Okemo Valley Events

Previews and Reviews of events in the Okemo Valley Region.


Happy Independence Day from Golden Stage Inn

From all of us at the Golden Stage Inn B&B, Happy Independence Day!

Well, technically the 4th of July just passed, but the weekend has just begun and the festivities aren’t over.  Vermont is the perfect place to spend Independence Day, and while yesterday (the real 4th of July) was a bit rainy, there is a bluebird sky today with clear breezes and temperatures in the 70s.  Vermont vacation-ers certainly won’t have to worry about ‘beating the heat’ this weekend!!

 

Image courtesy Celebration Fireworks of Vermont

Image courtesy Celebration Fireworks of Vermont

 

Spending the 4th of July in Southern Vermont

Last night, I’d planned to see fireworks in Ludlow, VT but was thwarted by the rain!  Luckily, Saxton’s River still had fireworks going off and the drizzle stopped just in time.  I stood in line for cotton candy, watched glowsticks being catapulted through the air by excited children, and enjoyed the fireworks.  It was a spectacular show.  If the day hadn’t been so grey, I may have spent my entire 4th of July in Saxton’s River -watching the morning parade, eating a lunch of Thai or Middle Eastern cuisine, and then dancing to fiddler’s tunes at the Rec Area in the evening.

If you’re thinking of spending next 4th of July in Vermont, consider visiting the Calvin Coolidge historic site or Billings Farm, which both have historical Independence Day events and activities.  Far from being antiquated, these events appeal to all ages and there is something for everyone.  Billings Farm & Museum hosts ‘An Old Vermont 4th‘ every year from 10 am – 5 pm in Woodstock VT.  The organization puts on historic orations and music all day long, hosts old time-y crafts, and serves up some farmhouse fare including homemade ice cream.  Kids (and adults!) can participate in a gunny sack race, spelling bees and  visits to the farm animals.

Calvin Coolidge was the only American president born on July 4th, and is one of two presidents born in Vermont.  The Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation always puts on a great celebration for Independence Day to commemorate the birth of the USA and of President Coolidge.  This year’s diverse events all sounded like a lot of fun.  History buffs enjoyed attending a group reading of Coolidge’s autobiography and seeing the recent reproduction of the Coolidge family’s woolen blanket.  Foodies munched on chicken BBQ at the Wilder House restaurant and sampled wine and cheese at the Plymouth Artisan Cheese Factory.  Kids and families took a ride on horse-drawn wagons.  Don’t miss this event next year, and remember that you can tour the Coolidge homestead and historic site year-round.  After all, the site is just a short drive away from the Golden Stage Inn, and makes a great day trip!

parade

 

(Image courtesy coolidgefoundation.org)

Extending your Freedom – July 5th Events

The fun doesn’t stop today, and there are tons of events happening within driving distance from Golden Stage Bed and Breakfast.  If you’re looking for the excitement of fireworks tonight, look no further than Magic Mountain or Stratton Mountain, both in Londonderry, VT.  At 6 pm, Magic Mountain will proudly introduce The Butties, Vermont’s premier Beatles cover band.  Stratton Mountain will have activities all afternoon long into the evening including face painting, dance demonstrations, live music, caricatures, hay rides, eating contests, and gondola rides.  See the full schedule of events here, and don’t miss the grand opening of Green Apron, a brand new VT farm-to-table restaurant near the golf course.

Want to stay a little closer to your home away from home? (Golden Stage Inn, that is!)  Check out Fletcher Farm’s Annual Arts and Crafts Festival, today from 10 am – 4 pm.  Over 90 artisans from across New England will have their high quality, original work on display.  Stop by to check out everything from paintings to dolls clothes, dried flowers to wood carving, glasswork to food…

Okemo Mountain hosts the Great American Party today, and while there are no fireworks here, you’ll certainly have plenty of other things to keep you busy from 1-8 pm.  Barbeque, two free concerts, a waterslide, dunk tank, eating contest, midway games, and adventure zone will fill your day with fun.

Don’t let the fire die…Fireworks in Ludlow on July 6th!

