Okemo Valley Events

Previews and Reviews of events in the Okemo Valley Region.

Craft Classes at the Wild and Woolly Weekend

When it comes to woolly craft classes and workshops,

I’ve always been much more of a spectator than a participant – though I admit to harboring a steady curiosity (or maybe envy is a better word).  At county fairs, I always seek out the craft barn and – okay, I’ll admit it – I get excited when I see that the spinners are doing their thing.  It’s like watching a fairy tale come to life as fluffy piles of wool are changed into spools of rough-hewn yarn.  Well, maybe it’s not quite as magical as spinning straw into gold, but it still impresses me every time! 

So it was a real treat for me to attend last year’s craft classes at Wild and Woolly Weekend, a fiber arts fair hosted by Six Loose Ladies and Fiber Arts in Vermont.  ­­­Now, I’m looking forward to this year’s installment, on April 27 and 28 at the Pointe Hotel.  This fiber arts weekend is 50% fair, 50% craft classes, and 50% social networking.   No, that’s not careless math; it’s just that this weekend has so much packed into two days that it overflows!  Veteran and virgin crafters alike really ought to swing by to check out the vendors and craft classes being offered by this energetic group of artists and do-it-yourself-ers.

Those who are new to this sort of event may have the wrong impression.  A weekend about yarn?!  Probably a bunch of old ladies sitting around with knitting needles, balls of yarn, and maybe even a cat or two by their feet.  You couldn’t be more wrong. When you look up the meaning of the phrase Wild and Woolly, you’ll find synonyms such as boisterous and unruly.  And, based on the energy that is present from the moment you walk in the door, boisterous and unruly seem like achievable descriptors!  (I mean, with a retail store name of Six Loose Ladies, you know that rowdy humor will be a part of the fun!)

The Wild and Woolly Weekend has craft classes available for the very beginner, like me, but they also have classes appropriate for those who are already pretty established in the crafting tradition.  In some classes, you’ll go home with a finished product; in others you’ll go home with enough knowledge and enthusiasm that you can tackle a new project on your own.  You can choose between three-hour classes or 50-minute ‘mini-classes.’  The topics range from spinning on a wheel or on a drop spindle; choosing and working with colors; making mug rugs (coasters), chair pads, animal pins, and mittens with needle felting; designing decorative boxes from paper collage;  and creating sparkly bracelets using beaded knitting.

Whether you’re still a latent crafter or an admitted junkie of all things wool, this event is well worth checking out.  Entrance is not only free, but there are door prizes galore.   The costs of craft classes are $5 or $10 for the mini-classes and between $30 and $45 for the 3-hour classes.  Class listings are available at the Six Loose Ladies website.


-Julie-Lynn, Innkeeper, Golden Stage Inn

Snowmobile Vermont: Yet another great winter activity for your Okemo Valley vacation! 2013-01-06

“What winter activities can we do in Vermont other than just skiing?”  As innkeepers, we are often asked this question, and when we reply with a long list of ideas (sleigh rides, snow shoeing, cheese tours, and so on), we always recommend that our guests snowmobile Vermont.  And this is why…

What a blast!  Our family of four just got home from a 2-hour guided tour through Calvin Coolidge State Forest in Plymouth, Vermont.  Not far from Killington, and less than a half hour from Golden Stage Inn Bed and Breakfast, the tour company offers tours of varying lengths and cost.  Helmets and boots are included in the cost and I am happy to report that safety is only one feature of the helmet; it also provides incredible warmth!

The Woods go Snowmobiling in Vermont Wonderland!

After some brief instructions on how to use the snowmobile, we were led by a guide to snowmobile Vermont’s trails, up and down the rolling hills (mountains may be a better word), winding through the forests, and careening through the open meadows.  (Okay, so maybe some of us were a bit too conservative to actually careen, but my memory tends to exaggerate my speed and confidence!)  In the open area, we were offered some time to drive around, practicing our speed and turns, and just goof off a bit where the potential for damage was pretty minimal.  Overall, the entire tour filled nearly two hours and we covered about 25 miles of scenic Vermont trails.

