About Renee Blodgett
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.
She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.
Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.
Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
Latest Posts by Renee Blodgett
We just discovered a very cool show called the Luxury Technology Show, which will be held this March 4, 2014 at New York City’s Metropolitan Pavilion, which is located in Manhattan at 125 West 18th Street.
They refer to themselves as being a one-of-a-kind luxury showcase, displaying the best in class in electronics and technology.
Because I’m a tech geek, an entrepreneur of sorts myself in tech and an avid traveler, this show grabbed my attention since I think we’re in need of more avenues where conversations can happen between vendors, manufacturers and consumers.
Some of the very cool exclusive vendors in the luxury product space who are involved this year include: ANDROID Watches, Astell&Kern, Audeze, Audio Doctor, Aura Breathalyzer, Avegant, Blendtec, Blueair, Cavoda Vodka, Control4, CEA, Crestron Electronics, Dark Energy, DBC City Bike Design, Elite Mobile Cigars, Equil, Forever Young Wine, Hasselblad, Honeywell, iWallet, Jetson Bike, Kaleidescape, Krell Industries, Libratone, Smartwatch by MetaWatch, Moen, McLaren Automotive, MWE Lab, NYNE, OPULUS Creations, Peloton Cycle, Peroni, PIM, Ploom, Prima Cinema, Puku, Quintessentially, Russell’s Reserve, SIM2, simplehuman, Stelle Audio Couture, Stir, SONY Electronics, Superhive, Trov, Vai Restaurant, Velodyne, Vision X by Vutec, Waterfall Audio, Wren Sound Systems, and Zensorium.
South Africa is positively booming at the moment! You can currently take a luxury South Africa holiday for much less than you could do anywhere else in Africa. South Africa has so much variety, which makes it an incredibly popular destination. In one day you can go from sipping the best wine in the world, to taking a game drive in one of the best game viewing areas in Africa, the Sabi Sands.
You can visit the Indian Ocean and Atlantic coastlines and also touch on the Kalahari in the North. There is so much here it’s hard to know where to start but the fantastic thing about South Africa holidays at the moment is that you can go for longer for less due to the heavenly exchange rate.
The Sabi Sands area of the Kruger National Park is perhaps the most famous of the South Africa safari areas and we’re not surprised. This is by far the best place in Africa to see the elusive leopard, in fact you are more than likely to see at least one a day here, and your guide will know the history and family tree of that leopard which makes the whole thing even more exciting (if that’s possible!).
The Sabi Sands is very exclusive and made up of only the most luxurious and private safari lodges. Londolozi was one of the first camps to set up in this area and they have a few wonderful camps of varying degrees. Pioneer Camp is heaven – decorated in the style of the original explorer camps. Their private Granite Suites are also something to be marveled at and provide the ultimate exclusive Sabi Sands safari getaway.
The accommodations are pure luxury but surrounded by nature on all sides. It doesn’t get much better than this!
Chitwa Chitwa is very popular not least because of their stay four pay three, but also because of their friendly staff and location overlooking the waterhole, which is often frequented by all species of wildlife. Nottens is fantastic for those not wanting to break the bank but you must book this early since it is full almost a year in advance.
You can also get experience luxury right in the middle of the natural African bush!
The Sabi Sands is easily reachable from Johannesburg or Cape Town and the game viewing is some of the best in Africa, with some exceptional guides also being based in this area. They are very strict on the number of vehicles around each sighting, which makes for exclusive and peaceful game viewing, often it will only be your vehicle and guide. This is one of the world’s ultimate wildlife viewing destinations.
This post is made possible by our host sponsor Luxury Safari Company. And let’s just say we SO wanna go, wouldn’t you?
I recently attended the inaugural Masters and Makers Event at the Meritage Resort & Spa in Napa Valley, California, the ultimate food and wine experience. For an entire weekend, this wine and food celebration showcased exquisite Napa Valley and Sonoma County wines with creative wine tasting experiences, seminars and dining. Their executive chef, Krisztian Karkus, a handful of Masters of Wine and Master Sommeliers, along with some of the finest wine makers in the region made this event a not-to-miss experience and an event to put on your list for food and wine must-do’s for the year.
While the event was loaded with a variety of related food and wine events across 3 days, the “pudding” was the Saturday night gala at the Meritage. Take a look:
Let’s just say that the chefs and their teams s were involved and want to make a difference…..
The desserts were out of this world.
