Lakes Region

Wine & Beer, Oh My!

    Can you believe that summer is already half over? You know the saying, “Time flies when you are having fun?” Well, this couldn’t be more true! However, the fun shouldn’t stop now! This weekend is the perfect opportunity to check out some other parts of Vermont, while enjoying the best wine and/or beer that Vermont has to offer.

    If you are a wine connoisseur, head to the Killington Wine Festival starting on Friday evening, July 19th. Kick off the festival with the Premier Tasting event at the Peak of Killington by taking the gondola to the Killington Peak Lodge for an exclusive wine tasting. This portion of the festival allows you to meet the vintners, ask questions, sample the varieties, and pair them with tasty hors’ d'oeuvres. There is also live music to enjoy! It doesn’t get much better than this; the scenic views of Vermont, wine, food, and music! Get your tickets here!

    The Killington Wine Festival continues through the weekend with the Grand Tasting kicking off at noon at the Killington Grand Hotel and Resort Ballroom. There will be a wonderful and large selection of a variety of wines produced domestically and internationally including France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Germany, New Zealand, Japan, Chile, Argentina, and South Africa. Not to mention, a great selection of Vermont wine and spirits, as well. There will also be delicious local cheeses, chocolates, and more to enjoy while tasting. Make the event even more fun by showing up in your best formal wear. Get your tickets here!

    The event continues into Sunday with the Wine & Nine Golf Outing at the Green Mountain National Golf Course. The afternoon starts off with champagne and snacks at registration with a shotgun start at 3pm. You will play 9 holes of golf each with a tasting of a different specialty wine. After golfing, enjoy dinner and prizes in the club house! Click here for more information!

    If beer is more your style and you are looking to get away to another part of Vermont, head to the Vermont Brewers Festival at the Burlington Waterfront Park! Throughout the weekend, there are four different sessions; Friday, 12-4pm or 5:30-9:30pm, and Saturday, 12-4pm or 5:30-9:30pm. There are over 250 beers to test and trust me, you will not leave thirsty! Some of my favorite breweries in attendance are Stone Corral Brewery, Trout River Brewing, Good Measure Brewing, and Otter Creek Brewing. For a full list of participating breweries and the beer list, click here!

    The Vermont Brewers Festival also has great music throughout the weekend. Each session features a different band; Session One- Funk Shui, Session Two- Nico Suave, Session Three- Chicago Afrobeat Project, and Session Four- Big Ol Dirty Bucket. If you want to take the festival to the next level, check out “The Experience Tent” where you can sample beer paired with a variety of cheeses or chocolates. Don’t worry, there will also be lots of other food vendors in attendance throughout the weekend!

    No matter what you choose to do this weekend, just make sure you enjoy it because summer will be over before we know it! If you are sticking around Ludlow on Friday night, head to Jackson Gore for the Summer Music Series and be sure to visit us under the blue tent!

Fireworks & More!

One of my favorite days of the year is coming up; the 4th of July! First and foremost, Independence Day is a time to remember the history of America and what those that came before us went through to give us this beautiful country. It commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence when the thirteen colonies became free from British rule.

While the 4th of July is about remembering the history of America, it is also celebrated by spending time with your family and friends. The 4th is typically the first real kick off to summer, which is so exciting! Even better, the hope is that you have an extra long weekend to keep the celebration going!

What is the best part of Independence Day? FIREWORKS! Start the holiday weekend off right on July 3rd with fireworks at Plymouth Notch! Join in the fun beginning at 9pm to sing patriotic songs prior to the fireworks show, which will begin at dusk! This has always been one of favorite firework displays and should not be missed! 

Another great option on July 3rd is to head to the Grafton Ponds Outdoor Center in Grafton, VT. Here they have a spectacular show put on by the Vermont Symphony Orchestra. After the show, is a beautiful fireworks display! Bring a picnic dinner and enjoy a great summer evening! This is a ticketed event; or purchase them at MKT: Grafton, Village Square Booksellers, and Vermont Artisan Designs.

This year, Ludlow will be hosting their fireworks on Thursday, July 4th, at the West Hill Recreation Area. The Chris Kleeman Band will be playing from 7-9pm and food will be served by Goodman’s American Pie, Squeels on Wheels, and the Simply Asian Food Truck! Make it a full evening with the family with music, a picnic and fireworks kicking off at dusk!

If enjoying the history of America is something you are interested, you came to the right place because in the heart of the Okemo Valley is the Calvin Coolidge Foundation, the birthplace of the thirtieth President of the United States. Did you know that President Coolidge was born on Independence Day? This day is commemorated at the Foundation with public readings, a ceremony, the Coolidge Cup National High School Debate Tournament, and a screening of "Recollections of 1919 and the Boston Police strike with President Coolidge”. This is a great event to commemorate the United States and President Coolidge. 

