  The Downtown Grocery is dining at its best, yet is connected to both the people, the land, and the original homemade processes that make fresh ingredients into good food.

From the drink menu, I had to order the Bees Knees cocktail, of course.  This drink includes orange and lemon juice with gin, plus a drizzle of hibiscus-infused honey.  (So bummed I didn’t take a picture! Guess I’ll just have to go back.)  It was quite refreshing, and not at all too sweet.  The appetizer was a tougher choice.  All the specials looked so inviting, but I chose to go with a classic – Maine mussels with shallot-dusted frites.  I think my mother made the best choice, however, with Coger Garden’s mesclun salad.  It came on a cutting board, with honey-drizzled Bijou cheese, herbed crostini and raspberries.  The greens themselves were artfully topped with an edible flower – Nasturtium.

As our meals arrived, I knew I’d made the right choice.  See below for the main event: pancetta-wrapped monkfish atop celeriac and chanterelle mushrooms!  My father and uncle ordered rabbit-wurst with sauerkraut.  I know it evoked their memories of growing up on farms eating suppers inspired by their German and Dutch heritage.

Downtown Grocery dinner ludlow VT

Here are pictures of two Downtown Grocery classics: ribeye with ‘lincoln log’ potatoes and a pimento burger with frites and house-made pickles & ketchup.  Try not to drool…too much, anyway.

Downtown Grocery Entree ludlow VT

 

Downtown Grocery entree

We’d saved room for dessert and tried a smattering of Downtown Grocery’s dessert offerings between the table.  I had vanilla creme brulée that was to die for…and definitely had a hard time sharing!  (Check out a picture of the creme brulée and other restaurant images here.)  Other desserts included chocolate souffle with espresso sauce and blueberry-peach cobbler.  Though delicious, these were both a little too heavy for me to enjoy at the end of such an elaborate meal.  I’d love to go back to try the cheese board.  For the honeybee enthusiasts out there, it comes with local honeycomb!  Additionally, the ice cream and sorbet flavors are ridiculously creative, and I believe almost all are house-made.  Those flavors that stood out to me were blueberry goat cheese, strawberry balsamic, watermelon mint and pineapple basil…

…you can bet I’ll be back!

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