They also had an amazing band which played jazz tunes well into the night.
AND, the food just kept rolling out.
We really liked the wines from Delgadillo Cellars (thumbs up), Duckhorn’s Merlot & Cab and the family vineyard of Maldonado, a Mexican-owned vineyard who not only rocks it for their “reds” but has an energy that is worth hosting. Visit them on your next trip north – they have a tasting room in downtown Calistoga California on 1307A Lincoln Avenue.
The idea behind Masters & Makers is a host of events and activities to better educate you about wine. From joining a winemaker and Master Sommelier as they taste and review five quintessential wines from Napa Valley and a wine education session on what makes the perfect Bordeaux Blend to a Trinitas Cellars Cooking Class & Wine Pairing and the main gala (photos above), the event calls to people who live, breathe or at least care about a little – food and wine.
For the Saturday night gala (photos above), the Grand Ballroom is transformed into a majestic tasting room with 80 wineries from Napa Valley and Sonoma County showcasing many of the finest wines produced in the region.
AND oh btw, the rooms at the Meritage are fabulous. Check out our original post on the property and on our second time around, we remain a fan. Our full fledged review will give you a more comprehensive view of the resort, but we don’t cover in depth, are the fabulous events attached to the property including their February wine and food extravaganza (noted above), as well additional festivities on-site. We ran into a bunch of locals bowling,which we decided to do after after far too much wine tasting. Needless to say, the bowling alley is on-site (equates to no driving) and a whole lotta fun, regardless of your bowling score.
AND oh btw, the rooms at the Meritage are fabulous also – mostly in an Italian Tuscan theme.
They also have an incredible spa on-site as well as the “cave” where you can do wine tastings. Be sure to also check out an earlier hotel review we did of the Meritage (we’re fans) and of the spa. Also check out our top California accommodations and California lodging section as well as our spa section.
Here’s the agenda for the 2014 Masters and Makers @ Meritage event! I am told that this is the first of many to come, so be sure to check back for news on their 2015 and beyond activities. We LOVED our experience!
Disclosure: we were partially hosted for the above two event activities but all opinions expressed are my own.
The New York Times Travel Show kicks off tomorrow in New York City, starting with an all day “trade day.” They will have keynote speakers from American Express Travel, American Society of Travel Agents, travAlliancemedia and Travel Leaders Group as part of the show’s trade day for travel industry professionals all day tomorrow at the Jacob K. Javits Center in Manhattan.
The trade day begins at 9 a.m. with Travel Industry Conference sessions, which will run until 5 p.m., at the Javits Center. The exhibition hall will be open for exclusive viewing by travel industry professionals from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Keynote Presentation: The Future of Travel Distribution & Travel Marketing will be presented by Yana Gutierrez, Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, American Express Travel.
A panel on The Future of Travel Distribution & Travel Marketing: How Social Media, Online Travel and Traditional Travel Agents Are Revolutionizing the Sale of Travel will be moderated by James Shillinglaw, editor in chief, travAlliancemedia. Panelists include Laura Fink, vice president, Global Marketing, American Express Travel, Zane Kerby, president, American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) and Stephen McGillivray, CTC, chief marketing officer (CMO), Travel Leaders Group.
The New York Times Travel Show will host an industry reception, sponsored by Celebrity Cruises, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. for trade day attendees. The reception will take place by the “Taste of the World” culinary stage.
The event will be open to consumers on Saturday, March 1, from 10am until 6pm and on Sunday, March 2, from 11am until 5pm. The show will be held in Hall 3D/E & 1E located on 11th Avenue at the 34th Street entrance to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. Admission to the Travel Industry conference is $35 in advance ($45 at the door); admission to the exhibition floor is free with Trade Day registration.
Sponsors include American Express Travel, South Africa and Visit Florida. Contributing sponsors include: Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, The Florida Keys and Key West and Turkey. Media sponsors include: Family Travel Forum, Global Traveler, GoNomad, OffMetro.com, Passport Magazine, travAlliancemedia, Travel Market Report, Travel Weekly News, WNET-TV and WVVH-TV, Hamptons TV. Industry sponsors include: Adventure Travel Trade Association, Africa Travel Association, American Society of Travel Agents, Association for the Promotion of Tourism to Africa, Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association, Cruise Lines International Association, Caribbean Tourism Organization, International Association of Culinary Professionals, International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association, National Association of Railroad Passengers, Pacific Asia Travel Association, Society of American Travel Writers, Professional Travel Bloggers Association, The International Eco-Tourism Society, U.S. Tour Operators Association and Well-Being Travel.
