Lakes Region

We Always Knew You Were #1, Ludlow!

In case you haven’t heard, Ludlow, Vermont, is the number one winter destination to buy a vacation home according to Vacasa. Even though we have been firm believers in this for a long time, we are glad that the secret is finally out! While the article will tell you statistics as to why it is a good idea to buy a vacation home here, we will tell you the real reasons.

First of all, the most obvious reason to choose Ludlow is because of the all mighty Okemo Mountain in the middle of town. Did you know that Okemo means, “all come home,” in a Native American language? This couldn’t be more true, as Okemo and Ludlow are home to so many people, whether physically or in their hearts. While Okemo does have the best grooming in the east and some great trails, it really is a family mountain. Up until recently, Okemo has been a family owned and operated since 1982, and even though Vail Resorts now owns Okemo, there is still an unbelievable sense of community surrounding the mountain. If you are looking for a winter vacation home, Okemo should be your first place to look, whether you want a small condo or a large mountain home.

Another reason to choose Ludlow as your winter destination is due to the wide variety of amazing restaurants in town. For a small town, we sure know how to cook...and eat! Whether you are looking for a slice of woodfired pizza from American Pie, Tex-Mex from Mojo Cafe, farm to table from Homestyle Hostel, or Italian from Mama’s, you truly will not be disappointed. You can also find a delicious breakfast or lunch from The Hatchery or Java Baba’s, along with dessert from Big Eyes Bakery or Sweet Surrender. Did we mention that we have some great bars, as well? You must check out Main and Mountain, Killarney, and Tom’s Loft Tavern, all for their great selection of drinks and hometown atmospheres.

We understand that not everyone participates in skiing or snowboarding, but that doesn’t mean that Ludlow can’t be your choice for your winter vacation home! There is so much more to offer including a Nordic Center for snowshoeing and cross country skiing, the Ice House at Jackson Gore for ice skating, a wonderful yoga and bodywork studio at Go With The Flow, or the recreation center at Jackson Gore with a great indoor pool. If those aren’t your style either, there is often live music at various restaurants, cute shops around town, and beautiful drives.

Have we convinced you yet? If not, come into William Raveis Vermont Properties to speak with us about our community and why we love living here or even to start looking at your very own vacation home!

Vermont Maple Open-House Weekend!

If you are a Vermonter, you know that Vermont has more than 4 seasons. One of our additional seasons, the best one in my opinion, is maple sugaring season! Since we have had such a cold and snowy winter, the Vermont sugaring season has been delayed. However, many Vermonters around the state are finally getting their trees tapped and have been able to start boiling! You know what this means, right? Fresh maple syrup!

Every year, all of the sugar houses in Vermont open their doors for the Vermont Maple Open House Weekend. This year, it is March 23-24th. Spend your Saturday or Sunday taking a drive to some of our favorite local sugar houses for yummy treats and to learn more about the sugaring process!

If you frequent our blog, you know that we are a huge fan of Green Mountain Sugar House, especially their maple creemees. This weekend, they will be open and offering complimentary sugar-on-snow, maple cream donuts, maple coffee, and maple milk! However, you shouldn’t leave without purchasing a maple creemee or a gallon of delicious maple syrup! They have started boiling, so hopefully you will be able to catch a glimpse of the action!

Another local favorite of ours is Papa John’s Sugar Shack! This is a small, family-owned operation, but you can tell that they put a lot of hear into what they do. They will be open for the Vermont Maple Open House weekend with many maple products to test, as well as waffles and with any luck, fresh maple syrup! This wonderful family loves teaching about how maple syrup is made, so make sure you take a tour of the sugar house!

If you have time, travel a bit further to Shrewsbury to Smith Maple Crest Farm for their open house. On Saturday, they are holding a pancake breakfast in support of the Shrewsbury Community Sharing Project, of course with their maple syrup. They will also have samples of maple syrup, sugar-on-snow, maple cotton candy for sale, and other refreshments. Keep your fingers crossed for good boiling weather and check out their boiling demo to learn more about making maple syrup!

If you want to find other sugar houses in Vermont or even if you just want to know more about how maple syrup is made, visit Vermont Maple! If you are looking for ideas on how to eat or drink maple syrup, check out last week’s blog for ideas!

