Archive for January, 2014

Get Your Fill of New England Charm in Cavendish

Posted on: January 18th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

800px-Sawduster_Chair,_SugarloafCavendish is a charming small town nestled in the Green Mountains of southern Vermont.  Made up of two small villages, Cavendish and Proctorsville, it is a great mix of Victorian charm and natural Vermont beauty.

Though it is a relatively small town, there are plenty of things to do in Cavendish.  Cavendish is just next to Okemo Mountain Resort and not too far from Killington.   Both are great ski resorts, offering tons of trails and runs for people of all levels of skill.

Snowmobiling is extremely popular in the area, and there are tons of trails to follow that will take you through Cavendish and the rest of Okemo Valley.  See the twists and turns of the Black River and visit other charming towns along the way.

The places to eat in Cavendish range from fine dining to good old fashioned home cooking.  Find your favorite night spot and enjoy a perfect mixed cocktail or a great locally brewed beer.  Enjoy a carefully prepared meal made with all locally sourced produce and products.  Find something that reminds you of home, or something that makes your vacation extra special.

The places to stay in Cavendish are luxurious getaways that tend to your every need.  Stay in a historical castle with all the amenities of modern life but all the charm of times gone past.  Or stay in a private cabin that allows you the intimacy and privacy of staying at home but with all the luxury of staying in a hotel.  Enjoy all the amenities of a grand hotel but with feel of a small bed and breakfast.  Cavendish hotels offer all this and more.

Cavendish is a great place to come and stay to relax, enjoy Okemo Valley, and enjoy all the charms of Vermont.


Places to Stay in Cavendish

Posted on: January 16th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments


Cavendish and the surrounding area have many beautiful boutique hotels and b&bs whose focus is luxury and elegance and allowing you to feel pampered and relaxed during your stay.

Glimmerstone Mansion  – Stately king sized beds, guestrooms with fireplaces, spa like baths, and more are some of the luxuries that you’ll experience at Glimmerstone Mansion.  Coupled with fantastic service and luxurious accommodations is the full service restaurant on site, which offers an intimate cocktail bar, serving finely crafted cocktails and local craft brews.

Castle Hill Resort and Spa -A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, and Historic Hotels of America, the Castle Hill Resort and Spa makes sure that all its guests have a memorable and relaxing stay.  Stay at the main hotel or in one of their private resort homes, featuring breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.  Surround yourself with luxury and elegance without sacrificing modern conveniences.  Take advantage of their full service spa and truly pamper yourself.



The Pointe Hotel – A great place for those who plan to visit Okemo Mountain, the Pointe Hotel has all the charm and beauty of a bed and breakfast but all the great amenities of a larger resort.  During ski season enjoy a hot breakfast in the on-site restaurant.  After a long day on the slopes come back to relax in the indoor hot tub or heated pool! Choose from many spacious accommodations, including family suites.

For more places to stay new Cavendish check out our post on places to stay in Ludlow.

Places to Eat in Cavendish

Posted on: January 15th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

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Glimmerstone Mansion – The Inn at Glimmerstone has dining options in both the pub and the dining room.  Offering casual fine dining for both menus, Glimmerstone is a member of the Vermont Fresh Network, utilizing local, fresh, seasonal ingredients in all their food.  Their menu is seasonal and products used are created by local farms.

Castle Hill  – The restaurant at the Castle Hill Resort provides a truly remarkable dining experience.  This gourmet restaurant features American and French fusion which will delight your eyes and your taste buds.   Only the finest local, fresh produce is used to make spectacular culinary creations.  The dining room is intimate and elegant, with its soft candle light and wood paneled walls, it’s the perfect setting for a special night out.

Vermont Apple Pie – Specializing in homemade pies, cheesecakes, and other baked goods, Vermont Apple Pie boasts that everything is made from scratch, and tastes just like grandma used to make it.  Breakfasts are made to order, served with real Vermont maple syrup and butter!  Everything here is homemade, right down to the whipped cream that comes with your hot chocolate.  The atmosphere so so warm and welcoming, you’ll immediately feel like an old family friend and breakfast is so good you might find yourself coming every morning.

The Pot Belly – Opened in 1974, The Pot Belly became an instant hit and has been a Ludlow favorite for the past 40 years.  Whether you’re looking for something small or an entree perfectly paired with a fine glass of wine, The Pot Belly will have something for you.  Not hungry? Stop by for a cocktail in the sofa lounge!




Things to Do in Cavendish, VT

Posted on: January 14th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

Cavendish is in the heart of Okemo Valley, meaning there is no shortage of things to do, especially if you enjoy touring charming villages or winter sports. 

Ludlow and Okemo Mountain Resort are just west on Route 103, offering fantastic skiing, snowboarding, and more.  Okemo Mountain boasts the largest vertical drop in southern Vermont and trails! There’s terrain suitable for everyone, whether you’re just starting or you’ve been at it for years.  Check out our previous post for more things to do in Ludlow.

