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Blog :: 2013

Catch a Great Place for Ice Fishing in Vermont

There are plenty of great outdoor winter activities in Vermont, from skiing to dogsledding to skating. But only one activity lets you enjoy the outdoors, spend time socializing, and stay toasty warm inside your own personal hut. We're talking, of course, about ice fishing.

Ice Shanties on the Retreat MeadowsIce fishing is a very popular Vermont winter pastime in the colder months of the year, and it's easy to see why. On the ice, friends and family can stay warm and have fun together and, if you're any good, you can get dinner out of it, too.

There are plenty of places that allow ice fishing in southern Vermont. For example, here in Wilmington we have the Harriman Reservoir, which allows ice fishing for several different types of fish, including largemouth and smallmouth bass. The reservoir also plays host to an annual ice fishing derby, an extremely popular event with decades of history and attendance. Also, as part of the Molly Stark State Park, the Harriman Reservoir has plenty of hiking trails, campsites, and other outdoor facilities nearby.

Another popular local hotspot for ice fishing in Vermont lies just outside Brattleboro. Called the Retreat Meadows, this ice fishing area does not lie on a lake, but rather an extension of the West River that cuts across southern Vermont towards New Hampshire. That might sound scary, but the slow-flowing waters can freeze several feet thick, yet are deep enough to allow ice anglers to fish for largemouth bass, pike, pickerel, and perch. There's a good reason this is one of the most popular ice fishing destinations in southern Vermont.

If you're not feeling up to finding your own ice fishing spot, another strategy is to use a guide service that will take you out on the ice and help you catch plenty of icy dinner. A good choice in southern Vermont is the Picket Hill Guide Service, which can help you find the best places for ice fishing, hunting, tracking, and any other outdoor activity you can think of.

The one drawback to ice fishing is that your hut isn't big enough for you to stay in all night. That's why we recommend booking a southern Vermont rental home -- you'll have all the space you need to wake up early and energetic, and you can make your fishing trip as long as you want! Take a look at all the listings and find the perfect place to host your southern Vermont ice fishing vacation.

Dash Through the Snow on a Sleigh Ride in Vermont

Looking for a fun winter activity in southern Vermont for you and your family? Or perhaps a romantic Valentine's Day date idea with that special someone? Look no further, because we have the perfect cold-weather treat for any occasion -- a Vermont sleigh ride.

Sleigh Rides in Vermont, Freisians of Majesty horse-drawn sleighsSleigh rides in Vermont are the perfect throwback to yesteryear -- there's something almost magical about being towed through the snowy white Vermont forests and hills by a team of majestic horses. And whether you're snuggling with your romantic partner or taking the family for an adventure, we know you'll have a great time.

There are a number of different places to go if you want to take a sleigh ride in southern Vermont. First, you can visit the Adams Family Farm in Wilmington, which offers sleigh rides during the winter alongside a number of other farm- and animal-related activities. In fact, a visit to this farm is a great way to spend an entire day, and the sleigh ride becomes the icing on the cake.

Another great option for a Vermont sleigh ride is Green Mountain Orchards, just outside Putney. You'll need to make an appointment to schedule your sleigh ride, but it's as simple as calling ahead. You can also top off your ride with a visit to the orchard's bakery and cider press, where you can get fresh-made apple pies, cider, and other products straight from the farm to you.

Finally, a bit further north in the town of Townshend, you'll find Fresians of Majesty, a specialty horse farm that offers sleigh rides and tours in ornate two-person and four-person sleighs. With private trails groomed just for their sleighs and horses bred to tow, these sleigh rides are unmatched in authenticity (and romantic potential).

If you do go for a sleigh ride in Vermont, remember that winters here can be very cold. Don't forget to bundle up with lots of layers that you can add or remove as conditions change. You might also want to bring a treat for the horses, such as some fresh fruits or crunchy vegetables - just make sure you ask before you hand them out!

