Thursday, February 14, 2013

Join Us for Work Week 2013!

We’re looking forward to our 3rd annual Work Week at the Inn April 23-30th. In exchange for a free stay, guests have helped us in so many ways each year getting our gardens ready for spring, organizing closets, painting trim - even helping shear our alpacas! It’s become a tradition for which we’re so thankful and we even see some of the same friends come back each year - so that must mean they’re having fun too.

We wanted to take a moment to thank our 2012 Work Weekers and tell you a bit about the awesome things they did to help us all over the Inn and our grounds.

Thank you to Gail, Dion & Nancy who worked on tearing out several bathrooms and installing new tile. They vacuumed and organized the lower part of the barn, painted our white wedding chairs and assorted other painting, worked on the stone wall, and pulled up carpets. These ladies were unstoppable!

Thank you to Jenna and John who weeded, edged and mulched all over the gardens and the fish pond. 
Kristin, Josh  and Kristin’s mom Sharon also weeded, mulched and edged the front gardens. Kristin and her mom helped shear our alpacas. Kristin and John totally organized the stable tool area. They consolidated and hung all our tools and even organized the tool closet in the Inn’s back room. Yay! - we could see and find everything so much easier!

Thank you to the tour de force team of Linda and Rosemary who helped all over the place staining stairs, bathroom floors and halls in the barn, (2 coats!), took down stable curtains, dusted, washed the stable windows, painted trim, wedding chairs and lots of other odds and ends.

Thank you to Eve & David who weeded the kitchen garden, painted window sills and wedding chairs.

Thank you to long time guests Sheila and Fred. Sheela is quite a spinner and spun our alpaca wool.

Thank you to Terry and Ralph who weeded and mulched the labyrinth garden and painted wedding chairs. (We have A LOT of wedding chairs!)

Thank you to very diligent Kate and John who also weeded the labyrinth garden - John literally edged the entire labyrinth (not an easy task!) They both also painted - yes -  more wedding chairs. Kate clipped back the bushes by the labyrinth stairs and John bleached every wedding chair seat. 

Thank you to Bill and Marjorie and Frank and Margie who all helped with gardening, weeding and painting wedding chairs.

Thank you to Ralph who just fixed everything! He even made new Adirondack chairs out of broken ones.

Thank you to Marian who helped with gardening.

Thank you to Barbara and Mark who designed and built a beautiful new wooden and iron archway through the stone wall. You made all of our brides and grooms so happy last year because virtually every one of them walked through the arch and down the aisle to get married in the garden.
Thank you to Stacy and her husband who fixed our welcome sign and did assorted small carpentry jobs.

Thank you to Neal and Lynn who cut logs, trimmed branches, weeded and mulched.

Thank you to Andy who did sheet rocking, electrical work and various other helpful tasks along with Gail and Joan who did gardening.

Once again, the Inn looked amazing after so many people contributed their time and labor to get us ready for spring. We REALLY could not be this organized, spiffed up and prepared without all our wonderful Work Weekers. We hope they'll all come back and we invite you to join us for this annual event at the Inn. All hands are welcome! If you can contribute just 4 hours a day you'll have a free stay at the Inn, lots of great companionship and plenty of time to get out and enjoy yourselves while you're here.

email us at or call 802.375.6516

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Norman's Attic 2012

There's nothing like a small town summer street fair, and in Arlington we have a real classic: Norman's Attic. Named after the beloved American artist, Norman Rockwell, who made his home in Arlington from 1939-1953, this year was the town's 18th annual event. Arlington is place where families tend to make roots, so while you're passing through you'll probably meet more than a few older residents who have posed for some of Rockwell's most famous paintings of idyllic country life. In additional to craft, antique and food vendors, Norman's Attic includes a town wide tag sale. So once you've strolled through all the tents on Main St., you can explore the neighborhood to find dozens of yards filled with more great treasures and deals.

The vendors who bring their antiques, paintings, handmade soaps, books, jewelry, ceramics, and wood crafts are all from the local area. The Saint James church fires up the grill for lunch and the ladies lay out an old time bake sale spread that will make your mouth water. Even some of the kids get into the act with lemonade stands and working Martha Canfield Library's book sale room.

Arlington can make you feel like you've gone back in time a bit, and it's not just because most of the houses were built 150 years ago. Whether you live here or come for a visit, Norman's Attic gives you a taste of what's special about a summer day in a small country town. Before you head out, Mr. Brown will serve you some coffee on the steps of the Saint James (a 250 year old stone church) and you should probably try the fresh picked tomatoes he brought from his garden. He's lived here his whole life and says it's the best tomato year he's ever seen...and after almost 90 years, he ought to know!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cold Cucumber Soup

If you have a garden this summer, at some point soon you may find yourself overrun with cucumbers. Just a few plants produce so many of these crisp crunchy veggies, you may not be able to eat enough salads to use them up! Or maybe you're just craving a light, cool, simple lunch - and now is the time you'll find lots of fresh cucumbers at the farmer's market. Well, here's a super easy summer recipe we love at the Inn: Cold Cucumber Soup. It's just too easy and delicious not to try making it yourself.

