Sustainability

Golden Stage Inn is proud to offer sustainable toiletries and local ingredients to our guests. We keep backyard farm animals and honeybees, and are interested in promoting sustainability, local businesses, and eco-friendly events. Visit Vermont to stay green!


A Maple Syrup Vacation in Vermont

It’s finally here!  Sugaring season in Vermont kicks off with the Maple Syrup Open House Tour this weekend.

Taking a maple syrup trip is certainly a vacation off the beaten path – and one well worth it!  Vermont is a state that knows how to do its festivals right.  If getting out and getting active during the chilly days of March isn’t enough of a reason to stay at Golden Stage Inn during sugaring season, here’s a whole list…

Maple-Sap-Buckets-Vermont-bed-and-breakfast

Maple Madness at Woodstock, VT will add excitement to your Vermont maple syrup tour.

Go crazy with all the fun events planned in the quaint Vermont village of Woodstock.  Eat maple butter popcorn on the green and participate in a scavenger hunt…maybe you’ll win a basket full of maple prizes!  For any cyclists out there, an Epic Bike Ride on Sunday will connect you between sugarhouses.  A sap bucket auction will be great fun for art collectors as local Vermont artists have individually painted each one.

Real-Maple-Syrup-near-Vermont-bed-and-breakfast

Tour several great sugar houses just down the road from the Golden Stage Inn.

Green Mountain Sugar House will be open both days from 10 am to 5 pm and boiling with modern equipment, weather permitting.  All day there will be free Sugar-on-Snow, coffee, and donuts with maple cream for visitors.  Papa John’s Sugar Shack in Mount Holly is also very close by our Bed & Breakfast and will have free maple cotton candy.  In the other direction, you can get to Mitch’s Maple in Chester to learn about the process of sugaring from tapping to the finished product.

2014 brings new developments to the Maple Syrup Industry in Vermont!

This year, Vermont has adopted a new grading system of maple syrup.  During your maple vacation, learn the difference by taste.  Do you prefer Golden with a Delicate Taste, or Very Dark with Strong Taste?  How do you know which one to use for pancakes versus baking?  You may also learn about the new technique of tapping maple saplings, which increases the amount of maple syrup produced per acre tenfold!

maple-syrup-grades-2014-vermont

Vermont books and radio will tell you the detailed story of maple syrup.

A maple syrup tour wouldn’t be complete without the story behind the product.  Listen to VPR’s program about the changes in maple sugaring over the past couple centuries.  A rebroadcast of VPR’s 2002 maple program profiles modern day maple sugar producers and features a song by Pete Seeger called “Maple Syrup Time.”  Two of Vermont’s best books about maple syrup and sugaring will be out in the Golden Stage Inn’s cozy living room for you to enjoy during your down time.

And last but not least, Vermont maple syrup is the way to go for any and all maple recipes!

Bring your maple syrup tour back home with you in a bottle and try out all types of recipes from the websites below.

Maple Syrup Goes to Dinner – And Drinks from NPR’s ‘The Kitchen Window’ has two dinner recipes, a maple pecan pie recipe, and shows you how to make “The Old Vermont Cocktail.”

The Vermont Sugar Maker’s Association has nineteen different tried and true recipes using VT maple syrup.  Some of them include videos to show you the cooking process in detail.

Finally, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets has compiled a lengthy list of maple syrup recipes from Vermont residents and businesses.  The first recipe is from a bed and breakfast owner!

vermont-maple-leaf-syrup-trip

Extend the winter season with a maple tour of Vermont.  The Golden Stage Inn can recommend the best places and events near our Ludlow bed and breakfast, as well as some unique maple products found nowhere but Vermont!  All images used in this blog post are courtesy vpr.net.

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.

Vermont Zombie Honey Bees caused by Parasitic Fly

The honey bees at the Golden Stage Inn are waiting out the winter to make another delicious batch of local Vermont honey this summer, but always on a backyard beekeeper’s mind is the threat of what is known as “Colony Collapse Disorder.” While the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder remains a mystery and may be more complicated than one simple answer, a parasitic fly may have something to do with it. Before October 2013, this parasite had not been observed any further East than South Dakota…but a recent spotting will cause concern for Vermont beekeepers this summer. The phenomenon of ‘Zombie Bees’ (or even ‘ZomBees‘) has reached Vermont and now threatens the East Coast. See where Zombie Honey Bees have been spotted across the United States using this map, and visit www.zombiewatch.org to help monitor the spread of the ZomBee syndrome through citizen science.

Vermont Zombie Honey Bee killed by Parasitic Fly

Save our pollinators!

The parasitic fly causing the zombie-like infection is called Apocephalus borealis, and has been known since the 1920′s as a parasite of yellow jackets and bumble bees. John Hafernik discovered that the zombie fly infected honey bees as well in 2008, just two years after colony collapse disorder began to affect honey bees and their hives. Apocephalus borealis lays its eggs in the stomach of the honeybee. The infected honey bee leaves its hive, exhibiting symptoms such as nocturnal activity, attraction to light, and disoriented, spasmodic movement. It is this convulsive movement that the term “ZomBee” came from, as the bees move very similarly to zombies in Hollywood movies. They are not actually undead; they simply appear to be. When the eggs hatch, the honey bee dies. Unfortunately, Vermont was the first state in the East Coast to record a sighting of this parasitic attack back in October 2013 in Burlington. It is unknown whether these Vermont zombie honey bees are an isolated case or a forewarning of more Apocephalus borealis infestations to come.

