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Linda Brophy

State Parks in Southern Vermont

Summer is all about being outdoors and enjoying the beauty of nature. State parks offer some of the best hiking, camping and exposure to natural wildlife and plants you can find. Vermont has over 40 state parks to explore with unique things to do and see at each one. Looking for something fun to do when summer arrives? Put a trip to Vermont state parks, at the top of your list.

Vermont state parks provide great opportunities to learn about the outdoors and the natural environment around us. Kids can learn an early appreciation for nature and the importance of protecting our national and state parks and animals that call them home. Vermont state parks offer educational programs and tours for groups led by knowledgeable park rangers and staff, making state parks a natural classroom for learners of all ages.

Here's a list of Vermont state parks near Wilmington, VT.

Woodford State Park, Bennington, VT Open May 25 - October 8 Pets: yes Recommended activity: Bring or rent a kayak or canoe and paddle around Adams Reservoir. View pictures:

Molly Stark State Park, Wilmington, VT Open May 25 - October 8 Pets: yes Recommended activity: Hike to the Mt. Olga fire tower for amazing 360 degree views. View pictures:

Fort Dummer State Park, Brattleboro, VT Open May 25 - Sept 3 Pets: yes Recommended activity: Pack a picnic and bring a football or frisbee to play catch in the large open field. View pictures:

There's even a Vermont State Parks app for smartphones. So the next time you're out for a drive and looking for something to do, use the app to search for nearby parks. Browse parks by activities available, view maps of hiking trails, get phone numbers and contact information and even share your adventures with friends on Facebook.

One thing you won't need to search for is a great place to stay. You'll find plenty of nearby summer rentals, just a short drive from the park entrance.

Buy Local at Farmers' Markets in Vermont

It's no secret that the best tasting food is the kind you get straight from the garden. If you're not much of a gardener yourself, then farmers' markets are a great alternative to the grocery store. These markets are the best place to find fresh ingredients, organic produce and other local food that is grown and produced right down the road by neighbors and people you see everyday.

Fresh rainbow swiss chard. Photo: Brattleboro Area Farmers' Market.

Even if you're just learning how to garden, then farmers' markets can be a great place to learn from. Discover new plant and vegetable varieties, talk to farmers and even pick up seeds and starter plants to bring home. You might be surprised how willing farmers are to share tips and info, after all, they love gardening, too.

Farmers' markets are also a great community event, like a fair day that happens weekly from May through October. There's music, crafts, games for the kids, even massage demos and more that make it a fun reason to get out of the house. And there's always something good to eat. From freshly baked bread and confections, to fresh squeezed lemonade and free cheese samples, farmers' markets are a haven for foodies and localvores alike.

Fresh rainbow swiss chard. Photo: Brattleboro Area Farmers' Market.

Buying your vegetables at farmers' markets also helps to support local farmers and agriculture. Eating local food is healthier and more rewarding knowing that it came from a local garden and didn't travel half way across the country in the back of a truck. The next time you run out for a few dinner ingredients, cross a few things off your list by heading to the nearest farmers' market. Your taste buds will thank you.

Farmers' Markets near Chimney Hill:

Wilmington Farmers' Market Open: Saturdays, 10am - 3pm Where: 17 W. Main St., Wilmington, VT

Brattleboro Area Farmers' Market Open:  Wednesdays, 10am - 2pm; Saturdays, 9am - 2pm Where: Gibson-Aiken Center, Main Street (Wed); Rte. 9 West, West Brattleboro, VT (Sat)

Walloomsac Farmers' Market Open: Tuesdays, 3:30 - 6pm; Saturdays, 10am - 1pm Where: Bennington Station on Depot St, Bennington, VT

Manchester Farmers' Market Open: Thursdays, 3:30 - 6pm Where: Adams Park, Rt 7A North, Manchester, VT

Need a place to cook up your fresh veggies? Our summer vaction rentals have full kitchens and plenty of room for preparing your next fresh feast. (Just don't be surprised if the neighbors show up looking for a taste.)