Vermont Gold: Maple Syrup- Part 1

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about Vermont? My answer is always MAPLE SYRUP! Because who doesn’t love syrup! Maple syrup is good on and in practically everything and for every meal.

    The obvious choice is to have maple syrup on pancakes or waffles. There is nothing quite like waking up in the morning and having someone cook you breakfast, especially when syrup is involved. Those fluffy pancakes and delicious waffles are the things that dreams are made of. Have you ever tried warming your maple syrup in the microwave before putting it on your breakfast? Let me tell you, there is nothing better! However, breakfast isn’t complete without a hot cup of coffee. Instead of sugar, try adding a little bit of maple syrup. I promise, you won’t be disappointed!

    Maple syrup is also a necessity with lunch. Did you know that a ham and cheese sandwich goes GREAT with maple syrup? I know, sounds strange, right? This isn’t an ordinary ham and cheese sandwich though, it’s a monte cristo. The bread is actually french toast, with warm ham and melted cheese. This sounds delicious already, but to top it off, you dip the sandwich in maple syrup. This makes the perfect brunch meal!

    You also can’t go wrong with incorporating maple syrup into your dinner either. A very “Vermont” thing to do is simply to have breakfast for dinner, so you can double up on those pancakes and waffles, or dive into some eggs with maple breakfast sausage. However, there are so many options for adding maple syrup into your dinner or even substituting it as a healthier option than granulated sugar! I like using maple syrup in stir fry or in my recipes for slow cooker meatballs.

    Last, but most definitely not least, is dessert! Obviously maple syrup and dessert go hand-in-hand. One of the easiest choices is vanilla ice cream with maple syrup. I know it sounds simple, but it is the best combination. If you want to get really fancy you could try maple creme brulee or maple cheesecake. You can even make it a healthy dessert by roasting bananas with maple syrup and cinnamon!

    Now, to be a true Vermonter, you must have sugar on snow, which is good any time of the day. Here’s how: Heat syrup and butter in a pot on the stove (about 1 quart of syrup per stick of butter). Make sure you watch it carefully and stir regularly. You will need a thermometer because when the syrup reaches 234 degrees fahrenheit, it is ready to be poured over the snow. Poor it slowly and carefully. If the syrup sits on top of the snow, it’s ready! Peel it off and enjoy!

Stay tuned for next week’s blog on how syrup is made and where to get it in the Okemo Valley! In the meantime, let us know your favorite way to have maple syrup!

 

Valentine's Day in the Okemo Valley!

Ladies and gentleman, Valentine’s Day is just days away! You know what that means, don’t you? You better make plans for that special someone in your life! Don’t worry, Ludlow has plenty of options!

What better way to start your Valentine’s Day than with a few runs on Okemo! Nothing says romance like a ride up the bubble chair with your favorite someone. Better yet, Okemo is setting the mood for Valentine’s Day with a scavenger hunt on the slopes. Ski or ride around the mountain to find “hidden” red hearts along the trails. If you find one, return it to guest services for a prize!

My perfect Valentine’s Day includes a homemade meal at home, which makes for a great way to end your day after hitting the slopes. The way to my heart is most definitely through a Singleton’s steak and their “to die for” loaded baked potato. Don’t forget to pick up a delicious dessert from one of the Okemo Valley’s bakeries! Check out last week’s blog for more ideas on the perfect sweet treat for you and your Valentine!

However, if you are looking for a romantic dinner out on the town, the Okemo Valley has many options for you! A great option that is sure to impress your significant other is dining at The Echo Lake Inn. They are hosting Saint Valentine’s Specials with a delicious four course meal with champagne for the evening. Make it a Valentine’s Day you will never forget and splurge on getting a room for the night in one of the inn’s cozy rooms.

Another option with a special Valentine’s Day dinner and rooms is The Castle Hill Resort & Spa. The Castle frequently runs winter specials for lodging that include spa and dinner packages perfect for a romantic evening. After hitting the slopes, enjoy the afternoon getting a massage and a dip in the outdoor heated pool or hottub, followed by a delicious gourmet dinner.