The customer service at Snowmobile Vermont was fantastic from the initial phone reservation through the representatives in the shop and certainly including our tour guide. We absolutely recommend this snowmobile tour as a fantastic way to see the winter wonderland of Central Vermont.



“Mary’s Wedding” at Weston Playhouse (2012-08-13)

Play Review

Written by Samantha Wood

Recently, my dad  and I went to the Weston Playhouse to see Mary’s Wedding.  Mary’s Wedding was set in post World War I England. The whole drama was a dream that Mary had the night before her wedding. With a cast that consisted of only two actors, and with a total running time of 90 minutes, I thought that the play was going to feel extremely long, but every time I got that feeling, the actors did one more thing that amazed the audience, keeping me enthralled until the last line.

Mary’s Wedding was very enjoyable and I recommend the Weston Playhouse to anyone that enjoys the theater, whether you are a theater fanatic or just someone  looking for something fun to plan while on their vacation!

Greven Field's "Green Monster" slain by Hurricane Irene
Flood Damage to Greven Field Green Monster

Solzhenitsyn Benefit Concert for Cavendish Ballpark (2012-4-3)

On April 6, 2012, Ignat Solzhenitsyn will be performing an evening of Beethoven, Schubert, and Prokofiev on the piano as a fundraiser to rebuild Greven Field in Cavendish, VT.  The field was absolutely demolished in August 2011 when Hurricane Irene flooded the area. Greven’s “Green Monster” (pictured above) was knocked down, chain link fences were lifted and mangled, bleachers and baseball gear literally floated downstream. (See some pictures below this post.)


Ignat Solzhenitsyn has generously volunteered to perform a benefit concert, with 100% of the ticket sales going to the Cavendish Proctorsville Baseball League.  This benefit concert was generously underwritten by the Cavendish Community Fund and Newsbank, Inc.  From Solzhenitsyn’s professional website…  Recognized as one of today’s most gifted artists, and enjoying an active career as both conductor and pianist, Ignat Solzhenitsyn’s lyrical and poignant interpretations have won him critical acclaim throughout the world. 


The benefit concert is on Friday April 6 at 7pm at the Green Mountain Union High School in Chester.  Tickets are $25 each or $20 for students.  Stay at Golden Stage Inn on Friday, present your ticket stub upon ‘check-out’ and we’ll deduct your ticket price from your room rate.

Flood Waters recede one day after Hurricane Irene

Greven Field, the day after Hurricane Irene

Greven Field, Hurricane Irene

dugout at Greven Field, the day after Hurricane Irene

Greven Snack Shack, Hurricane Irene Flood

Greven Snack Shack, the Day After Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene visits Golden Stage Inn

On Saturday evening of a slow weekend at the inn, even the weather was peaceful and calm, and the town’s advanced unfolding of Emergency Hurricane Evacuation Plans felt a bit like overkill.  Imagining we’d get heavy rains and strong winds the next day, we went to bed with the relaxing sounds of a steady summer shower outside our window. We woke at 1:00 am to heavy rain as we heard one of our two weekend guests returning by cab from a late-night wedding celebration.


On Sunday morning, we woke at 6:30 am to a dreary downpour and began making breakfast for our other guest who had a Fletcher Farm Craft class at 9:00.  She trudged out to class, with her hood on and umbrella up, in a futile attempt to avoid getting wet.  As the wedding celebrant arrived for a late breakfast, she debated the safety of her ride home to Rhode Island.  Maybe she should stay another night, she wondered.  She and Michael headed out into the foul weather to retrieve her car.  Serious flooding had begun by the train tracks at the junction of Routes 103 and 131.


