Okemo Valley Events

Previews and Reviews of events in the Okemo Valley Region.


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

President’s Day Weekend in Vermont with Golden Stage Inn

If you’re spending your Valentines & President’s Day weekend in Vermont, you’ve got a fun-filled winter break waiting for you!

Southern Vermont is chock full of events to make your President’s Day weekend stay perfect, no matter your preferences.  Are you an art lover?  Travel to the quaint town of Weston to see the Vermont & Beyond Fine Arts Exhibit Gallery Opening.  Even if you don’t make the trip, you can get a taste for Vermont art since one of the featured artists’ works are on display at Golden Stage Inn this winter!  Itching to get outdoors and play in the fresh foot of snowy powder VT just received?  Head on over to Grafton Ponds Outdoor Center for some skiing, tubing, and snowshoeing.  Music lovers can attend the Rusty Belle concert on Saturday the 15th at Gethsemane Church, just a couple minutes’ walk away from your comfortable bed at the inn.  Food lovers and locavores can visit Plymouth Artisan Cheese for their open shop weekend at the Calvin Coolidge Historic Site, 10-4 on Saturday and Sunday.  And if you love getting out on the town with your loved one or family, check out the Chester Ice Festival.  Learn more details about these grand events below…

Vermont and Beyond Fine Arts Exhibit

The Weston Playhouse will showcase local talent with the President’s Day Weekend Vermont & Beyond Fine Arts exhibit on the 15th and 16th of February.  Visit the show 11 am – 5 pm either day; with free admission, refreshments provided, and music by local band Potluck, you can’t go wrong. All artwork is for sale. Featured artists include…

Chester Winter Carnival

Voted one of the Top Ten Winter Events in Vermont, the Chester Winter Carnival is not to be missed if you happen to spend President’s Day weekend in VT!  Saturday is jam-packed with events from 11 am to 8 pm.  Get active with cross country ski trail runs, sled races, and disc golf.  The competitions continue with Snow Sculpture judging and a Scavenger Hunt with cash prizes.  Sit back and relax with Siberian Husky dogsled rides, then warm up by a bonfire.  Saturday night brings an ice skating party with DJ and a fire sculpture by chainsaw artist Barre Pinske.  Sunday events go from 9 am to 1 pm, with snowmobiling, a broom hockey tournament and an old-fashioned ice cutting demo.

Rusty Belle Concert

Featured as part of the stage-rocking Raise the Roof Concert Series, Rusty Belle will perform at the intimate venue of Gethsemane Episcopal Church at 7:00 pm on Saturday, February 15th.  Though it may be a bit cold, the church is walking distance from the Golden Stage Inn; if you drive you’ll be there in less than a minute.  Rusty Belle will sing and play their hearts out for you, and warm your bones right down to your soul.  The brother-sister-friend trio calls their genre roots-rock-junk-folk, and the result is a luscious treat for the ears. Give their tunes a listen to see if this show is for you!

End your President’s Day Weekend in Vermont with a bang on February 16th with Okemo’s Torchlight Parade and Fireworks Show…you might just see me holding a flare in the procession of ski and snowboard instructors as we snake down the slopes!  Hope to see you then and enjoy your vacation with the Golden Stage Inn.

Sophi Veltrop, Marketing Assistant

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!

 

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!

Haunted House Insanity at Golden Stage Inn

At our Vermont Bed and Breakfast, we just barely finished wrapping up Halloween decorations (just in time to start wrapping those holiday presents, I suppose!). Halloween is always a big to-do at the Inn – this year we had over 90 trick-or-treaters stop by! And for any of you from the big cities who may not be impressed, that’s quite a claim for lil’ ol’ Cavendish, VT.

The tradition of transforming the Inn into a haunted house was passed on from the previous innkeepers, Sandy and Peter. With the help of generous donations of Halloween costumes and decor and energetic volunteers, we successfully continue to spook and startle trick-or-treaters of all ages. Sadly, however, the century-old ghosts that are rumored to wander in and out of the building have yet to make their presence known on October 31st. We’re still working with them on that…they are a bit harder to train than the ever-loyal inn dog, Nelly.

This year the humble Inn practically put on a disguise of its own, masking the front door with a fog tunnel and admitting guests into a terror-filled madhouse. Once you crossed the threshold, you were no longer in a quaint New England home…you had dared to enter The Cavendish Insane Asylum! We spook-ers dressed as crazy patients, gorillas, torture victims, and doctors gone off their rockers. The first floor overflowed with high-pitched laughter, animal roars, odd thumps and screams, and one of the doctors yelling “I hate his guts!” as she pulled her patient’s entrails from his stomach. I especially enjoyed popping out from behind doors in my blood-stained night gown, or sneaking up behind parents who thought their kids would be the only ones to jump!

Don’t worry, we toned it down for the little ones…

We’re looking ahead to next year’s haunted house – perhaps a carnival gone wrong or a witch’s cult headquarters? Let us know if you have any great ideas for themes, costumes, or spook-tacular tricks and treats! Until then, we’ll stay in the present and enjoy the jam-packed holiday festivities steadily approaching on our calendars.

 

Sophi Veltrop, Marketing Assistant for the Golden Stage Inn

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