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27 Sep 2008
Foliage Will Be Great This Year
Most all the Vermont locals I have talked to agree that the fall leaf colors this year are much better than average. I am seeing more red than any year in recent memory. We had a very good foliage season last year and I think this will be better.

On Thursday, my wife and I drove down to Manchester VT in the southwestern part of the state. We saw a lot of good color already and those areas are just getting started. It seems like the eastern side of the state is a little ahead of the western side. We saw more color on Route 100 than we did on Route 7. Wherever you are, you will only need to drive around to find good color. Check with your innkeeper for their favorite drives and local reports on foliage color progress.

I took a picture of the hillside across the street from us because it looked so good in person but it did not show up as well in the camera. The sky is overcast today which makes the colors pop even more. However, there is a bit of moisture in the air from the rain we got yesterday and the camera picks up the mist in the air that the human eye can look through I guess.

Below is a better picture showing our parking lot just to give you a taste of what it looks like around here. I hope to get out and drive around Sunday or Monday (we're very busy this weekend) and take some photos of all this great foliage. The foliage should last several weeks but we get so busy that I have to get out whenever I can.

Speaking of which, we are full the first two weekends of October, as are most inns around here, but there are rooms available mid-week. If you are thinking of coming here to see this year's unusually good display of fall foliage, I suggest doing it mid-week if you can. We have an availability calendar on our web site and you will find the same on many other inn's websites as well.

Grunberg Haus parking lot, Sept 27, 2008

(c) 2008 Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus Inn
posted by  grunhaus at  13:10 | permalink

19 Sep 2008
Here is Why I Live in Vermont

Brewster River photograph from my favorite photoblog: Megapickles . . . see the September 16, 2008 entry.

The Brewster River runs north down from Spruce Peak to the town of Jeffersonville VT where it empties into the Lamoille River.

More Brewster River photos are available here.

There is a widely photographed falls you can find in Brewster River Gorge. Locally, it is sometimes called Jefferson Falls.

If you want to fish the area, stop by an excellent little fly shop called Green Mountain Troutfitters to arrange for a guide, get the current flies, etc.

Be sure to drive Route 108 from Jeffersonville to Stowe or the opposite way from Stowe to Jeffersonville. It goes through an area called Smugglers Notch and it is one of the prettiest drives in Vermont.

(c) 2008 Jeff Connor (except the photo from the Megapickles website
Advice , General , Nature
posted by  grunhaus at  16:51 | permalink

15 Sep 2008
A Summary of Your Rights As An Airline Passenger . . .

That is the extent of your rights when you step onto an airplane (or "INto" an airplane as George Carlin liked to point out) according to Marc Britton. He should know - he's an attorney who was once General Counsel at Expedia and now runs his own legal advice website called Avvo.

He recently wrote a succinct article on this topic at the Journey etc. website

Airlines cannot discriminate against you by selling your seat to someone better looking or more pleasant. Nor can they punch you if you get on their nerves. But beyond that, the sky is the limit, as pilots like to say.

And who gives them the right to treat you like cattle? You do. When you buy a ticket, you agree to abide by their terms in the Carriage Agreement that they print on their tickets in microscopically small and very light type.

However, they are not heartless bastards. Bastards, yes. But not heartless. Maybe we should qualify that with the word "usually" not heartless. They are a slow, inconsistent, ungainly, and profitless bureaucracy. They are frightening to deal with but you don't have a choice if you need to get somewhere far within a reasonable period of time. And, like a strikingly similar bureaucracy, you do have a vote but the choices are not great and probably don't make a difference in the long run.

I wrote an article last Nov 24 about Rule 240 that gives you a little bit of a fighting chance sometimes. You can learn more about the Rule at the Peter Greenberg travel website..

Air Sickness Bag (and humor) from European flight operator Hapag-Lloyd Express

(c) 2008 except the photo Jeff Connor
posted by  grunhaus at  22:41 | permalink

4 Sep 2008
Bike Vermont Foliage Tours

We have had several guests over the years tell us that they have taken tours by Bike Vermont and recommend the company very highly.

Bike Vermont offers 38 foliage tours and they still have some openings this year. The tours vary in length from three days up to six days, and range in cost from the low $400's to mid $1300's including lodging at some of Vermont's best inns.

Their website has a handy map with towns highlighted to see what part of the state each tour covers.

