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17 Jul 2006
Best Vermont Websites
There are thousands of Vermont websites but I have selected my personal list of the best ones where you can do some research if you plan to travel Vermont either in person or just from your desk at home.

The top two are vermont.com and vtliving.com . Those two should keep you busy for quite a long time if you wish.

For touring Vermont, the top two are vermontvacation.com , the state Dept of Tourism official site, and Vermont Attractions Association which lists about 70 attractions that you can search by type or location Ė or just select the All category for the full list.

I was going to choose the five top VT websites but decided later to round it up to six with two more favorites I think you will find interesting:

Vermont Folk Life Center - one of my personal favorites and a great state resource. Their facility is located in the attractive college town of Middlebury, about a 45 min drive south of our inn.

VT Only and especially their Links page. A few of the links are outdated and no longer work but, in whole, this is a comprehensive list and well worth bookmarking. There are many other good pages on the site and their online store has a lot of VT made products for sale.

As mentioned, this list is just the beginning of all the web sites about Vermont but you could also go to my Grunberg Haus Links page and Events page to see many more. Virtually all lodging facilities in the state (about 2000 B&B's and inns plus many motels and hotels) have a web site, some of them outstanding, along with most every business, even one person operations such as craft studios. I probably should also mention the Vermont Ski Areas Association because the site has links to all the ski areas and they all have summer operations.

So, now my list of five has expanded to seven and I better stop writing before this completely gets away from me. Have fun surfing the Green Mountains.

(c) 2006 Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus LLC
posted by  grunhaus at  13:42 | permalink

9 Jul 2006
Vermont Moose

We have had several moose sightings recently on Route 100 less than a few hundred yards from our inn so I thought that this would be a good time to discuss tips about where to find them, along with some safety advice.

Vermont is a rural state. It is about 80% forest and another 10% farm land. It's fun to drive around an area where you can observe so much wildlife. Finding a moose is the utmost in wildlife viewing in this part of the world.

Like a lot of things in life that are fun, there are some cautions too. Most of them are common sense.

Keeping your eyes on the road is one of them of course. And it's not just wild animals that you should be watching - there are a large number of dairy cows. If you have ever been up close to a cow, you know they are huge animals too and definitely not something you want to hit while driving. Sometimes, cows get loose and will cross a road. Other times, they are being led by a farmer who is moving his herd across the road to another pasture.

There are many miles of winding roads in Vermont. Going around a blind corner means that there could be a surprise on the other side. Perhaps it will be an animal, but it could also be a slowed or stopped car looking at an animal.

There may be as many moose traffic caution signs as there are moose in Vermont, and that's estimated to be several thousand. We joke that department of tourism puts up the moose signs rather than the department of transportation but moose near a road is no joking matter. If you see these signs, take them seriously. And, of course, moose don't read well so they will cross a road wherever they darn well please. The signs are put up where there are the most sightings or accidents. You need to pay attention when driving the country roads and all the highways, especially at night.

Moose are most abundant in Maine and parts of Canada but there are large herds in Vermont and New Hampshire, as well as small herds in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and upstate New York (Adirondacks mostly).

The moose herd in Vermont and northern New England is growing. Both sightings and accidents are on the rise. The Vermont deer herd is down in numbers but there are still plenty of them around too. Deer are easier to see at night because they are light colored and have reflective eyes. Moose are nearly black and do not have reflective eyes. Moose are very difficult to see at night until you are close. And moose are more likely to walk onto a road without fear. They have no natural enemies here and they are used to going anywhere they want. They are not afraid of you or your car.

Moose are generally quite docile and eat only plants. However, a moose cow will charge anything it thinks might threaten its calf. Bulls can be very aggressive during the "rut" or mating season in fall. The three things on their mind are breeding, fighting, and eating. If you get too close, it may decide to do one of those three with you.

Moose like to hang out in bogs and mud holes you will see near the road. In the spring, moose are sometimes attracted to salt on the road. Moose are crepuscular, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk. They often go to the same feeding sites early in the morning and then return late in the afternoon.

