Spring Events in the Okemo Valley

The Okemo Valley of Southern Vermont has a few noteworthy events coming up this spring! There’s fun for families at the Grafton Nature Museum or at Billings Farm in Woodstock. Foodies will delight in the spring offerings at Hidden Kitchen at the Inn at Weathersfield. A variety of events will please art and nature lovers, too. Our favorites are listed below; you can also peruse the Okemo Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Calendar of Events to see even more spring events.

At Six Loose Ladies, join Beginning Knitting class any Thursday through the end of May…

Six Loose Ladies, a wonderful crafts and fiber arts store just a stroll from our bed and breakfast, is offering free beginners knitting lessons. Bring your knitting needles the next time you visit Southern Vermont and you’ll walk away with new skills. No registration required; simply show up at 6 ready to learn to knit!

For adventurous kids who love getting outdoors in Vermont, discover a nature camp through the Grafton Nature Museum…

On April 21 from 10 am to 3 pm, kids ages 10-14 can join Wild Walkers. Pre-registration is required for this wilderness awareness day camp. Kids will engage their minds and bodies while foraging, fire-making, shelter-building, and more. $30-35 covers the day.

On April 22, kids ages 6-9 get their turn to explore Vermont’s woods with the Grafton Nature Museum. At “Brave Bears: Free Spirits Vacation Camp” kids will learn about how Native Americans lived in the days before European settlement. Games, activities, and exploration of a pond, a stream, and woods will make the day a true adventure…culminating in story-telling and marshmallow roasting around the fire! $25-30 for the day (also 10 am-3 pm).

The second iteration of Grafton Nature Museum’s Brave Bears Day camp is on April 23, from 10-3. Your young one will learn to “Be an Eco-Hero”! They’ll learn about the 3 Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle), play green games and create eco-art. $25-30 for the day.

Foodies, consider yourselves forewarned…things could get delicious!

In addition to Golden Stage Inn’s Foodies Package (available soon!) there are some amazing offerings at Hidden Kitchen, a culinary workshop venue at the Inn at Weathersfield.

On April 24-25, they are offering a Kitchen Garden Design and Garden Cooking Adventure with special guest author Ellen Ecker Ogden (The Complete Kitchen Garden). $230 per person includes a 2.5 hour garden design class, a 2.5 hour cooking class, a 1 hour lecture, lunch and dinner.

On May 16, Hidden Kitchen is offering a workshop called “Wild Flavors: Celebrating Greens Cultivated and Wild”. Special guests are Chef/Cookbook Author Didi Emmons and David Craft PhD, author of “Urban Foraging”. You’ll learn about growing, foraging and cooking wild and cultivated greens. Dine on your culinary creations for dinner, supplemented with dishes from the Inn at Weathersfield. $195 per person includes 5.5 hour class and dinner.

Billings Farm Opens on May 1 with fun activities all weekend…

Enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides and free ice cream on the opening weekend of Billings Farm in Woodstock, Vermont. On May 2 and 3, watch sheep herding with Border Collies and sheep-shearing. A children’s art show will also be on display.

On May 23 and 24, head to Billings Farm for a cheese and dairy celebration. Sample cheeses and dairy products and meet Vermont cheesemakers. Learn about how to make ice cream, butter and cheese. Discover the rich history of Vermont dairy.

We look forward to welcoming you at our Southern Vermont bed and breakfast this spring! Please give us a call with any questions you may have: (802) 226-7744

Discounted Lodging for Fletcher Farm Students!

Last week we announced one of our three spring lodging specials:Vermont Snowdrops, Ludlow VT

For the months of April, May and June, students of the Fletcher Farm School for the Arts & Crafts will receive 50% off their stay of 3 nights or more! Please call or email the Inn to make your reservation. Enjoy a lovely spring vacation getting in touch with your creative side…

Fletcher Farm School for the Arts & Crafts offers classes of varying levels and subjects. Classes are offered for complete beginners as well as those seeking to further develop a long-time skill. Find topics familiar and unexpected, all taught by qualified and helpful instructors.

Below is a list of classes offered during our Inn’s spring lodging discount. Click on the art or craft class to see a full description, read about the instructor, and register.

APRIL FLETCHER FARM CLASSES

Fabulous Fibers

Primitive Stencil Apple Checkerboard

Playful Painting with Alcohol Ink

Painting Spectacular Flowers in Watercolor

The Wonder of Color

Introduction to Silversmithing

MAY FLETCHER FARM CLASSES

Primitive Stencil Floorcloths and Placemats

Painting in Acrylics

Digital Imaging

Pastel Painting Streams and Waterfalls

Intaglio Printmaking Workshop

Introduction to Silversmithing

Living Willow Structure for the Garden

JUNE FLETCHER FARM CLASSES

Fantasy Felting

Creative Art Class for Young Artists

 

Not an art student at Fletcher Farm School, but still seeking a spring discount on your Vermont getaway?

Check out our Specials page to see what other spring discounts we’re offering at the Inn! Specials and packages change seasonally. Available now is our ‘Rent the Inn‘ discount–ideal for a gathering of friends, family or colleagues (without breaking the bank!). Coming soon: Foodie’s Getaway Package available through June. Stay tuned!

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.

blueberry picking
Berry eating contest Winners!
Blueberry Picking in Vermont (2012-08-08)

Blueberry Picking in Vermont

Written by Sadie Wood

Last week, we went blueberry picking in Vermont. Our destination was 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 blueberry picking in Vermont 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!

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

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