For example, the October 3 - 5 Churchill House Inn and Shoreham Inn tours have opening, and during the week of October 5 - 10 , the Historic Windsor County and Swift House Inn tours have openings.

And there is one discounted special you should take a look at: the "greatest views imaginable" on the Moose Mountain Lodge four day tour October 10- 13. The price has been reduced from $715 to $595. I wish I weren't working then - I would love to take this tour.

Other tours have openings and they do get the occasional cancellation so it would be best to call (800-257-2226) or email them to get the latest information.

I notice that they "strongly" recommend travel insurance. In fact, Bike Vermont even sends an insurance application with each confirmation. Recommending travel insurance is something I have been thinking might be good for me to recommend to our guests.

We've been running our inn about 8 1/2 years and in that time had just a very few guests who had a problem while traveling. One case involved a woman who got pneumonia while traveling through New Jersey and had to cancel her New England trip because she was hospitalized.

A few years ago, we had a couple here for a four night stay but their daughter got sick back home and they had to leave after just one night here.

There have been a few others out of thousands of reservations we've had over the years. But it's like most insurance: the vast majority of it goes unused.

Located in Woodstock VT, Bike Vermont is in its 32nd year of offering a wide range of Vermont tours during the spring and summer too. They also have tours in Maine, Ireland, Scotland, and Italy. You are welcome to ride your own bicycle but they have them available if you do not want to bring yours.

(c) 2008 Jeff Connor
posted by  grunhaus at  19:47 | permalink

3 Sep 2008
New Blog: Travel-Vermont.Net

I came across an exciting new Vermont blog recently and was highly impressed with its quality and scope. It is called Travel-Vermont.Net and is just a few months old but already has compiled a long list of articles about touring Vermont.

They are well written and usually have a good photograph to go along with them. The information is fresh and the author's insights are very helpful.

Christine Sawyer is the blog owner. She is prior resident of nearby Quebec and her blog is available in French as well as English. She and I have similar backgrounds in marketing communications . . . my status is former and hers is current - she owns Birchwood Ridge Group, a marketing and advertising firm here in Vermont. She has an interesting history you can read in the Our Story page of the website.

There is a useful and accurate Search function on the site but no RSS feed that I could find. Maybe that's just as well - I have a lot of feeds coming in. I try feeds for a while to see how often and how useful they are. The list can get long but it's easy enough to trim them from time to time.

This is an excellent resource for people planning to travel to Vermont. Over the last two or three years, I've seen about a half dozen Vermont blogs show up and then fade away after a few months. This one looks like it has staying power because it has a capable and motivated person behind it.

There is no doubt in my mind that Travel-Vermont.Net is a very valuable resource for Vermont and will help both tourists and the state's travel industry.

(c) 2008 Jeff Connor
posted by  grunhaus at  19:07 | permalink

29 Aug 2008
Stowe Inside Line Newsletter

Stowe's Mount Mansfield, the highest peak in Vermont at about 4400 feet

Stowe Resort has a good email newsletter they send out weekly and the latest issue has a very nice photo I thought I would include here. The Inside Line focuses on news about Stowe Resort but there's always a lot going on year around which usually makes for interesting reading.

I cropped and reduced the photo to get it to fit in this blog but you can click on the newsletter link above to see it better. If the photo is different when you view the page, just click your browser's reload button. It may be removed in the future to make way for other photos.

The building shown on the mountain is the Cliff House restaurant which is serving lunch this time of year but not dinner (with the exception of once a month special dinners).

I assume the photo was taken from the Toll Road which runs all the way to the top of the mountain. It's a trip I recommend often to our guests. The drive takes about 20 minutes and is well worth the $23 toll per car (no bicycles or motorcycles are allowed but you can walk it if you want). You can see rates on all Stowe's summer activities here.

The view from the top of the mountain is magnificent of course. There is a ranger station at the top and I suggest asking the ranger for directions to "Frenchman's Pile" a pile of rocks where you have a 360 degree view. You can easily see Burlington and Lake Champlain below, the Adirondack mountains of New York to the west, Vermont's Worcester Mountain Range to the east, and on clear days, the White Mountains of New Hampshire farther to the East.

The toll road will probably be closed all day this Sunday for the Race to the Top of Vermont, a foot and bicycle race.

(c) 2008 Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus
posted by  grunhaus at  12:51 | permalink

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