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20 Dec 2010
Sugarbush Trail Grooming With Dogs
The next time you are at Sugarbush, see if you can tell which trails are groomed by these two guys.

Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus
General , Unusual
posted by  grunhaus at  22:29 | permalink

17 Oct 2010
Stowe's First Snow Report of the Season!

I got a chuckle today when Stowe's first Snow Report of the season arrived in my email inbox. But they had a good reason for sending it: over two feet of snow there yesterday. Of course, that's at the top but you can see in the report that they averaged a couple of inches elsewhere on the trails.

Most of the ski areas in the northern half of Vermont will get their snow making operations started in a couple of weeks and they will try to open a few trails by Thanksgiving.

Also, if you are considering a season pass, now is the time to get one. The sale prices will go up substantially November 1.

Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus
General , Nature
posted by  grunhaus at  13:38 | permalink

10 Oct 2010
Vermont Marshmallow Farm

While organizing this year's photos, I came across this summer photograph of plastic wrapped, round hay bales on a Route 100 farm a little north of Waitsfield.

Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus
General , Unusual
posted by  grunhaus at  20:06 | permalink

25 Jul 2010
VT Lodging Featured in Huffinton Post

I've been a Vermont inn owner for ten years and I still come across a few new inns each month that I've not heard of before. If memory serves, I think I read years ago that there are 1800 some lodging facilities in little ole Vermont but I just read an article about a place that may top them all.

I had never heard of Twin Farms in Barnard VT until I came across an article about it in the Huffington Post. In summary: WOW!

I'm familiar with top shelf places like Rabbit Hill Inn and the Pitcher Inn but Twin Farms is something else.

There are 20 accommodations including suites each with fireplace, full bath; plus cottages of different designs and each in its own secluded environment, set throughout the property's 300 acres. Take a look at Twin Farms website's photos - these cottages would make fine primary residences for most people. I love the rustic Vermont theme incorporated in many of them.

Naturally, we always want to know the rate. Sit down and hang on. Rates at the Twin Farm start at $1400 and go up to $3100. That's per night with a two night minimum weekends and holidays. For two people. Plus 27% service fee and tax. If there is just one person, they reduce the rate $100! I can't imagine anyone would go there alone but it must happen from time to time I suppose.

The website does not say how much an extra person is if you have a group larger than two people but you can rent the entire facility for $41,000 per night. That's what I want to do and I want to invite you and everyone I know. When I win the Powerball Lottery. However, in the interest of full disclosure, my chances of winning are even lower than all those who play because I never buy a ticket. So don't hold out any hope I'll be able to fulfill my generous offer.

Those rates include breakfast, dinner, drinks, and full use of all the facilities including a spa. So while the rates are very high, I would bet Twin Farm's expenses are very high so the rates should be reasonable for the value delivered. Taxes alone must be staggering for a place like this. Having to pay VT tax on my little property, I can only imagine how large a train load of money that Twin Farm must send to Montpelier every year.

Even if you never go to a place like this, it's fun to read about. But I hope you do get to go someday. If so, write and let me know how it was. Add photos too.

Jeff Connor, Way out of Twin Farms league but still a nice place to relax, Grunberg Haus
posted by  grunhaus at  19:01 | permalink

21 Jul 2010
Moose Watch

Photo credit: www.central-vt.com/moose "Montpelier, Vermont, the nation's smallest capital city had an unexpected visitor Monday, July 19th as a moose wandered leisurely during the lunch hour. This picture was taken by an administrative assistant at Vermont State Housing Authority on 1 Prospect in the city. A co-worker, Lindsay White, remarked that she loves the ruralness of Vermont, and this was the exclamation point of the day! "

I think the most frequent question we get from guests is "Where's a good place for dinner?" A close second is "Where can we go to see moose?"

Answering the first question is easy because we have dozens of good restaurants in the immediate area.

Answering the second question is tougher because we don't have dozens of moose hanging around nearby. We have one (perhaps more) around the inn that must come through about once a week judging by the fresh tracks we see that often. In fact a guest and his family last week pulled into our driveway one evening to find a moose standing right in front of them just a few yards off Route 100.