If The Echo Lake Inn and The Castle Hill Resort & Spa aren’t your style, checkout one of our other local restaurants for a Valentine’s Day meal. Some of my personal favorites are The Downtown Grocery, Stemwinder, Homestyle Hostel, and Sam’s Steakhouse. Even if they don’t have a special Valentine’s Day menu, I promise you and your sweetheart won’t be disappointed!

For the perfect ending to the perfect day, head to Main & Mountain for a nightcap. Their delicious house cocktails are certainly made with love, but if you prefer beer or wine, they have one of the best selections in town!

Happy Valentine's Day from our Vermont Properties team!

 

What do Do in the Okemo Valley if You Don't Ski or Snowboard

Even though we live in a mountain town, we know that not everyone enjoys skiing or snowboarding. Yes, we always push people to enjoy the gorgeous mountain of Okemo in our backyard, but do not worry, there is still plenty to do in Ludlow if you do not like winter sports!

Ludlow is the home of many well-known restaurants with something for everyone! If you are looking for a morning or afternoon out on the town, while your friends or family are skiing, there are plenty of places to choose from. For breakfast, head into Proctorsville to Vermont Apple Pie. This adorable country kitchen serves only homemade food, including a personal favorite, the Apple Crisp Waffle. Yes, it is exactly what it sounds like; apple crisp on a waffle, yum! For other breakfast choices, check out The Hatchery or Cafe at Delight. If you enjoy a morning at your home or hotel, curled up with coffee in front of the fireplace, then you could check out the several delicious lunch options that Ludlow has to offer. If you are looking for a sandwich, look no further than Java Baba’s, a popular cafe at the bottom of the Okemo Access Road. If you are craving Italian, head to Mama’s for a delicious calzone or homemade pasta, both of which will make you feel like you are in Italy. If you want a to-go option, you must try The Cookster. The Cookster offers a new menu everyday of homemade items that will make your mouth water as soon as you see them!

While you are out, you should check out some of the little shops around town. One of my favorites is The Blue Sky Trading Post, an adorable shop with a variety of items. You can find local souvenirs or beautiful handcrafted jewelry. I promise, you won’t be able to leave empty handed. Right down the road on Depot Street, you will find the Wine & Cheese Depot, The Depot Street Gallery, and Russ Hurlburt Photography Studio & Gallery. All of these shops are unique and truly show the essence of Vermont. You should also take a ride on Route 100 North to the Green Mountain Sugar House, where you can get the best maple creemee around and take a look in their gift shop filled with Vermont products.

If you are looking to do something active, but don’t enjoy skiing or snowboarding, there are a lot of options! You could take a yoga class at Go With the Flow, who offers classes for all levels and a variety of class types. If you want to stay on the mountain, The Jackson Gore Fitness Center also offers a variety of classes, a gym, and a pool. If you want to stick with the winter theme of being in a mountain town, the Okemo Valley Golf Course becomes a Nordic Center and offers trails for snowshoeing and cross country skiing. The trails give you some of the best views of Okemo and are always well groomed and maintained. Another option is to check out the Ice House at Jackson Gore and enjoy an afternoon or morning of ice skating.

So, if you do not ski or snowboard, that’s okay! There is plenty for everyone to do in Ludlow. If you are looking for other ideas, do not hesitate to reach out! We are always willing to help you experience the Okemo Valley in a way that matches your likes and need!

 

It Snowed at the Summit; Get Your Season Passes NOW!

    The announcement everyone has been waiting for; it SNOWED for the first time at the Summit of Okemo on Saturday, October 13th! While you couldn’t see it from the village of Ludlow, the live cams on the mountain caught it on video!

    Now that it snowed, it finally feels like winter is just around the corner. If you haven’t gotten your 2018/19 season pass to Okemo yet, now is the time to do it! Okemo has SO many options, that you can be sure to find one that works for everyone.