While you’re at Okemo take a ride on the Timber Ripper Coaster! It is the first rollercoaster to have been built in the state of Vermont.  It is an exciting ride that rips through the forest and dips along the contours of the mountainside at Okemo’s Jackson Gore.  There are added banking loops, camel backs, and waves along the way, and riders control the speed of the sled like car, which goes up to 25 mph.


If you’re short sports equipment, or in need of a hunting or fishing licences, stop by Singleton’s General Store in Proctorsville. Their knowledgable staff can help you find the best places to hunt or fish in the area! They are also nationally known for their Vermont Smoked Meats, so be sure to try some!

Hawks Mountain Wildlife Management Area is a great place to go to spot local wildlife and do some snowshoeing.  2.183 acres of pristine mountainside are home to animals such as the black bear, moose, bobcat, white-tailed deer, and porcupine.  Turkey and ruffed grouse can be hunted in season, and the streams are annually stocked with rainbow and brown trout.

At the in Green Mountain Rock Climbing Center Rutland, get the full rock climbing experience at this indoor climbing park.  Walls are 25-30′ and there are over 8,000 sq ft of indoor climbing.  Painted murals depict beautiful pictures of nature, helping you travel through the desert to Yosemite, without even leaving Vermont.  Knowledgeable instructors are happy to help beginners and experts alike.

For something you can only get in Vermont, head to Plymouth Artisan Cheese.   Founded by John Coolidge (father of Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States), this is one of the oldest cheese makers in the country.  Cheese is produced with raw cow’s milk from a single herd which is monitored very closely for quality.   This was reportedly Julia Child’s favorite cheese.

Cavendish, Vermont

Posted on: January 13th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

Nestled in Okemo Valley along the Black River and Route 131, Cavendish, Vermont is a charming mountain side town.  It is made up of two villages: Cavendish and Proctorsville.  Though Okemo Valley may be thought of primarily as a summer destination it has great things to offer in winter.

On one side of the town lies the Black River, offering fantastic trout fishing and kayaking, in season.  On the other lies the Hawks Mountain Wildlife Management Area, with over 2000 acres of natural landscape.  Wildlife in the park include bobcats, black bears, falcons, and so much more.  In winter it’s a great place for snowshoeing and bird watching.

Cavendish was first settled in 1769 by Captain John Coffeen, who established residence with his family, in what is now called Coffeen Pasture.  In the 1780s Leonard Proctor came from Massachusetts, beginning the establishment of Proctorsville along the Black River.

Today the town, with its two small villages, nestled in the pine trees along the river, makes a picturesque scene.   Its many bakeries, restaurants, galleries, and other small businesses, mixed with its turn of the century architecture make the town charming and quaint.


Rejuvinate in Saratoga Springs

Posted on: January 10th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

Caroline_Street_from_BroadwaySaratoga Springs has a long and varied history.  Though it is now well known for its Thoroughbred race track and its history with gambling, its original claim to fame was its mineral springs, which people claimed had healing properties.

Its impossible to say if the waters truly possess a magical healing ability, but anyone who stays in Saratoga Springs and drinks from the springs can tell you that they leave feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

To drink from one of the springs all you need to do is find one of the many pumps or spigots throughout town.  Some are marked by plaques, or covered pavilions, or some sit without notice out of a rock.  You can also visit Saratoga Spa National Park and take the mineral springs tour!

The mineral springs certainly aren’t the only attractions in Saratoga Springs. In winter the park also offers cross country skiing, ice hockey, and ice skating.   There is a very large casino and harness racetrack offering endless hours of entertainment.  There are also several museums, including 3 national museums, and downtown Saratoga Springs is always bustling, with many shops and restaurants.

There are many amazing restaurants in Saratoga Springs serving a wide range of cuisines.  Spanish tapas, French patisseries, fine dining, and gastro pubs are all available in Saratoga Springs.  Many restaurants keep close ties with local farmers and producers, keeping their menus as fresh and flavorful as possible.

Many of the hotels in Saratoga Springs  are influenced by the former grand hotels that ruled the area in the 19th and early 20th century.  Some of those hotels still exist, and they make a unique and memorable place to stay.   There are also plenty of small bed and breakfasts or inns in the area, many of which are in charming Victorian houses or mansions, and they add the perfect amount of charm or romance to any stay.

Saratoga Springs has a long history as a destination for relaxation and rejuvenation.  It’s still an excellent place for those things today! Allow yourself to relax and be pampered, experience the spring’s healing powers and feel rejuvenated in Saratoga Springs.

