Pond Mountain Inn

A Vermont Bed and Breakfast Complete with Neighboring Mountain Views


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Pursuing Vermont’s Historic General Stores

Heading south on Vermont Route 30 from Wells to Manchester you’ll discover five general stores – four of which are still operating! What makes them so interesting? First, it’s the simplicity and thoughtfulness of early New England architecture. Then, it’s the incredible variety of goods and services from one general store to the next that make each so fascinating – mostly locally-sourced products you’d never find anywhere else and the ice cream is simply local. But, writing a treatise about their varied product and service offerings is no substitute for discovering them yourself. I always like seeing the hoof cream not far from the deli counter… makes me curious about the extent of vertical integration here in Vermont. Below are two farther afield general store standouts and the five you’ll discover leaving Pond Mountain Inn on your way to Manchester. Pursuing Vermont’s Historic General Stores is a great way to spend a day or an afternoon!

F.H. Gillingham General Store, Woodstock; since 1886 this store is renowned throughout New England. A quintessential Vermont General Store! Step back in time when you visit this 131 year old store and find both traditional and latest products all in one place. See why they have always been the “source” for gift boxes of all shapes and sizes for any occasion throughout Woodstock and New England and don’t miss a visit to the archives of the building that has a vast collection of artifacts and documents about the Gillingham family and Woodstock’s social history. https://www.gillinghams.com/

J.J. Hapgood & Eatery, Peru; is the longest continuously running general store in the state. Over the past 150 years it has been a post office, market, hardware store and a meeting place for friends and neighbors. Well known for their creative lunches (a must have is the authentic wood-fired pizzas) and dinner is enjoyed with their fine wines or beer.  They also have exceptional dry goods and is far more polished than its general store counterparts. The interior is wonderfully decorated with exceptional local artifacts since its renovation in 2013.  A fun fact from their website: “The store—and a local cow—was famously featured in the 1987 film Baby Boom, staring Diane Keaton and Sam Shepard.” http://jjhapgood.com/

From Pond Mountain Inn Heading South on Route 30… 

The Wells Country Store, Wells; people from all over including our guests come for the baked goods! The sandwiches, homemade pizza, soup and ice cream is incredible! But what makes this place so special is Juli & Tim’s love of community. Funny story… Juli & Tim once drove to our inn to return one of our guest’s packages that had been left behind – they met our guests, joined the party and stayed for a glass of wine! https://www.facebook.com/TheWellsCountryStore/

Mach’s General Store, Pawlet; closed last year is said to become a microbrewery and eatery was originally the Franklin Hotel, built in 1808 that gave way to Mach’s Store in 1945 has a brook and waterfall running through its center, which is visible from inside. We look forward to its opening.

Sheldon Market, Pawlet; the only gas station on Route 30 between Wells and Manchester. The store is small, but don’t underestimate its contribution – the parking lot is always full for a reason.

The Dorset Union Store, Dorset; celebrated its 200th anniversary last year, the owners succeed with staying true to its authentic character and is exceptional in every way! Purveyors of Necessities and Frivolities since 1816 they offer a Deli with made-to-order sandwiches, soups and more. A Bakery with breakfast treats such as freshly baked muffins, scones, croissants, and donuts. Their wine room offers a wide selection of wine, champagne, a selection of local, domestic and imported beer. Their Dinner to Go menu offers entrees such as grilled chicken, fresh salmon or veggie lasagna, with sides and salads. If your looking to take home some Vermont treasures then you must visit their grocery store and don’t leave without picking up what Vermont is known for, Vermont maple syrup and maple candies. https://www.dorsetunionstore.com/

H.N. Williams General Store, Dorset; is the quintessential Vermont country store dating back to 1840 is where we always buy our Vermont Darn Tough socks! A simple and unassuming appearance gives way to a rich product offering from animal feed to hunting and fishing supplies! They have it all including a great deli! https://www.hnwilliams.com/

A cursory glimpse at our local Vermont’s general stores is more about harkening back to a time when life was far simpler. Join us in Vermont for one of the many things that make this place so special. We have a complete listing of all Vermont Country and General Stores.

 

 

 

 

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What’s the Real Difference Between Duck and Chicken Eggs?

When was the last time you had a fresh duck egg omelette? Pond Mountain Inn now offers duck eggs for breakfast, which are now available locally as a delightful alternative. Over the last few weeks many of our guests have enjoyed our new offering!

Some of us are fortunate to have experienced the rich, clean flavor of farm-fresh chicken eggs a few days after appearing in the nest and duck eggs are no different. The flavor and nutritional value of a fresh egg is far superior to that of a supermarket egg, which may be over a month old by the time it reaches your kitchen.

What’s the real difference between duck and chicken eggs?

Let’s begin with taste – the flavor is tastier and a bit different, but only slightly – fresh eggs are fresh eggs with the majority of the flavor coming from its freshness. I find the duck egg yolk creamer when having a hard-boiled egg.