Soon, there was a knock at the door.  A Volunteer Firefighter told us that the Black River may flood; they recommended that Proctorsville residents evacuate to the elementary school, just a half mile from the inn.  We considered that the school is both closer to the river and downhill, so we chose not to evacuate.  We urged our wedding guest to make a speedy decision.  Our Fletcher Farm guest returned; the craft school was closed due to potential flooding from the hurricane.  She chose not to evacuate but to hold the fort with us.


The phone rang: Our immediate neighbors (also noting the direction of the hill between us and the school) wanted to know if they could come to our place should the river intrude upon them. Of course we said yes (though they never did need to come). We called our downhill, on-the-river, neighbor-farmer-friends and invited them up, too.  Cara hadn’t even heard of the evacuation yet, but thanked us for the offer.


Our wedding guest decided to stay.  Great.  We had plenty of room.  We decided to make lasagna and bread for dinner.


We walked out back to our little babbling brook: It was a full-blown rushing river.  The gorgeous bridge we just had built, which usually rests several feet above the water, was now only one foot above the water.  The sound was awesome.  There wasn’t a chance the river would rise another 10 feet to flood the banks to our house, but we wondered (unnecessarily) if it would rise another foot and take out our new wooden bridge.


We walked down Depot Street to the bridge there.  A family watched as their 20-foot retaining wall was pummeled by the constant onslaught of river water and all the loot the hurricane’s waters had stolen from areas upstream, including the bleachers from our town’s ballpark, trees, sheds, and more and more. The 20-foot retaining wall stood less than five feet above water level.  We invited the family to join us at the inn, but they stood by their Up-North Independence and said they’d stay as long as their house stayed.  (But we knew they were contemplating it.)


A couple of hours later, the farmer family called back:  “Jeremiah won’t come as he is still trying to protect his bridge and his crops, but can we come up and bring our two kids … and our tenant and her two-month old baby?”  (The baby’s dad was stranded in Ludlow. It’s just four miles away, but the river was now raging between the two towns.  Not passable.)  “Yes, of course,” we said.  “See you soon.  Bring some salad and some of Jeremiah’s homemade wine to go with our lasagnas and bread.”  Mike drove down to their house to see if Jeremiah needed help.  One rarely sees as much rain as saw then.  Hurricane Irene was absolutely down pouring.


One of our daughters, Samantha or Sadie, hollered: “Someone’s at the door, Mom!” It was a young couple I’d never met.  “We’re Christina and Andrew,” Christina said. “I live three houses down, my backyard is now a pool, it’s approaching my house, we can’t get to Andrew’s house in Ludlow, and the firefighter at the bridge told us that you are dry and have room.”


“Yes, of course.  Come on in.  We’ll make lasagna and bread.  Let me get you a dry shirt, Andrew.”


The phone rang again.  It was Cara (the farmer family). “Can our neighbors, the Ripleys, come too?  Just the Mom and two daughters, as the Dad is 1/4 mile away, but the road to the elementary school is flooded and the bridge deemed unsafe.  There is already water in their backyard and moving towards their house.”


“Yes, of course. Plenty of space.  Plenty of lasagna and bread.”


Mike returned and met Christina and Andrew for the first time.  Upon greeting Andrew, Mike said:  “Hey, I have a shirt just like that!”


Er… Um… Michael, that IS your shirt.


Sadie/Samantha:  “Mom! Someone else is at the door!”   The most soaked person I’ve ever seen walked in.  A big guy, with water splattered glasses  “You’re stranded?  Come in.”  (shaking hands…)  “I’m Julie.”


“I’m Rainy.”


“Indeed you are!” I laughed.  Michael walked up. “My name is Mike.”


“Hi, my name is Rainy.”   What?! His name was really Rainy?!  I thought he was joking!  I apologized and explained my comment.


He dripped, “My car got stranded in Springfield.  Someone helped me push the car out of the flooding but it wouldn’t start again.  I hitchhiked to Proctorsville but no cars could pass. I’ve tried walking across three passes.  I just can’t get home.”


“Of course we have room.  Come on in.  We’ll find you some clothes.”


