The Seasons of Vermont

Vermont is a state ruled by seasonality; discover what each season brings near the Golden Stage Inn bed and breakfast in Southern VT. From dangerous hurricanes to the first gentle snowfall of winter, there’s often something to talk about!


B2VT Bike Ride 2015

Calling all cyclists for the B2VT Bike Ride of 2015!  On June 13th, 2015, start pedaling in Massachusetts and end at Okemo Mountain in Ludlow, VT.  Register here to ride this year.  Stay with us for one night on June 13th, 2015 and get your second night free, using promo code: b2vtride2015

Formerly known as the Brewery to Brewery Ride (or B2B), now the B2VT Ride has a slightly different course, with new starting and ending points that were established last year.  You’ll get on your bike between 5 am and 8 am, roughly.  Ride over 130 miles of scenic hills to end in celebration at Okemo Mountain.  The B2VT website touts the B2VT Ride as “one of the most challenging single-day rides in New England…for cyclists who are physically and mentally tough.”

This is an exciting ride, and we want to celebrate your hard work and determination.  When you stay with us on June 13th, 2015, your second night of lodging will be on us if you participated in or watched the B2VT bike ride!  After the exhaustion of the ride, spend time in comfort pampering yourself at our inn…you deserve it!  To redeem this offer when you book with us online, use promo code b2vtride2015.  If you’re reserving by phone, simply mention the promotion to get your free night’s stay.

Here are a few of the resources on the B2VT Ride website for cyclists who plan to participate in 2015….

Ride Day Timeline (from 2014; the 2015 version will go live on May 15, 2015.)

Comprehensive Athlete Guide from 2014 (the 2015 version will be posted on May 15.)

New for 2015: Short Course Loop (full details should be posted by late January.)

Registration for 2015 (just opened recently!)

b2vt ride 2015

Image courtesy b2vtride.com

Okemo’s Other Offerings

Okemo is not just for skiers anymore…

Maybe you’ve booked a ski vacation and the weather isn’t what you’d hoped for downhill and cross-country skiing – pouring rain or extreme windchill.  Perhaps there’s someone in your group who doesn’t ski or snowshoe and is looking for different things to do.  Some families might have young children who can only spend half a day on the slopes, or want various activities and extra excitement.  There are plenty of reasons one might pursue winter activities in Vermont aside from cross-country and downhill skiing.  So, we’ve compiled a resource list of the many, many things to do at Okemo Mountain: kid’s snowmobile tours, mountain coaster rides, snow tubing, ice skating, massage & spa services, fitness & pool center, snowcat excursions – even indoor golf!

Okemo clock tower

New this year: Kid’s Snowmobile Tours

At Jackson Gore, kids can experience a snowmobile ride for $29.  Tours are 20 minutes, with 15 minute ride time.  There are only 4 sleds available per tour.  You can purchase tickets in advance, or when you get there at Jackson Gore’s Resort Services desk.  Children between 5 and 12 years old, under 120 lbs and less than 5′ 4″ are eligible to ride.  More details here or by phone: 802-228-1600.

Through March 30th, the coaster is open on Sunday, Monday, Thursday and Friday from 11 am to 4:30 pm, and on Saturdays from 11 am to 6 pm.  Timber Ripper is also open for extended hours during holiday periods: from 11 am to 6 pm on January 18th, from 11 am to 6 pm February 14th through 21st, and from 11 am to 8 pm on March 14th.

Timber Ripper Mountain Coaster

Imagine flying smoothly through the air down a mountain, and you’ve got the Timber Ripper.  This mountain coaster operates out of Jackson Gore, taking off by the Coleman Brook Express Quad.  Each sled can hold two people, but you can go it alone as well.  To drive the sled, you must be over 48″, and to ride with a driver, a child must be over 36″.  The mountain coaster operates in most weather conditions, so it’s an outdoor alternative to skiing that maintains a thrill-seeking element.  Call 802-228-1600 if you’re wondering if the coaster will be running in the current weather.  Hours are the same as listed above for kids’ snowmobiling.  

