summer in Vermont

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!

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!

Dining in Ludlow - Part 2!

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

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

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

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

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

    

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

 

Dining in Ludlow- Part One!

    Ludlow has some of the best dining in all of Vermont and now is the perfect time to try out the various restaurant options! Most of our restaurants feature local ingredients and as the season is changing from summer to fall, the menus will also be changing to offer some delicious seasonal items. Read on to learn about some of our favorite spots!

    One of the most sought after restaurants in Ludlow is The Downtown Grocery, or as locals refer to it, TDG. The restaurant is owned by Vermont native, Chef Rogan Lechthaler, and his Southern wife, Abby Lechthaler. Together they have created a casual fine dining experience where the servers wear plaid, but the menu depicts food that makes you feel like you are eating the best that any big city has to offer, while using local ingredients. The menu has great staples, but the best items come from a specials board that is constantly changing. Whether you are looking for a Pimento Cheese Burger, House Made Gnocchi, or a frequent special of Shrimp and Grits, you will not be disappointed. Tip- MAKE RESERVATIONS!

Right across the street from TDG, is Stemwinder, an apres ski favorite. Stemwinder began with a vision from two local women, Wendy Neal and Leslie Stuart, both of which are major supporters of our Ludlow community. The idea behind the restaurant is to have good wine and craft beer with a diverse selection of small plates. They always use local ingredients and you can bet that their menu is constantly changing with the seasons. If you are new to the area, you need to try the Cheese & Meat Board that has some of the BEST local offerings you can find in Ludlow.

    A Vermont Properties favorite that we frequent quite often is Homestyle Hostel. This cute and quaint hostel, located in the heart of Ludlow is now well-known all over Vermont thanks to the creative Chef, Alyssa Prouty. Just like Stemwinder, they have a wide variety of small plates that are perfect to share with your family and friends. We highly recommend ordering many options and trying as much as possible because it is all delicious! The menu is always new and always has the best ingredients that you can find in Vermont. If you are looking for a place to stay, Homestyle Hostel is also a great option, or head across the street to their sister property, Main + Mountain, for a more traditional stay and the best cocktails in all of Ludlow.

    Moving into its second year of being open is Mama’s, also owned by the Lechthaler’s. Mama’s features all hand made Italian food that makes you feel like you are sitting in a piazza in Italy. Mama’s is open for lunch and dinner, both of which we highly recommend. For an afternoon pick me up, try the Arancini or a classic Italian Sandwich. For dinner, start with the Caprese Not Really. I have had a lot of caprese, but nothing compared to this delicious dish. You can’t leave Mama’s without a glass (or two) of wine. Abby Lechthaler is passionate about serving only the best wine and is always willing to help you find your new favorite. So, as autumn moves in, try out Mama’s for some incredible comfort food.

    We could go on and on for days about all of the restaurant options in Ludlow, but we will stop here...for now! Stay tuned next week for PART TWO of our favorite dining experiences! Let us know your favorite local hot spot!

 

Summer Bucket List- Don't Wait!

Top 10 Things to do Before Summer Ends

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hops in the Hills!

We are proud to once again be sponsoring the Hops in the Hills Beer and Wine Festival at Okemo Mountain Resort! This year’s festival marks the 10th anniversary and will take place August 3rd-5th in the Jackson Gore Courtyard. They are anticipating having over 100 regional beers on tap, along with a selection of wine, food trucks, and craft vendors!

Festival Hours:
Friday, August 3- 5 to 9pm
Saturday, August 4- 12 to 8pm
Sunday, August 5- 11am to 5pm

Some of the breweries that will be represented are Frost Beer Works, Lost Nation Brewing, Sea Dog Brewing, and Fiddlehead Brewing. Of course, if you read our blog last week, you know we love some of the local favorites that will be represented, as well; Long Trail Brewery, Harpoon, Trout River Brewing Company, and Rutland Beer Works.

Don’t miss out on the selection of food trucks! If you are familiar with American Pie, a local favorite pizza joint, you will have to check out their pizza truck with a built in wood fired pizza oven. Another favorite is Squeels on Wheels with delicious barbeque. On Saturday, August 4th, Okemo will also hold their annual chicken wing championship during the festival. The Killarney will be returning to defend their Peoples’ Choice Championship and Willie Dunn’s Grille will be returning to defend their Best Wing Title.

On top of Hops in the Hills, the Adventure Zone will also be open with fun for the whole family! Take your pick of riding the Timber Ripper Mountain Coaster, playing Lumberin' Cal's Miniature Golf, swinging through the trees on a Sawyer Sweep Zipline Tours, competing with friends on the Haulback Challenge Course, or taking a Segway PT Tour.

The festival wouldn’t be complete without music! See below for the full lineup:
Friday, August 3rd:
5-9pm  East Coast Soul

Saturday, August 4th:
12-2pm North and South Dakota’s
2:30-5pm Rek’Lis
5:30-8pm Nine Deeez Nite

Sunday, August 5th
11:30am-1:30pm Los Elk
2-5pm Josh Panda
 

Click here to purchase your tickets!

Click here to purchase a lodging packing for the Jackson Gore Inn that includes festival tickets!

Vermont Beer is the BEST Beer!

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

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

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

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

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

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