Archive for February, 2014

Peaceful Winter Escape in Bretton Woods

Posted on: February 28th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments


The village of Bretton Woods is a relatively quiet place that lends itself perfectly to a quiet, relaxing vacation.  The Mountain Resort has received awards for its programs designed for children and families, and it was named Top 5 in the East for Families by SKI Magazine.

Though it is a quiet place, there are plenty of things to do in Bretton Woods, especially for people who love the outdoors.  The Bretton Woods Mountain Resort offers both Apline and Nordic skiing trails, with varying difficulty.  It also offers night skiing, and has four different terrain parks.

There are plenty of ways to explore the White Mountains.  Ascend to the top on the Mount Washington Cog Railway while you enjoy the scenery from the warmth of a train car, or soar to the bottom on a series of ziplines.  The Frankenstein Cliffs are a favorite place to go rock climbing in summer.  However, in winter they are covered with thick sheets of ice and become the perfect place for ice climbing.

There are also many places to eat in Bretton Woods. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite to eat while you’re on the mountain between ski runs, or you’re looking for a place to sit down and enjoy a lengthy meal, there’s a place to go! Find great sports for having an apres ski drink, or a plate to share before you go in for dinner.  Find fine dining focusing on preparing quality, seasonal dishes, or casual, fresh fare with fun twists on comfort food.

Find plenty of places to stay in Bretton Woods, many of which share a connection with the historic Mount Washington Hotel.  Stay at a large resort with shuttles to the mountain, and just about everywhere else, or practically within walking distance of the slopes.  Enjoy tons of great activities right at the resort, including ice skating, and going for a horse drawn sleigh ride! There are also several bed and breakfasts nearby if you’re searching for a more comfortable, intimate feeling.

Bretton Woods is a fabulous place to go for family fun or just a quiet getaway.  Enjoy time out in the mountains doing all your favorite winter sports and activities by day, then come back to your hotel and enjoy a relaxing dinner, and some down time in your room by night.  Whether you’re a kid, an adult, or maybe a kid at heart, you’ll find plenty of reasons to love Bretton Woods.

Places to Eat in Bretton Woods

Posted on: February 27th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

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There are plenty of places to eat in Bretton Woods.  Whether you’re looking for a place to grab a quick bite before heading back onto the slopes, a relaxing place to eat some dinner, or just a place to grab a drink, there are plenty of choices for you!

Bretton Arms Dining Room – Offering gourmet cuisine in a casual atmosphere, the Dining Room at the Bretton Arms is one of the resort’s most popular restaurants.   It has recieved a AAA Four Diamong rating for its outstanding food and service.  Providing breakfast and dinner, it’s the ideal place to go either to start or end your day.  Menus are influenced the seasons, and created using fresh, local ingredients.

Mount Washington Resort Dining – The main hotel at the Mount Washington Hotel offers many dining options.  Whether you’re interested in fine dining, a casual pub, or something in between, or just a place to grab some Apres ski drinks, the hotel can accomodate you. 

Main Dining Room – offering a classic dining experience and gorgeous views of Mount Washington, the dining room is an idyllic setting.  Enjoy classic New England favorites, and some inventive modern dishes.  Menus are created using locally sourced meats and products.  Dinner is accompanied by live music, helping to set a relaxing mood.

Stickney’s Restaurant – Located on the patio level, this pub and steakhouse serves lunch and dinner daily using regional, fresh ingredients.  Sit by the fire in the cool evening and enjoy your meal while staying nice and warm.

The Cave  – Inspired by the speakeasies of the 1920’s, The Cave is the place to go to catch the big game, or enjoy some live entertainment, while sipping on a delicious drink!

Rosebrook Bar – The perfect spot to stop for an apres drink, the Rosebrook offers gorgeous views of the mountains, while providing delicious drinks and a casual atmosphere.  A light bar menu is available featuring gourmet pizza, sliders, and other items that are perfect for sharing.

Fabyan’s Station Restaurant – Set in a converted train station, Fabyan’s is a unique, fun place to stop by for lunch or dinner.  The atmosphere is casual and family friendly.  The menu features traditional pub grub, as well as salads, soups, and many house smoked meats.  If you bring children with you, be sure to ask your waiter to send the model train through the dining room!

The Grille – Located that the Nordic Center, the Grille offers gorgeous views of the Presidential Mountain Range.  Lunch features typical clubhouse fair, such as salads, soups, sandwiches, and burgers.