Pricing:

  • 1 ride: $13 driver, $9 rider
  • 3 rides: $36 driver, $24 rider
  • 5 rides: $55 driver, $38 rider
  • 10 rides: $100 driver, $72 rider

Indoor Golf Simulator

For golf lovers missing the course over the winter, keep up your game at Okemo’s indoor golf simulator.  The course includes a 6,000 square-foot practice area, a putting green, three swing stations, and a locker room.  The simulator is booked fairly frequently during the winter, so call ahead to reserve your spot: (802) 228-1396.  You can reserve the course as a group of up to 16 players, or as an individual.  

Pricing:

  • Simulator Group Fees: $50/hour
  • Simulator Individual Fees: $30/hour
  • All-day access to hitting stations and putting green: $15
  • Hourly access to hitting stations and putting green: $7/hour

Snowcat Excursions

This is a unique opportunity to book a ride in a snowcat, which grooms the mountain’s terrain.  On this hour-long journey, you’ll get to see the mountaintop view of Vermont at night – lit up under a starry sky.  Seats are $39 per person – unless you want to ride shotgun, a privilege which will cost you an extra $10. Rides are weather dependent and consistently fill up; we recommend making your reservation several days before you plan to go.  (For example, if you plan on taking a Friday ride, call on Monday.)  Holiday excursions fill up more quickly, so reserve your spot at least a week in advance.  Call 802-228-1600 to book your spot on the tour.

Excursions leave from Jackson Gore on Tuesdays at 5 pm and 7 pm, on Fridays at 7 pm, on Saturdays at 5 pm, 7 pm and 9 pm.  There are special extra tours on MLK weekend and President’s Day Week.

snowcat excursions at Okemo Mountain

Snowcat Dining Adventure

An added layer of luxury to the typical snowcat excursion, this trip takes you to Epic, Okemo’s fine dining restaurant.  Snowcat Dining Adventures are offered every Saturday night through March 7th, 2015, as well as Sunday, January 18th (for the Craft Beer Dinner Special) and Sunday, February 15th.  Call 802-228-1600 to reserve your spot; $125 includes a snowcat ride and fireside 5-course meal (but does not include tax and gratuity).  You’ll want to make your reservation about a week in advance, and perhaps even earlier during holiday periods.  Childcare is offered for $20 per child with the Kid’s Night Out Program.

The Spring House

The Spring House has excellent indoor recreational facilities, including pools, exercise classes, spa services and a fitness room.  Contact the Spring House at 802-228-1419.   

  1. Aquatics:  Open from 8 am to 10 am for lap swimming, and from 10 am to 9 pm for open swim, hot tub and splash pool.  Heated recreation pool, maximum depth 4.5 feet.  Heated splash pool for small children with fountain and slide, maximum depth 1.5 feet.  ADA-accessible hot tub.  You can host a pool party at the Spring House too, but only between April and Thanksgiving; call the number above for more info.
  2. Fitness:  Open from 7 am to 9 pm.  Reserve time in the courts between 7 am and 9 pm to play racquetball or volleyball.  There are locker room facilities with saunas.  The Studio offers fitness classes of all types: Zumba, yoga, aquatics and kickboxing.  Check out the schedule and sign up by calling the number above.  The fitness room features ellipticals, treadmills, bikes, weights, mats and other various strength training equipment.
  3. Spa Services: Massages of all kinds (even for mommies-to-be!), facials, body scrubs (Vermont maple and brown sugar, anyone?) all offered by trained, accredited therapists.  See all of Okemo’s spa options and pricing here.  By appointment only at 802-228-1419.

Pricing:

  • $14 day pass ($4 for seniors 65+, free for children under 3.)
  • $10 per fitness class
  • $3 Racquetball court fee (includes equipment)

Snow Tubing

This is one of the best options for an affordable day of fun.  Each hour on the hill is $12, which includes snow tube rentals.  Children must be over 42″, and all snow-tubers must sign a waiver.  Snowtubing hours are the same as listed above for kids snowmobiling.  Call 802-228-1600 for information on conditions.