After your sleigh ride, you can retire back to your long-term Vermont rental home to warm yourself back up and relive the memories - or just to get "Jingle Bells" out of your head. You can stay as long as you like, and you'll be in the perfect place to do something else fun tomorrow!

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  1. Patty Killion on

    […] a long day of skiing, snowboarding, sleigh rides, and ice fishing, you’ll probably be experiencing some powerful hunger. Lucky for you, […]

    Visit the Southern Vermont Natural History Museum

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    Alongside the well-known attractions of skiing, covered bridges, and maple syrup sugarhouses, you'll find a great attraction that is often overlooked - the Southern Vermont Natural History Museum. However, for the right sort of guest, this museum is a fantastic mix of history, biology, and natural wonder. To help you get the most out of your visit, we've made a short guide to visiting and enjoying the Southern Vermont Natural History Museum. Vermont musuem

    The Natural History Museum was originally the collection of Luman Ranger Nelson, a noted taxidermist and naturalist who lived in the southern Vermont area at the beginning of the 20th century. Much of the Museum's collection dates back to his original specimens - many of the pieces in the museum are from the 1920s and 1930s.

    Today, the collection comprises more than 200 specimens of native Vermont birds and mammals, making this Vermont museum one of the finest collections of New England fauna anywhere in the world. The museum even features a number of rare and extinct species that would be very difficult to find anywhere else. You can also find an excellent mineralogy and geology exhibit that explains many of the geological features of the New England region.

    In addition to the museum exhibits, you'll also find a number of live animal specimens as a part of the Museum's Education Animals collection. This includes several reptiles and amphibians as well as a number of birds of prey, such as a Red-Shouldered Hawk, a variety of owls, and "Molly Stark" the Bald Eagle. You and your family will definitely enjoy watching and learning about these animals.

    You can also expand your visit to the Southern Vermont Museum by taking part in one of the numerous educational programs they have throughout the year. This includes several presentations on the wildlife of New England, a guided exploration tour of the adjacent nature preserve, and even an annual Vermont Wildlife Festival featuring educational exhibits and activities for all ages.

    Vermont Bald EagleOnce you're done at the museum, you can also enjoy the Hogback Mountain Conservation Area, a 600-acre preserve that holds miles of Vermont hiking and nature trails. Though it may seem like a simple nature museum, the Southern Vermont Natural History Museum is actually a full day of education and entertainment for you and your family.

    After exercising your bodies and your brains, you'll probably want a comfortable place to veg out for a while. If that's the case, take a look at our selection of long-term Vermont winter rental homes. These comfortable, well-appointed houses will let you get the rest you need for another full day of Vermont adventure.

    Get Discounted Lift Tickets at Mount Snow

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    Mount Snow, just north of Wilmington, Vermont, is a great place to spend your winter vacation. With nearly 600 acres of ski and snowboard trails, terrain parks, tubing, snowmobiling, and more, you certainly won't run out of things to do. Many people, though, don't enjoy one particular part of the experience - buying Mount Snow lift tickets.Skiing in vermont

    Luckily 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 to get cheap lift tickets for Mount Snow, letting you enjoy all that the mountain has to offer without breaking the bank.

    Founder's Day - December 12, 2013

    On Founder's Day, the birthday of Mount Snow, you can get lift tickets for a full day's riding and sliding for just $12. All you need to do is order online by December 10, and you'll be good to go.

    Kids Pay Their Age Day - January 5, 2013 

    If you have young ones - or you're a young one yourself - you'll love this promotion. Anyone under the age of 18 gets a one-day Mount Snow lift ticket for the price of their own age!

    College Week Thursdays - January 9 and 16, 2014

    These two Thursdays give college students the chance to play all day on the slopes of Mount Snow for just $29. All you need is your valid college ID.

    Two for $49 on Valentine's Day - February 10, 2014

    Take a ski trip with that special someone on Valentine's Day, and get a special discount to boot. This deal lets couples - or really close friends - get a great price on Mount Snow lift tickets.

