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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!

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!

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!

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!

 

Nothing Says Vermont like a SNOW DAY!

    The internet is inundated with information regarding winter storm, Harper, that is coming to New England this weekend and it looks like Vermont is going to get the best of it! On any given weather channel, the Okemo Valley is projected to get between 18 inches and 3 feet of snow before Monday. Nothing says Vermont like a snow day and we already have your whole day planned for you!

    Since the snow is supposed to start Saturday evening, that means there is bound to be EPIC powder Sunday morning. Even though it is a snow day, that doesn’t mean you should sleep in. You know the old saying, “The mountains are calling and I must go”? Well, Okemo will certainly be calling your name and you are going to want to get the first tracks of the day! If you are an experienced skier, make sure to take advantages of the woods trails because they aren’t always in prime condition. My favorite place to ski on powder days is on the South Side, playing in knee deep snow on Loose Spruce and Forest Bump. However, if you aren’t as experienced, don’t worry, every trail on Okemo will be in excellent condition on Sunday.

    We all know that powder skiing or snowboarding can take a lot out of us, so if you aren’t able to stay on the mountain all day, that’s okay. Some of the best snow day activities can be had from the comforts of your own home. So, spend the morning at Okemo and then go home to relax in the afternoon. Before you do, make sure you stop at the store and get hot chocolate and maple syrup, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

    Once you are home, get into some comfy clothes, make that hot chocolate (add some Baileys), and if you are lucky, curl up in front of your fireplace. If you don’t have a fireplace, find the coziest blanket you have and find the best spot on the couch. Turn on Netflix and find a movie or that TV show you have been waiting to binge watch. Spend a couple hours relaxing and warming up from your morning on the hill.

    Don’t spend too long though, because that snow is still calling your name. When is the last time you built a snowman? I am here to tell you that you are NEVER too old to play in the snow. Get on your snow gear and head outside. You can drag along your family or friends and see who can build the best snowman, or make it a team effort to make one giant snowman.

    Before you head inside, find some clean snow because you must make Maple Sugar on Snow! Recruit someone to go inside and heat up maple syrup on the stove until it reaches 235 degrees, while the other person fills a pan with hard packed snow. Once you reach the correct temperature, drizzle it over the snow and enjoy this legendary Vermont treat.

    If you are still looking for fun filled activities to do on your snow day, you should pull out those old dusty board games or card games. We know life is usually too busy to do this, so take the time to enjoy a game or two with family or friends. I will also be spending the afternoon in the hot tub because nothing is more magical than sitting in a hot tub in a snowstorm.

    What is the best thing about snowstorm Harper? Well, it falls on a holiday weekend! Which means, you get to wake up Monday morning and repeat all of your favorite snow day activities! Please share your favorite things to do in a snowstorm with us!

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!