The Ice House

Another affordable option for non-skiing winter fun.  Skate and helmet rentals are $5 each, and unlimited skating pass is $5. The ice is kept in great condition for smooth skating, and there is a warming area as well.  The Ice House is open Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 10 am to 9 pm.  Monday through Friday, skate anytime from 1 pm to 9 pm.   Call 802-228-1406 for more information.

Vermont Winter Activities

Not a skier or snowboarder?  Need a different way to get outdoors and explore other Vermont winter activities?

Luckily, near Golden Stage Inn, there is no shortage of winter activities.  Whether you want a relaxing day enjoying scenic beauty, a thrilling adventure, or are a more “indoors-y” type, we have you covered.  Check out our Top Ten List for non-skiing wintertime activities in Vermont!  Book your room for a winter-y wonderland vacation.

  1. Dog Sledding in the Moonlight

  2. Snow Tubing

  3. Horse-Drawn Sleigh Rides

  4. Cross-Country Skiing

  5. Snowmobiling

  6. Ice Skating

  7. Cozying up by the fireside

  8. Snowshoeing

  9. Build a snowman and a snow fort!

  10. Spa & shopping day

dog sled dogs 2013

Dog sledding with Great River Outfitters of Windsor, Vermont is a fantastic way to get on the snow.  You can go during the day, get a custom tour, or even have a moonlit dogsled ride!  Meet all the dogs before you zoom along over the snow through gorgeous Vermont winter scenery.  Best of all, you won’t have to do any of the work!  This is what the husky sled team loves to do, and you’ll feel the dogs’ and trainer’s enthusiasm, too.  You may have the opportunity to do a bit of the sled driving yourself!  Dog-sledding is new this year to Grafton Ponds Outdoor Center as well.

Snowtubing is a thrilling way to spend an afternoon! Take the kids (or kids at heart!) to Grafton Ponds Outdoor Center, which also offers snowshoeing, XC-skiing, and sometimes ice skating. Magic Mountain and Okemo also have snow-tubing hills.  You’ll have a hard time wiping the smile off your face.  :)

“Dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh…o’er the fields we go, laughing all the way!”  Take an old-fashioned horse drawn sleigh ride, one of the most classic family-friendly Vermont winter activities.  Horse-drawn sleigh rides are offered at several locations around Southern Vermont.  You’ll want to call in advance to be sure of times, weather conditions and cost.  Here are a few places within driving distance from our Inn:

Billings Farm & Museum: (802) 457-2355

Great River Outfitters802-674-9933

Kendron Valley Stables: (802) 457-1480 or (802) 457-3015

Taylor Farm: (802) 824-5690

Green Mountain Orchards: (802) 387-5851

Grafton Ponds Outdoor Center (December 20th and 24th-28th only; 11 am-3pm)

Cross-Country Skiing may not seem as thrilling as downhill skiing, but there are tons of benefits.  Vermonters love cross-country skiing because you really get into nature – no mechanized ski lifts, no crowds – it’s just you and the trail.  Cross-country skiing is a fantastic workout if you like to get your heart rate up, or if you miss running and hiking during the snowy season.  And, best of all, it’s way less expensive than downhill skiing!  Check out Viking Nordic Center in Londonderry, Grafton Ponds Outdoor Center, Okemo’s cross-country trails, or Wild Wings in Peru.  Wild Wings offers yoga, and Viking Nordic Center has a cookie trail…cool!

Ever considered snowmobiling?  Rent a sled nearby!  The Wood family tried snowmobile rentals through Snowmobile Vermont in 2013 – and loved it!  This snowmobiling company is less than a half hour from our bed and breakfast, and is located in the scenic Calvin Coolidge State Forest.  Read about their snowmobile experience here.

You can go ice skating at Okemo’s Ice House for $5.  Skates and helmet rentals are an extra $5 each.  There is a warming hut decorated with antique ice-harvesting equipment.