Photo credit: Embassy of Indonesia.
I recently learned about Bluff Pants or is it Pants by Bluff, or is it Bluff Works or is it a pair of Bluffs? All of the above, really. While they don’t yet have options for women, this male-only clothing line of pants was founded by Stefan Loble, who launched his idea via Kickstarter to get his clothing line into traveler’s hands.
Inspired by the performance of technical travel clothing, he built a pant that marries technical performance with office ready looks. In other words, designed with life’s overwhelming adventures in mind, which makes it ideal for avid travelers.
I decided to have one of the guys give them a try, so Stefan sent us a couple of pairs to put to the test. Built for travelers, there’s a side cell phone pocket for an iPhone or a Galaxy S4, hidden zippered security pockets in both front and back which are large enough for a passport or a travel wallet, and extra deep pockets with zips in the back. They’re very lightweight and can dry quickly, which is critical when you’re on the road.
Their biggest value-add however, is that they’re wrinkle-free and can be worn multiple times without washing or maintenance. The idea is that one pair of Bluffs could be the one pair of pants you take to Southeast Asia for six weeks, or the one pair of pants you can wear to work six times without washing. A pair of Bluffs stand up to being rolled, folded, stuffed in a bag and, most important, can be worn time and time again without ironing or washing in between.
We got a thumbs up from one of our testers, who wore the pants while managing kids for a long weekend in New England and he also wore them to work one day. In his words (they’re VERY comfortable). He didn’t have to iron the pants even after they were smashed up with several other sets of clothing and shoes in a tight canvas bag. The second trip was an east coast jaunt, where once again, he didn’t have to iron them and was pleased to discover how quickly they dried after a quick hand wash on the road.
About the Material:
Bluff Works are sewn domestically in the Garment District of New York City and the fabric is manufactured in Taiwan and dyed under an Oeko-Tex Standard 100 product class II certificate, which independently validates that no harmful chemicals were used in the dying process. They achieve their wrinkle resistance from the way the polyester is woven and have been in wear testing for more than a year with fabulous results.
Available in four colors—khaki, brown, gray and black—Bluff Works pants are athletic-cut and made from the same high-performance polyester used for sports and outdoor apparel, with added stain-release technology. The pants can be machine-washed cold, line- or tumble-dried, or obviously washed by hand when traveling. They come in all waist sizes from 28” to 42” (including the odd 31, 33, 35, etc. sizes in between) and lengths range from 28” to 36”.
If interested in giving them a try, they’re taking orders over at Bluffworks.
After a day of skiing at Stratton Mountain in southern Vermont, we began to research where we should have dinner knowing that the majority of eateries near a ski resort tend to be burger joints and pubs with a whole lotta beer on tap.
We were staying at the Windham Hill Inn, which houses one of the best restaurants in the area and had already been spoiled by a tasting menu the night before (see the write-up on our experience), so we figured that we’d be hard pressed to find a comparable establishment in the area. Soon, someone mentioned Verde Restaurant in the Stratton Mountain Village, then later, it came up again and even our pals at Windham Hill blessed it.
We care about sustainable practices and organic fresh food, and love to see chefs use food made from local farmers whenever possible and Verde is on board. I had the opportunity to chat with Scott Halnon, the chief guru behind Verde, who encouraged us to come in hungry. We sat at the bar since it was a busy weekend night and were immediately greeted by the ever so gregarious Jeremy behind the bar, who seemed to know as much about hard spirits and martial arts as he did wine pairing and food.
MAN, do they have the food nailed; it was no surprise when locals smiled at us we told them we discovered the place ‘kinda’ by accident. They clearly knew we were in for a treat but little did we know we were about to be hit with 6 or 7 “treats.” Jeremy and the chef seemed to think we should try a little of this and a little of that, although as far as we could tell, we weren’t working off an official tasting menu.
While a Vermont mountain, especially in the middle of winter, is nowhere near the sea, Verde does serve a mean Ahi Tuna Sashimi, which is served with cured cucumbers, pickled celery and shishito peppers over a yuzu honey vinaigrette.
While we were tasting and eyeing our neighbor’s dishes, out came the Grilled White Pizza, which they prepare with garden herbs, mozzarella, house ricotta, arugula and fresh lemon, and the homemade House Rigatoni, which is tossed with sirloin, house veal sausage, mixed mushrooms, heirloom tomato sauce, basil, fennel pollen and parmesan. Yum!!