Places to Stay in Saratoga Springs

Posted on: January 9th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

800px-Adelphi_Hotel_Saratoga_Springs_(6276800338)Saratoga Springs has a long history as a resort town.  Though many of its old hotels were demolished or lost to fires there are still a few historic hotels to choose from, as well as many beautiful bed and breakfasts and inns that will make your stay feel truly special.

Adelphi Hotel – A hotel with a distinct personality, this establishment has a great mix of Victorian luxury and modern comfort.  Its eclectic decor includes Victorian antiques, old photographs and engravings and styles ranging from English country manor to Adirondack cabin.

The Inn at Saratoga – Established circa 1848, the Inn at Saratoga is the oldest operating hotel in Saratoga.  It is within easy walking distance of Saratoga Springs’ vibrant downtown and provides luxurious yet cozy accommodations.

Saratoga Arms – This gorgeous boutique hotel was established in 1870 and provides a level of intimacy and charm that cannot be matched. Family owned and operated, you are guaranteed superb personalized service.  The Saratoga Arms is just a few steps from downtown Saratoga Springs and all its great nightlife, dining, and shops.  Start each morning with a full breakfast!

Circular Manor B&B – Warm yourself by the fireplace with a cup of fresh ground coffee or custom blended tea after a long day exploring Saratoga Springs at the Circular Manor.  Located in the Historic District of Saratoga Springs, it is within a short distance of downtown and everything it has to offer.  Start each morning with a delicious gourmet breakfast.

Batcheller Mansion Inn – Built in 1873, the Batcheller Mansion was designed by Nicols and Halcott of Albany and is a perfect example of a High Victorian Gothic mansion.  The mansion is noted to be the inspiration for Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort, and has been featured in several films and books.  To step through its doors is to step back in time and into a fantasy.  Surround yourself with Victorian elegance, and take advantage of the inn’s superb service.  In room spa services, delicious food, and beautiful decor are only some of the things you’ll find at this unique hotel.

Places to Eat in Saratoga Springs

Posted on: January 8th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

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With its long history as a tourist destination, Saratoga Springs has had its fair share of time to develop a thriving culinary scene.  Whatever you’re in the mood for can undoubtedly be found, and it will be made well.

Boca Bistro – Serving tapas and Spanish food well enough to rival any restaurant in Spain, Boca Bistro was conceptualized when owners Roslyn and David Zecchini took a trip to Barcelona in 2011 and were enthralled by Spanish food and culture.  Though Spanish food varies greatly from region to region, this duo aims to bring you the best that Spain cuisine has to offer.  Wines are chosen carefully to pair well with each menu, giving you the perfect experience.

Mrs London’s – This family run bakery and cafe sets the standard for all other bakeries to follow.  Using only the finest ingredients, whatever the cost, quality is of the utmost importance at Mrs London’s.  The charming cafe is reminiscent of a cafe in Paris or London, and the croquettes, quiches, and soups are all to die for.  Don’t forget to try one of their delicious pastries!

Mio Posto – This American Italian restaurant is the perfect place for casual, smart dining.   Chef Danny Petrosino aims to create simple, fresh food that remains delicious and enjoyable.  The menu is seasonal and based strongly on the seasonal availability of local produce and products.

Sperry’s Restaurant –  Established in 1932 by Charles “Chubby” Sperry and Catherine “Cappy” Sperry, Sperry’s was established just before the end of Prohibition in the United States.  It was rumored that it operated as a speakeasy until the repeal.  Since its establishment it has been a favorite among locals, members of the horse racing industry, and tourists.  Stop by the Tavern Bar and enjoy a delicious cocktail surrounded by leather booths and mahogany wall paneling, or enjoy dinner in one of Sperry’s sophisticated dining rooms, providing gorgeous views of the garden courtyard.

The Crown Grill – Casual fine dining at its best, the Crown Grill serves hand cut steaks, gourmet sandwiches, fresh seafood, pastas, and desserts made in house.  At the Crown Grill there’s something for everyone.

Maestro’s at Van Dam – Located in the Rip Van Dam Hotel, Maestro’s is a great place for a meal or just to stop by for a drink.  Their menu is designed daily,so there’s always something new to try. Enjoy a wide range of cuisine, from pasta to burgers to steaks.  There’s something for everyone at Maestro’s.

Scallions – Open for nearly 20 years, Scallions has established itself as one of the best gourmet restaurants in Saratoga Springs.  Find creative homemade soups, specialty meats and pastas and homemade desserts unlike anything you’ll find anywhere else.  A meal at Scallions is a meal to remember.

Things to Do in Saratoga Springs

Posted on: January 7th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

Saratoga_Performing_Arts_Centre_(6237456976) (1)

Saratoga Springs is filled with history and it shows! It has many museums, which can take days to explore.  It also has strong ties with its racing and gambling history, making the casino and the race tracks very popular destinations.