    While Okemo has always been an EPIC mountain, with the sale of Okemo to Vail Resorts, we are now a part of the Epic pass! There are two Epic options; the Epic Local and the Epic Pass, but both of which give you unlimited and unrestricted access to Okemo! Other unlimited and unrestricted mountains are Crested Butte, Mount Sunapee, Breckenridge, Wilmot, Mt. Brighton, Keystone, Afton Alps, Arapahoe Basin, and Stevens Pass. That means 10 mountains full of adventures waiting to happen! Not to mention, there are 17 other mountains to access on a more limited basis, including Stowe right here in Vermont!

The other option is the Epic Pass, which gives you access to 65 resorts all around the world! With this pass, you get access to all of the unlimited mountains as the locals pass, but also has the additions of Vail, Whistler Blackcomb, Northstar, Stowe, Perisher, Beaver Creek, Park City, Heavenly, and Kirkwood!  That leaves 46 other mountains that also give you on-snow options throughout the season. Get your Epic Local or Epic Pass today before rates go up!

If the Epic pass isn’t for you, Okemo still has the Ultimate, Classic, and Midweek passes available. The Ultimate Pass truly is ultimate and gives you great benefits when skiing at Okemo such as retail, culinary, and preferred parking discounts! If you are looking for a basic pass, but still allows you to enjoy Okemo whenever you want, check out the Classic Pass! New this year, as well, all Ultimate and Classic Pass Holders will receive 50% off the then-current window lift ticket price at all Vail Resorts-owned resorts! Finally, if you don’t like the weekend crowds, Okemo still has the Midweek pass, which will give you access to the lifts Monday-Friday during non-holidays.

We hope you are just as excited as we are to hit the slopes this season! Let it snow!!

 

Fall in the Okemo Valley

    If you have never experienced fall in Vermont, then you are seriously missing out! It is such a magical time and truly is the essence of what Vermont is all about. The Okemo Valley is one of the best places to spend during this time and Columbus Day weekend is the peak! Here is a sneak peak of our favorite things Vermont things to do this weekend!

Take a Hike:

View from Fire tower    There are so many amazing hikes to experience within a 30 minute drive of Ludlow and all of them are the best during foliage season. Of course, one of the most popular hikes in the Okemo Valley is the Healdville Trail that leads you up the backside of Okemo. Pack a picnic lunch and take a break at the top with a climb up the firetower at 3,340 feet!
    Deer Leap in KillingtonAnother great hike is Deer Leap in Killington. This hike is 1.9 miles of a beautiful wooded trail that leads to a peak and opens up to grand views of Killington, Pico, and beyond! Better yet, you can bring your dogs! After your hike, head to Longtrail Brewery for some lunch.
    For a hike with different scenery, check out Cascade Falls in Weathersfield. The hike is about 2.9 miles from the trailhead to the summit. Along the way, you will find 84ft and 60ft waterfalls that are absolutely breathtaking. If you are looking for a day hike, continue on your way to the various peaks of Mount Ascutney!

The Sights:

   Buttermilk Falls One of the most well known sites in Ludlow is Buttermilk Falls in the Okemo State Forest. There are 3 waterfalls to check out on a short nature hike along the river. The river is surrounded by exquisite fall colors and provides a peaceful place to enjoy the great outdoors.

   The Pinnacle Another popular local spot is The Pinnacle of Ludlow off of Commonwealth Avenue. There is a short secondary road that you can drive up if the gate is open, or you can choose to park at the bottom for a nice walk to the top. The Pinnacle has giant rocks to climb that overlook the entirety of Okemo Mountain. While this view is amazing all year long, it is exceptionally magical during the fall foliage.

Shopping:

    You can’t come to Vermont for a weekend getaway without going to the Vermont Country Store, either in Weston or Rockingham. This store holds all of the best items this Green Mountain state has to offer. You can fill up on samples of Vermont cheeses, meats, and dips and leave with a brown bag full of old fashioned candy. The store also carries many Vermont products, such as soaps and clothing. We promise you won’t leave disappointed. 
    If you are in Ludlow, you must stop by the Green Mountain Sugar House, located on Lake Pauline. You can stock up on maple candy and maple syrup, but the best item is their Maple ice cream. If Vermont had a taste, it would taste like a Maple Creeme!

