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!

The VAULT Gallery in Springfield, VT: July & August 2014

Our bed and breakfast, located in Proctorsville VT, is very close to several great art & craft facilities.  One of these is the Vault Gallery in Springfield, VT.  It is about 20 minutes’ drive away from Golden Stage Inn, located in the downtown of an old industrial town located right on the Black River.  The VAULT Gallery showcases uniquely creative arts and handmade crafts from around Vermont.  It is accessible, affordable, modern and gorgeous.  The summer exhibition’s focus is flowers.

The VAULT gallery also offers art classes for wannabe artists and seasoned crafters alike.  There are even camps for your kids – if you’d like to get some alone time during your vacation!  Check out the offerings for 2014 summer at the Vault:

Art Workshops for Adults

Saturday, July 26 (rain date Sunday, July 27)
9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Plein Air Workshop in Watercolor Instructor: Rob O’Brien AWS, NWS
This class will meet at the gallery and then set off for a day of outdoor painting. The workshop will begin with a demonstration by the instructor followed by student painting. A critique and discussion will take place at the end of class.

Workshop fee $65 Members/$70 Non-members
Materials list available upon registration
Plein Air Painting workshop in Vermont
Saturday, August 23
9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sun and Shade – Late Summer Landscape in Pastel
Instructor: Robert Carsten, PSA-M, IAPS-MC
Explore the Dynamics of painting the warm, sunlit landscape, the coolness of a special shady spot or how to include both in one composition. How you convey that feel of late summer in your work and that lovely golden light that we experience as the sun moves lower on the horizon as we start shifting toward autumn. Working from your sketches or photos, we will explore concepts of color design, and techniques. Various approaches will be presented and demonstrated. Critique, at easel assistance, and lots of painting time will make this an educational and enjoyable painting experience. All levels welcome from beginner through advanced.
 
Workshop fee $70 members/$75 Non-members
Materials list available upon registation

Art Camps for Kids

VACATION ART CAMP
Held at Parks and Rec on 139 Main Street
Mon-Fri July 21 to 25 
9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Experiment with Papermaking
Taught by Diane Kemble and Melissa Post
Create your own handmade papers! Start with paper scraps and water. Churn it up in a blender. Add dried flowers, colored threads, and other surprises. Press through a screen, dry and iron. Then use your paper to make cards, books, night lights, collages, and other creations.
 
Age 8 and up Art Camp Fee $70. Class size limited. Pre-registration required.

You’re Invited!

Gallery at the VAULT invites you to
Celebrate the Season with a Summer Party 
Saturday, July 26 from 2 to 5 p.m.
at the Inn at Weathersfield

An Afternoon Collage of Food, Celestial Drinks, and Outdoor Pursuits!
  • Taste unique craft cocktails and imagine celestial navigation with Max Overstrom-Coleman of Vermont Spirits.
  • Enjoy delicious food made from local ingredients.
  • Ramble through the gardens and grounds of Inn at Weathersfield.
  • Explore photography with Richard Cofrancesco. (Bring your own camera.)
  • Learn the art of Fly Tying with Dennis Fontaine.
  • Try your hand at flower arranging.
  • Play Croquet and Bocce Ball or Relax on the deck.
Reservations are necessary.
Stop in at VAULT, or call 802-885-7111.
Tickets are $40 each, Checks payable to Gallery at the VAULT.
What’s Going on In the Okemo Valley – July & August 2014

July and August are packed with fun summer activities, festivals, concerts around the Okemo Valley.  In this entry, you’ll find upcoming events close by the Golden Stage Inn B&B.  Some highlights are Hops in the Hills beer & wine fest at Okemo Mountain Resort, an outdoor concert by Sensible Shoes (sponsored by Golden Stage Inn!), and varied arts & entertainment at Next Stage Arts Project, in conjunction with Apron Strings Theatre Co. and Twilight Music.

2014 Cavendish Concerts on the Proctorsville Green

Hosted by the Cavendish Community Conservation Association, this concert series is a well-loved summer event.  Join picnickers on the lawn by the gazebo and enjoy a peaceful Vermont evening with homegrown tunes.  Concerts are Wednesdays throughout the summer; upcoming concerts listed below:

July 23 – Sensible Shoes - playing a funky mix of original music and cover tunes (sponsored by Golden Stage Inn and Old Cavendish Products!

July 30 – Chris Kleeman - rolling from stinging slide guitar to deft rag-time; from the Southern styles of Mississippi John Hurt, Robert Johnson, Blind Willie McTell all the way up that big river to the Blues of Chicago.

August 6 – Yankee Chank - Featuring Cavendish’s own Bob Naess on fiddle, this Cajun/Zydeco band will have you dancing in the street.

August 13 – Voodoo Alien Blues Band - The Rutland based all star rhythm and blues band is led by local blues legend Steve Audsley and appears regularly at a variety of Vermont venues.

Hops in the Hills Beer and Wine Festival in Ludlow, VT

Put on by Okemo Mountain Resort, this is the 6th annual Hops in the Hills Festival.  Jackson Gore, the location of the event, is in Ludlow - a quick 15 minute drive from our B&B.  Admission is free and Hops in the Hills beer and wine festival Vermontyou can purchase sample combinations.  There are over 50 craft beers from regional brewers to try – and this year, Okemo is adding wine to the festival!

This year’s festival is 3 days long instead of 2, and will feature live music, craft vendors, and delicious things to eat.  Friday evening, enjoy live music by Cold Chocolate.

On Saturday, local restaurants will vie for the title of Okemo Valley Chicken Wing Champion, with live music by CK3.

Sunday’s festivities include a live performance by Phish tribute band Uncle Ebenezer.

 

 What’s going on at Next Stage in Putney, VT

July 24th:  The Stray Birds with Mike and Ruthy: acoustic folk and indie roots music.  Check out their style:

YouTube Preview Image

YouTube Preview Image

July 27th: Dinner and a movie – enjoy a locally sourced gourmet meal at the Gleanery, and then kick back for a screening of Chocolat (for dessert, haha!)  Tickets are $23.00.

August 7-16: AFTER THE REVOLUTION – a bold and moving portrait of an American family, thrown into an intergenerational tailspin, forced to reconcile a thorny and delicate legacy.  This play was written by Amy Herzog and the production is directed by Karla Baldwin.  

August 22: TONY TRISCHKA w/ HOT MUSTARD -  Tony Trischka was the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Banjo Player of the Year and received a Grammy nomination.  He will play with his band and the well-known traditional bluegrass quartet Hot Mustard.  These bands feature double banjos, saucy vocals and Merlefest banjo contest winner Bruce Stockwell. 7:30 pm

Twilight Music’s Tavern Lawn Series, Putney, VT

All concerts start at 6 pm on Sundays and are free.  In case of rain, concerts are held at Next Stage at 15 Kimball Hill.

July 27  PLANET ZYDECO - High Energy accordion/guitar driven dance music of Louisiana


August 10  THE STOCKWELL BROTHERS - Newgrass and contemporary folk music with brothers Bruce, Barry and Alan

August 24  THE SNAZ – Original, indie rock band featuring four Vermont teenagers

PlanetZydeco at Putney Tavern Lawn concert series

Planet Zydeco gets ready to play!

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