Size… duck eggs are considerably larger and the shell is far tougher than a chicken shell, which may allow for a longer shelf-life. Eggs can be stored on the countertop for a month and another month in the fridge – still, fresh is best!

Nutrition… a duck egg will provide about 20% more Kcal of energy than an equal size chicken egg. Carbohydrate content is about identical and the mineral content is also similar with duck eggs containing slightly higher amounts of potassium, copper, phosphorus, manganese, selenium, zinc,  calcium, iron, and sodium.

Vitamin content is quite similar too… Vitamins A, B6, B12, D, E, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, folate, and retinol are present in both.

The biggest differences are the monounsaturated fat is about 50% more in duck eggs and the cholesterol content is more than twice than its chicken counterpart.

We dry and feed the egg shells for our neighbor’s chickens to help naturally supplement their calcium requirements. Our duck eggs are from Mountain Ledge Farm, Wells, Vermont.

We love duck eggs when we can get them… from omelettes, to fried or scrambled; they’re all great. Our recommendation is come visit us – have us prepare your our duck eggs just the way you like them!

 

 

 

 


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Step Back in Time with Vermont’s Enchanted Covered Bridges

Sunday drives are magical especially in Vermont whether you’re destination-oriented or just like to tour the rolling hills alongside a meandering river. Sunday was magnificent, the only thing missing was a wicker picnic basket filled with essential luxuries and a crisp-cold bottle of Sancerre. Kay and I along with our “adopted parents, Hoa & Orland, of Manchester” were determined to see a few of the southern Vermont Covered Bridges we had yet to visit. Following the Battenkill for about ten minutes a distant view of the day’s first covered bridge became clearer! No matter how many times you’ve seen a covered bridge each is met with a new sense of exhilaration. The feeling is indescribable – set back in time one can almost feel the presence of those that traveled before us likely by horse across this timbered structured.

West Arlington Bridge, Built in 1852 is arguably the most beloved and most photographed in the state.

This is the quintessential Vermont photograph that everyone should personally experience… What makes this photograph even more treasured is that it was taken in front of Norman Rockwell’s home!

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) lived in this house in Arlington, Vermont from 1943-1953.

Sunderland is where we found the Chiselville Covered Bridge, named for the fine quality chisels and edge tools manufactured nearby. The bridge spans the Roaring Branch Brook and was built in 1870.

Orland and I traversed the steep riverside bank to gain a unique perspective from below.

A brief history… Vermont is rightfully famous for its covered bridges – more than one hundred span the state (Pond Mountain Inn has a complete listing). A covered bridge was built for necessity to protect their wooden structures, extend their lifespan, and protect Vermonters and perhaps their animals from the elements. Vermont Covered Bridges are architecturally very pleasing, fun to experience and remain an important part of Vermont’s legacy.

We will soon publish the first of our Self-Guided Tours, which will include more covered bridges.


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Soups On… Try Kay’s Spinach and Chorizo Soup

The final vestiges of snow left last week with the warm onset of spring, but the unrelenting cold, dreary rainy days are back this week letting us know winter is not quite giving way – it’s now Mud Season in Vermont! Many of the dirt roads are largely impassable with mogul-like frost heaves and deep muddy ruts. A delightful time of year with many of the restaurants closed until early May. That said, Kay is undaunted, we have a fire in the fireplace, soup on the stove and a wool blanket nearby. Kay’s Spinach & Chorizo Soup is a hearty winter soup packed with nutrition, but with enough chorizo to bring out the robust flavor. It’s easy to make and incredibly delicious – try it for yourself!

 

Kay’s Spinach & Chorizo Soup Recipe

  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hr 20 mins
  • Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • chorizo sausages
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • ½ cup lentils
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • 4 cups chicken / vegetable stock
  • 1 pinch turmeric
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch pepper

Directions

  1. Dice the onion, carrot, celery and finely chop the garlic.
  2. Wash the spinach.
  3. Peel and dice the potatoes.
  4. Thickly slice the sausage.
  5. Heat the oil and cook the onion, carrot, celery and sausage over a low heat for about 20 minutes until soft.
  6. Stir in the garlic, potatoes and lentils cook for a further 10 minutes.
  7. Add chicken / vegetable stock and let simmer for 30 minutes.
  8. Add the spinach leaves, turn off heat, cover with lid and let sit for 2-3 minutes to wilt spinach leaves. (All vegetables should be soft before adding spinach.)
  9. Season to taste

Another Delicious Pond Mountain Inn Soup Recipe.  


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Why does this Hummingbird Stand on John’s Hand – for 15 Minutes!

Sitting comfortably in our Adirondack chairs John and I were enjoying another great Vermont summer evening overlooking Northeast Mountain as the Hummingbirds continued to feed. As one whizzed by our heads it slammed directly into the picture window behind us! We instinctively leapt from our chairs only to find this poor bird on the ground with no visible signs of life. John, one of our frequent guests and a wonderful photographer picked up our tiny new friend and held it in his hand. John was eager to get his camera, but he had the bird, so I grabbed my phone and began taking pictures. As I continued photographing, our friend gradually regained his composure, righted himself and kept us company for fifteen minutes. He was clearly enjoying himself and was in no hurry to leave us, but it was time to delicately return him to the feeder. He stepped from John’s hand and perched himself comfortably and within a few moments he was quickly tormented by his buddies – they are very territorial and seek control of the feeder. He grabbed a quick drink and returned home…. This goes on from dawn to dusk and is always fascinating to watch. We look forward to their return to Pond Mountain Inn early next month!