Latitude 44° – Located at the top of the Bethlehem Express ski lift, Lattitude 44° offers some of the best views of the Presidental Mountain Range you can get.  Enjoy a sit down lunch, with quick, friendly service, and a menu featuring wholesome fare.  A full bar is on site, highlighting Latitude 44’s signature beer.


Places to Stay in Bretton Woods

Posted on: February 26th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments


Bretton Woods has some great places to stay, many of which are extremely close to the ski resort, and which offer fantastic amenities on site.

The Lodge at Bretton Woods –  Overlooking the Presidential Mountain Range, the Lodge at Bretton Woods offers spectacular views.  A part of the Mount Washington Resort,  guests are welcome to enjoy all resort ammenities, including the fantastic on site ammenities, including skiing, horseback riding, skating, and swimming in the heated pool.  Take advantage of the Kids’ Club where children can learn to cook, snowshoe, and enjoy plenty of other fun activities. Each room features a private balcony, affording beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and the Mount Washington Hotel.  The heated indoor pool and sauna are perfect places to relax after a long day exploring Bretton Woods.

Bretton Arms Inn – Elegantly furnished, beautifully restored, and featuring gorgeously preserved woodwork, the Bretton Arms Inn is a picturesque historical hotel.  Sit on the wraparound veranda and enjoy a hot chocolate while you relax and take in the gorgeous view.  A part of the Mount Washington Resort, guests are welcome to enjoy all the amenities offered by the resort.  Take a ride in a horse drawn sleigh through the grounds, go snowshoeing, or even ice skating!

Highland Center Lodge – In Crawford Notch, Highland Center Lodge is surrounded by the White Mountains and all its awe inspiring natural wonders.  Waterfalls, cliffs, and forests surround the area, adding a serene quality to your stay.   It is an ideal base for a White Mountain vacation, granting easy access to Bretton Woods, the Frankenstein Cliffs, and several waterfalls.  End your days with a delicious home cooked dinner!

Mount Washington Resort – A national historic landmark, the Mount Washington Resort Hotel was the site of the Bretton Woods Conference where the IMF and World Bank were established.  It has long been the preferred retreat for celebrities, artists, and even presidents.  Opened in 1902, the hotel is a luxurious getaway and has been entertaining guests for over a century.  The resort includes many stellar amenities and activities to experience.  Plenty of favorite winter activities can be done on site, and shuttles run at request to any destination on the resort, as well as to Bretton Woods. 800px-Mount_washington_hotel_1905

Bretton Woods, NH

Posted on: February 24th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

800px-Mt._Washington_from_Bretton_WoodsNestled in the White Mountains, Bretton Woods is the home of New England’s largest ski resort.  The resort is also known to be among the most family friendly, offering plenty of runs suitable for younger children and less experienced skiers, as well as other activities.

The village, located within the town of Carroll, NH, is perhaps best known for the Bretton Woods Conference which took place in July of 1944.  The conference was an attempt to rebuilt the international economic system at the close of WWII. Delegates from 44 Allied nations gathered at the Mount Washington Hotel for three week conference, which resulted in the establishment of the World Bank and the IMF.

While it has a very grand claim to fame, most people come to Bretton Woods for the ski resort, currently celebrating its 40th season, and its other leisure attractions.  The ski resort is the largest in New Hampshire, and continues to win awards for its programs geared toward children.   Many also come to visit the Mount Washington Hotel, now an historic landmark, not only for its important history but also for its amazing hospitality.

The Cog Railway, sometimes called the “railway to the moon,” is another major attraction.  It is the world’s first mountain climbing cog railway, and is still in operation, climbing Mount Washington.  It runs a special ski train during wither.  It’s the second steepest railway in the world.  The railway was built by Sylvester Marsh, who came up with the idea whilst ascending Mount Washington in 1852.  He invested $5,000 of his own money into the project.  Though Marsh obtained a charted for the road in 1858, the projected was stalled until 1866 because of the Civil War.  Finally, he was able to find investors and in construction reached the summit in 1869.   Since then it has been in continuous operation, only with interruptions during the World Wars.

Bretton Woods offers great skiing and family fun.  It’s also the home of five time Olympian Bode Miller.  The ski resort has been named as one of the top five for families, offering fantastic novice and intermediate runs.  It also offers some advanced/expert runs, though they are not as intense as some of the more expert runs in Maine and Vermont.  It offers a quiet, fun place to relax and experience some of your favorite winter activities.