Shortly thereafter, a 2007 Prieure d’Arche Sauternes from France came out. Known as a sweet wine from the Sauternais region of the Graves section in Bordeaux, I wondered whether foie gras would shortly follow, even though the odds were low given that I just tasted the best I’ve had in years the previous night and we were in rural Vermont. Surprised to find the dish on two consecutive menus when you can’t find it at all in California anymore, out came a seared Hudson Valley foie gras paired with Sauternes. Slightly richer and sweeter than the preparation at Windham Hill Inn but still ever so delicious, the fois gras was accompanied with cranberry fritters, macadamia nuts, maple espresso caramel and pickled cranberries.
“Heaven….I’m in heaven and the……”
You get the idea. It was hard to stay focused on anything Jeremy was saying after indulging in a sauce which combined cranberries, caramel and macadamia nuts.
Before having our light salad intermission, we devoured the Berkshire Pork Belly, which was served with chickpea puree, tomato jam and mosto. Rich but exquisite and I couldn’t get enough of it. The Berkshire Pork Belly was by far my favorite dish from the night.
To slow things down a bit, we went with the Kale salad next, to alleviate my guilt more than anything else and besides, who doesn’t love a raw organic kale salad, especially after an ever so rich foie gras?
It was so incredibly fresh, I smiled thinking how lucky we were to get two for two in a small rural region of Vermont. It came with a sweet potato, marcona almond, Vermont chevre and a sun dried cranberry vinaigrette.
Frankly, if you don’t want to play full out like we did on that one delicious evening and just want to sit at the bar for a few appetizers, I’d suggest trying both their salads together with the charcuterie plate, which comes with oxtail marmalade, warm pork terrine en croute, duck sausage, pickled hen egg and a Grafton 5 year cheddar.
Before we moved deep into red meats, we went for Rainbow Trout on the main entree menu, which comes with a potato puree, broccoli, leeks, capers, toasted pine nuts and local apple agrodolce with brown butter. It was paired with Bodegas Ontanon, a 2010 Blanco Rioja from Spain. Most of the dishes have a New England flare to it, with autumn-like flavors, which is perfect on a cold winter day, particularly after you’ve been pounding the slopes for several hours.
The grass fed rack of lamb was incredibly juicy and tender and despite the dish already having me at “hello,” I was nearly on my knees by the time I realized the lamb sat on top of an exquisite truffle gnocchi, not to mention the accompanied lamb sausage, watercress, grilled fennel and cured cherry tomatoes. Whoahh Nellie!!
We ended with the Venison Scallopini, which was served over a bed of wild rice, parsnip puree, demi glace and cabernet braised pears. I loved this dish, and it ranked second choice after the insanely tender pork belly from the start of our evening…We ate both the lamb and the venison with a 2005 Chateau le Caillou, Pomerol, Bordeaux from France. The pairing was perfect!!
Rather than go with a heavy dessert at the end of our splurge, we had a flight of housemade ice cream and sorbets, which included a maldon salted caramel.
If you want to know what they’re capable of on the chocolate front however, go on, be tempted…
And then, somehow, somewhere along the way, before the coffee dared to arrive, an espresso martini showed its sweet and devilish face. Think vanilla vodka, dark creme de cocoa, a coffee liqueur and fresh brewed espresso all in one glass. Want to stay wired for the rest of the night? Then, this drink is for you. Jeremy never seemed to wane, stop telling jokes or cease from giving us impeccable service all night long.
As the restaurant slowed down, so did we. Ahhh, what a night. Did I mention that I rolled out of there as we made our way to a snow covered car for the drive back to our Inn? Two for two in southern Vermont is right!
Thaddeus Buck and his team nailed it! Kudos and thanks again Jeremy, Thaddeus and Scott for your gracious hospitality, top notch service and outstanding food that our palettes are still begging for more of weeks later. Go Verde and Stratton!
Landmark Stratton Mountain (Village)
Note: also be sure to see our write up on Stratton Mountain, Windham Hill Inn, Windham Hill Inn’s Restaurant and Things To Do & See in Southern Vermont.
Napa Valley hosts its 26th Annual Napa Valley Academy Awards Telecast Viewing Party on Sunday, March 2, 2014 beginning at 5 p.m. in downtown Napa. More than 20 of valley’s finest restaurants will pair tasty treats with wines from local vintners.