It's a thrilling sight to see a wild animal larger than a horse. The best area to view moose in Vermont is the "Northeast Kingdom" section of the state, especially the area around the towns of Island Pond, Averill, and Ferdinand. Driving Route 2 between St. Johnsbury and Lunenburg, VT is sometimes productive. Another good area in central Vermont is Route 100 between Warren and Granville (a few miles south of our inn where the moose photo above was taken by one of our guests in November).

Moose are huge. A cow will stand about six to seven feet high and weigh 600 to 800 pounds. A bull will stand about seven or eight feet tall and weigh 1000 pounds, often more. They can run up to 30 miles per hour. They are so tall that when hit by a car, they usually crash through the windshield.

There is an old saying that does something like "If you have a choice between hitting a deer or swerving and hitting a hundred year old oak tree, hit the deer. If you have a choice between hitting a moose and a hundred year old oak tree, hit the tree." Some people say if you have a chance to swerve that it is best to swerve toward the back side of the moose. This is not expert advice - if you get into this situation, you are on your own.

If you pull your vehicle over to observe moose, park safely off the road and well away from the animal. Respect the animal by not getting close to it and chasing it away from its food. Stay in your car and keep the engine running. If you see the moose drop its ears or bristle its neck hair, leave immediately. If you are not sure about the situation, leave immediately. Try to stay as far from the animal as you can. Remember that it may look calm but it is a wild animal and you cannot be sure what it will do next.

If you are on a highway, don't stop at all. Only emergency stopping is permitted on highways. Seeing a moose is not an emergency. If a highway patrol officer finds you just watching a moose from the highway, you will likely receive a citation.

Enjoy these giants of the forest but don't forget that you are in the presence of enormous power.


The first paragraph in a good essay about Moose on Wikipedia :
"Alces alces, called the moose in North America and the elk in Europe (see also elk for other animals called elk) is the largest member of the deer family Cervidae, distinguished from other members of Cervidae by the form of the palmate antlers of its males. The word "moose" is from mus or mooz in several of the Algonquian languages, spoken by certain indigenous peoples of the Americas. The name means "twig eater."


An intersting article on moose in Vermont: VT Living website http://www.vtliving.com/moose/

(c) 2006 Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus LLC

posted by  grunhaus at  17:42 | permalink

18 Jun 2006
You don't need to move every night.
When traveling to a different place every night, it often creates work you don't need. All that packing and unpacking every day , locating the new lodging facility, changing activities to meet a schedule - it's like being on a business trip, not a vacation.

Now, I understand some people like to keep up a strong pace and they enjoy a different place each night. But please don't feel it is necessary to do that in order to see New England.

New England is tiny. We have many first-time visitors to our inn, notably from Texas and California, who are surprised at how small this area of the country is. I think one contributing factor is that VT takes up a page in the Atlas just like Iowa does. You could easily fit five Vermonts into Iowa. All of New England is much smaller than Nevada. It's possible to drive from Rhode Island, through Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine in a few hours.

We had several people say they wish they had fully understood this before making reservations. So when people called here to inquire or make a reservation for one night, I started suggesting that they did not need to move around every night. Some were grateful for the advice but others were suspicious that I was just trying to sell them on spending more money here.

I suggest that if you are visiting VT for the first time or two, stay in the southern part of the state a couple of nights and then north a couple of nights.

From where I am in north central Vermont, the beautiful Adirondacks of upstate NY area little over an hour's drive. The White Mountains of NH are about the same distance in the other direction.

From here in Waterbury, Burlington and Lake Champlain are about 25 to 30 miles. Within a radius of roughly 12 to 14 miles are the state capital of Montpelier, Stowe, and the Mad River Valley where Sugarbush and Mad River Glen are located. The Canadian border is a 1.5 hour drive, Montreal is less than 2.5 hours, Boston is 3.5 hours, Albany is a little less than that. Day trips are very easy and more relaxing when you are not on the task of getting to the next lodging facility.

Basically the same is true if you are visiting New England. Pick two to three places to stay over the course of a week and make easy day trips.