Bretton Woods is most easily accessed by car, as it sits on Route 302 East and there are no nearby airports.  It’s roughly 2.5 hours from Boston, via I-93.  It is 2 hours from Portland via Route 302 West.   It is 3 hours from Montreal via Auto Route 10E, and 6 hours from New York City via I-95.

Places to Eat in Ottawa

Posted on: February 19th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

Ottawa is a very culturally diverse city, with immigrants from all over the world calling the city home.  Its restaurants reflect this, with a wide range of ethnic foods at a wide variety of street vendors and restaurants.  Chinatown, Little Italy, and the Byward Market are all great places to browse if you haven’t got a specific restaurant in mind.

Beavertails – Though this is a chain, this doughy, deep fried treat is an Ottawa specialty.  Traditionally topped with cinnamon sugar, it’s available with all manor of toppings, whether sweet or savory.  During winter, you’ll find them in food trucks on the canal, though you can also get them in the Byward Market on George St.  The local favorite is the Killaloe Sunrise, which is cinnamon sugar and lemon juice.

Allium – Opened in 2004, Allium serves an eclectic array of Canadian and French in a modern-bistro setting.  Menus change monthly and are paired well with their wine list.  Meals are created and inspired with fresh, local ingredients.

The Green Door – serving vegetarian and vegan food, The Green Door is Ottawa’s oldest vegetarian restaurant. Opened in 1988, The Green Door aims to serve food as close to its natural state as possible.  Everything is made in house, using seasonal, fresh and often organic ingredients from local producers.  There is no set menu, and food is made daily from scratch based on supply of fresh produce.  the menu varies greatly from day to day, you can always find something delicious like quiche, lasagna, or broccoli tofu stir fry.

Thai Flame Restaurant – A true hidden gem in the heart of Ottawa, Thai Flame is always fresh and authentic.  Meals are beautifully prepared and come at your requested level of heat.  Enjoy a good mix of flavors, and deliciously made curries (their specialty), pad thai, beef penang, and other traditional Thai dishes.

Next -Next provides an eclectic variety of meals from many different cuisines, somehow blending them into a perfectly cohesive menu.  Sashimi, steak tar tar, foie gras, pulled fuck confit with couscous, and short ribs are just some of the items on this unique menu.  Next specializes in small plates, many of which are meant to be shared.  Meals are imaginative and fun and wholly satiating.  The atmosphere is casual and relaxing.  An open kitchen allows you to watch the chef at work!

Pelican Grill – This casual bistro serves seafood and fish, and is attached to a fresh fish market.  Aiming to serve the freshest catch possible, each dish is carefully prepared, whether it’s the catch of the day or one of their menu staples.  They also have an extensive gluten-free menu for both lunch and dinner, and a carefully cultivated list of wines and local beers.

Aperitivo –  This intimate restaurant serves Mediterranean inspired cuisine, concentrating on Spanish style tapas which are meant to be shared.  They have a strong partnership with local producers and farmings, creating their menu around current availability.  Wines and cocktails change along with the menu so that both your drink and your food will highlight one another.


Vibrant Ottawa, ON

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

406px-OttawaCollageBordered by the Ottawa River an Gatineau, Quebec, Ottawa is Canada’s thriving capitol city.   Canada’s fourth largest city, Ottowa is unique among North American cities in that it is bilingual.  While English is the first language of many, French is just as common, and most residents can understand both.

The Algonquins called the river Kichissippi, translating to “Great River”.  The first European to travel up this river, Etienne Brule, passed by the site Ottawa would occupy on travels to the Great Lakes in 1610.  Samuel de Champlain wrote about the waterfalls and other natural formations in the area, as well as his encounters with the Angonquins who occupied the area in 1613.  Many missionaries would follow their paths in later years.


The first settlement was established in 1800 by New England resident Philemon Wright.  Five families and twenty-five laborers began to create a farming community called Wrightsville.  Wright established the Ottawa Valley timber trade, which would go on to become the area’s most important economic endeavor.

In 1826 Bytown was established because of work on the Rideau Canal (now a UNESCO World Heritage Site).  Bytown transformed into modern day Ottawa.  The canal, built entirely by hand, was meant to secure safe travel between Montreal and Kingston on Lake Ontario.  It was completed in 1832, by which time Bytown’s population had grown to 1,000 residents.   When it was incorporated as a city in 1855, it was renamed to Ottawa.