    Season Pass Holder Bring-a-Friend Fridays - All non-holiday Fridays

    If you have a season pass, you can get discounted Mount Snow lift tickets for your friend or family member all season long. When you show your season pass on non-holiday Fridays, you can get regular adult tickets for $50, and children and senior tickets for only $29.

    Sunday Ticket Deals - All non-holiday Sundays

    If you're looking for a great way to finish off the weekend, you can get awesome deals on Sunday lift tickets throughout the whole winter. The Sunday Sleeper pack gives you a ticket from 12 to 4 PM for just $29, while the Family Four Pack gets you four discounted Mount Snow lift tickets for just $99 - less than $25 apiece.

    Order Online - All Season Long

    One of the easiest ways to save on Mount Snow lift tickets is just to plan ahead and order online. Lift tickets are available on the Mount Snow website for steep discounts - as much as 63% off the regular price. Snowboarding in Vermont

    Once you've got your discounted Mount Snow lift tickets, you'll probably want a comfortable place to sleep off the long days of skiing and boarding. Why not look at a long-term Vermont winter rental just a short drive from Mount Snow itself? You get all the comforts of home, room for all your gear, and a better rate than a hotel. Take a look at all of the listings online!

    Make a Vermont Thanksgiving with Great Local Foods

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    Thanksgiving is a time for family, fun, and most of all, food. You might not know it, but one of the best places to have your Thanksgiving vacation is right here in southern Vermont. To make sure that you're having the best time - and feast - possible, we've put together a short guide to creating a fantastic Vermont-inspired Thanksgiving dinner.

    Part One: The Turkey

    Vermont TurkeyThe turkey isn the centerpiece of every traditional Thanksgiving meal, and there's probably no other food so associated with this holiday. For some of the best turkeys around, try a bird from Adams Family Farm. All of their animals are born and raised at the farm in sustainable, organic, and eco-friendly conditions, meaning you get a great meal without a guilty conscience. The only turkey that's more environmentally-conscious than these is one made of tofu.

    Part Two: The Sides

    No Thanksgiving dinner would be complete without an array of side dishes, from roasted potatoes to green bean casserole to fresh corn on the cob. And luckily, all this and more can be found at one of Vermont's fantastic farmers' markets. Or if you want something a bit more unique, you can try Gilfeather Turnips, an heirloom vegetable grown just a few miles from us in Wardsboro, Vermont.

    Part Three: Dessert

    Pies, and pies of all kinds, are a must at any Thanksgiving table. Pie pumpkins are readily available at Vermont markets for the classic Thanksgiving dessert, and you can make a truly distinctive apple pie with some of Vermont's famous heirloom apples, available at several different nearby orchards. These apples have unique flavors and textures that will put a new twist on this classic dessert favorite.Vermont heirloom apple pie

    Part Four: The Drinks

    Along with heirloom apples, you can get some amazing Vermont apple cider at many orchards and farmers' markets in the region. If you're feeling a bit more adventurous (and you aren't driving later on), try some locally-grown wine from a nearby Vermont vineyard, such as those from Honora Winery just south of Wilmington, or beer from one of Vermont's famed craft breweries. Whatever you choose to toast the season, you'll find that it pairs well with the meal.

    Along with all of this food, you'll need someplace to cook, feast, and get together with friends and family. Why not make it one of our comfortable and spacious Vermont rental properties, just outside of Mount Snow? You'll have plenty of room for all the food in your kitchen - even if you don't have room in your belly.

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    1. Patty Killion on

      […] Awesome Christmas Dinner – We talked recently about how you can create a delicious Vermont-inspired Thanksgiving dinner from locally-sourced foods. Well, almost all of these farms and markets are open all season long, […]

      Celebrate Christmas Right with a Vermont Vacation

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      It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas... and that means it's the perfect time to start planning a Christmas vacation. If you're pondering where to celebrate your holidays, you should take a look at a stay here in southern Vermont.