Country Golf Clubs in Southern Vermont


When the winter thaws out, golfers everywhere dig out their golf bags, dust off their clubs and make haste for the nearest course to tee off the spring. Vermont offers a variety of unique and challenging country golf clubs set against the stunning backdrop of the green mountains. In addition, many of Vermont's ski areas and resorts offer golf, so skiers and snowboarders can trade in their winter jackets for a collared shirt and hit the resort golf courses in the off-season.

Vermont golf courses offer stunning views. Coutesy of Mount Snow Golf Club.

Forget flat and otherwise boring courses. Vermont golf courses are challenging and scenic with hole designs that can bogey even the seasoned pro. Need to improve your game? Golf instructors, pro shops, driving ranges and practice greens are widely available to help you work up to that hole-in-one.

Vermont golf courses offer stunning views. Coutesy of Mount Snow Golf Club.

New to the sport? Several Vermont golf courses offer golf camps for juniors and beginners to learn how to play golf.

Whether you're looking to play a leisurely game of 18 with friends on the weekend or just a lightning round on the back 9 during your lunch break, there's a course not far away. Here's a quick guide to finding the fairways and tee times near Brattleboro, Wilmington and Bennington, Vermont.

Mount Snow Golf Club, West Dover, VT Public welcome: Yes Greens fees (18-holes): $49 midweek w/ cart, $36 walking, $75 weekend Open: May - October (Top 5 in Vermont) Single Membership: Starts at $999

Haystack Golf Club, Wilmington, VT Public welcome: Yes Greens fees (18-holes): $55 (Mon-Fri), $85 (Sat-Sun) - Twilight deals after 3pm Open: May-November Single Membership: Starts at $1140 (walking)

Brattleboro Country Club, Brattleboro, VT Public welcome: Yes Greens fees (18-holes): $45.00 (Mon-Thur), $60 (Fri-Sun) Open: Late March-Nov Single Membership: Starts at $1495

Mt. Anthony Country Club, Bennington, VT Type: Public Open: April - November, 7 am to 8 pm Cost for 18-holes: $45 (Mon-Thur), $55 (Fri-Sun Single Membership: Starts at $1450

After a long day on the links come relax in one of our short-term vacation rentals,  just a short trip from the 18th green.


  1. Tanner Peduzzi on

    Open golf tournaments, such as the U.S. Open, are held to try and give amateurs the chance to break into the field of professional golf. Golfers participate in a series of smaller tournaments to qualify for the Open where they proceed to the big tournament where they compete against professionals. The last amateur to win a U.S. Open was back in 1933.,.. View all of the most current write-up on our very own blog site http://picturesofherpes.co

    Save on Spring Skiing in Vermont

    Spring marks a variety of celebrations. From warm weather, to new growth and the signs that summer is right around the corner. For skiers, spring time in Vermont means soft turns, warm sun and thanks to Puxatawney Phil seeing his shadow, that there's still plenty more days of skiing and snowboarding to enjoy.

    What better place to enjoy the sun than at Vermont's "Sun" mountain? Photo Courtesy of Bromley.

    When you can ski or ride all day in a t-shirt and sunglasses, even fall  once or twice without getting cold or hurt, there's not much that can get you down. The other great part of spring skiing and snowboarding in Vermont is the late season deals and discounts on ski vacations offered by ski resorts.

    Here's a few suggestions for great deals to check out for a spring ski vacation in Vermont.

    The Vernal Eternal at Mount Snow

    Every March the Vernal Equinox marks the arrival of spring. At Mount Snow it also marks the arrival of a great deal. The Vernal Eternal pass is an all-access pass to possibly the best six weeks of the season that are jam packed with events, music and obviously, plenty of spring skiing.

    Cost: $299 - good through the end of the season.