Queen Victoria chose Ottawa as a capitol for the Province of Canada in 1857. It was chosen because its position on the river allowed for easy transportation, and yet it was also easily defensible. It is also a good midway point between Toronto and Quebec City.   As a smaller city it was also believed it would be less prone to political riots, unlike previous Canadian capitols.

With lumber trade being one of the area’s biggest economic activities, lumber mills became incredibly common the 1850s.  Lumber barons established some of the largest mills in the world at this time.  In 1854, rail lines connected Ottawa with the transcontinental railroad, opening new opportunities for trade, tourism, and travel.


In the late 1800’s, the telephone was demonstrated to the Canadian population for the first time in Ottawa, and the city gained electricity.  Electric streetcar service began in 1891.  A year later, Ottawa became the site of the first meal being cooked entirely by electricity.
Today, major industries include high-tech industries, tourism and travel, and public service. Ottawa is a green city, and is proud to have remained so.  It is filled with many museums, monuments, and beautiful parks, many of which double as bikeways or cross country ski trails. Many museums and monuments of national importance reside in Ottawa, including Parliament Hill, the National Gallery, the National Library and Archives, and many more.
Canada’s thriving capitol city is not far from the U.S  border and  it is easily reached by car, plane, or rail. It’s just over an hour from Ogdensburg, NY, and 1.5 hours from the border crossing at I-81.  Macdonald-Cartier International Airport is the closest airport, and has service to and from most major cities.


Places to Eat near Windsor

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

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Windsor is a fairly quiet town located in the heart of the Berkshires. While restaurants within the town’s boundaries may be few the number located within a short drive are many.  You’ll find anything you’re looking for whether if be fine dining, hole in the wall, casual upscale, or something in between.  You’ll also find a wide range of cuisines, including Malaysian, Latin, French, American, and much more.

Flavours Restaurant – Located in Pittsfield, this restaurant serves flavors all five continents, with a strong emphasis on Malaysian and South East Asian cuisine.  You’ll find an extensive menu offering American favorites, Asian cuisine, and much more.  They also offer a full service bar!  Malaysian food takes its root in cultural diversity, drawing inspiration from Indian, Malay, Eurasian, Chinese, and other cuisines.  At Flavours this cultural diversity is truly taken to heart, providing guests with a unique, unforgettably delicious meal.

Firehouse Cafe – This casual, funky cafe offers a fun dining experience, serving eclectic, contemporary American cuisine.  Tossed salads, housemade soups, omelets all day,  freshly grilled sandwiches, and inventive entrees like mushroom and sausage lasagna, and stuffed chicken burrito.

Public eat+drink – Strongly highlighting fresh, flavorful, in house preparation, Public serves contemporary American cuisine.  Featuring 11 taps, the bar has a frequently rotating list of craft beers, as well as en extensive list of bottles, alongside their impeccable list of wine, and carefully constructed cocktails.  Enjoy subtle twists on American favorites, like chicken fingers made with tempura, jalapeno corn chowder, and buffalo chicken fritters.

Mezze Bistro and Bar – If you’re looking for real Berkshire experience, this is the place to go. Serving contemporary American cuisine and focusing on a farm to table approach, Mezze uses fresh, seasonal ingredients including breads, cheese and meats.  Their menus are inspired by the seasons and the produce that is locally available.  Menus are paired with small batch microbrews from local breweries, spirits from local distilleries, and small production wines.

La Fogata – Featuring Colombian and Latin food, La Fogata has an extensive menu that includes all things familiar and exotic.  Though the exterior is unassuming the atmosphere is welcoming, and the chef and owner takes great care to make sure all his guests are happy.  Enjoy delicious, authentic, homemade Colobian food, along with a great variety of freshly made fruit juices.  Whether you’re just going for some chicken and rice or want something more adventurous like beef tongue, a favorite in many Latin countries, you won’t be disappointed here.  Their full site isn’t currently available, but you can view a menu here.


For more places to eat new Windsor, check out our post on Lenox, MA here.


Things to Do in Windsor

Posted on: February 11th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

Skijor_worldsWindsor is located near Notchview, which offers some of the best Nordic Skiing in the country!  With over 3,000 acres of land, it’s the perfect place for those who enjoy winter sports.  Enjoy a brisk run on some of their 17km cross country trails! Enjoy eight km of skate skiing!

Explore the backcountry as you go off track! Follow ski trails with your snowshoes or walk along some of the trails dedicated to the sport!  Did you bring your dogs? Check out their groomed skijoring trails! There are endless ways to explore Notchview! And whether you’re a beginning for a professional you’ll find terrain that suits your needs.