Moose are most frequently in remote, rural areas but they are located all over the state and, as seen in the photo above, they can even wander into a city This one was spotted in downtown Montpelier, the state capital. Once in a while deer are seen feeding on the state capitol lawn in the evenings but moose are a very rare sight in the city.

We have more moose road signs I think than actual moose. The last time I saw a statistic, the VT Fish & Wildlife Division estimated our herd between 4,000 and 5,000. In fact, the last two moose hunting seasons, F&W increased the number of permits to help reduce the size of the herd. This year, they reduced the number of permits back to 700 something. About 200 moose are killed by automobiles each year in Vermont. Moose have little or no fear and they will usually not hesitate to step in front of a car.

When I'm asked about where to see a moose, I tell people that you need a lot of luck to see one. For instance, the photo at the top of this blog was taken by a guest a few years ago through the windshield of his car. By the time he got the car pulled over and stopped to get out and take a better quality photo, the moose had already walked across the road (Route 100 between Warren and Granville) and was headed up into the woods. The point is that if he had left from our inn a minute earlier or a minute later, he would have missed the moose entirely.

But having explained that, we suggest the area around Island Pond, VT for good moose watching. Island Pond is a good central location for exploring the most remote part of Vermont known as the Northeast Kingdom (NEK).

The Appalachian Mountain Club website has a little primer on moose watching you might like to read. Note especially the warnings about getting close to these animals. They're not known for being aggressive but they are wild animals and you can never be sure whether they will attack. A mother moose (cow) will almost certainly be aggressive if she is with a calf.

An even better article is on the Island Pond, VT town website .

Route 105 is Vermont's "Moose Alley" but other roads such as 114, 111, 5 and 16 are worth driving as well. The back roads are also worth exploring but make sure you have enough gas in the tank before heading into backcountry.

But I would not go to the NEK just to see moose. I'd go to see the countryside with the idea that seeing a moose would be a special bonus.

Here is an enjoyable double (!) moose sighting video shot in the NEK by jenawesome

Good luck on your moose hunt! And drive carefully, especially at night.

Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus
Advice , General , Nature , Unusual
posted by  grunhaus at  16:02 | permalink

17 Jan 2009
Stowe VT's von Trapps and the Sound of Music

Johannes von Trapp is handing over management of the famous Stowe VT lodge to his son Sam.

Fortunately, finding Vermont travel topics is easy. Unfortunately, there are so many of them that I can't get to them all.

I have a stack of Vermont information so large, I think I could write several hours a day and never exhaust the ever-growing list. As a result, items linger and I have to weed them out as they become less timely. This blog entry is about just one of those items.

A few weeks ago on Christmas eve, the New York Times ran an article about the real von Trapp family of Stowe. Nearly everyone in this country has heard of them and probably seen the movie. And judging by the number of guests at our inn, many people are big fans of the movie even though it is now about 40 years old.

But, as the article explains, there is quite a difference between the fictional family of the movie and the real von Trapps. The story is based on real people and real events but it takes quite a few liberties with the story.

The Trapp family lodge in Stowe is a very large facility now and does not have the quaintness that some visitors are expecting. However, it is a beautiful place in a magnificent setting with great views. There is an excellent cross country facility there (the only one around here that makes it own snow), they have sleigh rides in the winter, and in the summer the meadows are used for outdoor concerts. It is worth a visit if you are in the area.

Sam von Trapp, grandson of the famous Maria, is now taking over from his father Johannes. Even though he is far removed from the original story, the article makes it clear that he understands the family's appeal to many fans.

If you have not visited Stowe yet, you may be surprised to see that there are a number of lodging facilities and homes there that have Austrian architecture. Even our inn, the Grunberg Haus is built in Tyrolean style and we are about ten miles from Stowe. The von Trapps were not the only Austrians attracted to the mountains here. And people from other mountainous countries such as Sweden and Switzerland found their way here as well.

(c) 2009 Jeff Connor
posted by  grunhaus at  20:41 | permalink

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