Activities and Events:

    A personal favorite fall activity of mine is apple picking and the best local place to go is Wellwood Orchards in Springfield. Take a walk into the orchard to pick your own apples or catch a ride on the hay wagon for the real Vermont experience. Wellwood also has a petting zoo that is great for all ages!

Okemo Valley Golf Course    Another great activity is to play a round of golf at the Okemo Valley Golf Club. The course has an 18-hole layout that has a par 70 and measures 6,400 years in length. It is playable for all abilities and provides a challenge for everyone! While this is a beautiful course all year long, nothing beats the views during the fall foliage.

    If you are looking for a true Vermont experience, head to Mount Holly for Cider Days on the Belmont Green! This event runs Saturday, October 6th from 10-4pm and Sunday, October 7th from 12-4pm. You can watch how apple cider is made and even try some for yourself! There are other sweet treats, along with many local craft vendors.

    We saved our favorite event for last; Fall into Winter at The Jackson Gore Inn and Resort! This is an awesome event to celebrate the transition of seasons from fall to winter. William Raveis Vermont Properties is sponsoring the live music and there will also be hayrides, games put on by Okemo Mountain School, pumpkin painting, craft vendors, food, and a beer/wine tasting tent! You can also check out Okemo’s Adventure Zone! Come see us from 11am-4pm!

 

Dining in Ludlow - Part 2!

    As promised, here is part two of our favorite dining experiences in Ludlow! September 22nd is officially the first day of fall, which means all of our local favorites will be working with the best ingredients a Vermont autumn has to offer!

In the midst of this small Vermont town, you can still find food to meet your every need, including Mojo Cafe, a modern Tex-Mex dining experience! Mojo always offers the freshest local ingredients and is a partner of the Vermont Fresh Network. A big hit at Mojo’s are their Po Boys, and let me tell you, the Shrimp Creole is to die for, and make sure you get a side of Poblano Rings! Not to mention, Mojo is all about good local craft beer on tap, which is always rotating, even with the seasons because who doesn’t love a good fall beer, right? The owners, John and Jodi, are fun and quirky and will make you feel right at home!

If you have been to Ludlow, you have probably been to DJ’s Restaurant in the center of town. DJ’s has been a local favorite for over 37 years and continues to be a constant staple in the community. Their menu offers a wide variety of steak, seafood, and pasta. However, they always have great specials, as well! Whether you are looking for just the bar menu with an amazing chicken sandwich, or a nice family dinner with a Filet Mignon, you can’t go wrong!

Another staple in Ludlow has been Sam’s Steakhouse, however, it was recently bought by Mr. Darcy’s owner, Mark Williams. Mark has ran and done an impeccable job with many local restaurants, so you can bet, that Sam’s will continue to be a local favorite! The menu has changed, but still boasts a great variety of steak and seafood, along with some local selections, such as Homestyle Meatloaf. They also still have their amazing salad bar, which can be a meal all in itself! If you are looking for a great mid-week option, head to Sam’s for “Early Bear” specials on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays!

If you are staying on Okemo, a wonderful option after a long day of skiing is always the Coleman Brook Tavern at The Jackson Gore Inn. The tavern has a wonderful menu that changes with the seasons to ensure the freshest ingredients. A personal favorite of mine is the Maple Pepper Roast Chicken. However, nothing says Vermont like eating s’mores for dessert, which you literally cook over a tabletop campfire. The icing on the cake is always the hospitable and knowledgeable waitstaff that makes you feel right at home.

    

We hope you have the chance to try some of our local restaurants and make sure you let us know your favorite!

 

Summer Bucket List- Don't Wait!

Top 10 Things to do Before Summer Ends

Some of you may be counting down the days until the slopes are filled with snow and others are never wanting summer to end. Either way, take advantage of these summer days and knock some things off of the summer bucket list before it ends!

  1. Go for a hike up the backside of Okemo on the Healdville Trail to the summit and firetower! My favorite way to do this is to start around 9am, pack a picnic lunch, and head to the top for an awesome view.

  2. After you go hiking, you must go to Buttermilk Falls for a swim. Within a 10 minute walk you can see three beautiful waterfalls, but don’t miss the big rock to jump off into the water at the middle falls!

