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18 Nov 2007
Reminder: Make Your Holiday Reservations Now

Snowshoeing is easy to do and can get you into some back country that you would not ordinarily be able to see.

The week between Christmas and New Year's Day is one of the busiest of the year for Vermont tourism. It is considered the kick-off week for the ski season even though there has been skiing on some trails since mid November.

Skiers usually account for about half our business that week and I assume the same is true of other lodging establishments except those right at the ski resorts.

Whether you want to ski or not, right now is the time to make travel plans and get lodging reservations made.

By the way, you will find many inns have a two or three night minimum that time of year because it is such a busy time and they can't turn over rooms fast enough if they have a lot of one night reservations. You may find some exceptions and perhaps a last minute, fill-in type availability if you can only stay one night.

A good place to start a search for Vermont lodging is at the state's official tourism website: VermontVacation.com.

(c) 2007 (except the vermontvacation.com photograph above) Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus Inn

posted by  grunhaus at  20:26 | permalink

13 Nov 2007
12 Digital Photo Tips From Vagabondish Blog

I enjoy skimming the Vagabondish web magazine from time to time. Today I read a helpful article there on clever ideas for using a digital camera in your travels.

For instance, it recommends writing a reward poster in case you ever lose the camera. Write your email address and a reward amount on a piece of paper. Be careful on that - you don't know who will find your camera. So don't write your name, address, and phone. Use only an email address as the article recommends, and use one that does not contain your full name.

Take a photo of the poster and lock the file so it does not get erased. If someone finds your camera, all they have to do is look at the stored photos and they'll see your contact information and reward. That greatly increases the chances of your getting the camera back.

Another good use for a digital camera is to take a photo of local maps so you can refer to them in your travels. The article uses the example of a subway map.

I think you will enjoy reading the other ten ideas in the full article at the Vagabondish blog.

(c) 2007 Jeff Connor

posted by  grunhaus at  22:07 | permalink

7 Nov 2007
Cheese Making Classes

Vermont is a mecca for cheese lovers and there is even one farm where you can take cheese making classes. Lazy Lady Farm in Westfield Vermont is a small dairy farm with about 25 alpine goats they call "lazy ladies."

The farm holds cheese making classes during the winter. "The classes are for the curious and for the future cheese makers." To get more information and schedule a class, call Laini Fondiller at 802-744-6365 or laini@sover.net.

To learn more about cheese makers in Vermont, visit the Vermont Cheese Council website.

(c) 2007 Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus Inn
Advice , Unusual
posted by  grunhaus at  20:48 | permalink

27 Oct 2007
TheStreet.com Recommends Vermont's Jay Peak For Uncrowded Skiing

is an stock market investing website run by Jim Cramer, whom you may have seen on CNBC's Mad Money television show.

One of the columnists on that website, Mike Woelflein, recently wrote an article entitled Avoid Lift Lines and Ski More This Season on where to find the best uncrowded ski areas around the country. The first place he mentions is Jay Peak, located in Jay, Vermont.

Jay Peak is located in northernmost Vermont, a few miles from the Canadian border. It is known for getting the most snowfall of all the Vermont ski areas, averaging about 350 inches per year. It's very popular with Quebec skiers because it is only about an hours drive from Montreal. From Boston, it is about a 4.5 hour drive.

At our inn, we don't get too many skiers going there because it is about an hour's drive and we are close to Stowe, Sugarbush, Mad River Glen and Bolton Valley. However, the guests who do spend a day at Jay invariably come back with great compliments about the experience.

(c) 2007 Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus Inn
posted by  grunhaus at  13:18 | permalink

23 Oct 2007
Airfare Refunds and Discounts
I did some research about airlines refunding the difference between the price paid for a ticket and the difference if the airline later drops the price on that flight. (See my October 17 entry about Yapta.com.)

Turns out that this is not consistent among airlines. Some do it and others don't. And some, such as Delta and American, will charge you a fee just as they would if you were to change your ticket. That charge is usually $100 on domestic flights and about double or triple that on overseas flights.

There are exceptions: Northwest charges $25 while United, US Airways, and JetBlue don't charge.

Many times you won't get your money refunded in cash but as a voucher for future use. I did not see any information on how long these vouchers last and no doubt that varies from airline to airline and from time to time.

NOTE: don't believe everything you see in this article. What I have written here is what I found on the internet and none of it is from the airlines' own websites. I could not find anything on their websites about this topic but admittedly I only checked three of them by entering the word "refund" in their search boxes . . . I find dealing with airlines more dismal than dealing with government regulations. However, as I have noted in previous blog entries, JetBlue is one of the best airlines to deal with.

And it probably goes without saying in any conversation about airlines, nothing is consistent even within the same company. One person will give you one answer and another person at the same airline will tell you something different. The best thing to do is to make an inquiry if you find out that tickets on your flight are being sold for less than you paid. I'm still surprised when a polite and friendly phone call will get me a discount or adjustment. Give it a try and let me know how this works for you.

(c) 2007 Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus Inn
posted by  grunhaus at  21:28 | permalink

23 Oct 2007
Peak Foliage is Over Up North But Still Available South and West VT

The last two days were beautiful with warm temperatures and clear skies. Today was the opposite with rain and wind all day long. Yesterday we still had a lot of colorful leaves on the trees in north central VT except along the high ridge lines. Today many of those leaves got knocked off. However, I made a trip to Burlington this afternoon and, while the spectacular scenery is gone, there still many spots of bright yellow, gold and orange on the hillsides.

This has been the best and longest lasting fall foliage season we have seen in the seven years we have lived in Vermont. I've never seen so many red trees as I did this year. One of our guests drove up to Lake Willoughby a couple of weeks ago and was still stunned and shaking his head the next day as he told us about a huge mountainside that was mostly red. He had never seen anything like it and could not even imagine such a thing if he had not seen it himself.

There will be areas of southern Vermont that are at peak now, especially in the valleys, as well as in the Lake Champlain basin. It won't last too much longer so if you want to see the best foliage period in years, you should get up here in the next week to ten days.

Honest and accurate foliage reports by state foresters are available on the VermontVacation.com website.

Why and how leaves change color is a bit complicated but if you would like to read up on it, here is a link to VemontVacation.com web page an article reprint from the U.S. Dept of Agriculture.

(c) 2007 Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus Inn
posted by  grunhaus at  20:43 | permalink

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