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Blog :: 2012

Ice Skating in Vermont

Remember the first time you went ice skating as a kid? It was a magical (if not butt-bruising) experience. When the winter Olympics were on TV you idolized champion figure skaters like Dorothy Hamill or Michelle Kwon (depending on your generation). Or, on the flip side, you were a hockey lover through and through. You took to the local pond with a couple of friends, some make-shift goals and enjoyed heated matches of stick and puck until your parents called you home for dinner. Don't let your skates hang in the closet collecting dust any longer. You'll find a number of skating rinks in Vermont for getting on the ice at any age.

It doesn't matter if you're more of a Wayne Gretzky or a Scott Hamilton fan, ice rinks embody that timeless connection to our childhood and will bring back memories of your first days skimming across the glassy surface. Here's a guide to set your compass by and find your way to a skating rink near Wilmington.

To the East:

Nelson Withington Skating Facility, Brattleboro, VTPerched on the hill behind Living Memorial Park, the skating rink offers regular public skating as well as sticking hours. Rentals and lessons are available, along with speed skating and there's even a figure skating club that meets on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

To the North:

Riley Rink at Hunter Park, Manchester Center, VT The Riley Rink offers programs for students, parents and kids alike. Adult and youth hockey leagues compete throughout the winter season. Looking to try something new?The rink hosts a few non-traditional on-ice activities like curling and broomball.

Youth hockey at Riley Rink

To the South:

Peter W. Foote Vietnam Veterans Skating Rink, North Adams, MA Just a short ride below the Vermont/Massachusetts border, the North Adams Skating Rink has a large indoor facility, professionally maintained and with a freestyle, public, speed and stick skating sessions to meet the needs of every ice-lover. Pop over to MASS MoCA while you're in the neighborhood to warm up and tour the contemporary art exhibits on display.

Right here: Birchwood Recreation Skating Area, Wilmington, VT (pictured at top). Located right here in the Chimney Hill community, our uncovered outdoor skating rink provides the traditional pond-style skating you grew up with. Open to owners and guests only. 9AM to 10PM.

For the closest access to ice skating and stick and puck action throughout the winter, there's no better option than one of our long term winter rental homes. So close you could practically figure eight from the rink to your door.


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      How to Ski or Snowboard for Cheap at Mount Snow

      There's no getting around it, skiing in Vermont is an expensive hobby. But it doesn't always have to be. With a little help (you're welcome) savvy skiers and riders can save big on their turns at Mount Snow this season. Here's to being thrifty.

      1. Founder's Day -- December 12, 2012 Birthday parties are always fun, especially when it means you can ski or ride for dirt cheap. On Mount Snow's birthday, known as Founders Day, they're offering $12 lift tickets for advance purchase online (limit 1,000) only. Make haste.

      2. Season Pass Holder Bring-a-Friend Fridays Got a friend with a season pass to Mount Snow? Tag along on any non-holiday Fridays this year for a discounted lift ticket. Adults are $50, Youth (6-18 years) & Seniors are $29. Offer valid for one guest per passholder. Not Valid on Dec. 28, 2012 and February 17, 2013.

      3. St. Patty's Day Special -- March 17, 2013 Purchase tickets online for Mount Snow's annual St. Paddy's Day Celebration 48 hours in advance and pay just $17. A great day of spring skiing is complemented with live music, green eggs and ham, and of course, beer. Lot's of it. It wouldn't be a proper Irish holiday without it.

      4Buy Online and Save When was the last time planning ahead gave you a disadvantage? Skiing is no different. If you've got a long weekend or some stored up sick days, purchase your multi-day lift tickets online and save as much as $50 on a 3-day Adult pass compared to buying daily tickets at the window.

      5. Discounts for Military personnel To thank our service men and women, Mount Snow continues the tradition of a $10 discount on full-price single day lift tickets for any active AND retired military personnel with a valid military ID. This offer is good any day of the year, no blackouts.

      Additionally, Mount Snow will present any military personnel (with valid ID) a free FANFare Card ($79 value), good for savings of 50% on midweek, 25% on weekend, or 10% on holiday single & multi-day lift ticket prices.

      As always, all kids ages 5 & under ski free any day at Mount Snow.

      Now that you've got your tickets, all that's left is a place to crash after your day(s) on the slopes. You didn't think we'd leave you hanging, right? Check out our listings of long and short-term southern Vermont real estate rentals, available all winter long. Located just 15 minutes from the base of Mount Snow.