  3. Hit up the Evolution Park at Okemo for an epic day of mountain biking!

  4. Go to the Green Mountain Sugar House for a maple creeme (or 3)! In my opinion, they are the best in the state and there is awesome water-side seating to enjoy them on.

  5. Take a drive to the local breweries with outdoor seating! Let’s be honest, the breweries are great all year, however, the outdoor seating makes them even better. You don’t want to miss out on Long Trail, Harpoon, and Trout River!

  6. Rent a kayak or paddleboard from Tygart Mountain Sports in Ludlow and head to Lake Rescue for a day on the water. Don’t forget to hop in for a swim at Red Bridge!

  7. Go to the Okemo Adventure Zone for a fun day of zip lining, mini golf, mountain coaster riding, the challenge course, disc golf, and so much more!

  8. Spend a day at Plymouth State Park relaxing on the sandy beach, playing volleyball, and grilling up some hamburgers!

  9. Attend a summer concert at the Jackson Gore Summer Concert Series! There are only two left; August 24th and 31st!

  10. Check out a Million Dollar Quartet playing at the Weston Playhouse through September 2nd!  

Vermont Beer is the BEST Beer!

Vermont has a delicious little secret; we LOVE beer! Did you know that Vermont is home of some of the best beer in the nation? Better yet, did you know that Ludlow is surrounded by several breweries within a 30 mile radius?

Long Trail Brewing Company is located in Bridgewater, VT, about 20 miles from Ludlow. Take the scenic drive on Route 100 North, where you can stop along the way to take in the beauty of many Vermont lakes. You also don’t want to miss a visit to the Green Mountain Sugar House for a Maple Creeme or even take a short detour to the Calvin Coolidge Homestead where our 30th president grew up. Once arriving to Long Trail Brewery you can choose to sit in the the German inspired pub inside or along the banks of the Ottauquechee River in their lovely outdoor seating area. Long Trail always offers a great variety of seasonal beers, including a personal favorite, Blackberry Wheat. Don’t forget to try the Loaded Nachos and the Jonas Wings; you won’t be disappointed!

Harpoon Brewery is located in Windsor, VT, about 30 miles from Ludlow. Once again, take a scenic drive along Route 131 that follows the Black River. In the river, you will find a variety of native Vermont trout, perfect for fly fishing. So, if you have the time, breath in the fresh air and catch some fish. After spending some time in the sun, you might be thirsty, so continue on your way to Harpoon. Harpoon has a wonderful outdoor Beer Garden, along with a lively Tap Room. Choose from several Harpoon beers on tap and purchase a growler to take home with you. The kitchen is always serving several great specials, however, The Vermonter sandwich is always a great go-to! Don’t forget to also visit Blake Hill Preserves, Vermont Farmstead Cheese Co. Market, SILO Distillery, and Great River Outfitters!

Trout River Brewing Company is located a short 15 miles from Ludlow in Springfield, VT. This hidden gem was purchased by three local boys who had been dreaming up this idea since being in high school together. From the outside, the brewery looks like a factory, but the inside is a Vermont haven, filled with fishing paraphernalia and homemade tables made from Vermont trees. On the tables you will find games to play with friends, along with music playing or a sporting event being projected for all to see. On the weekends you will often find a band playing outside and a food truck serving some delicious grub in the outdoor seating area. You can try several selections of beer by the pint or a sampler tray made out of old tap handles. If they are serving Trout of Solace, be sure to give it a try!

Last but not least, the Rutland Beer Works was a great new addition to Vermont in 2017. The owners of Hop ‘N Moose in downtown Rutland began this new venture to expand their love of beer and we couldn’t be more excited. Rutland Beer Works is currently a brewery and canning facility, but their beer can be tasted at Hop ‘N Moose, among other locations in the surrounding areas. There are also many places to buy cans, including Brewfest Beverage right here in Ludlow! However, if you are heading to Rutland, we highly recommend checking out Hop ‘N Moose, both for their food and beer. They are known for their pizzas, including a personal favorite of mine, the Hawaiian. Hop ‘N Moose is usually serving Rutland Beer Works’ Rutland Red on tap, but if you are feeling adventurous, try the Hide and Seek, an Extra Pale Ale.

SaveSave