      Christmas in VermontWhat makes Vermont the perfect place for a Christmas vacation? There's no way we could list everything, but we'll give you the short list:

      Perfect Christmas Weather - If you've been dreaming of a white Christmas, we've got you covered. Vermont is known for its winter snows and chilly nights - giving you an ideal excuse to curl up by the fireplace or relax in comfy pajamas.

      Authentic Christmas Trees - Vermont's tall, 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 available, including Douglas and Frasier Firs and the iconic Blue Spruce.

      An Awesome Christmas Dinner - We talked recently about how you can create a delicious Vermont-inspired Thanksgiving dinner from locally-sourced foods. Well, almost all of these farms and markets are open all season long, which means that you can still get in on the turkey, apple pie and locally grown dishes if you missed it in November.

      Plenty of Presents - If you're like us, you're likely to have lots of Christmas 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 Year's blues.

      Post-Christmas Fun - Once the big 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 well, a perfect way to get out and enjoy that White Christmas.

      Vermont downhill skiing

      This is only the beginning of what makes Christmas in Vermont such a great way to spend the holiday. You can even make it extra-comfortable by staying in one of our deluxe southern Vermont rental properties. All you have to do is bring your family and friends, along with a sense of adventure and fun, and we know you'll have the best Christmas ever.

      Enjoy Delicious Heirloom Apples from Vermont Orchards

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      Fall in Vermont means a lot of things to different people. Some think of the beautiful Vermont foliage in the mountains, while others think of the fast-approaching winter (and the ski season that comes with it). For many, fall is harvest time, and there's no better way to experience it than with flavorful heirloom apples.

      Vermont Heirloom Apples For the uninitiated, an heirloom apple is a variety of apple that is less commonly grown and that has its roots in historic varieties that have been grown for more than 75 years. In fact, many varieties have existed for centuries. Heirloom apples may look different from the Red Delicious and Gala apples we know and love - they may have spots or striped colors, odd shapes, and be exceptionally large or small. But nearly all of them are worth trying, especially if you've only ever had apples from the supermarket.

      If you're interested in trying some heirloom apples while enjoying the fall in Vermont, you're in luck. Some of the nation's best heirloom apple orchards are in Vermont and New Hampshire, and they're keeping different varieties of apples alive that have been enjoyed for hundreds of years. These apples are quite literally right out of the pages of history, and are taken from trees all over the world.

      For instance, take a look at the different varieties grown at Scott Farm Orchard, a historic apple orchard that has been growing fruit since 1791. The orchard currently grows more than 90 varieties of heirloom apple on its 571 acres, including such rare and unusual varieties as the Black Oxford, the Roxbury Russet, and the Yellow Transparent.

      Once you've sampled the heirloom varieties, you can also pick your own apples at Scott Farm on their Pick Your Own orchard. You can even Pick for Your Neighbor, where the apples you pick will be set aside for use by the local food bank.

      Another great local heirloom apple orchard is Alyson's Orchard, a 450-acre orchard that grows apples, peaches, plums, nectarines, berries, and more. You can pick your own heirloom apples here, and also visit their fantastic Farm Stand, where they sell locally-produced products such as jam, maple syrup, and wines grown from local vineyards. Apple picking Vermont

      There are lots of other places to go apple-picking in southern Vermont, too. If you want to know where you can pick regular varieties of apples like McIntosh and Paula Reds, take a look at this blog post we put together on apple picking.

      And of course, after a full day of picking and carrying apples, you'll probably be in for some much-needed rest. Why not take it at one of our unforgettable southern Vermont rental properties? You're sure to enjoy the extra amenities and all the space - perfect for holding bushels of fruit or baking up a fresh apple pie. We know you'll find one you'll love.

