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23 Jul 2007
VT Scenic Road Reviews on Milebymile.com Web Site
I received an email this evening thanking me for writing a review of Vermont's beautiful Route 100. That's impressive enough to even be thanked (in the years since I wrote the review, I have only received a terse note saying I had misspelled the name of a village) but I was surprised that this individual had ridden a bicycle the entire length of the road, 220 miles. Plus he had to pedal up some serious and numerous hills along the way. Quite a feat.

In you are planning a visit to VT, it would be worth spending a few minutes looking over not only the milebymile.com Route 100 review I wrote but also the Route 17, and Route 2 reviews someone else wrote. They are here. These roads are some of the major scenic drives in Vermont but there are many, many more quiet country lanes and back roads all over the state. Ask your lodging host for some ideas on which roads are good scenic drives in the area.

(c) 2007 Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus
posted by  grunhaus at  22:28 | permalink

20 Jul 2007
Good Airline Tips

Thanks to a link at Upgrade: Travel Better Blog (link in the left column of this page), I found another blog called Seat 2B with a very interesting article about Northwest Airlines. Northwest has two flights a day into and out of Burlington VT (BTV) from Detroit Metro Airport (DTT).

Essentially, the Seat 2B blogger, Joe Brancatelli, says Northwest has cut back so much that they run out of flight personnel near the end of each month. Here is a key paragraph from the article:

"Steer Clear"

"Northwest is trying to operate with about 25 percent fewer pilots and co-pilots than it employed in 2000. The inevitable result: massive crew shortages at the end of June when Northwest’s remaining pilots “timed out” and could no longer fly. (According to federal regulations, pilots cannot fly more than 100 hours a month.) Northwest canceled more than 1,200 flights during the last 10 days of June. The final 10 days of July and August won’t be much better."

To be fair, Northwest is trying to get better. They have a Customers First pledge they are trying to live up to.

As someone who has used the Burlington airport a couple of times a year for the past seven years, I can say it is a pretty good little airport. Much of this is due to its small size. It is easy to get from curb, to parking lot, to gate, to luggage carousel.

A surprising number of airlines fly into Burlington. You an see a list here. And a list of all the flights is here.

I recommend to guests that they also check flights into Manchester NH, Albany NY, and Boston Logan in that order. Also, check JFK because Jet Blue flies from there to Burlington and it is a better-than-average airline, despite some recent troubles.

Using our inn's north central VT location for comparison, Manchester is 2.5 hours drive, Albany is a little over 3 hours, and Boston is 3.5 hours. Time to southern VT will be about an hour or so shorter. We are about a 40 minute drive from the Burlington airport.

Manchester and Albany are good choices because Southwest Airlines flies to both. Southwest has very good prices and, probably more important, competent employees with pleasant attitudes. Ditto for Jet Blue.

Seat 2B is one of several blogs on the new Conde Nast Portfolio website. It will be interesting to see how many airlines advertise in the magazine. Subscriptions are very cheap by the way: just $12/year. [Disclaimer: I am not receiving any compensation from Conde Nast and in fact have never been in contact with them.]

(c) 2007 Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus
posted by  grunhaus at  20:36 | permalink

1 Jul 2007
Places to See Before You Die
A few years ago, Patricia Schultz published a book called "Places to See Before You Die" (Workman Press) in which she recommends the village of Stowe. Personally, I would have just said Vermont. Her book has been on the NY Times Best Seller list for more than three years. Mine has not. In fact, it's languishing in non existence. So, we'll give Patricia the official nod for being the authority in this matter but reserving my right as a resident to expand her selection a tad.

She has also just published a book called "1,000 Places To See in the USA & Canada Before You Die" and Stowe is again included. It's published by Workman Publishing and no doubt available at your local bookstore.

The Travel Channel is broadcasting a weekly series based on the original book. And there is a website on the way.

Stowe, Vermont was also included recently in LIFE Magazine's '100 Places to See,' the only place in Vermont to be honored.

