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21 Oct 2007
Travel Bag Will Get You Through Airport Security Faster

Leave the sandwich bags for sandwiches - this is a true leak-less solution.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) airplane carry-on regulations on liquids, gels, and aerosols mandate that carry-on bags are limited to a maximum of three ounce liquid containers, that they be in a clear bag of a maximum of one quart capacity, and a limit of one bag per person. It's known simply as the 3-1-1 rule.

Here is a practical solution from a company called 3-1-1 Travel Bag

The Clear Bag System Original, $24.95:
Four (4) medium (1.0 oz) pumps
One (1) mini (.50 oz) pump

The Clear Bag System Fashion, $34.95:
Two (2) large (1.75 oz) pumps
Two (2) medium pumps
Two (2) mini pumps

The Clear Bag System Fashion Elite, $44.95:
One (1) large pump
Two (2) medium pumps
Two (2) mini pumps
Two (2) small (.50 oz) jars

All the containers are reusable and additional jars and pumps are available in an assortment of sizes starting at $4.00.

The 6-X-8-inch clear cases meet the TSA carry-on regulations and the pumps are non-aerosol, airless pumps as specified in those regulations. Each bag has some extra room for toothpaste and deodorant. These bags are a ideal solution for carrying liquids in your checked luggage too.

Keep all those friendly folks at the X-ray machines happy (and fellow passengers too). You could buy small containers of your favorite brands but that gets expensive if you can even find them in those sizes. And, trust me, I know from personal experience that sandwich bags are not dependable.

You can purchase online at the Clear Bag System website.

(c) 2007 Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus Inn
posted by  grunhaus at  22:03 | permalink

17 Oct 2007
Something You Probably Did Not Know About Air Fares

Yapta.com could save you hidden money on your airfare

Did you know that if you pay for an plane ticket and the airline later reduces the price for that flight, you can get a refund for the difference? I sure didn't.

But how do you find out if your ticket would be eligible for this price drop refund? Go to the travel site Yapta.com and sign up for their free service.

All you have to do is enter your flight information and the price you paid for your tickets. Yapta will then track that flight for you. If the airline drops the fare before your trip, Yapta will let you know and tell you how to get the refund.

To see how airline fares bounce around, click on the Farecast.com link here or in the column on the left side of this blog. Farecast will let you know the probability of your fare being lowered. Yapta will also let you track flight numbers and they will alert you if the fare changes but Farecast I think does a better job of showing you the big picture by depicting the flight's price history and probability of change.

One downside to Yapta, which admittedly is in Beta, is that it is only available at this time for Internet Explorer 6 and 7. Firefox and Mac versions are in development however.

The User's Agreement you have to acknowledge requires that you agree this is for your personal use only, not for commercial use - you can't resell the service for example.

Once you have signed up (it's free) you will see a list of airlines and travel sites such as Expedia, Orbitz, and Travelocity. Priceline is not included, nor are Northwest and foreign airlines. I suppose this will change as time goes by.

I have not tried this service yet but when I have the opportunity to do so, I'll write a follow-up entry

(c) 2007 Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus Inn
posted by  grunhaus at  23:18 | permalink

11 Oct 2007
USA Today Article on Great Restaurants in Northern VT

Many of our inn's guests are surprised at the number of quality restaurants here in Vermont. It's all tourism-driven; we wouldn't have nearly as many if they had to rely only on local residents.

Collectively, all the restaurants I am aware of in north central Vermont would amount to the selection in any major city.

It's great to live in a place where we have so many restaurant choices. We have been here more than seven years and we are still working our way through the list. We will probably never get to them all.

A couple of weeks ago, USA Today newspaper had an interesting article on some of the best in the area. It is a small sampling of what is available here locally.

From the article: "Ben & Jerry's socially aware ice cream factory near Waterbury put northern Vermont and its back-to-the-land vibe on the foodie map in the late '70s. Now the area boasts talented cheese-makers, chocolatiers, bakers, maple-sugar craftsmen, vintners and microbrewers and the prestigious New England Culinary Institute."

The article credits Laura and Michael Kloeti at Michael's on the Hill restaurant with being among the first to partner with and promote locally produced ingredients, but the author did not review the facility presumably because he did not eat there I guess. However, the author, Jerry Shriver, has short reviews of some others.

