Many of us are already talking about an early spring after the recent snowfall and warmer temperatures forecasted this week. Sacrilegious yes, given there’s likely two winter months left; however it gave pause and a thought of a hike I took last summer not far from the inn. The Lewis Deane Nature Preserve, an 85-acre forest located on St. Catherine Mountain is just over one mile north of Pond Mountain Inn. Last summer, together with two guests, we enjoyed this moderate twenty-five minute one-way hike to the top — however, there’s a slightly longer more leisurely option to the mountain’s summit. I elected the more aggressive route up the mountain, which I had no difficulty ascending; however after my third knee surgery two years ago maybe I’ll think about taking the easier path back to base next time – the descent was tough on the knees. Once we reached the top we were completely awestruck with the picture postcard mountain views. My photograph certainly suggests that this is a “must do” again this spring / summer.
We asked a native Vermonter where’s the best place to cross country ski in the greater Manchester, Vermont area? Without hesitation he said, “Wild Wings.” Wild Wings Ski Touring Center is located in Peru, Vermont situated on 50 acres, but with access to over 1000 acres – 9 trails totaling over 25 kilometers is where we sent our weekend guests yesterday.
Patty and Dan had the perfect day – spectacular blues skies, not too cold and magnificently groomed trails made for an impeccable cross country ski day! They rented everything and the staff there couldn’t have been more helpful and hospitable. This was Dan’s maiden voyage on cross country skis – and at 67, he performed marvelously. That’s Dan in the photograph – beautiful technique!
After hearing about this perfect day at breakfast this morning; Kay and I will visit Wild Wings in the coming weeks and give cross country skiing at try! We’ll let you know… stay tuned! Pond Mountain Inn is only 45 minutes away from the Wild Wings Ski Touring Center.
There are a few good blogs discussing all the virtues of roof-raking and, of course, obligatory safety tips. Raking our roof began a few years back – I was instructed to position the ladder at the back of our home by the end of October and, with nature’s guidance, leave it there until late April. However, given the wild swings in temperature over the last few years both rain and snow fall throughout winter, which require taking in the ladder after each storm thus potentially eliminating icy buildup.
Taking safety seriously; a few of the less obvious tips are to remove icicles first, which may indicate problem areas and make certain pets are not within close proximity when these ice spears are launched. Additionally, if you’re positioning your ladder in a snow drift make sure to jump on the bottom rung a few times until you’re satisfied that a proper foundation has been established. While a gentle fall into a fluffy snow bank from fifteen feet up seems like the winter equivalent of jumping into a pile of freshly raked leaves; I can assure you with certainty the consequences are not particularly forgiving.
Dropping snow or raking snow from one elevation to the next, which in our case, the snow lands on two different rooftops before reaching the ground becomes more densely packed at each interval and far more difficult to move. By the time the snow reaches the ground I doubt whether or not a snow blower would be helpful – two years ago we employed someone to shovel a thirty foot snow bank eight feet tall away from the foundation to potentially prevent spring-melt water from penetrating our basement. Certainly a precautionary event, but definitely worth the investment – $1,000!
The snow has abated, but the northern winds continued… Adorned in snow apparel with sleds in hand we ventured outside to take advantage of the property’s undulating terrain. Well bundled with only our faces exposed we soon realized that the 12° afternoon temperature combined with gusting winds put the wind chill somewhere just below zero. Fifteen minutes and four short downhill rides later we hurried back inside where we were reunited our new wood burning stove – 650° provided great comfort. Maybe we’ll try again tomorrow.
Answer…. 43 miles! I’m always up for a ride to Honeypie – a wonderful “classic hamburger joint” in Jamaica, Vermont just past the entrance to Stratton Mountain. The ride is half the fun, whether it’s winter, spring, summer or fall, a ride through the Mettowee Valley then up through the Green Mountains is a ride than never disappoints!
Inside this nostalgic nicely renovated 1960s era gas station we are greeted by incredibly polite, hip, young people eager to get us started…. This is great fast food; quality ingredients, locally sourced, sustainable and they grind their own burger meat daily – you can actually taste the difference! The French fries are hand-cut, fresh with a clean delicate taste. The chocolate milkshake I had was like no other; incredibly flavorful, thick and delicious – the next time we visit I will ask what makes their milkshakes so outstanding.
We have taken friends and guests to this wonderful dining experience – always order the double-cheese burger and shake! It’s the best cheeseburger and milkshake I’ve ever had, but next time we’ll order their homemade sausages and lobster roll! http://www.eatathoneypie.com
Kay and I were visiting our neighbor down the road at Mountain Ledge Farm – they have both Nubian and Alpine goats running around in their pasture and raises them for their milk. Six beautiful babies were born less than a month ago and they are beyond adorable!!
Courtney brought up a question that surprised both Kay and I; she asked, “What are you planning to do with your Christmas tree after the season?” “Well”, I replied, “we haven’t given it much thought, but it’s likely going to find its way into the woods or the landfill.” Courtney had a better idea…. Now everyone knows that goats eat just about everything, but did you know they eat Christmas trees?
Two great things came of this, a special treat for the goats and we have the opportunity to recycle our Christmas tree in a natural and very environmental method to keep these trees out of the landfill.
And yes, that’s Kay in her Wellies!
Two weeks ago we replaced our vintage (1940s) wood burning cook stove for a new Jotul Cast Iron Stove that was crafted in Norway and built in Maine. A difficult decision since the former owners, Lori & Garry, spent a great deal of time searching for the perfect vintage stove for the kitchen. In the end though, we decided that a more efficient stove would make it easier to heat our home. Given the size difference, we could not imagine how this tiny stove (the smallest Jotul makes) could possibly make any real difference in heating our home – it appeared even smaller in the showroom!
Two weeks later this tiny stove has been continuously operating , and our furnace hasn’t run since! In all fairness, the outside temperature has not dipped below 25°, and the day before yesterday with the outside air temperature hovering around 40° the temperature in the kitchen was 75° with the living room a few degrees cooler at 68° – remarkable for a couple that wakes up to a 55° bedroom and a living room just four degrees higher!
Kay and I are absolutely thrilled with our new stove, which takes only five minutes to restart in the morning! We spent a few weeks learning about stoves – we purchased our stove from Friends of the Sun, located in Manchester, Vermont – they are extraordinarily knowledgeable and thoroughly answered all our questions. Not only was the purchase a wonderful experience, but the installation was equally as satisfying! Another great Vermont story at Pond Mountain Inn!!