The LIFE Editor, Robert Sullivan, said Stowe was included because "It's pulled off the amazing trick of becoming famous and a destination, yet remained true to its essence: It is what it is, a New England village of great charm and a day-to-day that features village rhythms”.

The only thing I can add is that Stowe is great. A great start. Branch out in some easy drives around the state and you will be highly impressed with all the picture postcard scenes you will have around nearly every corner.

For such a small state, there is an amazing number and variety of things to see and do. That's why I started this blog: people sometimes asked me if there's much to do here. The answer is a big "YES", or better, "HECK YES!" If I were to spend my time more profitably writing a travel book about VT instead of this not-for-profit blog, I could publish a very thick book to answer that question.

(c) 2007 Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus
posted by  grunhaus at  11:55 | permalink

27 Jun 2007
Make Your VT Fall Foliage Lodging Reservations Soon
We have been steadily getting calls for lodging during fall foliage. I received a call yesterday from a woman who said she had tried two other places before us and they were both full on the two dates she wanted.

If you plan to travel to VT during the last week of September or the first two weeks of October, you should make your reservations as soon as you can. Rooms are still available but the selection becomes smaller with each passing week.

Whatever you do, don't drive here thinking you can easily find a place to stay. Each year we get some drop-ins who did not know what a busy time of year that is here. We've been fortunate so far in calling around and finding some lodging for them but sometimes it is fairly far away and or not the best accommodation.

A few years ago, the only thing I could find locally was a deluxe suite priced at more than $400 that was available only because of a last minute cancellation. It was late at night and the couple decided to take it but naturally they were not happy to do so. I hope they have other good memories of Vermont besides what they had to pay for a room that night.

(c) 2007 Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus
posted by  grunhaus at  20:33 | permalink

27 Jun 2007
Blue Map is a Great Map of Burlington and VT

(c) 2006 Information Gallery

At our inn, we keep a supply of the Blue Map for our guests who are traveling to Burlington VT. It has a map of the greater Burlington area including such surrounding towns such as Essex Junction and Colchester. Best of all, it has a large section devoted to a helpful close-up of downtown Burlington and the Lake Champlain waterfront.

All the attractions in the Burlington area are shown including Shelburne Museum, Shelburne Farm, ECHO Aquarium, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, cruise ship docks, and the car ferry to NY.

There are numerous advertisements but they are laid out in a similar size and style, and they are listed in a well designed format that makes them helpful instead of intrusive.

The multi-panel fold-out map brochure also has a very good map of most of Vermont and a little of upstate NY including Lake Placid.

You can see all of this online at the Blue Map website. When you are in Vermont, you can find the Blue Map at many information centers, attractions, and kiosks on the Burlington lake front near the ferry and cruise ship docks.

(c) 2007 Jeff Connor except the Blue Map sample above
posted by  grunhaus at  18:14 | permalink

22 Jun 2007
South West Vermont Blog
One of my favorite blogs has posted a couple of new entries which will be of interest to travelers visiting southern Vermont.

The South West Vermont Blog today has an article about a beautiful museum that I have wanted to visit for a long time, the Southern Vermont Art Center.

And the prior blog entry recommends some "off the beaten path" hiking in the Arlington area which ties in nicely with my post below about hiking.

Southern VT is a beautiful area to tour and I always recommend to travelers that they spend two or three days there and two or three here in the more northern part of the state. That way, it's easy to make day trips not only around Vermont but also the Adirondacks in NY (Lake Placid, Lake George, Saranac Lake, etc), the White Mountains of NH, and even Montreal, an easy 2.5 hours drive from us - roughly the same as Arlington and other southwest VT villages.

This is such a small part of the country, you don't need to pack up and move every night. It is much more relaxing and enjoyable to stay in one or two places and spend your time enjoying each area instead of just driving to the next lodging place every day.

We sometimes hear from first-time guests, especially those from large states like Texas and California, that they are quite surprised at how small New England is, and that they wish they could spend more time in each area getting to know it better. But that's part of what travel means, getting to learn new parts of the world.

(c) 2007 Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus
posted by  grunhaus at  22:11 | permalink

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