Second Homes

End of Summer Bucket List

Have you noticed the nights getting colder already? This is a sure sign that summer is coming to an end. While many of you may be excited for autumn leaves and snowy trees, don’t rush the summer by just yet! There is still a lot of fun to be had and Labor Day weekend is coming up, giving you an extra day to enjoy the great outdoors!

  1. Rent a kayak or paddle board from Tygart Mountain Sports or the Tyson Store and head to one of the great lakes in the Okemo Valley. If you are looking for calm water, check out Lake Pauline, a great spot for a leisurely paddle. However, if you are a bit more experienced and want to take a swim, as well, Lake Rescue or Echo Lake may be the way to go!

  2. Do you love brunch? Let’s be honest, who doesn’t! This Sunday, September 1st, is the last Rose on the Fairway at Willie Dunn’s where you can sip a crisp rose and try some delicious brunch specials.

  3. Head to Trout River Brewing Company in Springfield, VT on Saturday, August 31st for a Labor Day Party. There will be live music by the Blue Grasoles, along with pizza being served by Goodman’s American Pie!

  4. If you are looking to get out of the area this weekend, check out the Southern Vermont Garlic Festival in Bennington. This is one of my favorite festivals of the entire year with delicious food and booze options, along with awesome local craft vendors!

  5. Attend the last Jackson Gore Summer Music Series Concert this Friday, August 30th! The Blind Owl Band will be taking the stage from 6-9pm.

  6. 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! 

  7. Check out a show at the Weston Playhouse! “Who’s afraid of Virginia Wolf” is currently playing through August 31st!

  8. 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.

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

  10. Spend a day at the Okemo Valley Golf Course for a round of golf!

Summer Adventure in the Okemo Valley

Summertime is the best time for adventure. There are so many different kinds of adventures just waiting to be had, especially in our backyards in the Okemo Valley! Did you know that Okemo offers several summer activities that are fun for the whole family?

One of Okemo’s newest attractions and probably the most extreme adventure is the Evolution Bike Park. The Bike Park is located at the main base area of Okemo, where mountain bikes can be rented, along with helmets and other gear. The trail systems are placed throughout the lower mountain trails around the A and B Quads and extend from the top of the Sunburst Six (bubble chair). The lower trails are great for all kinds of riders, from beginning mountain bikers to serving as just a warm-up run for more experienced riders. There is still a trail from the top of the mountain, Scrambler, that is accessible for moderate riders, however, it is longer and takes more endurance. If you are looking for a more extreme trail ride, check out Shake and Bake! Another option is to hike to the top of Mountain Road and take a nice, long, coasting ride to the bottom! While you are at the top, enjoy the views and breathe in the fresh Vermont air!

Much of the summer adventure happens at Jackson Gore in the Adventure Zone! Here you will find anything from zip lining to miniature golf. One of my favorite activities is the Timber Ripper Mountain Coaster. This is similar to an alpine slide but on rails. Ride alone or with a friend! Another fun activity is the Segway Tour. These tours are available for all levels. Start with an introductory lesson or take the off-road tour. How often do you have the chance to ride a segway, so take advantage when you are in the area!

The most popular activities in the Adventure Zone are the Sawyer’s Sweep Zipline and the Haulback Challenge Course. Glide through Photo by Okemothe trees at 40 to 50 feet above the ground on a zipline tour with 7 different ziplines to complete. When you have finished ziplining, head to the Haulback Challenge Course for a fun adventure in the trees where you get to challenge your mind and body to complete several different obstacles.

If you are looking for a less extreme adventure, check out the Lumberin’ Cal Miniature Golf course or The Maples Disc Golf course. If you are looking to fill up the majority of your day, play some disc golf, which will bring you through the beautiful woods of Jackson Gore, but if you just want a quick activity, play some miniature golf!

There are so many adventures to be had, so don’t wait! Head to Okemo Mountain Resort today to start your first adventure!

Beer, Music, Food, and FUN!

It’s almost here, one of the biggest weekends of the summer in Ludlow, Vermont; Hops in the Hills! This awesome beer festival will be held this weekend, August 2nd-4th, at the Jackson Gore Courtyard on Okemo. The event runs Friday, 5-9pm, Saturday, 12-8pm, and Sunday, 11-5pm.