You can also gear up for the Oscars on March 1, 2014 at The World of Pinot Noir “Hollywood & Wine Seminar” in Santa Barbara. This blind tasting pits the favorites of wine experts and winemakers in the film “Sideways” against the 2012 documentary “Somm”, a movie which focuses on the exciting and challenging world of passing the Master Sommelier Exam.
Sunset magazine wine editor Sara Schneider will lead a discussion on what these two movies tell us about the position and power of wine in our culture.
Southern Vermont is the kind of place you think of venturing off to in the summer or Fall when the leaves are changing. You might now think of Vermont as a go-to destination in the middle of New England’s brutal winter, however because of its remoteness and abundance of ski resorts and inns with warm and cozy fireplaces, it’s just the place for your winter getaway list.
While it is generally colder the further north you go, there are also the added benefits of all the activities you can partake in when the snow starts to fall, such as snowshoeing, skiing, sledding and taking walks along paths or in the woods with views like this.
Vegetation is also interesting in the winter months. You never know what you’re going to discover along the way…even sprouting from a cold snowy ground.
The traditional red barn along the side of the road isn’t just a stereotype – you find them often regardless of what part of Vermont you happen to be driving through.
Here’s a comprehensive overview of what to do and where to go.
Vermont is well known as a place for finding antique treasures. Our many privately owned shops offer a wide variety of treasures just waiting to be discovered everything from fine furniture to linens and rugs as well as priceless china and art.
Museums, Farms, Factories and Shops
Billings Farm and Museum
Established in 1871 by Frederick Billings, a native Vermonter, known for his work in conservation, reforestation, and scientific farm management. Today the farm is a working dairy operation and museum. Located just outside of Woodstock, Vermont they give tours from May through October from 10am to 5pm. In winter they have varying and limited hours so it is necessary to call first.
Details: Route 12 and River Road - Woodstock, Vermont (802)457-2355 or www.billingsfarm.org.
Billings Farm Museum:
In Woodstock Vermont, there’s the Billings Farm Musuem. The farm dates back to 1871 when native Vermonter Frederick Billings set out to build a farm and forestry operation that would serve future generations. They are a first class dairy farm where you can experience first-hand care of cows, sheep, horses, oxen and chickens. It is located on Route 12 (North & River Road) in Woodstock Vermont.
Burdick’s Chocolate Shop
In nearby New Hampshire they make wonderful handmade artisanal chocolate in Walpole. The shop and restaurant are offering chocolate tasting beginning in 2011 and it is a wonderful place have lunch and spend some time indulging in gourmet handmade confections after touring the countryside.
Details: 47 Main Street - Walpole, New Hampshire (603)756-2882 or www.burdickchocolate.com
Grafton Cheese and Retreat Farm
The Retreat Farm is a 475 acres of land located in Brattleboro, Vermont. The Windham Foundation purchased the farm in 2001 to preserve the land and open it to the public. The farm contains a seasonally operated petting farm, nature trails for hiking and is a flagship location to Grafton Village Cheese. The cheese making facility and store is a great place to pick up local cheeses and gift items as well as watching the famous Grafton Cheddar being made.
Details: 350 Linden Street, Route 30 - Brattleboro, Vermont / (802)257-2240 or www.theretreatfarm.com
Grafton Village Cheese
Cheesemaking has long been a part of Vermont life. Dairy cows grazing in green pastures are a familiar sight and milk is considered one of the state’s natural resources. Cheesemaking in the historic village of Grafton dates back to 1892 when The Grafton Cooperative Cheese Company was founded by dairy farmers to make cheese from their surplus milk. A fire destroyed the original factory and in the 1960’s the Windham Foundation restored the company and a new era was born for the town.
Details: Townshend Road - Grafton, Vermont / (800)472-3866 or www.graftonvillagecheese.com
“Hildene” Robert Todd Lincoln’s Home
Hildene, descendants of Abraham Lincoln, was occupied by Lincoln’s until 1975. Take a tour of the restored Georgian Revival mansion filled with original furnishings and personal effects as well as a 1908 Aeolian pipe organ. Tour the magnificent gardens, especially during peony season, or visit the working goat farm and observe goat cheese being made.