      1. Patty Killion on

        […] for you, there are a number of ways to get discounted Mount Snow lift tickets throughout the ski and snowboard season. We’ve put together a guide on some of the best ways […]

        Nordic and Cross Country Skiing in Vermont

        For being known as the Green Mountain state, Vermont sure pins a lot of its tourism and success on the skiers and riders that frequent the state's snow-covered slopes in winter. But downhill, or alpine skiing isn't for everyone. Sure there's other activities you can do at Vermont ski areas, but sometimes you just want to retreat into nature and get away from it all. Cross country skiing offers a perfect escape from the masses and a great chance to connect with Vermont's picturesque landscape.

        It's a little known fact that Vermont offers nearly as much for the cross country skier as it does to mogul junkies and apline skiers those with the need for speed. More than two dozen nordic ski centers located throughout the state provide hundreds of kilometers of machine groomed cross country ski trails for sliding along while admiring breathtaking mountain views.

        Southern Vermont alone is home to a handful of nordic ski centers with meandering, well-maintained trail networks that explore the surrounding forest. Snowshoers will also find an abundance of fresh snow to break on well-marked trails through the woods. Many nordic centers even have rental departments that can outfit you with all the necessary gear for a great day.

        If you're looking for a leg-burning workout this winter, without the hassle of lift lines, crowded parking lots and hunting for cheap lift tickets, then head to one of these great nordic centers near Wilmington.

        1. Timber Creek, West Dover, VT Located just down Rte. 100 from Mount Snow, Timber Creek offers 14km of cross country ski trails and 4km of new snowshoe trails along with a restaurant and lodge on-site to warm up between laps.

        2. Prospect Mountain, Woodford, VT Less than a 30 minute drive from Wilmington proper on the scenic Molly Stark By-Way (Rte. 9), Prospect Mountain cross-country ski center boasts the highest base elevation of any Nordic ski area in the state and a combined 45km of tracked and skating terrain for nordic explorers.

        3. Brattleboro Outing Club, Brattleboro, VT Just up the road from bustling downtown with great shopping and intimate cafes, sits the Brattleboro Outing Club Hut where friends and family meet to ski. Open weekends and holidays with 33km of terrain, lessons and rentals available.

        After a long day of swooshing through the woods, hang up the skis and soothe your aching muscles with a long hot bath at one of our winter rental homes. You won't even have to break trail to get here.


        1. Patty Killion on

          […] you can also enjoy some of Vermont’s less traditional snowsports, including snowshoeing, nordic and cross country skiing, and tubing. There are plenty of activities for you to try out, without the lift lines and crowds […]

          Ski and Snowboard Tuning Shops Near Mount Snow

          Ski and snowboard season is just around the corner,  which means equipment tuning should be at the top of your pre-season checklist -- right behind buying a season pass or taking note of all the special lift ticket deals of course. After 8 months of sitting in the closet, the attic or inside a board bag, odds are your gear will need a thorough going-over. But tuning yourself can be a pain. You've got to have the right tools, a good work space where you won't be melting wax onto your living room rug, and a pretty good idea of what you're doing. If you don't, you can end up doing serious damage to your equipment. So consider what's worse: sucking it up and taking your stuff to a pro or having to resort to rental equipment because you filed your edges off?

          Thankfully, here in the Mount Snow Valley, skiing and snowboarding is kind of a big deal. There's a wide selection of ski shops to call on when the sliding gets slow or just to get a pre-pow-day checkup. After all, there's nothing worse than sticking to the snow because your base is bone dry or catching an edge because they've got walnut-sized burrs rusted onto them. A visit to one of these professional ski and snowboard doctors will get you set up and ensure you're sliding effortlessly on snow this season.

          First Trax Sports Shop - Catering to the four-seasons of the active lifestyle, they offer a full service repair and tuning center. Rough edges to core shots from early season conditions, the technicians at First Trax will be able to repair and tune your skis and boards to get you ripping down the North Face at Mount Snow in no time.

          Dover Sports Center - When you ski or ride hard, it's impossible to know when something on your setup might give. Not only will the Dover Sports Center get you waxed and sharpened for the season, but they offer custom boot fitting and other gear for sales

          Mountain Riders - A shop for boarders, run by boarders. These guys understand the best tuning setups for park riders versus all-mountain shredders, so if you're looking to go big, go pay 'em a visit.

