Having grown up in Brattleboro, I vividly remember a field trip to Rudyard Kipling’s Naulakha House. Even at the ripe age of 7 I knew that visiting this historical landmark was pretty special. The Naulakha House is where Rudyard Kipling, Nobel Prize winning author, wrote The Jungle Book, Captain’s Courageous, The Seven Seas, and The Day’s Work.
The Naulakha House was acquired by the Landmark Trust USA in 1992 after it had been unoccupied since 1942. The Landmark Trust USA restored the home to be as it was when Kipling occupied the property. However, some modern conveniences, such as electricity, have been added to the home, which is now available as a Vermont vacation rental. When the house is not being rented by tourists or writers looking for some inspiration, it is open for school programs. More than 6,000 performances of the Just So Stories have been given to school programs.
On April 4 there will be a rare open house for the public at the Naulakha House to raise money for the school programs. The event will include a full property tour, coffee, and desert. Tickets for this event are by reservation only, and are available by calling 802-254-6868.
If you are interested in staying in the Naulaka House, which is nestled into the woods of Dummerston, Vermont, you can book your stay online. Perhaps when you visit us at Stonehurst this summer you’ll opt out of staying at a bed and breakfast, instead renting Rudyard Kipling’s home. To learn more about this National Historic Landmark visit the Landmark Trust USA’s website.
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.
Love Vermont Maple Syrup?
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.
See you at the sugar house!
Vermont maple syrup has been a topic of discussion lately at Vermont Woods Studios. We have had a few people mention that they have started to see the iconic metal sap buckets hanging from maple trees. Many of us were in agreement that it seemed too soon for the sugaring season to begin; however, we are beginning to hear that the sap buckets aren’t lying; it is sugaring season.
To commence the Vermont maple sugaring season, Governor Peter Shumlin will tap a sugar maple tree on the Vermont State House lawn. This event will happen on February 27th, with many maple themed events following.
Vermont Tourism has announced that they have joined with Vermont’s Chief Marketing Office, Ski Vermont, Vermont Maple Sugar Makers, Cabot Creamery, Long Trail Brewery, and Amtrak to provide a sweet Vermont travel deal. Amtrak’s Vermonter and Ethan Allen trains will have ambassadors on board every Friday through March 15, showcasing spring skiing and the maple sugaring season. According to a recent press release, the ambassadors will “provide information, concierge services, goodies and ski deals.” During the train ride, passengers will be able to sample Cabot cheddar cheese, Vermont maple syrup and Long Trail beer (March 1 only). The Vermonter train has scheduled routes from Penn Station in New York City to Rutland and to Waterbury, and the Ethan Allen train will have a route between Waterbury and Springfield, MA. For more information about the schedules, please the Vermont Tourism website.
Vermont Tourism is offering several Maple themed travel packages, and the chance to win the “Tap into Vermont” vacation contest. The contest winner will receive a five day lift/lodging package at Killington Resort for two people, plus a Vermont maple gift basket.
Vermont is widely known for it’s real maple syrup, as it is the largest producer in the United States. An additional event to learn about how the pure maple syrup is produced, plan a trip to our state during the weekend of March 23-24. This will be the Maple Open House Weekend in Vermont. We will blog about this event and highlight some Vermont maple sugar producers in March.
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!
Mother Nature was a few days late bringing us a white Christmas, but we finally have snow in southern Vermont. I have to admit, I have a love-hate relationship with winter. I love winter activities, but I hate winter chores. So, the other morning as I was digging out my car for the first time this season (winter chore), I focused on my favorite Vermont winter activities. There are a lot of things to do in Vermont during the wintertime, so I have narrowed down my list to 5 things, just for you!
Whether you are a snow bunny at heart, or are on the fence, there’s something on this list for everyone.
1. I’ll start with the obvious-skiing and snowboarding! Vermonters wait all year for winter so we can hit the mountains. We have ski resorts large and small scattered across the state. No matter your skill level, there is a mountain and an instructor perfect for you. Vermont skiing is so legendary, that a company called Ski Vermont was created. They track the current conditions, promote events and deals, and of course, help you find the perfect resort. If you’re a new Vermont visitor, or a returning visitor looking for a new adventure, be sure to check out Ski Vermont’s Resort Finder.
2. A little less athletic way to enjoy the snow is by going snow tubing! This winter activity is fun for children adults alike. The best part about this modern day sledding activity, is that you don’t have to walk back up a steep hill every time you slide down. Many resorts now let you relax as catch a ride back to the top. Okemo, Mount Snow, Smugglers’ Notch, and Magic Mountain are just a few places where you can snow tube in Vermont this winter. Be sure to look at your favorite winter resort’s website for snow tubing options.