Rainy (actually spelled Rene, as I learned from the thank-you note he later wrote) was sopping and ever so grateful and apologized for any imposition.  “No, no problem, please just come in.  We’re eventually going to have some lasagna and bread.”


Sadie/Samantha: “Mom, Dad, the three Ripleys are here!!”


“Come on in!  We’re not sure where to put you yet, especially if the family with the shrinking retaining wall is going to come up too (as I was convinced they would), but come right in.”


“Thanks!  We have sleeping bags.  We’ll be happy to sleep on the floor if necessary.”


“Great.  Let me get to those lasagnas.”


Everyone helped.  Michael filled cheese and cracker plates, helped with the lasagnas, and got people settled.  Cara made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to hold people over.  I worked on those lasagnas and loaves of bread.  Our Fletcher Farm guest did our personal laundry. “Rainy” put out clean plates and glasses and washed dishes as they were used. Kids ran through the house looking for George the Ghost.  Cara’s shy tenant fed her baby and tried her best to find some quiet space.  Andrew and Christina did puzzles, watching with awe.  Our wedding guest went to recover some sleep.


Sadie/Samantha:  “Mom!  There’s someone at the door!”


”Hello, we’re wondering if you have any room.  We’re from Canada and can’t get to our hotel.”


“Of course, we do.  It might be creative but we’ll work something out.  How many of you?:


“We’re five.”


(I may have gasped audibly here.)


He continued, “It’s me and my wife and our three children, ages 9 and 11 and 12.  It’s the 12-year-old’s birthday today.”


“Yes, of course, come on in!  Get settled and join us for a lasgna dinner.”


Well, we did it. Together, we did it.  We fit everyone in, sometimes three to a bed.  We found and set up the Pack ‘n Play for the infant.  We made and ate a wonderful dinner. Mike baked and frosted a chocolate birthday cake and we sang happy birthday to young David. The phone rang all night; people were checking in on their families. The river family’s retaining wall, within inches of being overcome by the river, hung tight, as did the family.  Unfortunately, the farmer-neighbors’ bridge was taken out and their crops were flooded.  Then the water actually began to recede by bedtime.  At 9:00 pm, the hurricane took the power out.  We lit mini gas-lamps and sent each grown up to their room with one.


We woke the next morning to a bright, beautiful day.  The crisp but sunny kind of day you dream of.  The kind of day that makes you want to move to Vermont.   The power came on at 7:00 am, but we had no running water.


By the time Michael and I came downstairs at 7:30 am or so, guests were already using buckets of pool water to flush their morning toilets. They had found different sources of drinking water in order to make a pot of coffee.  We made a giant feast of eggs, bacon, ham, applesauce muffins, and juices.  Slowly, people began to trickle out of here, grateful as could ever be that Hurricane Irene had finally tired out.  Pat fed all our animals before leaving.  Mike drove Rene to his home, learning streets he’d never seen before in order to get from here to there.


The phone rings. They were evacuating the apartments over Six Loose Ladies and the Post Office:  “Can we send families to you?”


“Yes, of course.  We’ll figure something out.”


We anticipated Round Two of chaos.  Immediately a mom and her grown son were at our door.


“Yes, of course, come on in.” Let the head spinning begin.  But in the end, only one other young couple and their two year old showed up.  All others must have found a place to go.  The two families went back to their homes three days later.   The young couple and their toddler stayed for a nice shrimp scampi dinner before returning. I think we all feel like we made some new friends.


Although Hurricane Irene caused the town of Cavendish and its village of Proctorsville suffered significant damage to streets, small businesses, and individual homes, the recovery efforts and community building that has resulted is as awesome a natural wonder as the flooding itself was to see. Imagine a world in which we all reached out to one another every day the same way we do in a time of crisis.  Imagine a world in which we check on our neighbors, ask if they have enough food, and offer them a hand with something overwhelming.


It’s kind of a great image, don’t you think?


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