          Grind at Mount Snow - Unlike when it comes to ski rentals, sometimes the on-mountain tune shop is the way to go. For quick adjustments between runs the convenience is hard to beat. If a surprise storm is supposed to roll in and drop a foot of powder, being able to pick up a freshly waxed setup on the way to first chair is ideal. Plus, should things get rocky in the early, or late conditions, a full base grind in their professional Montana robotic grinder might be just what the doctor ordered.

          When you've beat on your equipment all day, drop it by one of the shops for an overnight and head to one of our winter rental homes, just a short hop from the shop doors.


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            Where to Buy Christmas Trees in Vermont

            The Christmas Tree is a true icon of the holiday season. But every year, people scramble to find the perfect tree. Starting to look early, like the end of foliage season, is great, but it also helps to know where to look and what to look for. Since we can't just go lopping down any ol' tree we like in the forest (there's laws against that kind of thing), we look to professional tree growers and Vermont Christmas Tree farms to find the perfect holiday decoration to fill the living room and watch over Santa's bounty.

            Vermont is home to many Christmas Tree farms where you can also find wreaths, yule logs, christmas balls and all the ornaments necessary to bring good tidings around the holidays. We've all heard horror stories about trees flying off car roofs on the interstate, dropping all their needles before Christmas eve or looking like something that would show up in a Charlie Brown comic. That's where the professional tree growers come in. They know theses things from their roots to their needles and can help you pick out the best tree that will make your holiday celebration complete.

            Here's a few tips of what to look for when tree shopping and where to buy Christmas Trees in Vermont.

            SIZE AND SHAPE: Aside from picking a tree that has a nicely rounded, full shape, it's good to pick out one that's not too big for the room where you'll be putting it. Otherwise you'll be left hacking away at your perfect tree, just to make it fit.

            TYPES: The Balsam Fir is the traditional Christmas tree of New England, known for its aromatic, soft needles and excellent needle retention (less maintenance). The needles are a deep green and have the fragrance that we associate with Christmas. Fraiser Firs are very similar with a slightly different needles for a more decorative look. Blue Spruces are an other commonly preferred Christmas Tree for their soft needles and good retention.

            BUY LOCAL: It's a good idea to order or pick out your tree early. Elysian Hills Tree Farm in Dummerston, Vermont holds a special event where can actually visit your tree ahead of time, tag it and come back before the holiday to pick it up, chopped and ready to go.

            Boyd Family Farm in Wilmington opens their Wreath Barn just before Thanksgiving to provide wreath making demonstrations and allow you to customize your wreath with bows and decorations to send as a gift. Plus, they've got a big selection of fresh cut VT Christmas Trees for sale. They even deliver in the valley.

            Match the perfect tree with one of our warm and cozy rental homes and you'll have the recipe for a perfect holiday celebration.


            1. Patty Killion on

              […] stately pines make for beautiful forests, and they also make ideal Christmas trees. You can find many local tree farms that will be happy to provide you with a sustainably-grown tree. Most have several varieties […]
              • Bill Nicholas on

                Looking for a buyer of Christmas tree brush. I have 2000 trees that I'm looking to get rid of.

                Getting (and staying) Fit for the Ski Season

                It happens every year. When mid April rolls around, we hang up our skis and pack away the gloves, jackets and thermal base layers to make room for swimsuits, shorts and sandals. Along with the outwear and sports equipment, a lot of us hang up our workout programs as well. Skiing is a great source of exercise, we're not arguing otherwise, but staying in shape in the off season is an equally important part of preparing for the ski season to come. Here's some tips for defining your ski season workout.

                Skiing in Vermont is one of those sports that engages a lot of different muscles in a single top-to-bottom run. And if you ski like Bode Miller, we might be talking less than a minute here. That's an aggressive workout to say the least, so in training it's important to focus on flexibility and stamina versus brute strength. Some strength is definitely important, but improving balance and endurance is what will help keep you charging the hill until last chair.

                1.  Start with some cardio. Biking, running, or using an elliptical or stationary bike will help to get your heart rate up while you can work on breathing. It's important your heart and lungs are in shape before you try for a long day on the slopes. Vary up the length and intensity of your workout a few times a week.

                2. Build some strength. There's no universal ski workout that works for everyone. It's important to train the muscles you'll be engaging most on your skis and focus on your weaker areas. Following a Tough Mudder workout wouldn't be a bad place to start.

                A few places to start... Squats and lunges are a great way to work your quadriceps. Deadlifts with some weights or a medicine ball will strengthen your hamstrings and glutes. Calve raises can also help your downhill posture. Box jumps will improve your explosive power for crushing the moguls on Mount Snow's Beartrap trail. And don't forget your back and arms, they're a key part of maintaining good form on the slopes.