3. Take a sleigh ride. Sleigh rides are a fun way to see the Vermont countryside. A quintessential sleigh ride brings you back in time, and allows you to enjoy the Vermont winter weather. Many farms in Vermont offer winter sleigh rides. Additionally, many mountain resorts will either offer horse sleigh rides, or can set you up with a local farm who offers them. Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont offers horse drawn sleigh rides from December through February.
4. Go ice skating. Many communities have public skating rinks and offer skate rentals. Skating indoors or outdoor is equally as fun, and a fun winter activity. The Vermont Outdoor Guide Association has put together a list of skating rinks around the state. If you have your own skates, find a frozen lake or pond to go skating (if there aren’t any locals out on the ice, it’s probably not a safe place). Before you go skating over a body of water, make sure to read the ice safety tips on the bottom of the VOGA website, too. Your inn keeper will also have information about safe ice skating locations.
5. If looking at the snow through a window is more your taste, perhaps shopping may be on your Vermont winter to-do list. Our state is filled with locally owned shops. Just go to any downtown, and you will find a variety of stores. You may even run into a shop owner or two. One of my favorite Vermont shopping areas is Church Street Marketplace located in downtown Burlington, Vermont. They have shops, boutiques, coffee houses, pubs and restaurants galore. Church Street is well known for being an open air mall, as it is a closed off pedestrian walk way that has shops located on both sides. Vermont also has two factory outlet shopping locations: Essex Junction and Manchester. Find products from your favorite designers at a discounted price.
For more Vermont winter activities, the Vermont Tourism website has great information, travel tips, and ideas for your winter vacation.
What are your favorite Vermont winter activities? Let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page.
By Heather Barrett
When: July 6-8
Where: Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa in Stowe, Vermont
Description: Discover Vermont in an entirely new way by soaring through the sky in a hot air balloon with Vermont's highest peak, Mount Mansfield, and the Green Mountains in the background. Now is the time to reserve your hot air balloon ride for the Stoweflake Hot Air Balloon Festival. If you would like to watch more than 25 colorful hot air balloons from the ground, there are a number of other activities to explore. There will be live entertainment, food concessions, a beer garden, craft vendors, and a "Kids Korner." This event has been named a Top 10 Summer Event by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce. The event will open at 4 p.m. on Friday, July 6, and kick off with a twilight balloon launch at 6:30 p.m.
When: July 20-21
Where: Waterfront Park in Burlington, Vermont
Description: Do you think of Vermont when you think about craft beer? Well, Shermans Travel does, because they named Burlington, Vermont the 4th top city for beer lovers in the world! In the United States, Vermont has more breweries per capita than any other state according the Brewers Association. So, for you beer lovers, Vermont has an event for you! Over 40 craft beer brewers will celebrate the 20th Anniversary Vermont Brewers Festival on the shores of Lake Champlain.
When: July 20-22
Where: Killington, Vermont
Description: Wine enthusiasts, save the date for the Killington Wine Festival this July. Spend a relaxing weekend in Killington, Vermont, while participating in a variety of wine focused events. The signature event, the Grand Tasting, will happen on Saturday starting at 12-noon, where you can choose from over 450 wines from 40 wineries.
When: July 22
Where: Shelburne Farms in Shelburne, Vermont
Description: Here's another event for your taste buds! It's the 4th Annual Vermont Cheesemakers Festival. Want to know a fun fact about Vermont? Vermont is the premium artisanal cheese state with the highest number of cheesemakers per capita: over 40 of them! At this Vermont event there will be over 200 cheeses to sample and purchase from over 40 cheese makers. There will be an additional 20 artisan food producers, and 20 wineries and breweries. Is your mouth watering yet? The event will also feature a number of educational seminars, a cooking show, and a cheesemaking demonstration. Shelburne Farms is an ideal setting for the event where additional activities include walking trails, wagon rides and a farmyard for children. A big part of Vermont Woods Studios reason for existence and our main mission is forest conservation. So we would like to point out that Shelburne Farms manages about 400 acres of woodlands filled with all types of beneficial trees. Their sustainable forest provides heating fuel for their buildings, lumber for wood products and habitat for wildlife. We applaud their "green forestry" practices and environmental stewardship!
When: July 27-29
Where: Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont
Description: After a 6 year hiatus, the Art and Craft Festival has returned to the Shelburne Museum. This event will have over 150 artists and artisans with a variety of media. This family-friendly event will also include kids' activities, craft demonstrations, live entertainment, and food. This is a great opportunity to experience Vermont culture, buy local products, and enjoy delicious food.
Heather Barrett is a Marketing Assistant at Vermont Woods Studios, an online furniture gallery which showcases Vermont's finest wood furniture. Follow our blog to learn about Vermont fine furniture, Vermont happenings, our mission, and our team.