      Comments

      1. Patty Killion on

        […] dessert, and you can make a truly distinctive apple pie with some of Vermont’s famous heirloom apples, available at several different nearby orchards. These apples have unique flavors and textures that […]
        • Patty Killion on

          […] dessert, and you can make a truly distinctive apple pie with some of Vermont’s famous heirloom apples, available at several different nearby orchards. These apples have unique flavors and textures that […]

          Tips for Solving a Corn Maze

          Fall Activities Corn Maze in VermontThe corn maze ranks among favorite fall activities in Vermont for young and old, whether you're hoping to get lost for a few hours or to make it through in record time. With fun designs, lots of twists and turns, and sometimes a few frights (we'll get to that later), corn mazes are a great way to get out and enjoy the crisp autumn air in Vermont. Many Vermont corn mazes offer more than just the "maize", and you can expect to find a lot of extra things to do with the kids.

          At Gaines Farm in Guilford, Vermont, after making it through the maze, visitors can ride a "cow train," nosh on favorite fall foods, play pumpkin bowling and visit goats, pigs, rabbits and chickens in the barn. For older maze-goers, the ghosts and ghouls from Gaines Farm's "horrifying" 230-year history rise up for a haunted hayride and haunted maze in October (see tip #5).

          Since you only want to get temporarily lost in a labyrinth of stalks, here are a few helpful tips for successfully solving a corn maze:

          1. Take a look at the map to get an idea of the shape of the corn maze. Even if you don't use the map to navigate, studying it before hand will help you know which general direction to go in. Plus, figuring out the first few turns will help ward off early corn-maze-vexation.

          Tips for Solving Corn Mazes2. Look for landmarks at the edges of the maze. Trees, telephone poles, buildings, even road noise can help you bear in the right direction -- find them before heading into the maze. At the Kettle Farms corn maze in Hoosick Falls, NY, a broad tree line on one side of the maze will help you keep your bearings.

          3. Want to do it the easy way? Keep the map out (if you have one) and track your progress through the labyrinth. For more of a challenge, stash the map in a pocket. Gaines Farm hides clues in the maze for a quick hint, or you can choose to rely on a sense of direction and trial-and-error -- if you dare.

          4. Track where you've gone. When the walls are made out of corn, well, they start to look the same pretty quickly. Look for landmarks, like broken stalks, ones that grew crooked, fallen ears or even trees in the distance.

          5. If you go for a fright in a haunted maze at Gaines Farm, make sure to pack your typical monster defenses: garlic, a tennis ball or squeaky toy to distract the werewolves, and good running shoes if all else fails.

          6. If all else fails, and you're really, really lost, put your left hand on the left wall and keep walking -- eventually, you'll get out.

          Unlike the exit to a corn maze, it's not hard to find a comfortable and convenient fall vacation home rental close to the famous Vermont fall foliage, food and festivals.

          Top 3 Fall Festivals in Southern Vermont

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          Fall in Vermont is a colorful time of year, and what better place to be festive than a fall festival? There are plenty of different events going on around southern Vermont during these golden days and breezy evenings, perfect things to do for a fun-filled weekend adventure.Vermont Life Wine & Harvest festival

          Vermont Life Wine and Harvest Festival, Wilmington, Vermont

          A perfect way to celebrate Vermont-grown bounty, the Vermont Life Wine and Harvest Festival is a relaxed and friendly event featuring great wines, the area's best chefs, and some of Vermont's famous cheeses.

          Attendees can take a stroll around Wilmington on the opening night and get a preview of some of the many wines on offer. Or,  get a weekend pass and spend two beautiful fall afternoons exploring the giant festival tents, sampling wines, spirits, cheeses, farm-fresh products, and local entertainment to boot. Local crafters and artisans will also be present, ensuring you'll have something to take back home to show the people who didn't want to spend the whole weekend relaxing outdoors and drinking wine.

          ITVFest, Wilmington and Dover, Vermont

          We've mentioned it on the Vermont Snow Rentals blog recently, but the ITVFest, or Independent Television and Film Festival, promises to be such a big fall event that we couldn't help but bring it up again. This is one of the only large independent television festivals in the country, and it's quickly becoming a favorite for both industry executives and casual filmgoers alike.