Cold Cucumber Soup:

3 cucumbers peeled, leaving some green for color
1 cup sour cream (if you're feeling decadent)
    OR plain yogurt (for the lighter side)
Salt & pepper to taste

Put everything in a blender and puree until creamy

If you're a fan of mint or other herbs like dill or cilantro, you can add a few pinches of one of these fresh seasonings into the ingredients while you puree.

Garnish with a little chopped cucumber and mint
That's it!

Cool, creamy, fragrant summer goodness - Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

DIY Wedding Tips - From Custom Water Bottles to Candy Bars

Spring is on it's way which means it's almost wedding season again. Here are some great DIY tips from our wedding coordinator Renée LaBelle 

Personalizing your wedding with DIY details makes your celebration special...and when it comes to expenses, it's not bad for your wallet either! In 2011 we had lots of great ideas from brides so I wanted to share a few with you as you're making plans for your big day.

One of our couples, Melissa & Nathan, got married in June and had lots of touches of pink and red, from their flowers to their linens. So for cocktail hour, we decided to make pink lemonade with strawberries floating in it to tie into their color theme. Refreshing and beautiful!

 Megan and Joseph had a September wedding and the bride made adorable vintage ribbon pins for all of their guests. The pins served as both place cards and favors and guests wore them throughout the reception.

Jessica and Stephanie love the outdoors, camping and hiking so for their favors they decided to give everyone personalized water bottles, again tying into their wedding colors. We often see a lot of favors left behind after weddings, but every guest took their water bottles home and it gave them a special (and useful!) way to remember Stephanie and Jessica's celebration.

Jane and David had lots of children at their wedding, but their awesome old fashioned candy bar was not just for the kids. Everyone loved the sweet touch their glass jars of lollipops and button candies added to the cake and dessert table. So festive and fun!

So get creative and have fun with your DIY wedding details. There are so many special things you can design or do yourself to make your wedding decor your own!

photos courtesy Jay Cavallaro Photography

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Chef Jeff Scott Partners with Farmers, Food & Families

West Mountain Inn Chef Jeff Scott
Jeff Scott, our chef at West Mountain Inn, is not only the man who serves up delicious, creative, seasonal menus for our guests every night...he also does some meaningful work in our community teaching his passion for local, healthy food and giving back to families. Below is an excerpt from the Community Food Cupboard newsletter all about Jeff's work last year in a program he and CFC volunteer Dale Coppin started called Grateful Hearts - a partnership of local farms and the Vermont Foodbank to prepare and distribute healthy meals through the Community Food Cupboard. Great work Chef Jeff and all our awesome local farmers!......

Last winter, Dale Coppin, a friend of the Food Cupboard, brought several hundred pounds of beets to the Community Food Cupboard (CFC) that had been gleaned from a local farm by students in the Twilight Program at Mount Anthony High School.  This led to a conversation about how the lack of proper cooking facilities, food knowledge, and time can make it difficult for many families in need to use some of the fresh foods available at CFC.  Shortly thereafter, Dale had a plan.  In February, 2011, he recruited renown chef Jeff Scott of the West Mountain Inn in Arlington to begin a group dedicated to using locally grown and produced foods, as well as bulk foods available from the Vermont Foodbank to prepare healthful meals, soups, and salads to be distributed by CFC.  The two named their program Grateful Hearts, in honor of both their shared desire to help others and their love of the Grateful Dead.   

The Mighty Food Farm Team donated over 2500 lbs of fresh produce!

Clear Brook Farm workers with baskets of fresh organic beans

Each weekend, Dale picks up produce generously donated by Andrew Knafel of Clear Brook Farm, Lisa MacDougall of Mighty Food Farm, Rich and Kathy Moses of Moses Farm, and Roger and Penny Preuss of Equinox Valley Nursery.  On Monday morning, following Jeff’s instructions, volunteers gather in the kitchen at St. Paul's to wash, peel, and chop on cutting boards donated by our friends at J.K. Adams.  In the afternoon, Jeff assembles and cooks the menu items which are then packaged into portions by a second team of volunteers.  When completed, the meals are delivered to CFC for distribution on Tuesday.  In just nine months, these dedicated folks have provided hundreds of meals that have been enjoyed by our CFC families.       
Our deepest thanks go out to Dale and Jeff, to the students of the Twilight Program, to Christ our Savior parish for the use of their bright and beautiful kitchen, to all the farmers for sharing their harvest, and the more than 80 volunteers whose efforts are making this program a huge success for CFC families! 