                3. Don't forget to relax. Part of exercising, and skiing, is knowing when to stop and getting plenty of rest. This helps to avoid injury and ensure you'll be ready for first chair on the next big powder day.

                If you need a place to rest after a long day on the hill, we've got a great selection of winter rental homes, just a short hop from the lift line.

                Top 5 Vermont Fall Activities to do Before Winter

                There's a common saying about Vermont weather -- "Don't like it? Wait five minutes." Just as the forecast is known to change drastically in the Green Mountains, the seasons are also known to change dramatically and over, what seems every year, a very short time. This is especially noticeable when it comes to fall in Vermont. The transition to cold weather always seems to catch some people off guard and underprepared.

                Not only are there important and practical to-do's that must be tended to, but also a handful of fun and enjoyable fall activities that no one should miss out on. Here's a list of the top 5 Vermont fall activities to check off before Old Man Winter arrives.

                1. Get out and enjoy the fall foliage The Green Mountains are renowned for having some of the most colorful and eye-catching foliage colors in the country. Every year thousands of leaf-peepers flock to the valleys, riversides and covered bridges to capture and immortalize these breathtaking images. Savvy 'peepers visit Vermont ski resorts to ride the chairlift and get a birds-eye view or hike to hidden fire towers dotted among the state's many vistas to admire the fall color palette at its finest.

                2. Stack some Firewood There's a long-standing romance between Vermont and firewood. Not only does it serve as the primary source of heat for many homes, but everything from the cutting and splitting, to the stacking and burning represents a feeling of accomplishment and the time-honored tradition of living off the land. Plus, nothing compares to the thawing warmth of gathering near the wood stove on a cold Vermont winter night.

                3. Go apple picking Vermont harvest season is a necessary part of shifting from fall to winter and apple picking is one of the best parts. Wandering the orchard rows is a great activity to do with kids and the reward is crisp, juicy and delicious. Mmmm, cider donuts.

                4. Winterize your home As the nights cool, it's important to start checking your heating system, clean the chimney and close the storm windows to ensure your home stays toasty and efficient throughout the winter. Here's a great winter checklist to complete before the snow flies.

                5. Attend an Oktoberfest or other fall festival Despite the many responsibilities we have when winter in Vermont is approaching, it's important to remember that fall is time for celebration. Summer has passed, the harvest is done and there's a wealth of fresh food, and beer, to enjoy. The Mount Snow Oktoberfest is a great place to sample some of the finest fall brews and browse a bevy of artisan crafts to add some fall flavor to your home.

                Want to enjoy fall without the work? Visit one of our Vermont rental homes and leave the wood stacking and winterizing to us.

                At Long Lederhosen, Oktoberfest is Returning to Mount Snow

                Time for a little word association. Ready? Here we go.

                Lederhosen. Polish buffet. Beer. Keg toss. Crafts. Polka music. If any, or all, of those made you think Oktoberfest at Mount Snow, you're absolutely right. If not, then the answer to the next question should be a no-brainer. Where are you going to be on Oktober 6-7, 2012? Oktoberfest at Mount Snow. Very good.

                Come hungry, and thirsty, because after 14 years of hosting Oktoberfest, Mount Snow knows how to throw one heck of a "Feier"... that's German for celebration. For their 15th annual fall festival the base area will be packed with family-friendly Aktivitäten... you guessed it, activities. (Look at you speaking German all of a sudden.) That's right, just because there will dozens of craft beer vendors sampling their seasonal nectars, doesn't mean the kiddies can't join in the fun.

                Children's activities include a variety of arts and crafts, pumpkin painting, face painting, a hay pile, and the new favorite "schnitzel toss."  Adult activities will, of course, include sipping on locally and regionally brewed Oktoberfest ales, the keg-toss challenge, horseshoe tournament and stein holding competition. A favorite festival event that be returning is The Apple Sling Shot along with the new event known as the one man saw. Everyone can enjoy delectable German-inspired foods like brats, schnitzels, wursts and plenty of sauerkraut, and dance to live polka music that will fill the village air.

                Want to get a different perspective on the Oktoberfest festival? Take a scenic lift ride to the summit to enjoy a birds-eye-view of the breathtaking fall foliage the Mount Snow Valley has to offer. Back at the base, over 40 artisans and craftsmen from across New England will have fine hand-crafted furniture, art and more to browse and purchase if you desire.