The reviewed restaurants are Hen of the Wood ("The lasting impression is that you have stumbled on a New England outpost of the Garden of Eden."); Taste of Burlington; The Kitchen Table Bistro("Chef/owners Steve and Lara Atkins take the local/seasonal/sustainable approach so seriously, they credit the local composting company on their menu, along with about 30 farmers, cheesemakers, bakers and brewers."); Butler's at the Inn at Essex.

Advice , Food
posted by  grunhaus at  10:32 | permalink

9 Oct 2007
Fall Foliage Looks Great
A lot of red foliage on Vermont's mountainsides this year. We're right in the peak period and it should last about another week in this Waterbury/Stowe area before moving south and into the Burlington/Lake Champlain areas.

Two of our guests went about an hour and a half north to Lake Willoughby today and said the colors up there looked great. We often recommend Lake Willoughby to our guests because it is one of the prettiest lakes in Vermont.

Man, I picked a great place to live.

(c) 2007 Jeff Connor
posted by  grunhaus at  22:56 | permalink

5 Oct 2007
Fall Foliage Coming Up to Peak in North Central Vermont

Today the leaves took a big step forward in color in my local area. I think the past two nights of very cool weather did that. I have read that some scientists say it is not the temperature that causes leaves to change color but my personal experience is the opposite. I think it is the same weather conditions that make the sap flow well in the spring: cold nights and warm days.

We have been directing guests to the Northeast part of the state for foliage color and they have come back with good reports. Now the color change has ramped up in our Stowe/Waterbury area and it will continue to work its way south as the days go by. Upper elevations south of us such as Mad River Glen ski area are reporting peak or near peak conditions. Come on up and take a look!

If you do not already have a lodging reservation, here is a tip. There are still some rooms available but rather than calling inn after inn, check with the chambers of commerce. In this area they are the Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce, 1-800-82VISIT; Stowe Area Association, 1-877-GOSTOWE (877-467-8693); or Central VT Chamber of Commerce, 1-877-887-3678 (their web site is not helpful for finding which lodging facilities that have rooms).

(c) 2007 Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus

posted by  grunhaus at  22:28 | permalink

4 Oct 2007
VT Chef of the Year's Great Restaurant and Cooking Classes

Michael Kloeti chef/owner of Michael's on the Hill, one of our favorite restaurants to recommend to guests, has just been named Vermont Chef of the Year by the Vermont Hospitality Council, a part of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce. Vermont is blessed with many hundreds of fine restaurants so winning this award is a major achievement.

Michael was born and raised in Switzerland although he has been in this country about 15 years. He got his culinary education in Switzerland. Since moving to the US, has worked at the four star Lespinasse in NYC; the Koele Lodge in Lanaii, Hawaii; and New York City's St. Regis Hotel.

Michael's on the Hill has been our favorite restaurant since it opened five years ago in Waterbury Center , about 15 minutes from our inn. We highly recommend it to our guests who are looking for a top quality dining experience.

The food is outstanding but unpretentious. This is a restaurant for food lovers not those interested in a showy display. It is American cuisine with a European influence. Michael makes no secret of the fact that the foundation to his food preparation is the use of fresh ingredients. He has been an area leader in the Vermont Fresh Network (an organization of farmers and chefs), The Slow Food Movement, and Local First Vermont. Michael's on the Hill consistently gets enthusiastic reviews from our guests.

Michael's wife and business partner is Laura Kloeti. She has a bachelor's degree in Restaurant Management from Syracuse University, and also attended the The Culinary Institute of America in NYC. She has worked as a chef and manager in various hotels and restaurants in Switzerland, New York City, Hawaii and Vermont. Laura most often makes the deserts for the restaurant.

Cooking classes - an unusual opportunity to learn from a master chef.

Most chefs of Michael's caliber do not want to work with people who have not had years of training. However, Michael has a strong passion about food preparation and loves to teach an appreciation for it. He is enthusiastic about sharing solid food preparation methods with people who really want to learn no matter what their level of expertise.

Six class options are offered including A Taste of Vermont; an Extravagant Lunch; Hors d'oeuvres; and A Dinner Party. See the cooking classes page on the website for full details including prices.

(c) 2007 Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus
posted by  grunhaus at  22:45 | permalink

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