Grab a hot drink and cozy up with a blanket by our Inn’s fireside.  Grab your favorite book or browse our selection in the common room.  Choose one of our many games to play, or solve a puzzle on your own.  We also offer free Wi-fi connection, if you need to do some holiday shopping or browse the web.  Stay satiated with hot cider, endless access to the cookie jar, and hot coffee and tea.  Winter afternoons offer homemade soups!  Soups, cookies and beverages are all complimentary when you stay with us.

Snowshoe in style…with wine and cheese!  Grafton Ponds Outdoor Center offers wine & cheese snowshoe tours for $25 per person.  Call ahead for a reservation: 802-843-2400.  Difficulty level of the tour is determined by the group.  Enjoy wine and Grafton Village Cheese by a crackling fire in the warming hut.  Feel like staying closer to home (or, ahem, the Inn)?  Borrow our snowshoes for a tromp around Proctor-Piper State Forest, directly adjacent to our backyard!  (This option is completely free.)

Got kids?  After you’ve had your fill of our delectable homemade breakfast, bundle up and head out to play in the yard!  Build a snowman, snow sculptures or a snow fort…and prepare for the inevitable flinging of snowballs.  While you’re out there, say hello to our friendly sheep and backyard chickens (which supplied the eggs you ate for breakfast!)  Our latest addition is a young lamb…yet to be named.

Snow farm animal at Vermont lodging

Looking to get out…but not in the snow?  Enjoy a unique spa and shopping day.  There are plenty of year-round activities in our area of Vermont.  Get a spa treatment at the Castle Resort next door.  You can borrow our punch card to access their fitness room and pool for just $15.  Through us, you can also get $10 off of a pedicure at Salon 2000 and $8 drop-in yoga classes at Sama Yoga, both in Chester.  Ask about our other numerous coupons for shopping and dining.  Explore locally-owned bookstores, sugar houses, cafes, wine & cheese shops, galleries and craft stores.  Finish your day on the town with dinner at one of the fantastic restaurants in South Central VT.

Christmas Eve Smorgasbord 2014

Each year, Golden Stage Inn decks the halls for Christmas Eve festivities.  Innkeeper Julie celebrates her Swedish heritage with her family, and all are invited to participate in the feast.  Appetizers and beverages start the evening off.  Traditional Swedish dishes are served in a buffet-style dinner, followed by an array of desserts.  It is truly an evening of light and laughter!  Guests are invited to participate for $25 per person.  Dinner is served around 7, but arrive earlier for appetizers and mingling!  For more information, please read 2013’s blog post about the Christmas Eve Swedish Smorgasbord at Golden Stage Inn.  Here are a few photos from last year’s Smorgasbord:

Swedish Smorgasboard with decor at the Golden Stage Inn

Swedish decorations and tablecloth.

Delicious almond cake and apple cake

Santa Lucia offers Swedish desserts of apple cake and almond cake.  “God Jul,” as the napkin says, is pronounced “Good Yule” and means Merry Christmas!

How to Plan a Ski Trip in Vermont

Killington is already open for business and Okemo, Bromley, Magic and Stratton are busy making snow.  Skiers and snowboarders are dreaming of the snowfall soon to come.  If you are hoping to plan your ski vacation in Vermont, we have a few tips that will help make life easy.

How to Plan a Ski Trip in Vermont

1. If you have kids or are traveling with a large party, plan early.

There is a bit more flexibility for last-minute bookings for parties of two, but when traveling with a family or a party of friends, book in advance.  Golden Stage Inn and many other small bed and breakfasts offer suites.  Our double-roomed suites offer multiple bed size options, privacy between the two rooms, and a better deal than booking multiple separated rooms.

Cavendish Suite

The Cavendish suite has one room with a Queen-sized bed, and a second that can have two twin beds, or one king-sized bed.  

The Beehive Suite has a Queen-sized bed in one room.  The second contains two twin beds and a pull-out couch.