    Spring Loaded at Bromley Mountain

    It's not every day you can buy a lift ticket that comes pre-loaded with four days of skiing on it. Not to mention it can be reloaded endlessly through the end of the season. Best yet, if you don't get to use all the days before the snow melts, just use them to spring into the next ski season and use your remaining loaded days until December 21. A two-for-one season closer and opener. Now that's a bargain.

    Cost: $99, all ages. Includes 4-days. Reload with 4 additional days for $99. Good until December 21, 2012.

    The X2 at Stratton Mountain

    How about a cheap season pass that pays for itself in just one visit? The X-2 Card is the pass that pays you back. Save $30 off weekdays, $20 off weekends and $10 off holidays, plus get a free day just for buying the card. Don't waste money on days you won't get to use and never pay full price any day of your ski vacation.

    Cost: $89 includes one free day and discounts for every day.

    All this spring skiing and sun is sure to wear you out. Luckily we have a wide selection of short-term vacation rentals just a short drive from the sunny slopes.


    1. Patty Killion on

      […] and cute little animals, but if you’re like us you’ll gladly trade those for some exciting spring snow sports, cold brews, and kickin’ jams. And that’s exactly what to expect at Mount Snow this […]

      2012 Winter Brewers Festival at Mount Snow

      MARCH 20 UPDATE: The 2012 Mount Snow Winter Brewfest has been cancelled due to lack of snow.

      Mt Snow Brewfest 2012, winter edition, is coming. Get your drinkin' arm in shape.

      Officially titled the Winter Brewers Festival, this is the smaller, less raucous version of the summertime brewfest. But rest assured, the list of craft beers on tap is just as tantalizing. And the early April setting is almost always sunny and warm... a perfect way to end the ski season.

      Mt Snow Brewfest 2012 (Winter Edition) WHEN: Saturday, April 7, 2012. Noon to 5pm. WHERE: Mount Snow base area, West Dover, Vermont.

      About a dozen breweries, from Maine to Pennsylvania, will be pouring beer and hard cider. Beer aficionados come for the rare brews that are on tap, while more casual drinkers will appreciate old stand bys like Budweiser. Everyone gets a free 2012 Brewfest pint glass with admission.

      What's going to be on tap? Glad you asked...

      Mt Snow Brewfest 2012 Beer/Brewery List Allagash Anheiser Busch Berkshire Brewing Co Brooklyn Brewery Dogfish Head Harpoon Long Trail Magic Hat Northshire Brewery Old Burnside Brewing Otter Creek Red Hook Rock Art Shocktop Sierra Nevada Brewing Co Smuttynose Brewing Co Victory Woodchuck Ciders

      April 7 is also the date for the Mount Snow Glade-iator, an off-the-wall event held on Mount Snow's North Face. Skiers and riders test their skills, and their tolerance for pain, on the double black diamond trail Ripcord. Crashes are plentiful, and it's always a good time for spectators.

      The 2011 summer brewfest, scheduled for Labor Day weekend, was cancelled due to Hurriacane Irene's damage in the area. So this is the first brewfest at Mount Snow since last year's winter edition.

      If you're looking for Mt Snow area lodging during the event, we have plenty of short term vacation rentals available here at Chimney Hill (about a 10-minute drive from the brewfest area).

      Drink responsibly, and have a blast.

      Snow Touring on Vermont Snowmobile Trails

      It could be argued at that the best way to experience winter in Vermont is from the seat of a snowmobile. Winding through beautiful hillsides and flying across open fields in fresh snow at speeds over 50 miles per hour is a feeling like no other. Vermont snowmobile trails are expansive to say the least and some of the best riding in the state is right here in Wilmington.

      Snowmobilers know there's a sense of community that comes from mounting up on the leather seats of their Ski-Doo, Polarias or Arctic Cat sled. No matter what you ride, there's a bond shared by those who travel on snow. Snowmobile riders love to swap trail stories, share tips and brag about the top speed of their brand new machine. And whether you ride in a club with friends or prefer to hit the trail solo to explore the scenic backcountry, there's a wealth of riding on the vast network of Vermont snowmobile trails.