Details: Route 7A - Manchester Village, Vermont / (802)362-1788 or www.hildene.org
Simon Pearce Glass Blowing
From inception Simon’s vision has been to create beautifully designed products using premium materials and time honored techniques intended for a lifetime of everyday use. The shop moved from Ireland to Quechee in 1981 when Simon bought and restored the old Woolen Mill in Quechee. You can observe glass being blown, potters at work, dine in the Mill Restaurant or visit the store.
Details: (802)295-2711 or www.simonpearce.com
American Museum of Fly Fishing
Established in 1968 by a group of interested anglers, the museum was created to preserve and exhibit the treasures of American angling. The museum serves as a repository for, and conservator to, the world’s largest collection of angling and angling related items. The collections and exhibits document the evolution of fly fishing as a sport, art form and craft and include the tackle of many famous Americans.
Details: 4104 Main Street - Manchester, Vermont / (802) 362-3300 or www.amf.com
The museum was founded in 1852 as the Bennington Historical Association to celebrate and preserve Bennington’s Colonial past and commemorate the historic Revolutionary War Battle of Bennington in 1777. The museum houses a large collection of early furniture, decorative arts, tools, toys, military artifacts as well as Grandma Moses paintings and memorabilia.
Details: 75 Main Street - Bennington, Vermont / (802)447-1571 or www.benningtonmuseum.com
Brattleboro Museum & Art Center
The museum and art center is a nonprofit organization founded in 1972, with a mission to present art and ideas in ways that inspire educate and engage people of all ages. New exhibits by regional and internationally acclaimed artists are shown each season.
Details: Union Station corner of Main St. & Routes 119 & 142 - Brattleboro, Vermont (802)257-0124 or www.brattleboromuseum.org
Grafton Museum of Natural History
The Nature Museum is a dynamic and educational place to visit. They sponsor many off-site, naturalist-led public programs as well as teaching classes in schools and public libraries across the region. The museum grounds have walking trails and a wildlife garden that are open year round. A wonderful place to explore Vermont’s natural beauty.
Details: 186 Townshend Road - Grafton, Vermont / (802)843-2111 or www.nature-museum.org
Southern Vermont Art Center
Vermont’s oldest cultural organization, the Southern Vermont Arts Center is located in a National Historic Trust Mansion in Manchester, Vermont. The Center’s ten galleries feature classic and contemporary art on display and for sale.
Details: West Road - Manchester, Vermont / (802)362-1405 or www.svac.org
Sterling and Francine Clark Art Museum
A ways away but if you are going by on your way home it is definitely worth stopping. In 1950 Sterling and Francine Clark chartered the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute as a home for their extensive art collection. Opened to public in 1955, the Institute has built upon this extraordinary group of works to become one of the most beloved and respected art museums in the world, known for its intimate galleries and stunning natural environment. One of the few institutions in the United States that combines a public art museum with a complement of research and academic programs including a major art history library.
Details: 225 South Street - Williamstown, Massachusetts / (413)458-9545 or www.clarkart.edu
Williams College Museum of Art
One of the finest college art museums in the country, houses eleven thousand works that span the history of art. The collection emphasizes contemporary and modern art, American art from the late 18th century to the present and non-western art.
Details: Main Street - Williamstown, Massachusetts / (413)597-2429 or www.wcma.org
Bromley Sun Mountain Adventure Park
Sun Mountain Adventure Park is Vermont’s Sun and Fun Park. The Alpine Slide, Sun Mountain Flyer Zip Rider, Miniature Golf and Big Splash Water Slide rides are loads of outdoor fun. A KidZone for children and many more attractions, make Bromley the Vermont amusement park to visit each summer.
Details: Route 11 - Manchester, Vermont / (802) 824-5522 or www.bromley.com
Equinox Skyline Drive
A scenic 5.2 mile drive to the summit of Mount Equinox, 3,835 feet above sea level, providing a breathtaking 360 degree view of 5 mountain ranges, four states and Canada.
Details: Route 7A South of Manchester Village.
Stratton Mountain Gondola Rides
Scenic ride to the top of Stratton Mountain in a gondola. Spectacular views particularly in fall foliage season. Weather permitting.
Details: Stratton Mountain, Vermont / (802)297-2200 or www.stratton.com
State Parks & Nature Services
Jamaica State Park
Hiking, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, camping and picnicking. Long scenic trail along the West River provides a wonderful hike to Hamilton Falls, Ball Mountain Dam and Jamaica overlook.
