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.
This blog post written by Sophi Veltrop, Marketing Assistant. November 20, 2013
When it comes to woolly crafts, 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 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% craft fair, 50% 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 classes being offered by this energetic group of artists and crafters.
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 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 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.
“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 include snowmobiling. 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!
After some brief instructions on how to use the snowmobile, we were led by a guide onto Vermont’s Snowmobile 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.
(This blog entry was written by Sadie.) Last week, we went blueberry picking at Goulden Ridge Farm in Weathersfield, VT, just 30 minutes away from the inn. I went with Mom and some friends. The six of us arrived around 5pm and were greeted by a welcoming board with prices and bags and gallon jugs to hold the berries. The grounds were beautiful, signature Vermont hills in the background and a pond and a little brook marking the private property. There were so many berries on the bushes; you could see the clumps of bright blue from where we were standing, at the welcoming board. The sign asked anyone able-bodied enough to pick from any section but the closest section of berries, because those were marked off for seniors or handicapped people. We went to the section with what looked like the biggest and most abundant bushes to start. All of the bushes were enclosed in netting suspended to make a tent around sections of bushes. There were signs showing areas where the “Best Picking” was. The six of us had a berry eating contest on how many berries we could fit in our mouth. There was a tie at 60! We picked for almost two hours in that section until moving on to the slightly smaller bushes in the other. There we picked for about another half an hour until counting up the price of the berries and paying where we came in. When we got home, Mom and I weighed the berries we had picked and got 17 pounds! It was a great experience and we had so much fun. I would definitely recommend this place for a fun time and delicious berries!
Editor’s (mother’s) comments: I’ve done a lot of berry picking in my day, and I’ve never seen such bountiful bushes, nor such a scenic berry spot. This is well-worth putting on the annual traditions calendar! …and for what it’s worth, I came in second place with almost 50 berries!
This weather is incredible! Spring warmth has arrived but the bugs have not. No better time for a Vermont hike. Here are two hikes we took this weekend that we loved…
Our own Backyard….
From the inn, we walked down Depot Street and up hill Pratt Hill. Pratt Hill Rd takes a sharp right deep into (and still heading up!) the Proctor Piper State Forest. If there’s a path here, we didn’t find it. Our team of pre-teen trailblazers forged a new path as we debated if lichen is a plant or a mushroom, identified deer scat in the leaves, and photographed stunningly green moss on downed trees. Our goal was to find our way back to the inn via the woods. When we emerged on Route 103, we realized we had overshot our mark by 1/4 mile. Not so bad if you ask me! We backtracked slightly, found our bridge to cross the creek and were greeted by welcoming bahhs from Shayla the sheep. The overall hike was probably 1.5 miles and other than the incredibly steep entrance into the woods (on a dirt road), I would rate it as relatively easy.
Eleanor Ellis Springweather Nature Area (15 minute drive from the inn)…
Ironically, we learned of this hike from a guest (who grew up in the area). She and her boyfriend hiked these trails on Saturday and saw two bald eagles! We didn’t even see a Robin or a Chickadee, but this might have something to do with the fact that we were rambunctiously traveling with a dog and a gaggle of kids. Nonetheless, what a great place to hike. Located on the Connecticut River Birding Trail in North Springfield, Vermont, these self-guiding trails are clearly marked and offer phenomenal diversity (forest, meadows, pond, flood plain). The literature offered by the Ascutney Mountain Audubon Society details the types of trees, birds and other wildlife you may see on your hike. We spent about two hours here and covered most of the trail system. Pack a picnic lunch, borrow our binoculars, and be sure to make this an item on your Must Do list when visiting Vermont.
Dread holiday shopping? Hate the mall? We’ve come up a solution that’s sure to please even the most-anti-shoppers out there. (Trust us, we’re qualified for this!)
Find great gifts at local, independently owned shops during the day, unwind by the fire with an evening cocktail and a wood-fired pizza, and get those presents wrapped and ready for stashing away til the holiday. We provide you with the pizza and the wrapping supplies. All you need to do is bring your holiday shopping list and make a reservation! Book any night Nov 4 through December 15 and enjoy the rate of $129 (plus tax). A savings of over $60! Add a second night for just $99 (plus tax)!
Here’s the plan:
Step 1: Make your inn reservation with the “I hate malls!” special rate of $129 (plus tax) for any time between November 4 and December 15. (Keep reading to see why you should add a second night at just $99!)
Step 2: Read our suggested travel routes and pick which non-mall shopping excursion best matches your tastes and the needs of your shopping list. Then head out to browse the unique, independently owned shops, never once enduring a mall’s stark fluorescent lighting, Muzak, or emaciated mannequins. You’ll find original artwork and children’s toys, jewelry and pure maple syrup, funky clothing and kitchen gadgets. When you need a snack to keep you fueled, you’re sure to find a great café just around the corner, not a chain restaurant.
Step 3: Return to the inn to relax by the fire while you enjoy a light dinner of Goodman’s American Pie wood-fired pizza. Grab your favorite cocktail and we’ll supply you with all the wrapping paper, scissors, and tape you’ll need, so that you can disguise all your gifts before bringing them home. Add some homemade cookies for dessert and a great night’s sleep, then awake to have all your (non) efforts rewarded with our classic two-course breakfast.
Barely sounds like shopping, right? Let’s take it one step further. Make it a 2-night stay for just an additional $99. This allows you to come up the night before, maybe stopping at a restaurant along the way. Your travel time and your restaurant time is when you create your shopping list. Maybe you can even do a little online shopping by the fire before bed. (We have complimentary wi-fi throughout the whole house.) And then you’ll wake at the inn, ready for “Step 1” above, after enjoying our full 2-course breakfast — the best ammunition for a day of not-mall shopping!
Who needs to wait for Black Friday? Make your reservation now and and relax about the shopping thing. It’s going to be good this year!