Ask the innkeeper when you call or write. Virtually all are honest and will give you good information. They have made day trips themselves, as have their guests. If you talk to someone who doesn't seem to know the area, just call the next place. Yes, everyone likes to brag on their hometown a bit but they won't exaggerate the situation because they know you won't be happy when you get there and they certainly don't want that.

A major part of the reason for staying at a bed and breakfast is personalized attention . . . if you want it. Innkeepers are very happy to share their favorite scenic roads to drive, towns to visit, streams to swim or fish, restaurants to eat, stores to shop, etc. And the advice is free!

(c) 2006 Jeff Connor, Grunberg Haus LLC
posted by  grunhaus at  12:39 | permalink

4 Jun 2006
Book Fall Foliage Lodging Soon
Believe it or not, now is a good time to book lodging for Vermont's fall foliage season. It usually gets started the last few days of September and peaks the first two weeks of October. If you have never seen this, you won't believe the colors.

What makes Vermont special is that the state is 80% forest and much of it is on very large expanses of mountainsides. It's very easy to find views where you can see hundreds and even thousands of acres of trees in color. Further, what you see here that you don't see much of elsewhere are maples that turn bright red. I have seen trees of such bright day-glo orange and candy red they look fake.

There are still plenty of rooms available now but, for example, our B&B has several bookings already and we're getting a call or two every week. The sooner you make a reservation, the more choice you will have. You can take a look at an online availability calendar to see how the bookings are going either at our web site or the ones on many other B&B websites. Over the next 90 days, most Vermont lodging facilities will get booked up or nearly all booked.

(c) 2006 Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus LLC
posted by  grunhaus at  17:47 | permalink

2 Jun 2006
Vermont in Wikipedia
If you are not familiar with Wikipedia , you really should take a look at it. There you will find an amazing compendium of information about people, places, and things. Very few times have I searched for something and not found a good, to-the-point essay on the topic.

Like every state, Vermont has a section. If you are traveling to Vermont and want to know some history and current information, this is the best place to get it quickly.
posted by  grunhaus at  12:11 | permalink

31 May 2006
I received an email from the Mileybymile.com folks a week or two ago letting me know that nearly all links on the site had been taken down. They explained that this was due to some abuses that had taken place but they did not elaborate.

It's too bad because I had spent many hours adding links to my Road Map Guide about Vermontís great Route 100. This road runs a couple hundred miles the length of the state. Consensus among locals is that Route 100 is the most scenic Vermont road. This is probably because it is the longest, is therefore nearest the greatest number of residents, and also therefore has the greatest number of scenic views.

However, the Vermonters you meet may also have another favorite they think is even better. If they do have one or two, they will likely be willing to share that information so donít hesitate to ask. Also donít hesitate to purchase one of those expensive state Road Atlasí (get the Vermont version) because there is better-than-even chance you will get lost if you take the advice of some locals about some back roads. This is especially true if dark is approaching. Weíre not real big on signs around here for two main reasons: they block the view . . . and weíre cheap.

The only remaining links are for milebymile.com and my inn, Grunberg Haus , which seems self-serving! Not that it wasnít a bit self-promotional previously but at least my web site was merely included with many others. The Route 100 article had dozens of links for lodging, restaurants, attractions, and more. In addition to many hours of link work in the first iteration, I went to the website a couple of times a year to check the links and spent a bit of time keeping them updated.

So if you see something in the article that interests you, enter the name in your favorite search engine. Chances are good the place will have a web site although I do remember most of the campsites I mentioned did not have them.

The Route 100 article is a few years old but I have updated it from time to time. However, itís been a while since I drove the whole route so maybe itís time to recheck the landmarks. Iíd like to add more photos especially since the links are gone which made it easy for readers to click and see photos at the businessesí web sites.

Perhaps you have some people in your life who are as big a pain in the neck as the ones who were abusing the milebymile website links. If so, hereís a solution: take a trip to Vermont. Get away from them for a while. Print the Route 100 guide and treat yourself to a great drive in some of the most beautiful countryside in the world. Itís easy to do and I can tell you from personal experience, you deserve the break.

(c) 2006 Jeff Connor, Grunberg Haus LLC
posted by  grunhaus at  21:33 | permalink

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