      VAST (Vermont Association of Snow Travelers) is an association responsible for the organization of the sport, maintaining and grooming Vermont snowmobile trails all throughout the state. It was formed nearly 40 years ago, so it's safe to say they know their way around. This makes them the best source for finding current and updated Vermont snowmobile trail maps as well as useful information on trail conditions, safety classes and clubs.

      Deerfield Valley Stump Jumpers maintain and groom the local trails in Wilmington. Photo Courtesy of DVSJ.

      There are dozens of Vermont snowmobile clubs like the Deerfield Valley Stump Jumpers, who are responsible for Wilmington trail maintenance. They also organize local events for snowmobilers in the area, like group rides and radar runs. So grab your snowgear, fire up the sled and go tour the miles upon miles of Vermont snowmobile trails this winter.

      The local VAST trails in Wilmington run right to the door of warm retreat of Chimney Hill's winter rental homes. There's nothing better after a cold day on the trail.


      1. Tim Minoughan on

        Hi, Were looking for homes in Chimney Hill and wanted to find out more about the VAST System. Thanks
        • Patty Killion on

          Hi Tim, portions of the VAST system do run through Chimney Hill, so if you own a home here or are staying in one, you have easy and direct access to the system. Our map has the VAST trails marked on it. To use the trails, you do need to have a VAST Trail Pass; more information on that can be found on the VAST website. Good luck with the search, and we look forward to welcoming you to the neighborhood.
          • Yasin on

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            A Beautiful Deal: Shopping Outlets in Vermont

            Vermont offers an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Whether it's to enjoy the ski areas, admire the views of fall foliage or just enjoy the slower pace of things, there is nothing more relaxing than a trip to the Green Mountain state. Sure, there may be less shopping malls and high-rise department stores, but there's no shortage of charming country stores and Vermont outlets to tour on a beautiful day.

            Vermont outlets offer more than just maple syrup. In fact, they're the best of both worlds; great discounts on name brand clothing, footwear, accessories and home goods, plus the gorgeous backdrop of rolling mountains and a country landscape. The deals are out there, it's just a matter of knowing where to find them.

            Here's a guide to great shopping at outlets in Vermont.

            Manchester Outlets, Downtown Manchester, VT

            HOURS: Monday - Saturday 10 am - 7 pm; Sunday 10 am - 6 pm

            BRANDS: Ann Taylor, Ben & Jerry's, Brooks Brothers, Crabtree & Evelyn, Escada, Giorgio Armani General Store, J. Crew, Jones New York, Kate Spade, Kenneth Cole, Not Your Daughter's Jeans, Polo Ralph Lauren, Theory, Yankee Candle and more.

            In addition to these great designer outlets, you'll find outdoor gear supply stores like The Mountain Goat and Eastern Mountain Sports. Plus, a huge selection of books, magazines, calendars and more at the Northshire Bookstore and cafe.

            On your way to the Vermont outlets in Manchester, swing through Bennington Potters to find beautiful and functional handmade stoneware pottery.

            Brattleboro Outlet Center, Exit 1, Brattleboro, VT

            HOURS: Monday - Thursday, Saturday 10 am - 6 pm; Friday 10 am - 7 pm; Sunday 10 am - 5 pm

            BRANDS: Bali, Bass Shoes, Carter's (kids), Cream of the Crop (consignment), Hanes, Leggs, Northeast Mountain Footwear, Playtex, Van Heusen

            Found something great at one of the Vermont outlets that needs a little tailoring? Bring it to Jumi for alterations, located right in the outlet center in Brattleboro.

            A long day of trying on new clothes can be tiring. Thankfully, the rental homes on Chimney Hill offer a comfortable place to relax, unpack and sift through the day's bounty. Plus, they're located in between the Brattleboro and Manchester, Vermont outlets.