                Once you've had your fill of Oktoberfest (ale, food, music or atmosphere), retire to one of our vacation rentals, hang up your "dirndl" and slip off to dream land.


                1. Juan on

                  hi! im in karlsruhe for the year as an au pair as well and I just got here a liltte over a week ago. its been kinda lonely and boring so far. does it get better? right now im trying to take things in short goals, like in 2 months ill see how I feel and if I'll want to go back home to chicago. what are your thoughts? did you ever feel like you werent going to survive a WHOLE YEAR? ahhh its so daunting.

                  Pumpkin Festivals Let Their Light Shine

                  New England would be remiss if it didn't celebrate the arrival of fall. Fall festivals, jaw-dropping foliage colors and apple cider are just a few of the well-known ways we mark the change in seasons. But where would fall be without its iconic harvest crop -- the pumpkin? Imagine Thanksgiving Day without pumpkin pie or Halloween without jack-o-lanterns. It just wouldn't be right. That's where the annual Keene Pumpkin Festival comes in.

                  The Keene Pumpkin Festival is an internationally-known fall festival that honors the beloved orange orb with the most impressive collection of carvings you've ever seen. People flock from miles, states and even countries away to witness, and contribute to, one of the nation's largest pumpkin collections. For over twenty years, pumpkin festival lovers have gathered in downtown Keene, New Hampshire to combine their finely carved jack-o-laterns in the ultimate fall celebration.

                  The Keene Pumpkin Festival even held the Guiness World Record for the Most Lit Jack-O'-Lanterns Displayed. Its record of 28,000 pumpkins was later broken by a fall festival in Boston, Massachusetts that tallied 30,128 jack-o-lanterns. That's a lot of hours carving faces and scooping out seeds. So now there's even more reason to visit the Keene Pumpkin Festival and help to reclaim the world record. (Just don't forget your pumpkin.)

                  WHERE: Downtown Keene, New Hampshire WHEN:  October 20, 2012, Noon-8:30pm

                  Not only is the Keene Pumpkin Festival a popular local tradition, but it's one of those great family-friendly activities to do with kids. Kids (of all ages) can preview their Halloween outfits during the children's costume parade and enjoy fun activities like the 45-foot ferris wheel, pumpkin carving and even pumpkin bowling. Food vendors offer a wide selection of lunch items and pumpkin-inspired treats. Come early to join the one-mile foot race, enjoy a mid-day picnic in the pumpkin-lined common and stay to see the tower of pumpkins lit up after dark.

                  Carving pumpkins can be tiring, luckily we've got lots of short-term rentals just under an hour from the festival grounds. With any luck, this will be the year they smash (pun intended) the World Record again and you'll get to be a part of the historical moment.

                  Harvest Season Never Tasted So Good

                  If Vermont had to choose just a few things to offer visiting foodies, its cheese would be right at the top of the list. And nothing pairs better with great cheese than some delicious wine. Enter, the Vermont Life Wine and Harvest Festival returning to Mount Snow on September 21-23, 2012.

                  Take an early fall weekend and pack it with excitement around the localvore food movement and endless opportunities to learn about Vermont's artisan wine and cheese producers (while sampling them all, of course) and you've got a winning combination. That's just what the Wine and Harvest Festival does.

                  The weekend kicks off with live entertainment and open galleries in downtown Wilmington during village stroll. From there on the days are filled with pairings galore, Vermont wine tasting and even a chance to take a Vermont cheese tour and visit several local cheese producing farms.

                  In the evenings, foodies will delight at the numerous dinner and wine pairing events hosted by area restaurants. Local chefs' demonstrations and live cooking competitions round out the weekend at Mount Snow and provide even more opportunities to sample mouth watering appetizers,entrees, and, of course, a good glass of wine will never be far from reach.

                  WHEN: Friday-Sunday, September 21-23, 2012 WHERE: Wilmington, Dover and surrounding towns

                  This event is a great way to enjoy the fall and tantalize your taste buds with the unique and adventurous flavors being created by Vermont's specialty food producers. Not to mention, you'll get to enjoy the picturesque backdrop of Vermont fall and rich foliage color that decorate the hill sides. Your touring will even pass by a handful of fall farm stands and apple orchards where you can enjoy some of the best fruit, right off the tree.

                  Don't worry about over-filling on cheese, wine or all the excitement. You can always uncork an evening bottle and relax at one of our short-term rentals, located less than 5 minutes from downtown Wilmington.

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