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17 Jan 2007
Burlington Advice on MSNBC.com
I just ran across this short articleon MSNBC.com but it was written Dec 26. It's a short review of a few things to do during a 24 hour layover in Burlington. It's mostly the standard stuff and would take more than 24 hours to do (the Shelburne Museum alone would easily take a day) but it's a useful guide.

(c) 2007 Jeff Connor
posted by  grunhaus at  09:59 | permalink

6 Jan 2007
Beautiful Weather . . . Unfortunately
Today the temperature reached 58 degrees F here. Combined with rain last night, we now have no snow at our location in north central Vermont. The elevation at our inn is 1050 feet. The upper elevations at the ski areas are still plenty white but the skiing is spring like. Some recent guests reported that Stowe and Sugarbush were "not great but OK." Some of them decided to try Jay Peak about an hour north of us and came back with an enthusiastic endorsement. Jay Peak traditionally gets more snow than any ski area in Vermont - about 350 inches per year.

If you are planning to come here for cross country skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, or sleigh ride, I would suggest planning other activities or postponing the trip for a while. Down hill skiing should continue to be OK. Temperatures next week are predicted to have highs in the mid-30's and night time temps in the teens. It will be even lower on the mountains so the ski areas should have no problem making snow at night.

We still have great scenery to see and indoor activities such as swimming and ice skating. Plus lots of great shops and restaurants. If you are planning to come for alpine skiing or just to take a break, I would still come. If you are planning to ski in southern VT, be sure to check on conditions before you hit the road.
posted by  grunhaus at  21:20 | permalink

30 Dec 2006
We Have Snow!
During our usual slow season in Nov and early Dec, it was very mild weather here as it was throughout much of the eastern half of the country. But now the temps are back down to normal, the ski areas are able to make snow, and we've had some good natural snow. In fact, today it snowed most of the day and we received about seven or eight inches of dry, powdery snow.

We have enough snow now that the other types of winter activities besides downhill skiing are getting started. I've been getting emails from outfitters saying that they are starting up their cross country skiing, snowshoe, and snowmobile operations.
posted by  grunhaus at  17:37 | permalink

29 Oct 2006
Excellent Airfare Search Service

I have found an airfare search engine site that is highly impressive and a very welcome new approach to finding a flight. Farecast is an independent web site you can use to research airline fares between 75 US cities. It's still in Beta (test) form but looks to be working fine with only a couple of minor bugs I experienced.

This is not an online booking site like Expedia. It's more of a search engine specifically for airline flights. However, there are links directly to each airline's web site reservation page so you can book directly with the airline. In case you are not aware, booking flights online will save you money compared to calling the airlines and booking with one of their agents.

Note that Farecast is free of charge for you to use. They have revenue from pay per click advertising, and it would not surprise me if the airlines pay them a small fee for each booking.

I found the search function very easy to use and the results came up quickly. Once in a while, the system will "hang" and the results never show. Just click another tab or the browser back button and then return to what you were looking for. Each time I did that, the results came up quickly.

There is an intriguing feature called Fare Prediction as shown in the illustration above. However, it does not always appear, notably if airfares have been stable recently on the particular route you are researching. If it does appear for your search, it will show if the lowest fare is likely to rise or drop over the next seven days.

Also, there is a feature called Fare History which charts the lowest fare observed each day for your trip, up to 90 days ago. In other words, it's as if you would have searched for your trip every day and plotted the lowest fare actually available. All this is based on more than 90 billion airfare observations based on real pricing and availability.

Airports in this region which are included in the database so far are: Burlington VT, Boston MA, Manchester NH, and Albany NY. Montreal is not yet listed.

One of the things I like best about this web site is that you don't have to specify dates of travel. That's always been a pet peeve of mine when dealing with other travel search web sites. Sometimes I just want to know which are the cheapest (or most expensive) times to travel to a particular destination. Farecast has solved this issue. If you are flexible with your schedule, or if you are just curious about how much flight costs can vary, you can research fare history between two airports.

The more I delve into this site, the more features and usability I discover. It is quite an amazing achievement. Please note that I have no connection with this web site and will not receive any compensation for mentioning it. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

(c) 2006 Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus
posted by  grunhaus at  20:57 | permalink

21 Oct 2006
Still Some Good Foliage Left in Certain Areas
We are well past foliage peak in our immediate area but there are still some patches of good color. In fact, last night we received about an inch of snow and the view of the mountain ridge across the valley from us was great. There was snow on the ground at the upper levels with golden leaves on birches plus the lush green of pine trees in the foreground at the lower levels.

Some of our guests from Iowa were amazed today while driving over Route 17 from Waitsfield. It looked like winter on the east side of the mountain but when they crossed over to the west side into the Lake Champlain Valley, there there were many trees in color and no snow at all. Two seasons in one short drive!

As I mentioned in a previous post, the area to the north and south of Middlebury, on the west side of the Green Mountain range is the best place to look at foliage now. If you get your map out, plan to drive along Route 7 for the most part but also take some of the east/west roads such as Routes 4, 125, and 17.

Also, on the other side of the state, the valley we share with New Hampshire along the Connecticut River, usually matches the Champlain Valley for color and timing.

Here is a useful link to more information on the state's tourism web site. Don't just look at the map - it does not give enough details and will discourage you. Read the text for the full story.

(c) 2006 Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus LLC
posted by  grunhaus at  17:14 | permalink

13 Oct 2006
Is There Any Foliage Left?
Yes, there is. There is still a little color left up north and at the upper elevations but those areas peaked a week or so ago.

Around the north central VT area where we are located, there are some mountainsides with good color while others have just a few spots of color left.

The best areas now will be in the Champlain Valley on the west side of the Green Mountains. One of our guests said there is excellent color around the Middlebury area.

(c) 2006 Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus LLC
posted by  grunhaus at  20:07 | permalink

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