Local Events

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!

Cheers to ALL the Mama's!

 

Mother’s Day is just around the corner on May 12th and it is time to spoil the special woman in your life, whether it is your Mom, wife, sister, grandmother, or just a friend. We all know that our mom’s really are just looking to spend time with their families, but if you need some ideas, check out our favorite Mother’s Day plans!

One of my personal favorite ways to spend Mother’s Day is by bringing my Mom out to brunch. A great local option to try is Coleman Brook Tavern at Jackson Gore. They do a beautiful buffet display using Vermont ingredients and the ambience of the restaurant is the perfect setting to make your Mom feel special. They have various seatings, but be sure to call for a reservation!

If you are looking for a more traditional dining experience, check out The Free Range in Chester! They have a brunch menu every Sunday, but this week they will be serving brunch all day, 9am-4pm! They always have the best cinnamon roll pancakes you can find, but they have specials this week including Maine crab cakes! They also have delicious, loaded bloody mary’s, along with mimosas with fresh squeezed orange juice; the perfect choices for celebrating Mother’s Day! Another local brunch is going on at Mama’s in Ludlow! Be sure to call for reservations for either option!

If you prefer to stay home and enjoy a lazy Sunday with the mom’s in your life because let’s face it, all moms deserve a day of relaxation! However, make sure you bring her a treat. Whether you are looking for a breakfast item like a muffin or quiche or a mouth-watering dessert (or two), look no further than Big Eyes Bakery in Ludlow! They have an awesome assortment of baked goods that you can bring home to share with your Mom. We promise she will love it!

Do you have a Mom that loves the outdoors? You may want to consider bringing her for a hike since tt is the perfect time of year to get outside! You can’t go wrong with a hike on the Healdville Trail on the backside of Okemo. If you really want to spoil your Mom, bring a picnic lunch to the top with sandwiches from Java Baba’s and pick out her favorite craft beer or a bottle of wine from Brewfest to go along with it!

No matter what you do, just be sure that the mom’s in your life know how special they are and that you appreciate everything they do. Being a mom is not an easy job and so many make it look like a walk in the park! We also want to give a special shoutout to our Vermont Properties Mom’s; Kathy Burns, Sarah Sheehan, Alyson Blodgett, Raye Lin Collins, Marlene DeArruda, and Heidi DeGraw! Also, dog mom, Abby Stone!

How to Survive Mud Season!

If you have been in Vermont over the last few weeks, you have likely seen cars that have turned brown, roads with closed signs, and everyone wearing rain boots. Even though it is spring, Vermonters know this time as mud season, one of Vermont’s extra seasons. It sounds awful, doesn’t it? Well, it doesn’t have to be!

   Photo taken by OkemoIf you are still in winter mode, you still have a few days to get some skiing in! Okemo plans to shut down this Sunday, April 14th. One of my favorite times of the year on the snow is in the spring. There aren’t any lift lines, the snow is usually great first thing in the morning, and you can get a killer goggle tan! If you are really brave, you can be one of the die hard skiers wearing shorts and a t-shirt on the hill on those beautiful 60 degree days! If you still aren’t ready to give up the snow, you can travel to Killington where they will be open typically into the end of May.

Another option is to jump on board with alpine touring, also known as skinning. This sport has become increasingly popular over the last couple of years. It is not only a great workout, but an awesome way to beat the crowds in the heart of winter, or this time of year, take advantage of the snow still left on the mountain after closing. If you don’t have your own gear, check out The Boot Pro at the bottom of the Okemo Access Road, where they have a rental package that includes, boots, skis, skins, and poles! The staff themselves are also avid “skinners” and would be great people to talk to if you are interested in getting involved in the sport!

If you are anything like me and love the restaurants that Ludlow has to offer, the next couple of weeks are a great time to eat out. Not only are they usually less busy, but many of them shut down in the spring, typically right after Easter and open back up around Memorial Day. Some top choices to definitely check out are Stemwinder, Homestyle Hostel, and The Downtown Grocery!

If you are still looking for things to do, spend an afternoon at the Spring House at Jackson Gore, where you can use the fitness facility, take a dip in the pool, take a Zumba class, or play a game of racquetball! If you love yoga, take a variety of classes at Go With The Flow in the center of town. You can even get a massage to rejuvenate your mind and body after a long winter.

No matter what you are doing, be sure to stay active and enjoy all the sunshine you can get! Summer will be here before we know it!

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!

 

Ski Season is Coming to an End, but the Fun Doesn't Have to Stop!

Is your driveway getting muddy? Do you notice that daylight lasts into the evening now? Have you seen more signs of wildlife? Well, we are sorry to tell you that all of these are signs that spring is on its way. However, don’t fret because there are still a lot of fun things to enjoy before the snow disappears!

Start this weekend off right and join us for some apres ski at the Sitting Bull with music by Sam Blanchette! This is the last night of the Winter Music Series, so you don’t want to miss out! However, we will be back this summer with more music during the Summer Concert Series at Jackson Gore!