Although the rain last night caused the Ludlow fireworks to be cancelled, never fear because they have been rescheduled for Sunday, July 6th.  Fireworks are sponsored by Ludlow Streetscapes at West Hill Park.  The Chris Kleeman Band will entertain Vermonters and vacation-ers alike with fantastic rhythm and blues music, with fireworks slated to go off at dark around 9 pm.  You can stop for dinner first at one of Ludlow’s many restaurants – Mr. Darcy’s, the Killarney, Sam’s Steakhouse, the Stemwinder, Downtown Grocery or DJ’s.  If you want to enjoy Chris Kleeman’s music, create yourself a picnic basket with treats from Wine & Cheese Depot and Singleton’s General Store.  You might also ask Julie about Rex’s Outrageous Road Crew Crunch available at Golden Stage Inn…

Road-Crew-Crunch-mud-local-VT-snack

Reasons to Love Vermont in May

It’s a hidden secret that Ludlow, Proctorsville, Cavendish, and other nearby towns in Southern Vermont are great places to spend a bit of springtime.

Vermont Snowdrops, Ludlow VTThat could mean a road trip, a getaway, or a family vacation during spring break.  New England is known for its muddy spring season, which can sometimes be cold… But Southern Vermont is beating mud season with improved roads and cars.  The forsythia, crocuses and daffodils are blooming as robins search the ground for worms.  Fresh spring breezes and blue skies remind us summer is just around the corner.  Behind the occasional dirt and rain, there are tons of reasons to love Vermont in the spring….especially if you are a guest of Golden Stage Inn!

  1. Honey Bee Installation at Golden Stage Inn B&B

  2. See The Spitfire Grill at Northern Stage

  3. Build a Living Willow Structure at Fletcher Farm School for the Arts

  4. Billings Farm & Museums Opens May 1st

  5. “Get the most from your garden” talk with Evening Song Farm

  6. May 24th is Opening Day at President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site

  7. Girls and Guns Weekend at Golden Stage Inn!

 

  • honeybee hive swarm july 2013Honey Bee Installation: the date is not exact, but if you’re interested in seeing honey bees introduced to their new homes, contact the innkeepers for more info!  The honey bees will arrive around the second week of May.  Once the flowers start to open up, you’ll be able to tour the hives (or watch a hive tour from indoors!).  We can’t wait for this year’s honey harvest and another season of backyard beekeeping adventures.
  • The Spitfire Grill is a new musical at Northern Stage, and will be running through May 4th.  Based on a movie and book, the Spitfire Grill tells the uplifting story of small town camaraderie through song and drama.  The musical won the Richard Rogers Award.  Check out the preview below!
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  • Living Willow Structure Class will be taught by Bonnie Gale, who appeared on Martha Stewart in 2010 for the Cultivating Life Show.  The class goes from 9-4 on May 24th and 25th at the Fletcher Farm School for the Arts and Crafts.  Students will practice making a joint structure on a living fence.  Then, they will make an individual living willow arch to take home!
  • Billings Farm & Museum opens up again in May!  Watch sheep-shearing and herding with Border Collies on May 3 & 4.  Celebrate VT dairy on Memorial Day Weekend, May 24th and 25th.  You’ll sample delicious Vermont cheeses, learn to make ice cream, churn butter, and meet local cheese makers.  Billings Farm is located in Woodstock and is about a half hour drive from our Bed and Breakfast in Ludlow, VT.
  • Gardening Talk with Evening Song Farm will be useful and interesting.  Held at Cavendish Fletcher Community Library, within walking distance of Golden Stage Inn B&B.  Evening Song Farm is a successful CSA operation located near Rutland VT.
  • Explore President Calvin Coolidge Historic Site, opening on Memorial Day weekend!  The Killington Stage Race will be fun to watch, and you can see the new exhibit “The Coolidges, Plymouth, and the Civil War.”
  • And last but not least, experience Girls & Guns Weekend at Golden Stage Inn!  You’ll get two night’s lodging for two people (including delicious breakfasts and treats of course).  Plus, we’ll provide one fully paid for admission the the Women on the Range course, hosted by Black River Valley Rod and Gun Club.  Learn to shoot rifles, shotguns, pistols and bows and arrows with other women.  All adventure-seekers, outdoors enthusiasts, and wannabe hunters will love this unique Vermont Inn special.  See our Girls & Guns Specials Page for further info!
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A Beekeeping Workshop with Renowned Vermont Natural Beekeeper

Honey bees are an essential fact of the innkeeping life here at Golden Stage Bed and Breakfast.

Our hive tours entertain and educate guests; the harvest season brings folks from far and near to our annual Honey Harvest Festival; and, of course, the golden reward of raw honey from the inn’s backyard sweetens guests’ morning tea and breakfast treats year-round.

