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15 Jun 2010
Stowe Summer Attractions Open This Weekend

Stowe Alpine Slide

This Saturday, June 19, Stowe opens its summer attractions including my favorite, the Alpine Slide.

This adventure starts with a chair lift ride to the top of Spruce Peak Mountain. At the top, you are given a plastic sled on wheels and directed to one of the two parallel fiberglass tracks. The starter, one of the many young people from all over the world who serve as summer interns, holds the people going down and lets them go about every minute or so to allow plenty of separation from other people on the same track. You're not supposed to race the person in the track next to you but the starter sends you both at the same time so who's to say you can't get a little competitive?

The track has curved sides to help hold the cart in. You would have to be going crazy fast to fly off a corner but, of course, a few people have found a way to do that. The ride is very safe if you don't take wild chances. You control the sled with a stick between your legs: push forward to go faster, pull back to slow down and stop at the bottom. The ride down is two or three minutes long.

I recommend you get at least two tickets because when you come down the first time, you will almost certainly want to do do it again.

In addition to the Alpine Slide, Stowe has a gondola ride to the Cliff House restaurant near the top of Mount Mansfield (great views), bungee trampolines, inflated obstacle course, and climbing wall . . . great times for young people and fun watching for the older folks who bring the kids.

Note: the Toll Road to the top of Mount Mansfield is under repair and will open in early July.

Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus
posted by  grunhaus at  20:00 | permalink

5 May 2010
Waterside Dining in Vermont

One of the new Vermont travel blogs I've been reading for the past few months is called Love Vermont. It's written by Katherine Kerrigan who describes herself as a "girl who fell in love with a state and a state of mind" which is actually a common situation in Vermont and one that applies to me and many others who find their way here as well.

Her blog yesterday is especially helpful for Vermont travelers looking to find unique dining experiences. "top ten tuesdays - waterfront dining" is a great little article with quick reviews of the best dining next to lakes, ponds, and rivers throughout the state.

I've only eaten at four of the ten restaurants so I have some work to do. But in a state awash in great dining, it takes more than the decade I've been here to get to a large number of them let alone all of them. But that's part of the charm I suppose - the never ending discovery of new places to enjoy Vermont.

One word of advice about one of the restaurants, Hen of the Wood located near me in Waterbury: it is a small restaurant that is highly popular so reservations well in advance are always a good idea. The waterside here is a nice waterfall and river immediately behind the old brick mill building which houses the restaurant. See my January 11, 2009 blog post which has a winter photo (ice and snow) of the falls but will give you and idea of the setting during more hospitable weather.

Love Vermont is one of several fine Vermont blogs I have included in the right hand column of Vermont Travel Notes under the heading Travel Friends. I recommend going through it for ideas of things to see and do while traveling Vermont. There are a lot of good ideas there written by people who love Vermont and love to share their knowledge.

Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus
Advice , Food
posted by  grunhaus at  11:08 | permalink

17 Apr 2010
Round Barn Inn on YouTube
The Inn at the Round Barn is one of my favorite places in Vermont. It's in a beautiful valley a few minutes drive from the village of Waitsfield. It's not only a great place to stay but also the perfect venue for a Vermont country wedding if you're in the market for such a dream event.

Dave Hartshorn, shown in the video, owns a farm and farm stand nearby on Route 100 - - about half way between my inn and the Inn at the Round Barn. He has vegetables, maple syrup, honey, and other goodies on hand most of the summer and early fall. It's worth a stop just to see rural Vermont at work.

I have had the good fortune to sample some of chef Charlie Menard's creations and I am happy to confirm that his work is outstanding.

Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus

Advice , Attractions , Food
posted by  grunhaus at  20:11 | permalink

17 Apr 2010
Tour Vermont With an Expert Photographer

Here's a great way to get a personalized tour of the most picturesque parts of Vermont and also get some help in photographing it all. It's like getting two for the price of one!

Steve Mermelstein is a professional photographer who
makes a living doing commercial, fine art, and wedding photography. He also operates VT Photo Tours, a company in South Burlington Vermont that escorts small groups of people to photograph some of the most picturesque scenery around this beautiful state. You can see some client samples here.

Not only does Steve know where to go, he knows what time of day to be there to get the best light. As someone who has found a great scene but was unable to get a good photo because I was facing straight into the sun, I know the value of being at the right place at the right time.

As Steve says on his website, "You’ll have opportunities to take photographs of breathtaking landscapes, lakes, ponds, classic and historic architecture in small villages, covered bridges, barns and farm scenes, and/or visit locations where wildlife is often observed."

Plus, he's very willing to modify the tour to meet client requests.

Prices vary from $299 for a half day tour to $399.99 for a full day (up to 3 persons) and usually concentrates on northern VT but he is happy to accommodate southern VT tours for a small additional gas fee. Groups larger than three are welcome too.

Steve even has a money back guarantee! See the website for more details and contact information.

Right now he is booking both Spring and Fall foliage foliage tours.

Steve is on Facebook and Twitter.

Jeff Connor, Grunberg Haus
posted by  grunhaus at  18:46 | permalink

16 Apr 2010
Burlington VT Jazz Festival Social Media

As a follow-up to last week's posting about the Burlington VT Discover Jazz Festival, I wanted to add that the festival has a Facebook page and a Twitter account. They are a great way to keep up to date and discuss what's happening with the festival as it moves to its June debut.

Jeff Connor, Grunberg Haus
posted by  grunhaus at  21:53 | permalink

15 Apr 2010
Magic Hat Presents World's First Twitter Pub Crawl?

If it's not the world's first Twitter Pub Crawl, it definitely is Burlington VT's first. And who else but Magic Hat would put on such an event.

It's scheduled for April 22, 2010 at 7:00 pm and it is structured as a team event. Throughout the night each four person team will receive clues from Magic Hat via Twitter on which pub to go to. At the end of the night, Magic Hat will check each team to see if they made it to each pub. The names of all the successful teams will be put in a drawing to determine the overall winner. Each person on the winning team gets the top prize of a round trip ticket from JetBlue to wherever the airline flies.

All proceeds will go to The Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS). The cost to each team is just $5 per person. Also,the entry price includes one of the coolest looking T-shirts I have seen in a long time. That alone has to be worth a lot more than $5.

Round up three other drinkers, er, friends, and help Magic Hat, JetBlue, and COTS with this first of its kind event. Who knows, maybe years from now it will the equivalent of saying you were at Woodstock.

Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus
posted by  grunhaus at  22:15 | permalink

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