Saratoga Casino and Raceway is one of those destinations that brings up memories of Saratoga Springs’ former days and a gambling haven.  Featuring 1,700 slot machines, electronic table games, and more, the Saratoga Casino is a great place for anyone who enjoys gambling.  It also features live harness racing and simulcast betting March through mid-December.

The Saratoga and North Creek Railway Snow Train is a fun way to get up to North Creek.  Fly through the snow in the warm comfort of a train carriage, while you take in the beautiful scenery of the snow covered world around you.  Spend the day skiing Gore Mountain or exploring North Creek, then take the train back to Saratoga.

The Saratoga Performing Arts Center is primarily a summer venue, but they do offer some programs during the winter. Enjoy ballet, opera, and classical performances at this beautiful arena.

Saratoga Springs is home to many different museums and parks of historical significance.  It has several National museums and a National park as well.

Saratoga National Park is the site of the Battle of Saratoga where, in 1777, the American army defeated a major British army and forced them to surrender.  The battle was a major turning point in the American Revolution, renewing morale for Americans and assuring potential foreign allies that the cause was one worth getting involved in.  While the Monument and Schuyler House are closed during winter, the battlefield and Victory Woods are open.

The Saratoga Automobile Museum is a great place for any automobile enthusiast!  Learn about the history of all this automotive with great exhibits aimed to impress and educate.   Learn about the past, present, and future of automotive, not just for New York, but for the world.

The New York State Military Museum houses thousands of artifacts ranging from the Revolutionary War to Desert Storm, all pertaining to New York’s military history and the men and women who helped to create it.   The museum houses a very large collection from the Civil War, most notably Colonal Elmer Ellsworth’s uniform.  The collection is housed in one of New York state’s historic armories, build in the late 1800s.

The National Dance Museum and Hall of Fame was established in 1986.  It is the only museum in the country dedicated entirely to dance.  Its collection includes photographs, costumes, videos, and many other artifacts that help to preserve and honor the history of dance.  The Hall of Fame includes those who have contributed to the art of dance, including writers, dancers, choreographers, composers, and even patrons.

The Children’s Museum of Saratoga is a great place for those with elementary aged children.  Exhibits include a tree house which displays the habitats of local wildlife, a science center where you can dress like a scientist and learn all about what goes on in a lab,  a theatre with costumes and a stage putting on countless productions each year, and so much more!

At the Saratoga Springs History Museum learn all about local history.  Housed in one of Saratoga Springs’ historic gambling houses, this Historical Society is one of the oldest of its kind.  See rotating exhibits on the gambling history of Saratoga, local family history, or the story of Saratoga.

The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame is another museum paying homage to local history, while preserving the history of racing throughout the nation.  Learn about the history of Thoroughbread racing in the U.S and some of the most famous horses to ever hit the track. See a beautiful collection of equine art, trophies, and ribbons.

Saratoga Springs, NY

Posted on: January 6th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

SaratogaSpringwaterNamed one of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Saratoga Springs is full of history, charm, and character.

Named for the nearby mineral spring, which purportedly has healing powers, Saratoga Springs has many claims to fame.  It is the site of one of the turning points in the American Revolution, the Battle of Saratoga,  it  is home to a world renowned Thoroughbred racing track, and local legend has it as the birthplace of the potato chip and the club sandwich.

Established in 1819, Saratoga Springs was originally the western portion of the Town of Saratoga.  The region was established as a city in 1915.  In 1832 the Saratoga and Schenectady Railroad was established, allowing tourists and travelers to come and go with greater ease, and bringing fame to Saratoga Springs’ mineral springs.

Many believed that the springs had magical healing powers, and their reported abilities drew many tourists who hoped to receive their benefits.  Springs can still be found throughout the town, covered in pavilions, marked by plaques, or even just spigots protruding from rocks.   The water has a distinct flavor from spring to spring.  Some are salty, some taste strongly of sodium chloride or other minerals, and some are completely clear and fresh.  Though they may smell strongly of sulfur, there is little to no traces of dissolved sulfur in the water, and it is completely safe to drink.

With so many tourists coming to enjoy the healing powers of the natural springs, many hotels were established, and Dr Simon Baruch began to develop several European style spas as centers for recuperation and health.  Many large hotels were established in this time frame including the Grand Union Hotel, which was at the time the largest hotel in the world.

Toward the end of the 1800s, it was feared that excessive consumption and over pumping of the springs would deplete the resource.  In 1911 the New York State Reservation was established to protect the springs.  It is now called the Spa State Park.

The Saratoga Race Course opened in 1863, giving tourists a whole new reason to visit Saratoga Springs.  The city became well known for horse racing and gambling, though the latter was illegal in the early years of the 20th century.

Today it still has strong ties with its spa resort, and gambling history.  It’s also a great place to learn about American history, being the site of one of the most important battles of the American Revolution, and home to three National Museums.