Colony collapse disorder is a serious threat to both backyard beekeepers and large-scale, commercial beekeepers. Since 1/3 of the fruits and vegetables we eat depend upon bees to be pollinated, this disorder doesn’t just affect the insects – it affects our cuisine and nutrition as people!  Vermont zombie honey bees may be a new threat to beehives across Vermont or even New England, which is why it’s important to continue research and become a beekeeper! Even if you are not a beekeeper and don’t plan on keeping honeybees, you can help in other ways. Purchase local Vermont honey as your sweetener. Welcome beekeepers to your community. Know what chemicals and pesticides have been found to harm honey bees and contribute to colony collapse disorder. Plant a bee-friendly garden with native wildflowers. Learning about bees is not just environmentally-conscious…it is fascinating and fun!!

Bzzzz. -Sophi Veltrop, Golden Stage Inn Undead Insect Researcher

Stay Green and enjoy Vermont local food with our sustainable B&B!

Did you know the Golden Stage Inn is a member of Vermont Fresh Network and Green Hotels in the Green Mountain State?

Our VT B&B is sustainable, green, environmentally-conscious and eco-friendly

Our bed and breakfast is proud of making a commitment to being sustainable, green, eco-friendly…whatever the trendy term may be for caring responsibly about our environment! This means serving Vermont local foods and using green products at the inn. Being eco-friendly is especially important in the state of Vermont, where the natural beauty and wildlife of mountains, forests and waterways is central to VT identity. As a member of Green Hotels of the Green Mountain State, we recycle and compost as much as possible, in addition to buying recycled products when we can. Julie recently noticed that every cleaning product used at the inn is eco-friendly, a development to be proud of! Every time plumbing is redone, such as with toilets and shower heads, Golden Stage Inn uses low-flow appliances to replace old plumbing, thus conserving water. All these efforts are testament to an ever-evolving and continual effort to green our bed and breakfast business. Green Hotels of the Green Mountains must show “a commitment to pollution prevention and exemplary environmental stewardship,” as the website says. We hope you can see this stewardship each time you stay at our Southeastern VT inn!

We are a member of the Vermont Fresh Network as an inn and B&B

We are also pleased to be a part of the Vermont Fresh Network, which allows us to connect with many Vermont local food producers as we prepare breakfasts and goodies for guests. Some of our farm-to-table partners include Cabot Creamery Cooperative, Jersey Girls Farm Cafe and Market, Wellwood Orchards, and Crowley Cheese. The bacon served at breakfast is smoked just down the road at Singleton’s General Store. Most importantly, we supply our own eggs, honey, and sometimes herbs from our backyard free-range hens and honeybee hives. Summer offers fresh local fruit and vegetables from farms in the Okemo Valley…and it would be blasphemous to not have an ample supply of Vermont maple syrup on hand for your morning pancakes and waffles!

For the Golden Stage Inn, sustainability is about more than Vermont local foods, green cleaning products and memberships. Sustainability is a mentality, a conversation, and a way of life. We hope you’ll see for yourself that Vermont is committed to the environment in so many ways, and that our local connections and economies can do wonders to maintaining a safe and green world for future generations.

 

Natural Homes Exhibit for all ages
Explore the life-sized termite mound (termites not included!). Just like honeybees, we can learn a lot about living in harmony with nature from these fascinating creatures.

Take a look at nature’s dwellings through a sustainable inn

A new exhibit at the Montshire Museum of Science teaches us how our homes can become sustainable.

Dwelling Within the Forces of Nature Exhibit Norwich VT

 

The Golden Stage Inn strives to be eco-friendly whenever possible, to create a lifestyle of low-impact traveling and give guests the option of choosing a sustainable inn.  That’s why we can’t wait to check out the new ‘Sustainable Shelters’ exhibit at Montshire Museum in Norwich, VT!

The Montshire Museum of Science is just 50 minutes away from our rurally located Vermont bed and breakfast.  Between February 1st and May 26th, the museum will feature an impressive exhibition entitled ‘Sustainable Shelter: Dwelling Within the Forces of Nature,’ created by the Center for Sustainable Building Research and the Bell Museum of Natural History at the University of Minnesota.  Visitors can explore how our homes can become more natural through two lenses; that of modern architectural green technologies and that of the the animal kingdom.  This is a fun-filled and educational trip for the kids, who will be sucked in by cartoons, games and interactive models.  Children can poke their heads into the living terrarium featured above, while parents learn about the life cycles of building materials and US water and energy consumption.  Animal nests and structures appear about museum, including a life-sized any colony and termite mound.  Participants can build their own sustainable homes, compare efficient architecture to ‘typical’ homes, and look at differences in dwellings across cultures and eras.

The Montshire Museum of Science is a riveting destination all year round.  For Vermonters and visitors alike, the 100-acre site is absolutely mind-opening no matter your age.  Wildlife can be spotted from the trails, and you can splash in the Science Park or step into space for a moment in the Planet Walk.  They offer an amazing variety of programs such as summer camps, talks and special events…on February 15th get ready for the annual Igloo Build, called the #1 Way to Winter Fun by Yankee Magazine! Attending this event would be taking low-impact dwellings to a whole new level. So head over to the Montshire Museum, and if a Green (Mountain) vacation to a sustainable inn is your idea of a guilt-free getaway, give us a call!

Here in our neck of the Vermont woods, we also strive to make ourselves a sustainable inn in a few key ways:

  • We love welcoming our guests to try the locally produced foods of Southern Vermont, including our own eggs and honey.
  • Leftover soaps are recycled through a program called ‘Clean the World,’ which reduces waste in landfills while providing sanitized soap to those in need.
  • We purchase green cleaning products and energy-efficient appliances.
  • Our amenities are of the “BeeKind” line, which minimizes environmental impact while donating a portion of profits to researching the plight of the honeybee.
  • As many of you know, we keep honeybees and promote education on the importance of local beekeeping to the survival of this important and delicate species.

Vermont Bed and Breakfast Offers Quality Amenities

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