The 11th annual Hops in the Hills will have over 100 beers and ciders to taste and several worldly wines! There will be live music all weekend, food trucks, and several other craft and food vendors. The event truly is great for the entire family as the Jackson Gore Adventure Zone has many fun activities to try! Check out the Sawyer Sweep Zipline Tours, Segway PT Tours, Lumberin' Cal's Miniature Golf, Haulback Challenge Course and the Timber Ripper Mountain Coaster. Of course, don’t forget to come see us in the blue William Raveis Vermont Properties tent!

Now for the inside scoop on some of my personal favorite must try beers of the weekend! If you are a fan of IPA’s, Hops in the Hills is certainly the place to be because they have a great variety to choose from. I am a huge fan of pretty much everything from Stone Corral in Richmond, VT and you certainly can’t go wrong with Hipster Salad, which will be on tap at Hops in the Hills. This is a double IPA with a great citrusy aroma and fruity flavor. While it is 8.1%ABV, it is still a very drinkable beer! Another brewery that I am quite fond of, even though it isn’t based in Vermont, is the Maine Beer Company. I have yet to find a beer that I don’t like from them! The best IPA from them, in my opinion, is Another One, so be sure to check that out! This is a great summer IPA, dry and crisp, but with some great hoppy flavor!

If you are looking for something a little bit lighter in the pale ale variety, the Maine Beer Company will also have Mo and a tiny beautiful something, both great options! Another beer that is on the lighter side and the perfect summer beer is Harpoon’s, UFO Big Squeeze Shandy. If summer had a flavor, this would be it! Sticking with the fruit theme, you must also try Rutland Beer Works, Blueberry Blonde. If you try this at home, add a few fresh blueberries to it; I promise your taste buds will thank you!

While all these are great, a new trend is sour beer, and these certainly have my heart. Hops in the Hills is serving up some of the best sour beers you can find, so if you are unsure, make sure to try them out! A personal favorite of mine is the Dogfish Head, SeaQuench Ale. This is a refreshing summer beer that will make you feel like you are sitting on the Atlantic coast with the tartness of limes and a finish of sea salt. Another great Vermont beer is You Can’t Get There From Here by the Burlington Beer Company. This great fruity beer is a mix of dragon and passion fruit, what could be better?!

Each ticket option comes with three tasting tickets, some just samples and others full 16oz pours. However, more tickets can be purchased for additional tasting or for multiple day visits to Hops in the Hills. There are so many great beers, ciders, and wines to try, so be sure to choose wisely!

On another note, if you are looking to burn off some of those extra beverage calories, check out the Okemo Mountain School Penguin Pursuit 5K Walk/Run on August 3rd. You can pre-register for the event here for $25 or pay $30 the day-of. They will also have a registration table setup at Hops in the Hills on Friday evening! This is a fundraiser for the OMS Scholarship Fund, for students who need extra financial assistance to follow their dreams in competitive skiing or snowboarding. The event is taking place at OMS, 53 Main Street, in Ludlow; registration begins at 8:15am and the run starts at 9:15am. There is also a Kids Scavenger Hunt at 9am!

No matter what you choose to do this weekend, be safe and have fun!

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!

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!

William Raveis- The Event!

At the beginning of April, our Vermont Properties team attended the William Raveis Training Event at Mohegan Sun. This was an educational event for the entire company and included over 4,000 agents from all over New England and Naples and West Palm, Florida. Not only did our team learn a lot, they were also able to network with other agencies, which is always beneficial, especially when working in a town like Ludlow where there are so many second home buyers from states throughout New England.

The event included, but was not limited to luxury property trainings, internet response training, and managers training. There were also “breakout” sessions where agents were able to choose sessions that were most interesting and beneficial to them. Some of these included learning about digital market, going paperless, team building, and personal branding. The team was also able to be a part of presentations given by the Raveis family, along with the Keynote speaker, Tom Ferry.

The event was topped off with awards to the top performers within the company. We are always so very proud of our team, but it is also nice to be recognized for our efforts. This year our team at Vermont Properties was named the #1 Affiliate Team in Closed Volume Companywide and the #1 Affiliate Team in Closed Units Companywide! This wouldn’t be possible without all of our loyal customers and we thank you all so very much for supporting us and allowing us to buy and sell homes for you.

Our team at Vermont Properties feels so fortunate to be a part of such a wonderful company as William Raveis. They always go above and beyond for The Event and this year was no different. However, they go above and beyond everyday to make sure all of their agents feel like a team and have the knowledge they need to be successful. Thank you William Raveis!

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!