Volunteers begin the cooking process in St. Paul's kitchen

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Festival of Santa Lucia

Wes Carlson, my dad, was Swedish and made Saint Lucia a special tradition at the Inn beginning almost 30 years ago. Each year we love spending time with our guests - decorating the Inn's Christmas tree cut fresh from a local farm; eating cookies, drinking Gloog, telling Troll Tales, holding a Troll treasure hunt and singing carols around the fire. In the morning Saint Lucia delivers coffee and Lucia buns to guests in their rooms followed by a delicious Swedish Smorgasboard brunch. This year's Santa Lucia Festival was a beautiful celebration of community and the spirit of giving. 

Organizers and speakers Paula Maynard, Stephanie Moffett Hynds, MaryAnn Carlson, Father Scott and many local children contributed to Saturday night's pageant at the Saint James Church in Arlington which had a wonderful turn out. We wanted to share with you a few images and excerpts from the evening's presentation and hope it will inspire you to come stay with us next year and enjoy this special celebration.

 Tonight we gather again, as we have for more than three decades in Arlington, to celebrate the Swedish Festival of Light honoring the ancient saint named Lucia, who took it upon herself in 304 AD to do something.  We will also look at this sense of giving of oneself through the more recent stories of a few remarkable human beings from around the globe who, like Lucia, answered and acted on the question … What Can I do? This is the season of hope and it is our hope that these powerful examples of ordinary people doing extraordinary things will inspire each of us to think globally and act locally to better the lives of those in need … to become a light where light is needed. 

While the Festival of Santa Lucia is a Scandinavian tradition that has made its way into American culture by way of Swedish immigrants, the origins of this Christmastime celebration are not actually in Scandinavia.  The story of Lucia was written more than 1700 years ago in a town named Syracuse on the Italian island of Sicily.  According to the Sicilian legend, Lucia’s mother, a wealthy lady, had been miraculously cured of an illness. Lucia, a Christian, persuaded her mother in thankfulness to give her money to the poor. So, by candlelight, the mother and daughter went about the city secretly feeding and ministering to the poor of Syracuse. Unfortunately during this time, Christians were being persecuted by the emperor and Lucia was martyred for her beliefs. Those whom she served -- never forgetting her kindness -- spread her story.

Tonight we will honor the memory of this brave young woman who lived almost two thousand years ago far from here, by speaking of the lives of others from around the world who, against all odds, also dedicated their lives to serving those in need, bringing peace and light to their darkened worlds.  The story of Lucia’s life is global and far reaching and the same can be said for these modern day Lucias.

The evening's speakers (children and adults) shared the stories of activists and Nobel Peace Prize winners such as Jane Adams, Nelson Mandela, 

Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan, Mother Teresa, and even our local community members Sally and Don Goodrich. Their examples connected us back to the message of bringing light into the world - whether thru fighting poverty and working for children's and women's rights in America, helping to overturn apartheid in South Africa, founding the Community of Peace People in Northern Ireland, caring for the poor and ill throughout Asia and India, and building a school for girls in Afghanistan. 

As our friend and neighbor Don Goodrich said:
“We need this kind of hope to cross divides of culture and religion, tribes and nations, families and neighbors – to live with dignity and search for understanding. These things cannot be achieved everywhere and all the time or even predictably, but, it is in striving, reaching for them that life has its meaning.”

Happy New Year Everyone! 
We hope your days are filled with light and happiness.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Renee's DIY Wedding Tips - Fall Pumpkin Carving

West Mountain Inn's wedding coordinator Renée LaBelle is blogging today with a great DIY wedding activity and decor idea from one of last month's beautiful fall weddings at the Inn.

In November Sara and Tracy celebrated their wedding at the Inn and planned a fun rehearsal dinner activity which also served as a great fall wedding decor idea I wanted to share with everyone. The new trend in weddings is all about DIY and after a few meetings over hot chocolate, Sarah & Tracy explained they wanted to do something different on Friday night before their rehearsal dinner that would involve their friends in creating their wedding decorations together.

They knew they wanted pumpkins as part of the decor for their fall wedding and after we talked further they decided to have a pumpkin carving party.

I just loved this whole idea because it was a way for Sara, Tracy and their friends to relax, have fun and create a special memory of their wedding together. They carved their names, their wedding date, words like LOVE into the pumpkins and placed them along the stone wall near their ceremony site the next morning.

The candle-lit pumpkins had a beautiful orange glow that evening which they used to decorate their dessert table and line the walk up to the barn for their reception.

So for any brides planning fall weddings for next year - keep this fun idea in mind. A pumpkin carving party is a creative DIY way to include a Friday night activity with your friends and add a pretty, warm glow to your fall wedding decorations. Congratulations to Tracy and Sara!

Photos courtesy Heather Trimm Photography