Details: Just off Route 30 / Jamaica, Vermont / (802)874-4600 or www.vtstateparks.com
Merck Forest and Farmland Center
An environmental and educational organization with over 3,100 acres available to explore and enjoy in the heart of the Taconic Mountain Range in Southwestern Vermont.
Details: Rupret, Vermont - (802)394-7836 or www.merckforest.org
Townshend State Park
A visit to Townshend State Park, located at the foot of Bald Mountain on a bend of the West River, feels like a step back in time. The park was constructed during the Great Depression by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a public works program aimed at putting young men to work. There are camp site and hiking trails as well as a nice swimming hole on the West River. A wonderful place to take a day and explore the great outdoors.
Details: 2755 State Forest Road - Townshend, Vermont / (802) 365-7510 or www.vtstateparks.com
Townshend Lake Recreation Area
Spectacular dam, hiking trails, swimming beach, boating and picnic areas.
Details: Route 30 - Townshend, Vermont / (802)874-4881 or www.recreation.gov
Theatre & Music
Year-round theatre entertainment in a fabulous country setting. Dorset Players offers four community productions over eight weekends, fall thru spring. The Dorset Theatre Festival offers five professional productions six days a week, mid June through mid September.
Details: Dorset, Vermont / (802) 867-5777 or www.dorsetplayers.org
Marlboro Music Festival
Since its founding in 1951, Marlboro has transformed the world of chamber music and played a vital role in developing generations of new musical leaders. Marlboro was created by eminent pianist Rudolf Serkin, its Artistic Director until his death in 1991, and co-founders Adolf Busch, Hermann Busch and Marcel, Blanche and Louis Moyse. Marlboro Music’s 60th Anniverisary will be in the 2011 summer season taking place July 16th – August 14th. Performances feature chamber music for diverse instrumental and vocal combinations from all musical periods.
Details: Marlboro, Vermont - (802)254-2394 June 20th – August 15th or www.marlboromusic.org
Saxtons River Playhouse
One of the few remaining barn playhouses in Vermont. The season begins in June and runs thru August. Childrens theatre, comedy, cabaret and musicals are preformed each season.
Details: Westmister West Road - Saxtons River, Vermont / (802)869-2030
Vermont Jazz Center
The history of the Vermont Jazz reaches back to the early 1970’s, when the late founding Director, jazz guitarist Attila Zoller, would invite numerous musicians from New York City to unwind and create at his home in Newfane, Vermont. In 1997 Zoller past the torch to pianist, Eugene Uman, who together with his wife, Elsa Borrero developed the jazz center into a year ‘round program that hosts monthly concerts.
Details: 72 Cotton Mill Hill, Studio 222 - Brattleboro, Vermont (802)254-9088 or www.vtjazz.org
Vermont’s oldest professional theatre company. In 1935, while Franklin D. Roosevelt was coping with the Great Depression, Weston-born architect Raymond Austin was putting the finishing touches on a playhouse that one New York critic would later call “the most beautiful theatre in New England.” Weston Playhouse produces a broad spectrum of dramatic works and educational programs. Their season runs from mid June thru mid September.
Details: 730 Main Street - Weston, Vermont / (802)824-5288 or www.westonplayhouse.org
The small village country store is also not an uncommon finding in Vermont. Below, the West Townshend Country Store also poses as a thrift shop, a market, pizzeria and a post office.
Other notable country stores is the Vermont Country Store (yes, its real name), with locations in Weston and Rockingham Vermont. The store is renowned coast-to-cast as the Purveyors of the Practical and Hard-to-Find.
Vrest Orton, a frugal Yankee at heart, founded the Vermont Country Store with an unwavering commitment to products that must be useful, work and make sense. In the Weston location, you can take a hike on their nearby nature trail or dine at the Bryant House Restaurant and in the Rockingham store, you can take a stroll through their covered bridge to a grist mill and water wheel museum. If you’re there near Christmas time, you can cut your own tree on their Christmas tree farm.
Stowe and Stratton Mountains are all within easy driving distance. Stratton with their nearly 100 trails and easy access and Stowe with their “Great 48,” touting that no two trails are alike.
Snow Farm Vineyard:
In South Hero, Vermont, they have an incredible vineyard, which have views of both the Green Mountains and Adirondacks. Snow Farm is Vermont’s oldest vineyard and grape winery. It is located on 190 West Shore Road in South Hero Vermont.
Many of the items of this fabulous list was provided by Windham Hill Inn. Thanks Katja and team once again.