Golden Stage Inn Honey bee hives in winter

Julie and I attended a natural beekeeping conference this weekend with renowned organic beekeeper Ross Conrad of Dancing Bee Gardens in Middlebury, Vermont.  Ross Conrad wrote the first book in the United States about organic beekeeping practices, so naturally we had to check this out!  The beekeeping workshop was part of Grafton Nature Museum’s 2014 Adult and Family Programs.  The theme this year is ‘The Birds and the Bees.’  Conrad also did a presentation for this series that Julie attended a few weeks ago about Colony Collapse Disorder.  Coming up this week is a talk with Sara Zahendra about Native Bumblebees, and on April 9th, Bridget Butler ‘The Bird Diva’ will present a workshop on bird-watching!

So, back to the organic beekeeping workshop…

Though I have not yet started my own backyard beekeeping, I figured I could still pick up some advice or inspiration from the talk.  Sure enough, I walked away with my head positively buzzing with knowledge and excitement about keeping bees.  Here, I’d like to share with you some of the lessons I learned from Ross Conrad!

  1. Treat your bees well.  Some people buy hives with the expectation of having a low-maintenance pet.  Bees should be cared for just as you would any other livestock or living creature.  Visit their hives once a week; be attune to their state of health; do what is natural and good for the bees rather than simply caring about the size of your honey harvest.
  2. To begin beekeeping, learn by doing!  As a beginning beekeeper myself, I really took this message to heart.  I can attend as many talks as I want, and read every book about bees, but that will not make me a good beekeeper!  The best way to learn beekeeping is to do it.  Just as in real life, we must learn from our failures.  Conrad said, “When your hive fails, that colony was giving you a gift.  They are helping you learn from your mistakes and be a better beekeeper in the future.”  A beekeeper must take that opportunity to learn – to evaluate what went wrong and how she or he can do better next time.  There are local beekeeping clubs to help you get started with networking all across the country.
  3. There is no correct way to keep bees.  Every beekeeper has their own method.  Some are organic, some use pesticides.  Some are hobby beekeepers, some are commercial.  Everyone has their own philosophy and rules when it comes to honey bees, and you will figure out your own once you spend time with your hives.
  4. Always control for mites. Ross Conrad’s three priorities with raising bees are health, honey and dryness.  Keeping your bees healthy comes first!  If you do nothing for varroa mites, which every hive will inevitably deal with, your bees will have weakened immune systems.  This means their chances of succumbing to diseases, pests or difficult weather conditions will be threatened.  Conrad listed many ways of controlling for varroa mites organically, so that your bees and honey are not exposed to pesticides or toxins.
  5. If you hold a bee in your hand, the world will be beautiful… because beauty is in the eye of the bee-holder!

Dancing Bee Gardens Raw Honey

Visit Vermont to meet the honey bees at Golden Stage Inn bed and breakfast and sample some local honey!  Stay tuned to hear about our bee installation this spring.

March Events in Ludlow, Chester, Springfield and Londonderry

Happy Mardi Gras, everyone! In the spirit of having fun while you can, we want to connect guests staying at our bed and breakfast with Southern Vermont events in nearby towns including Ludlow, Chester, Springfield and Londonderry! Mardi Gras was celebrated in our own town of Proctorsville VT with a celebratory party at the Crow’s Cafe Bakery pictured below.

Mardi Gras Party at Crows Bakery Cafe in Proctorsville Vermont

Events for this weekend, March 8th-9th

On March 8th, demo all types of skis and snowboards at Jackson Gore base of Okemo Mountain Resort, just a 7-minute drive away from Golden Stage Inn bed and breakfast. Get your energy up with some delicious maple syrup at the Vermont Country Store’s ‘Sugar on Snow’ tastings during every weekend in March! Yummmm. Two of their locations are not far from our bed and breakfast; one is in Rockingham and the other in Weston. If your sweet tooth is satisfied, keep in mind that our bed and breakfast has a new special for maple lovers during the weekend of March 22nd-23rd, which is Vermont’s Annual Open House Weekend for sugarers across the state. March 8th is also Okemo’s Light the Night Rail Jam with tons of prizes. If you’re looking for fun with the family, ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ is playing in Ludlow Town Hall at 7pm as part of the town’s free film festival.

On Sunday, March 9th, you can learn to ski or snowboard for free at Bromley! They have a new Terrain-Based Learning slope…from the perspective of a snowboard instructor, it sounds like a great way to learn and I might even check it out myself just to see how it works. For foodies or those who want to do some shopping on their way back south, the Taste of Winter Market is happening in Springfield at the plaza from 2-4 pm. There’s no produce like Vermont produce.

