…and we hope it’s here to stay! We’ve received a few flurries and snowshowers, in addition to some rain and sunny days. We are certainly ready for a heaping dose of snow, and with what we’ve had so far it seems like we’re in for a good winter ahead! Check out some powdery dustings at the Inn back in November, as well as our front yard view of Okemo’s already ski-able trails:
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!
Just a few more days and we’ll be hosting the Vermont Golden Honey Festival! Over a dozen vendors will be gathering at our Vermont Bed and Breakfast on September 14, 2013 to offer their Vermont-themed and honeybee-themed products. Co-hosted by Golden Stage Inn Bed & Breakfast of Proctorsville and Goodman’s American Pie of Ludlow, this event is sure to please!
Why a Vermont Golden Honey Festival? Vermont’s state insect is the honeybee after all, so it already seems a perfect match. But as hobby beekeepers, we also have an added incentive. The honeybee is often feared, or — maybe worse – overlooked and disregarded. Although honeybees have received a lot of press lately for their dire circumstances, still not enough people realize just how awesome and important these bees are. Responsible for nearly one of every three bites of food we eat, the honeybee provides us with so much more than honey.
At the festival, in addition to browsing the vendor booths for freshly baked bread and quilted crafts, books and photography, flowers, handmade stationery, and so much more, visitors will also have the opportunity to hear brief talks on beekeeping, mead making, fiber arts projects, and comic strip creation. Goodman’s American Pie will be making their first public appearance with their all-new portable beehive pizza oven. Honey-crust and honey-themed pizzas anyone? It’s sure to be delicious! There will even be a table for kids (of all ages) to make a simple craft. Admission is free. The festival runs from 10am through 4pm. Check out our festival page on facebook for updates.
If you’re anywhere near the Okemo Valley in Vermont this weekend, be sure to swing by the Vermont Golden Honey Festival at Golden Stage Inn. We can’t wait to see you!
Okemo Mountain Resort has long offered a free daytime shuttle service, transporting skiers to and from the mountain and valley lodging for fantastic Vermont skiing. However, come evening time, Valley travelers have had little option other than driving their own cars when heading into Ludlow nightlife. Not only was this inconvenient for many, but with high drunk driving rates, it was also unsafe. The Okemo Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Ludlow Police Department helped initiate a service to correct this deficit in our Vermont Ski Resort community. As members of the Chamber of Commerce and as a directly-paying Vermont lodging property, we are proud to introduce the Okemo Valley Shuttle as a complimentary service to our guests.
The Okemo Valley Shuttle will drive an hourly loop through the valley, picking up and dropping off passengers at Ludlow hotels, condos, bars and restaurants along the way. The route begins at Jackson Gore on the north and travels through Ludlow, ending at The Pointe Hotel, continuing onto Golden Stage Inn Bed and Breakfast and Glimmerstone Mansion on a “on demand” basis.
The 24 passenger vehicle is available to travelers on winter Fridays, Saturdays, and holiday periods from 6pm through 2am, through the end of March 2013. A second vehicle, a 15 passenger van, is used for fare-taxi service in Ludlow and its surrounding communities. For taxi service, call (802) 438-8089.
The buses are owned and operated by The Good Bus, a local business offering taxi service and private charters for all occasions including weddings, bachelor or bachelorette parties, brewery tours, corporate outings and family reunions. Tesha Buss, owner of The Good Bus, says The Good Bus “is excited to fill the transportation need for the Okemo Valley and contribute to the safety and vitality of our night life.” For more information on The Good Bus and its services, you can call (802) 776-8333.
Facebook may be most known for absorbing colossal amounts of our time, but maybe it is best known for reuniting people who would have otherwise fallen out of touch forevermore. When a facebook friend tagged me in an old high school photo, I smiled with nostalgia as I thought, “Hey, I remember that sweater!” (I’m so deep, eh?!) But the true delight of the photo was being ‘friended’ by a few people who didn’t yet know I was on facebook. One of those people was Arnie Casavant, the art teacher at my Alma mater (Oliver Ames High School in North Easton, Massachusetts). I never took art, I don’t think, but he was also our class advisor. After a few “Nice to hear from you” volleys, consistent with common facebook protocol, our dialogue politely concluded. When he posted a picture of one of his paintings though, our dialogue re-opened and we found ourselves discussing the possibility of his coming to teach a landscape painting class at the inn. (The first one is scheduled for July 13-15, 2012. Details on the website.) He and his wife drove to Okemo Valley, scoping out the potential painting sites in the area, and Michael and I visited with them in our living room for a couple of hours. What fun to talk through details of the painting seminar, but also to share some experiences we’ve all had in the 20 year space since last seeing one another (24 years really, in case anyone is counting!). I’m not a huge facebook fan but am grateful for this chance to re-encounter a person from my past — and now of my present too!
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!