          The festival features dozens of selections in the Comedy, Drama, and Documentary categories showing across 8 screens in both Wilmington and Dover, Vermont. Attendees will also be able to take advantage of the Festival Mile - a 1.5-mile path through Dover that showcases all kinds of live entertainment and events - an exclusive festival awards show, and numerous VIP parties. Trust us, this is one festival that no film buff would want to miss.

          Oktoberfest at Mount Snow, Vermont

          Ah, yes. Oktoberfest. The world-famous celebration of great beer, great food, and great company returns for another year to Mount Snow resort, just north of Wilmington. If you can't make it to Bavaria this fall, Oktoberfest at Mount Snow is the next-best thing.

          Central to Oktoberfest, of course, is the beer. At Oktoberfest Mount Snow, the beer is provided by a ton of New England breweries, and every attendee (over the age of 21, of course) will get a free drink - and a free souvenir stein to pour it into.

          oktoberfest beer

          That said, there's plenty to do here for those who don't want a beer and those who aren't of age. Children's activities include arts and crafts, pumpkin painting, a hay pile, and the crowd-favorite schnitzel toss. Adults don't need to feel left out, either, as they can compete in the Horseshoes Tournament, Stein Holding competition, the ever-popular Keg Toss, and the Apple Sling Shot.

          Of course, after all this festivity, you're going to be tired. But rather than dropping into a cookie-cutter hotel, you could top off your weekend with a stay in a fantastic Vermont rental property. Who said the good times have to stop at the festival gates?

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              Your Guide to ITVFest in Wilmington and Dover, Vermont

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              Entertainment lovers, rejoice - for the first time, the Independent Television and Film Festival moves to the East Coast, hosted by the historic towns of Wilmington and Dover, Vermont. With screenings, music, a ton of activities, comedy performances and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to speak with independent television makers, there's something to entertain most anyone. To welcome the festival to southern Vermont, we've compiled a handy guide to ITVFest so you don't miss a minute.

              Red carpet at ITVFest, Wilmington, Vermont, Independent Television and Film FestivalThe heart of ITVFest is Festival Mile, a 1.5-mile long path through the center of the town of Dover and into Wilmington. The Festival Mile will include a wide range of different events and activities, from live music performances to street art to car shows and more. Casual attendees can stroll the path and take in the sights while more dedicated entertainment junkies can seek out artists and actors they saw on-screen along the trail.

              Beyond Festival Mile, the biggest things to look forward to at ITVFest are the screenings. ITVFest will show close to 60 television pilots, webseries, and short films in both Dover and Wilmington. Eight different screens will show comedies, dramas and documentaries across three days, you're sure to find something to enjoy in the program.

              If you want to dig deeper into the evolving world of modern television, you can attend one of the many festival panels and Q&A sessions. Discussions titled "Independent Art in the 21st Century" and "Being Funny to Pay the Bills" are just a few examples of the industry panels on offer - come prepared to be both entertained and educated.

              If this sounds like your kind of weekend, then click over to the ITVFest website and pick up a pass. Make sure you get the right one, though - the Weekend and Festival passes get you into the movie screenings, but the Gala pass lets you attend the awards show as well, and the VIP pass gets you access to the big-time closed-door parties to boot.

              ITVFest in Wilmington, VermontOutside of the festival itself, you'll find plenty more things to do in Wilmington and Dover. There are lots of great restaurants, nightspots, and outside activities to do in the area. For instance, the southern Vermont region is well known for its beautiful covered bridges and scenic drives, and there are also lots of opportunities for hiking, biking, and watersports.

              And if you need a place to stay, you can look around some of the fine hotels in the area - or you could consider booking a stay in a Vermont rental house instead, for a whole lot of added comfort and convenience. That way you'll be able to live like a VIP both inside and outside the festival.

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