There are so many fun events to attend and things to do for the 4th of July, but as you are celebrating next week, please remember why we have this holiday, but also enjoy the time with your friends and family!

Strawberries Galore!

Nothing makes it feel more like the start of summer than being able to go strawberry picking! It is finally time to head to your favorite local orchard or strawberry patch to pick your own strawberries.

My favorite place to go strawberry picking is Wellwood Orchards in Springfield, VT, only a 20 minute drive from Ludlow. During strawberry season, they are open 7 days a week, 8am-6pm, however, the best time to go is early morning before it gets too hot or busy. If you go on the weekend, you must go in the morning anyway because you can’t miss out on their homemade fresh cider donuts! Check out the other items in the country gift shop, anywhere from baked goods and cider to local crafts! They also have a petting zoo, making strawberry picking the perfect outing for the whole family!

This Saturday, June 22, is Wellwood Orchards Strawberry Festival from 10am-3pm, a must-see summer event! Spend some time picking your own strawberries and make sure you take a wagon ride through the orchard and then check out the live music by John Sullivan Band, Alison Turner, and Dan O and more! There will also be over 45 local vendors including food booths, artists, and more! Even better, admission to the event is free! Of course the country gift shop and petting zoo will be open, as usual! This is truly a fun event with something for everyone!

If you are looking for more strawberries, head to the Plymouth Strawberry Festival at Plymouth State Park on June 19th, from 5-7:30pm. This is a great community event sponsored by the Plymouth Volunteer Fire Department & First Response Services. All funds raised go to support various organizations within the community, including the emergency services. The festival offers a delicious BBQ and most importantly, strawberry shortcake for dessert! This is a family event with plenty of activities to keep your little ones entertained!

Don’t worry, if you don’t make the festivals or aren’t able to go strawberry picking, go to a local farm stand and I am sure you will find some of the sweetest berries around! While strawberries are so good without doing anything to them, make your own strawberry shortcake or try your luck at a delicious strawberry rhubarb pie! Happy picking (and eating)!

It's Time for Summer!

June is one of the best months of the year because it is FINALLY summer! This is the time when everyone starts getting outside, especially those that don’t get out during the winter months.  It is also the start of summer BBQ’s, swimming, and weekend events!

To start off the second weekend of June, join us at Jackson Gore at Okemo for the 2019 B2VT Finish Line Party. This is a party to celebrate the finishers of the B2VT bike ride from Bedford, Massachusetts to Ludlow, Vermont. This ride is also known as the Battlefield to Vermont and let me tell you, this 149 mile ride certainly feels like a battle, an uphill battle at that! The riders complete 9,000 feet of climbing, including 3 significant climbs. This long and strenuous ride calls for a party at the finish line where there will live music by Ruby Street, BBQ, and cold beer! What more could you want on a beautiful summer day?!

Also on Saturday, June 8th, is Vermont’s Free Fishing Day! This event happens annually and gives everyone, residents and non-residents of Vermont, the opportunity to fish without a license. If you have never fished before or don’t get to go very often, this is the perfect chance for you to head out to your favorite river, pond, or lake throughout Vermont to cast a line and hopefully catch some fish! The Okemo Valley has several great areas to fish including the Black River, Lake Rescue, and Echo Lake. Make sure you show us your fish if you have any luck!

Another fun outdoor activity to do in the summer is to play some golf! We are so lucky to have the Okemo Valley Golf Club right in our backyard, as it is a premier course and has something for every level. This summer, for the months of June and July, OVGC is offering a Ladies Golf Clinic every Sunday where you can touch up on your skills and learn about different topics each week. Additionally, starting June 23rd and continuing Sunday’s thorough July, OVGC is offering Summer Junior Golf Clinics. This is a great opportunity for young golfers to get into the game. Of course, the golf course is also open 7 days a week for regular play!

One of my favorite events of the summer is the Plymouth Strawberry Festival at Plymouth State Park on June 19th, from 5-7:30pm. This is a great community event sponsored by the Plymouth Volunteer Fire Department & First Response Services. All funds raised go to support various organizations within the community, including the emergency services. The festival offers a delicious BBQ and most importantly, strawberry shortcake for dessert! This is a family event with plenty of activities to keep your little ones entertained!

The last weekend of June offers a Yoga Weekend Intensive at Go With the Flow in Ludlow. This workshop is being instructed by Boston-Based Senior Teacher, Raquel Marra. There are classes offered Friday through Sunday, all of which are available by the class or you can register for the whole weekend. This is a great way to restore your body just in time for the craziness that summer brings!

We hope that you are able to soak up all the sunshine you can get and take advantage of the long summer days ahead!

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!!