If you grow tired of Notchview’s trails Savoy Mountain State Forest is another great place to get in some cross country skiing.  Hunting is also permitted, with restrictions.  Other places to visit for cross country skiing are the Windsor State Forest and the Mohawk Trail State Forest.  You won’t just find fun cross country skiing trails, but also beautiful views of forests, waterfalls, and wildlife!

If downhill skiing or snowboarding are more your style, head out to Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort, where you can explore 45 trails and 3 terrain parks covering 170 acres.  21 of their trails are lit for night skiing.

Sick of the cold? Head to nearby South Deerfield and check out Magic Wings.   The Butterfly Conservatory and Gardens will help you completely forget about the cold! Butterflies require warmer temperatures to thrive, so you’ll step in to the conservatory and forget all about the snow outside as 4,000 butterflies from all over the world fly around you.  “Flight attendants” will help you identify various species as they land nearby – or on you – and will help you check you don’t pick up a hitchhiker on your way out.

Also check out our post on things to do in Lenox! It includes exploring Gilded Age history, lots of art history, and a trip to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.

Notchview and Windsor, Mass

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

800px-NotchviewWindsor is a small town in Massachusetts known best for being the home of Notchview, a premier location for Nordic skiing, cross country skiing, and skijoring.  If you’re looking for a great place to experience any of these sports, this is the place to go!

The town was established in 1767, and named for Windsor, CT where most of its settlers emigrated from.  The town was originally named “Gageborough” for British General Thomas Gage.  However, after the Revolutionary War the name was changed.

Windsor was primarily a farming community, though the regions rocky soil and short growing season made it difficult for farming.  Eventually many of these properties were bought up to Lt. Col. Arthur D Budd, who merged them into a 3,000 acre farm which he named Notch View Farm.  In 1965 he gave the property to the Trustees of Reservations, who then created Notchview as we know it.


Notchview has become primarily a Nordic Skiing center, boasting 25 kilometers of groomed trails for skiing and skating.  Snowshoeing is permitted on the property, with nearly 4 km of trails dedicated to the sport.  It also has several trails dedicated to Skijoring and cross country skiing.  It is home to the Bill Koch Youth Ski League, and hosted the Bill Koch League Festival in 2001, 2005, and in 2009.  In summer and autumn it is a great location for hiking and bird watching, though it remains primarily a winter destination.

Windsor is located at the junction of MA Route 9 and Route 8A.   The closest regional airport is Pittsfield Municipal Airport, or the town is roughly the same distance from Albany International and Bradly International Airports.

Places to Eat in Saranac Lake

Posted on: February 5th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

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Saranac Lake has lots of great places to eat! Most are casual, homey places that offer traditional fare, but you will also find fine dining and great late night spots.

Downhill Grill
 – Traditional American done right! Build your own burger or choose from some of their great sandwiches or entrees including pasta and fish and chips! Also choose from their Mexican style menu which includes burritos, chimichangas, and enchiladas.  They have a great selection of beers on tap, and a fun atmosphere that’s perfect for the whole family.  Check out their menu here.

Belvedere Restaurant – An Adirondack favorite for more than 40 years, Belvedere is a great mom-and-pop restaurant offering delicious American and Italian food.  Try homemade sausage, lemon pepper haddock, french onion soup, and veal.  With an outstanding menu, exceptional service, and a delightful, homey atmosphere, dining at Belvedere is an unbeatable experience.

Borracho Taco – Tex Mex at it’s best! Nachos, tacos, burritos, taco salads, enchiladas, and everything you could imagine, all served quickly.  Staff are welcoming and attentive, and atmosphere is fun and welcoming.  Try their house made hot sauces and house simmered meats!  Open till 4AM on Fridays and Saturdays!

Owl’s Nest Pizza Parlor -This pizza parlor has it all!  Pizza, salads, wraps, pastas, hot and cold subs, and even Mexican food!  They offer the best pizza in town and a menu so vast that even the pickiest eater will find something to enjoy.  Eat in or take out!

The Point – Using food from local farms or specialty products flown from abroad, The Point carefully and expertly crafts each menu for their guests.  Enjoy dining in the pub, the great hall, or elsewhere on the property.  Dinners may include roasted sea bass over tomato-basil coulis, Bouillabaise, or roasted lamb.  Each meal is paired perfectly with fine wines from their private cellars.


For more places to eat in Saranac Lake check out our previous post here.  Also be sure to check out the places our clients recommend!