Also, this weekend, check out Mardi Gras in the Mountain! Okemo is hosting a Mardi Gras parade at the Clocktower base area on Saturday, March 9th, from 1-3pm. Do you want to know the best part? You get to dress up in your best carnivale costume and walk in the parade! Wear the best costume and you could win the title of King or Queen of Mardi Gras. There will be live music and of course, Mardi Gras wouldn’t be complete without a bead toss!

Did we say that you had to wait until summer for more music? Surprise! We are sponsoring Sugar Daze, the end of winter season outdoor concert at Jackson Gore on March 16th, 3:30-8:30pm. This year’s concert is being held in the Jackson Gore Courtyard where there will be a beer garden and food!

Continue the fun next weekend by taking part in the St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock Scavenger Hunt on Okemo! There will be shamrocks hidden on the trails for you to find when you are skiing or boarding. All you have to do is get the shamrock and bring it to resort services to claim your prize! Obviously, to make things more fun, wear your favorite green outfit on the hill!

The fun continues into the weekend of March 23rd with the ‘80s Retro Jam on Bull Run at Okemo! Here is another chance to dress up, but this time in your best neon colors and acid-washed jeans, and show off your best skills on the rails. Registration begins at 1pm and is free to anyone dressed in rad 80s fashion! If you aren’t into competing, make sure you take a break from skiing or boarding to go watch the competition!

Make sure you don’t give up on winter too soon because Hops On The Snow is happening on March 30th in the Jackson Gore Courtyard! There is nothing better than taking advantage of the spring ski conditions, getting a goggle tan, and enjoying some tasty brews and barbeque!

Last but not least, the final winter event of the season is the annual Slush Cup at Jackson Gore! This event is SO much fun whether you are a competitor or watching! Those who compete dress up in wacky costumes and attempt to ski or board across an 80 foot man-made slush pond. We are also sponsoring Splash for Cash again, so when the Slush Cup ends, test your luck trying to grab the cash dangling in the air at the beginning of the pond! Full disclosure, you will get wet :)

So, even though the winter season is winding down, don’t forget about all of the fun events in March and April! And just think about those killer goggle tans you can get on those bluebird days!

President's Week in the Okemo Valley

Wow, can you believe it is the middle of February already?! Winter is flying by, so don’t miss your chance to experience one of the best weeks in the Okemo Valley!

To start your weekend off right, join us on Friday evening at the Sitting Bull for live music from one of our local favorites, Sam Blanchette! This is the perfect setting to unwind from an awesome day on the hill. If you miss us on Friday, come back on Saturday because Lustre Kings will be in the house! Even better, if you loved Sam Blanchette on Friday, come back on Sunday because he will be back! We are also sponsoring music on February 18th, 21st, 22nd, and 23rd.

To keep the party rolling, check out the Torchlight Parade and Fireworks at Okemo at 6pm on Saturday. This is an Okemo tradition that you do not want to miss. There will be a parade of skiers and snowboarders led by torchlight or join in a snowshoe adventure with Vermont Properties Real Estate Agent, Joe Karl, for a slopeside view of the fireworks and parade.

After the parade, check out the Okemo Mountain School Winter Festival at Willie Dunn’s. This is a fundraiser event for our local winter academy and is open to the public. There is a tasting of beer and wine, along with complimentary appetizers donated by local restaurants. While you are eating, drinking, and mingling, check out a large assortment of silent auction items including a Fondue Party for 10 at Stemwinder, a Pasta Making & Wine Tasting Class at Mama’s, or a Cocktail Class for 4 at Main & Mountain! Get your tickets in advance here!

If you are looking for something to do on Sunday evening, head to Jackson Gore to see Sylvia the Ventriloquist. This is a free event and fun for the whole family! After the show, head outside to the Jackson Gore Courtyard firepit and make a s’more!

On Tuesday, VINS (Vermont Institute of Natural Science) is doing a free presentation for families at Jackson Gore. The presentation includes a raptor encounter with live falcons, hawks, and owls. Learn more about these fascinating creatures, while admiring their beauty. If you like what you see, you can visit VINS in Quechee, Vermont.

By Wednesday, you might be in need of a parents night out! Join us at Jackson Gore for Paint & Sip that includes the paint, a canvas, brushes, and an apron! You don’t need to be an expert because a local artist will guide you every step on the way! To register, click here!

Do you like to dance? Do you like to ice skate? If you answered yes to both questions, then we know where you need to be on Thursday evening! Check out the Shake N’ Skate at the Jackson Gore Ice House for ice skating with a live DJ and games. This is a fun event for all ages! If you need some practice before the event, head to the Ice House throughout the week to practice your best moves!

On Friday, take a break from the slopes to check out the Vermont Specialty Food Tour. There will be an assortment of Vermont food and drinks at the Jackson Gore Base Area. This is a great chance to try local Vermont products and find your favorites to purchase and bring home with you!

With President’s Week coming to an end, it would be a great time to check out some of our local shops and restaurants. Remember, it is a busy weekend, so if you are looking to go out to dinner, be sure to make reservations! Check out some of our other blogs for ideas on where to go and what to do in the Okemo Valley!