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Incredible Mountain Views While Snowshoeing in Vermont

The serenity and peacefulness of snowshoeing is second to the natural beauty always on display in every small town in Vermont. As we walked through the woods we occasionally stopped to examine each animal footprint – we saw deer tracks, fox and where a bird of prey may have found a late afternoon snack. As we approached the top of the ridge a large open field came into view with a distant tree line and the magnificent Taconic Mountain Range further off in the distance. A spectacular day spent with nature only thirty minutes from Pond Mountain Inn.

 

 


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Why Have Disgusting Feet When You Can Have “Vermont Feet”

leg-1505033_640Feet are arguably the most revolting aspect of the human body – however, I’m specifically talking about Dry Feet. Sure, they propel us here and there and provide enormous and wide-ranging benefits, in fact, at the end the day I just like to put my feet up – but always accompanied with socks, slippers or shoes, never unadorned, and certainly with a glass of wine!

Everyone knows the skin on our feet is naturally dry – there are no oil glands, so all those tiny sweat glands try and keep our feet moisturized, but to no avail for most of us and a lot more of us in the winter months. There is nothing worse than discovering that you have itchy dry feet as you’re trying to fall asleep. The only solution is to leap from bed, highly annoyed and head for the bathroom for a foot consultation with any brand of your wife’s moisturize that can be quickly located in the dark. Inevitably, you have a 50/50 chance of returning to bed in a mental state suitable for sleep.

The foot’s visual repugnance is underscored by the pain and discomfort that dry feet bring. There is nothing more excruciating than the deep crack in the heel – however, the heel fissure is not the denouement in this story – relief is the final act! Combating itchiness, redness, cracks, rough, flaky peeling skin is easily addressed! There are no oils or magic potions, just a good common-sense approach that proves quite effective. Just follow these four simple steps, and the next steps you’ll take will be with your very own “Vermont Feet”!

Vermont Feet Product List

(1) Sanding Sponge, (2) Lemongrass Soap, (3) Bag Balm and, (4) Darn Tough Wool Socks.  All products listed  are made in Vermont with the exception of the sanding sponge.

Product Descriptions and Advice   

  1. Sanding Sponge: Visit your local hardware store and pick up a small fine grade sanding sponge. You’ll need this to remove all the unpleasantness on your feet. Pay special attention you your heels!
  2. Dorset Daughters Lemongrass Bar Soap with ground apricot seeds for supplemental exfoliation is a must. You will enjoy the delicate aroma, all the delightful ingredients and essential oils this product offers!
  3. Bag Balm is a “miraculous potion” originally developed by a Wells River, Vermont pharmacist for chafed and cracked cow udders. This excellent for chapped lips too! See their website for the legend.
  4. Darn Tough Vermont Wool Socks are guaranteed for life and are the most incredibly comfortable durable socks imaginable. The merino wool make the socks feel enchantingly inviting, but just wait until you spend the entire day with your new friend – the comfort is truly remarkable, cool in the summer and warm in the winter! And, merino wool is naturally antimicrobial.

Vermont Feet – The Process

Step One: Using your new sanding sponge, robustly buff the entire foot until you begin to see a dry-skin dust cloud forming just above the foot line. Do not buff aggressively, but do buff vigorously until the heel-skin is smooth to the touch. If you have deep heel fissures, adjust your buffing demeanor so that you’re not causing more pain than you’re trying to prevent. Frequency, once every 10-14 days.

Step Two: Now, soap up by bringing each foot to a full lather then thoroughly rinse. Please spend the requisite time thoroughly washing your feet by spending sufficient time between each toe. Should you discover something unusual in webs of your toes or on the soles of your feet it’s likely athlete’s foot – this is a contagious fungal infection that should be addressed at this time! Make sure to dry your feet completely before moving to the next step – make sure to dry between each toe. Frequency, twice daily, morning and night.

Step Three: Take each foot and apply Bag Balm to the more stubborn areas by firmly massaging each problem area with the dexterity of a career masseur or massage therapist. Your spouse can be particularly helpful here. However, it is quite practical to keep an air-sickness bag within reach. Frequency, twice daily, morning and night.

Step Four: Put on your new Darn Tough wool socks and take your new Vermont Feet out for a spin! Your feet will never have felt better!!

After 10-14 days or once your feet have reached the desired comfort level you can reduce treatment and still maintain the desired balance of moisture content by adjusting frequency and product usage. Good Luck!

* There are no affiliate links used in this article.   

Photo Courtesy of mohammadaasim Pixabay.com

Pond Mountain Inn