2. Choose accommodations that are close to the slopes…

…but maybe not too close.  While some people enjoy staying slope-side, many find that the quick drive between the mountain and their choice of accommodations makes for a cozy home base.  If your preferred ski mountain is Okemo, Golden Stage Inn is just 10 minutes down the road.  This is a perfect distance because we are also close to Killington, Magic and Bromley, giving you multiple options if you’d like to ski the many mountains Vermont has to offer.

3. Find an Inn or B&B that has many dining options nearby.

Ideally, you’d like those dining options to be close to the Inn.  Better yet if there are restaurants between the ski slopes and your lodging, making for a convenient apres-ski and less time on the road.  Between Okemo and Golden Stage, you’ll come across many dining options.  Restaurants in Ludlow are diverse in their offerings of food.  Some of our favorites include Stemwinder, The Downtown Grocery, Sam’s Steakhouse, and Mr. Darcy’s.  If you ski Bromley, check out Johnny Seesaw’s or the Mill Tavern on your way back.  A diversity of dining options is nice as well, so that you might sample the wide range of delicious food Southern Vermont has to offer.

Downtown Grocery dinner ludlow VT

A delicious daily special at The Downtown Grocery, a fine farm-to-table dining establishment located midway between Okemo Mountain and Golden Stage Inn.

4. Choose accommodations that offer fireplaces and warm treats.

There’s like a crackling fire to warm you up on a snowy day!  Golden Stage Inn’s sitting room has a fireplace front and center.  You’ll also have unlimited access to hot tea, coffee, and cider…as well as the bottomless cookie jar, whose contents are often freshly baked!  Curl up with your hot beverage on a comfy couch by the fire and enjoy your book or puzzle.  The back sitting room and several of our guest rooms offer gas fireplaces as well: Otis’ Room, Cornelia’s Room, and the Cavendish Suite.  Another great reason to book early…you can snag the fireplace rooms!

Golden Stage Inn Sitting Room

5.  Purchase ski & stay packages to get discounted lift tickets.  See if you can swing a midweek getaway to save big time!

When considering how to plan a ski trip in Vermont, money is always a factor.  You’ll save big on your ski trip if you combine your tickets and lodging.  Skiing midweek gets you even greater discounts on lodging and ski tickets.  At Golden Stage Inn, we offer ski & stay packages that will let you save money on lift tickets at Okemo Mountain.  If you’re not booking a ski & stay package, you can still order lift tickets through Golden Stage Inn at lower prices than Okemo’s retail value!

6.  If you have non-skiiers, choose a location that offers activities and winter adventures for them as well.

Occasionally, we’ll host parties where one or two people don’t ski or snowboard.  Luckily, our bed & breakfast is right in the middle of several quaint Vermont towns that have so much to offer non-skiiers.  The innkeepers often recommend that guests visit the Vermont Country Store in Weston or take a sleigh ride at Billings Farm in Woodstock.  Visitors also love to shop for antiques in Chester, taste cheese or maple syrup at nearby local producers, and tour art galleries.  For non-skiiers who still want to get outdoors, borrow snowshoes to trek around the woods of Proctor-Piper State Forest in Golden Stage Inn’s own backyard, or go skating at Okemo’s skating rink.  There is even a place to go dog-sledding in Windsor, VT: Great River Outfitters!  Non-skiiers even love just hanging out at the inn – which offers a spacious common room not found in your typical hotel or condo.

Dog-Sledding

7.  Finally, plan ahead for lunch.

Buying food on the mountain can be EXPENSIVE, and ski mountains might not offer the kind of lunch you’re interested in.  Stop at a grocery store on your drive up to Vermont and stock up on lunch supplies.  Ask the Inn or B&B you’re staying at if you’ll have access to a fridge and kitchen accessories for creating and storing your lunch.  (Golden Stage Inn offers both).  And remember that at Golden Stage Inn there will be warm homemade soup awaiting you back at the Inn (starting after Christmas!)

 

We hope these insider tips help guide you in how to plan a ski trip in Vermont.  More questions?  Feel free to call the Innkeepers at (802) 226-7744.

Page 2 of 712345...Last »