            1. Patty Killion on

              […] shopping to do right up until the holiday itself. But if you swing by one of the region’s many shopping outlets and local shops, you’ll find gifts for the whole family at prices that won’t give you any New […]
              • Natalya on

                Howdy would you mind letting me know which hoinstg company you're using? I've loaded your blog in 3 completely different internet browsers and I must say this blog loads a lotfaster then most. Can you recommend a good web hoinstg provider ata reasonable price? Thanks, I appreciate it!

                Skiing and Snowboarding in Southern Vermont

                When Old Man Winter arrives in New England, the place to be is on the slopes during the ski season. Vermont offers a handful of legendary ski resorts all within a short distance of the New York and Massachusetts borders. Whether you're a first time skier or snowboarder, or a seasoned pro, Vermont ski resorts offer a variety of terrain for all abilities. Use this guide to find your way to some of the best sliding on snow the Green Mountains have to offer.

                Vermont ski resorts have world-class grooming. Photo: Mount Snow.

                Mount Snow, West Dover, VT Getting there: Mount Snow is located just north of the town of Wilmington on Route 100.

                What to expect: Extensive and constantly upgraded snowmaking, featuring the latest in fan gun technology. The only all terrain park mountain face on the east coast, Carinthia Parks and a high-speed six-person bubble chair lift -- one of only two in the country.

                Stratton Mountain, Stratton, VTGetting there: The Stratton Mountain access road is located off of Route 30 in Bondville, VT.

                What to expect: High-end amenities at a challenging mountain. Known for a long history in the snowboarding world, Stratton is home to the annual US Open Snowboarding Championship. Stratton Village has a variety of winter gear, food and craft shopping.

                Vermont ski resorts have world-class grooming. Photo: Mount Snow.

                Magic Mountain, Londonderry, VT Getting there: Magic Mountain is settled just a few miles east of Londonderry proper on Route 11.

                What to expect: A rugged little "no frills" mountain with a friendly vibe that's a throwback to the essence of skiing the east. Challenging terrain that can't be beaten on a powder day.

                Bromley Mountain, Peru, VT Getting there: Head east out of Manchester, VT on Route 11/30. Continue straight on 11 and you can't miss it.

                What to expect: Gorgeous southern exposure at Vermont's "sun" mountain. Smaller than nearby Stratton, which means less crowds and better conditions throughout "busy" days. Anyone up for Zip-lining?

                Vermont ski resorts have world-class grooming. Photo: Mount Snow.

                Okemo Mountain Resort, Ludlow, VT Getting there: Take exit 6 off I-91 and follow Route 103 North to the town of Ludlow, VT. The access road is in the center of the village.

                What to expect: The most vertical drop in southern Vermont (2,200 ft.) and a great place to bring the family. Accessible terrain for all abilities with luxurious amenities and Vermont's only alpine roller coaster at Jackson Gore.

                After a long day of skiing and snowboarding on the slopes, warm up in one of our many winter rental homes, located just a few miles from the base of Mount Snow.


                1. Patty Killion on

                  […] day is over, the good times go on. There are tons of things to do in southern Vermont, including skiing at the famous Mount Snow, just a few minutes away from Wilmington. Many Vermont ski resorts are open on Christmas Day as […]
                  • Patty Killion on

                    […] everyone else is sunning on the beach, you can catch some rays on the slopes while carving turns at Vermont ski resorts. Spring skiing and snowboarding is a favorite part of the changing seasons in Vermont. The […]

                    5 Tips to Survive the Tough Mudder at Mount Snow

                    One look at the competitors from Tough Mudder New England and it's no surprise the event is hailed as 'probably the toughest event on the planet'. After 10 miles of crawling through mud, swimming in icy water and conquering obstacles who wouldn't be wearied, battered and well, mud-covered? But despite the promise of cold, discomfort and certain electrocution, every year more and more competitors flock to this event when it visits the slopes of Mount Snow.

