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23 Apr 2007
Still Skiing in Vermont
Spring arrived in Vermont late last week but three ski resorts will stay open: Jay Peak, Stowe, and Killington. It's been a great year for skiing even though it started late. And the spring skiing was excellent as well. These three ski areas consistently have the deepest base depths, best conditions, and high elevations so they can keep going after other ski resorts have closed. You can get more detail on the Vermont Ski Area Association web site. I'm not sure how much longer the conditions will be reasonable enough to ski but I'll guess a couple of more weeks, based on past seasons. It's actually a great time to ski. The days are long and warm, the crowds are non-existent, rates are at their lowest, and the snow usually has the classic "pop corn" consistency which makes for a lot of fun. Don't forget your sunblock.

(c) 2007 Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus
posted by  grunhaus at  20:05 | permalink

22 Apr 2007
Southwest Vermont Blog
Yesterday I ran across a Vermont blog I had not seen before. It's called Southwest Vermont Blog and I think you will find it useful if you are planning to visit the Bennington - Manchester area. It's not very active - three blogs so far in April, two in March - and it looks like it just started in January. However, it is well written, entertaining, and informative. We'll keep an eye on it and hope it continues.

(c) 2007 Jeff Connor
posted by  grunhaus at  21:58 | permalink

20 Apr 2007
Killington Live Snow Cam
Want to see for yourself what the snow conditions look like at Killington? You can do so at their K-1 Web Cam. Most other ski areas or Vermont attractions have just a fixed camera if they have one at all, but you can actually take the controls at the Killington web cam and point it nearly anywhere you would like. You will have to wait in line for your turn before you get control but there is a counter to let you know how long the wait will be.

Click the Start Control button in the lower right below the picture. This gets you in line and starts the countdown timer. The status box turns green when it is your turn to control the camera and you are limited to one minute of use. You can move the camera left or righ, telephoto in or out. When your one minute is up, you can get back in line by repeating the same procedure. The camera has pre-set locations and will scroll them at the bottom of the window. Pre-sets include the K-1 Lodge, Lower Superstar, Lower Highline, and Killington Peak.

Control time is limited to one minute per user. When your time has expired, you're free to click Start Control again and you will be placed into a que and the countdown timer will again display the time remaining until you have control of the camera.

You don't have to control the camera to enjoy it. It's easy enough to just sit back and watch as other people control the camera.

The Killington Web Cam is like looking out your window to see what snow and ski conditions are. It's good for a few minutes of fun and some helpful information about snow conditions.

(c) 2007 Jeff Connor
posted by  grunhaus at  16:24 | permalink

19 Apr 2007
Ben & Jerry's Newsletter and Discounts

Ben & Jerry's has an email newsletter that sometimes includes discounts or special offers. You can sign up for it at the Chunk Spelunker page of their website. The email we received today has a two for one offer - buy one cone or cup and get a second one free.

If you are planning to visit their Waterbury Vermont factory, or if you have a Scoop Shop in your local area, it would be worthwhile to sign up for the newsletter and get the discounts plus news on new flavors, etc.

(c) 2007 Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus
posted by  grunhaus at  21:11 | permalink

18 Apr 2007
Vermont Power Outages
If you have reservations for lodging in Vermont this weekend, especially central Vermont, you should call or write to the facility to make sure they have electric power. Last weekend's storms knocked out power in many areas of Vermont but Rutland County was hardest hit and some places are still without power. The Vermont utility there has even hired extra crews from as far away as Ontario Canada to aid their efforts to get electric customers back online. As of this evening, Central Vermont Public Service has restored power to 40,000 of the 50,000 customers who had lost power. Most likely, things will be back to normal by this weekend but I would check to be sure. Also, you can track this by checking CVPS's web site which has daily updates. Even if your reservation is not in this area of the state, it would be a good idea to check with your lodging facility just to make sure.

(c) 2007 Jeff Connor
posted by  grunhaus at  21:39 | permalink

15 Apr 2007
Finding a Vermont Maple Syrup Producer to Visit
I mentioned Two Old Saps maple syrup producers yesterday which is a great place to buy syrup but difficult to visit because of their location. However, there are many maple syrup producers all over Vermont who are well geared up for visitors and in fact welcome them either seasonally or year around.

Our favorite recommendation is Morse Farm located a little north of Montpelier. They even have a small theater set up to show the entire process from tapping the trees to bottling the syrup. They also have a wood fired evaporator boiling down the sap so you can see the process in person. There are guided tours of the sugar house and knowledgable staff on hand to answer questions. And there is a store with all their products plus other Vermont products and souvenirs.

For a list of maple syrup sugar houses open to the public, go to the Vermont Sugar Makers Association website which shows the sugar houses by county.

The way the weather is going, there may be another couple of weeks of good sap flowing. In fact, some Vermont sugar makers are back to getting Grade A Fancy syrup which usually only happens early in the sugaring season. Then they progress through Grade A Medium, then Dark, and then Grade B which has a very heavy, musky maple taste and is usually used for cooking but some folks like it on their pancakes too. Not much Grade C is produced because there is not much demand for it. It's usually sold to flavoring companies who use it for flavoring in manufactured food products. By the way, some "maple syrups" are actually maple flavored corn sweetners like Aunt Jemima's which has just a few percent syrup in its contents. A lof of hard working Vrmonters would prefer that you buy the real thing, of course. And we'd prefer you come here to enjoy our beautiful state and buy your syrup here too. But if you can't visit now, many of the syrup producers are happy to ship.

Here are some interesting facts from the Morse Farms web site History Page :

"On the average, it takes 40 gallons of maple sap to make 1 gallon of pure maple syrup. We drill 1 tap hole in each of our maple trees, which gives 10 gallons of sap in an average year. So, 4 maple trees, 40 to 200 years old, are needed to make one gallon of pure maple syrup.

"Maple sap is 2% sugar and weighs 8.35 lbs. per gallon
Maple syrup is 66.9% sugar and weighs 11 lbs per gallon
One gallon of maple syrup makes 7 lbs of maple sugar
Maple syrup contains 50 calories per Tablespoon
Corn syrup contains 60 calories per Tablespoon"

That history page also explains why producing maple syrup is called "sugaring."

(c) 2007 Jeff Connor
Advice , Unusual
posted by  grunhaus at  22:00 | permalink

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