Next weekend’s events, March 13th-17th

On March 13th, The Downtown Grocery, a new farm to table restaurant in Ludlow Vermont, is hosting a benefit event. Each ticket is $75, a steep price but a good cause for constructing a bike path through Ludlow to make our town more sustainable and accessible. The menu includes a five-course meal paired with beer, wine and cocktails. March 14th brings another merry evening of food and drink with Fullerton Inn offering a wine tasting paired with dinner. Looking for music to enjoy? Okemo’s Sugar Daze concert series continues March 14th and 15th with Kip Winger at the Sitting Bull  on Friday and Matisyahu at Jackson Gore Base on Saturday. Local band Gypsy Reel will be opening; they are a fantastic blend of Celtic tunes, French Canadian folk and New England roots music…I would go just to see them! They are also playing at the Sitting Bull at 2:30 on Sunday, and at Killarney’s St. Patrick’s Apres Ski Party on Monday the 17th…St. Patty’s Day!

If you visit Vermont in March, we hope to see you soon at Golden Stage Inn Bed & Breakfast in Proctorsville VT!

-Sophi Veltrop, Golden Stage Inn

 

Your February Guide to Winter Fun in Vermont

With two feet of snow in the past week and another 1-3 inches expected today, winter fun in Vermont is going strong, and we want to be sure our inn guests have all the details on local happenings.  Looking forward through the end of February and into March, visitors to Central Vermont are staying busy with plenty of activities and events happening nearby our VT bed and breakfast.  This week, Okemo Mountain Resort’s events include a nature program on Vermont birds of prey, a nighttime ice skating party, and a sell-out comedy night.  A new exhibit featuring local artists is opening in Windsor, and a film screening of The Vermont Movie is happening right down the street during the Cavendish Historical Society’s annual meeting.

This week’s winter fun in Vermont…

February 20th  (That’s tomorrow!) 

Vermont Institute of Natural Science in QuecheeVINS, or Vermont Institute of Natural Science, is hosting a Live Raptor Encounter at The Roundhouse at Jackson Gore in Ludlow, VT.  Show up at 7 pm to see the falcons, hawks and owls that call Vermont home.  VINS is located 45 minutes away in Quechee, Vermont, and is a great place for lovers of wildlife and nature to visit if bad weather gets in the way of time spent outdoors. They are also hosting a Winter Wine & Dine on Sunday, February 23rd.  Meet at 5 pm to snowshoe through the woods, followed by a three course meal at Marshland Farm.

February 21st

Okemo Mountain Resort hosts Shakin’ Skate for a second time this winter.  This party includes a live DJ and tons of games for the family to enjoy.  From 6-9 pm at the Ice House at Jackson Gore in Ludlow VT; admission is $10 and skate rentals are $5.

February 22nd

Nuance Gallery in Windsor VT is opening their new exhibit, ‘Making Visible,’ from 4-6 pm. Featured artists include Valery Woodbury of Springfield VT, who will show her pastels, oils and watercolors, Michelle Woodbury who will display nature photography, and Nance Silliman, owner of Nuance Gallery. The Making Visible show runs alongside the Luminaries Exhibition, featuring fine arts and crafts from more than ten artists from Vermont, New Hampshire and beyond.

Popular comedian Bob Marley appears at Okemo Mountain Resort for the mountain’s 12th annual Comedy Night.  Marley has appeared on The David Letterman Show, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and Comedy Central – he was also in the film The Boondock Saints!  Doors at 7, show at 8, with a cash bar for 21+.  You can book tickets in advance, as this show has sold out in the past.

February 23rd

As mentioned above, the Winter Wine & Dine presented by Vermont Institute of Natural Science is occurring from 5-9 pm.  In addition, the Cavendish Historical Society’s Annual Meeting will be screening “Freedom and Unity – The Vermont Movie Part One” at 6 pm at the Cavendish Elementary School.  If you can’t make it but are interested in the film, explore the Vermont Movie’s website or watch the trailer here.

Vermont has more to offer in March…

March will continue the winter fun in Vermont with Mardi Gras celebrations on the first of the month.  The following weekend offers a day of free ski & snowboard lessons at Bromley Mountain in Peru, VT, as well as the ‘Taste of Winter’ Market in Springfield for all the travelling foodies and farm-ies out there.  And the weekend after that brings the Sugar Daze concert series to Okemo with Matisyahu and other star musicians.  If those stellar acts don’t get your sweet tooth thinking about Vermont Maple Sugar Weekend on March 23rd, maybe our maple-themed breakfast offerings for that weekend will!  Don’t miss out on winter fun in Vermont this year, and keep an eye out for our upcoming March event calendar for the Southern and Central regions.

Maple Sugaring Open House Weekend March 2014

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