                    It is by no means easy, but it can be done. The question is how do you survive?

                    For an insider's perspective we consulted three brothers, and veteran Mount Snow Tough Mudders, to get their tips for how to prepare both mentally and physically for this grueling event. Here are their five tips for surviving the Tough Mudder at Mount Snow.

                    1. Squats are your friend. Mt. Snow's terrain is the quad-burning-calf-tearing type that makes you want to chop your legs off. It's all about muscle fatigue, not brute strength.

                    2. If you want to be "competitive" you'll need an iron core. You need stamina, good legs and great company. Follow the Tough Mudder exercise plan with your team and work as one.

                    3. Train outdoors. Spending long on the treadmill or pumping iron in the gym won't prepare you for running up a mountain -- running up a mountain will. Training in the city? Run up a lot of hills. Once that gets easy run up even more hills with some weight on your back.

                    4. Get used to the cold. Take frigid showers, ice baths or run in the snow naked. Whatever it takes to make wading through icy mud pools feel refreshing.

                    5. Have some fun. Don't worry about time. The Tough Mudder is about helping your friends, teammates and other participants finish, oh yeah and drinking beer!

                    Thanks guys, and good luck in the next challenge.

                    Spectators can take up a spot on the sidelines to watch the competitors and cheer them on. After all, they need all the support they can get.

                    Even tough guys and gals need a soft place to lay their weary bodies after this greuling event. Lucky for Mudders, we have a great selection of short-term rentals located just a short, mud-free hike from the course.


                    1. Patty Killion on

                      […] among that elite group of athletes, there’s no better place to prove your skills than at Tough Mudder New England on the slopes of Mount Snow. But the fun doesn’t have to stop once you’ve washed the […]

                      Chimney Hill Owners Raise Money for Deerfield Valley

                      Tom and Susan Byrne have been Chimney Hill owners for over ten years. Throughout the years they have enjoyed sharing the "Vermont experience" with friends and family. When they heard news of the Irene flood and it's devastating impact on our area, they started a fundraiser to help raise money for the rebuilding efforts in Wilmington and the Mount Snow Valley. We are so thankful to have such an awesome community here on the Hill.

                      Susan and John Byrne of A1 Howe's Loop at the "donation table."

                      "On November 19th, thirty of our family and friends gathered at our home in Edison to enjoy dinner, share Vermont stories and raise money for Wilmington. Over the ten years that John and I have been Chimney Hill owners, many friends have joined us to enjoy ski weekends, leaf peeping, hiking, swimming, kayaking, the fresh air, starlit skies and beautiful mountains. Of course, these visits always included some shopping time in Wilmington and some excellent dinners in restaurants throughout the valley.

                      When the flooding caused by Irene devastated Wilmington, we were heartsick. We watched the news, checked the Wilmington website regularly and followed updates provided by CHOA. John and I wanted to do something to help. One night over dinner, an idea for a fundraiser grew.

                      Our guest list included anyone that had visited our home in Chimney Hill. A minimum donation for couples or families was recommended. We had a poster listing three charities and we ran a continuous slide show of flood pictures next to the donation envelopes. That was very motivating! I bought some T shirts at Down in the Valley (and they donated a blanket) and I asked a nephew to sell raffle tickets. By evening's end, we had raised $1,012.00 which was distributed to the Town of Wilmington, to the Deerfield Valley Fund and to the Deerfield Valley Human Web.

                      Bill Walker of Point Pleasant,N.J., won a Vermont T shirt in the raffle.

                      The party was great. Our friends brought food, their checkbooks, their good spirits and Vermont stories. It's always fun to talk about a cold winter weekend with no power when it's a distant memory. We all had lots of fun and felt good giving back to the places and people that have given us so much pleasure and such good times."

                      Article and Photos by Susan Byrne.

                      Thanks Susan, we couldn't have put it better ourselves.

                      • P.O. BOX 415, 9 Haystack Road, Wilmington VT 05363