When I was younger, one of my favorite events of the year was the local hot air balloon festival that took place in my town (Pittsfield, New Hampshire) each year. While it wasn’t the Quechee balloon festival, it was a hot air balloon festival all the same. I loved the way that it would bring the whole community together for a day of fun and celebration, despite whatever else was going on in the world and on the news. It seemed like even the busiest people in town always made time to come down to the festival to watch the hot air balloons or to just be in the presence of friends, family, and community members. Kids loved it too, because they’d get to come and run around and go on rides with their friends (plus there is usually cotton candy and all sorts of other goodies too). And there really is just something special about hot air balloons. They are whimsical, and magical in a way. Magical in that they never fail to give you that feeling of childhood excitement, wonder, and awe as you watch them rise. Maybe its the way their colors light up in the sky, or the fact that they get to float amongst the clouds…either way, a hot air balloon festival is a spectacular event that every person should get to experience at least once in their life (but hopefully more)!
This weekend is the 34th annual Quechee Hot Air Balloon festival, taking place in Quechee, Vermont! The weekend festivities include music from a bunch of great bands that will be playing continuously throughout the weekend, tasty food, a kiddie zone for the children, a beer and wine garden for the adults, tons of talented Vermont artists and crafters, vendors of all sorts, and hot air balloons of course!
I truly hope that you get to enjoy the unique and heartwarming experience that a small town hot air balloon festival provides– and if not this year, maybe next year!
For more information on the festival, check out their official website and Facebook page.
Vermont Tourism, Travel well informed with guide in hand
Planning a trip to Vermont? We at Vermont Woods Studios like to promote all the great things about Vermont and help our showroom visitors get the most out of their visit to Vermont. So, we’ll tell you what we tell them: get a copy of Vermont: An Explorer’s Guide. This aptly named guidebook is the definitive Vermont travel resource for anyone interested in exploring Vermont. First published 30 years ago and recently refreshed, this 13th edition will take you through the entire state and highlight the best of what Vermont has to offer. It is the work of veteran travel writer, Christina Tree, and coauthor, Rachel Carter who had the enviable task of traveling all over the state to experience first hand all the best in Vermont lodging, dining, recreation, and sightseeing. What else will you find in the guide? Over 100 inspiring photographs, detailed maps, popular event and festival listings, plus essential travel information. To quote Yankee Magazine, “Our #1 travel tip: get this guide.”
You can order the book or learn more about this comprehensive guide book and it’s authors by visiting their website. In Vermont’s buy local spirit, I decided to purchase my copy of this book from a Brattleboro, Vermont independent bookseller, Everyone’s Books.
So do we! This weekend is the Vermont Maple Open House Weekend. It is a perfect time to visit some Vermont sugar houses to see how nature’s candy is made. There are over 100 farms and sugar makers opening their doors to the public this weekend, giving you a chance to watch the maple sugaring process no matter where you are in Vermont.
Take a tour of a single sugar house or several this weekend (March 23-24). There are sugar makers both large and small scattered through out the state, so you can witness traditional techniques like boiling sap over a wood fire or new high-tech practices. No matter where you go, you will see an exciting process and get to taste some of the best maple syrup in the world.
March and April are prime sugaring months in Vermont, so this is a great time for the Vermont Maple Open House. If you can’t make the trip, or you want to do a little homework before this weekend, visit the Vermont Maple website to learn how maple syrup is made.
Vernon, Vermont, where Vermont Woods Studios is located, is about 20 square miles and has a population of about 2,200. So, many of us either live in Brattleboro, or travel there a few times a week for necessities (groceries) or entertainment (movies, restaurants). This weekend, our neighboring town has an exciting event for Vermonters and visitors alike: the annual Harris Hill Ski Jump Event.
The Harris Hill Ski Jump is a 90-meter jump, which is designed to International Ski Federation specifications. It is the only 90-meter ski jump in New England, and there are less than a handful of this size in the United States. Skiiers from around the world zip down this huge jump, launching themselves more than 300 feet in the air at 60 miles per hour! As read in the Brattleboro Reformer, “According to event organizers, this year’s event will not only feature the annual Pepsi Challenge and the Fred Harris Memorial Tournament, but also the only U.S. Stop on the International Ski Federation’s FIS Cup and a stop on the United States American Ski Jumping U.S. Cup Tour.”
The ski jump closed in 2005 due to significant maintenance repair that needed to be done. With the help and support of the local community, they were able to complete an extensive renovation to restore the jump to it’s original first-class ski jump in 2009. The Harris Hill Ski Jump has continued to be a popular community based event each year. It is put on entirely by volunteers and local sponsorship. Join the Brattleboro area community during this is a two day event (Saturday, February 16th and Sunday, February 17th). Visit the Harris Hill Ski Jump website for the full schedule and additional event information.
Come visit for Presidents Day weekend and enjoy this event. In addition to flying skiiers, there will be concessions, a beer tent, and souvenirs. We just had a huge snow storm (thanks, Nemo), so this is a great time to be in Vermont!
This Vermont winter event is the perfect opportunity to get outside to do something you love, or to try something new. There is a small fee to participate in the event, $10 (or $8 if you’re a member), but the Green Mountain Club’s 17th Annual Snowshoe Festival and Winter Party is to benefit their education programs.
The event consists of guided snowshoe hikes and nature walks around the 40 acres surrounding the Green Mountain Club’s headquarters in Waterbury, Vermont. The tours are tailored towards a variety of skill levels, so if you’re a beginner, don’t be afraid to join in on the fun! This is a great time to learn how to snowshoe and enjoy wintertime. The event will also have tours for intermediate and advanced snowshoers. These hikes will take place from 8:30am-3:00pm.
If staying at the Green Mountain Club’s headquarters is up your alley, here is the list of on-campus workshops:
A Bird On Glove demonstration by VINS (with funding from Kettering Family Foundation)
Dog Sledding with Anam Cara Siberians
Winter Cooking and Camping with South Burlington’s Eastern Mountain Sports
Kids’ activities through the Winooski Valley Park District
Massages by Jeffery Williams, Certified Massage Therapist
North Branch Nature Center’s Animal Tracking
How to Dress in Layers and Having Fun with Kids with Outdoor Gear Exchange
Face-painting with Joy from vermontfaceandbody.com
Snowflake making, snacks, and more!
Later in the day (3:00pm-5:00pm) the winter party will begin! The winter party consists of snacks, hot cocoa, a raffle and silent auction! With the raffle you could win a Concept2 Skierg Nordic Trainer or a Model D Indoor Rower. For more information and to purchase a raffle ticket, visit the Green Mountain Club’s website. Dave Day and Friends will be playing live Irish music during the winter party.
Join the Green Mountain Club on Facebook or visit their website for the full details on this exciting Vermont winter event.