Community

Find Your Harvest Festival!

It's sad to see but August is coming to an end and harvest season is upon us. As always, Vermont has numerous celebrations planned in honor of the harvest and fall season. Check out the ones listed below:

39th Annual Harvest Festival in Shelburne - Saturday, September 16th (10am - 4pm) - Explore a tent full of children’s activities, entertainers performing on multiple stages, artisans sharing their skills and crafts, and of course, delicious farm-fresh food. Farm animals and horse-drawn hayrides, too! It’s a community event for the whole family. 

Stowe Rotary's Oktoberfest in Stowe - September 29th - October 1st - A celebration of the harvest highlighting our local beers. Bavarian style bands perform during the weekend, with food, fun and dancing for all ages. Come enjoy peak foliage and have a beer or two. 

Rocktoberfest in Morrisville on Saturday, September 30th - Starting with Copley’s “Run for the Heart” 5K Fun Run/Walk starting at Oxbow Park, followed by a street festival featuring live, well known bands, a fabulous food court, the great chili cook-off, recyclable miniature golf, creative events, local merchants, massages, live Chair-Art-Able Auction, local brews and the best of the best in the region! 

Sam Mazza's Harvest Festival in Colchester - October 1st & 2nd - The festival offers lots of on-grounds entertainment. The children can enjoy pony rides, a petting zoo, a hay ride down to the pumpkin patch, the corn maze and many craft and entertainment activities held under the tent. 

Sugarbush Oktoberfest at Lincoln Peak on October 8th - Will feature Bavarian inspired food, drink, games, and the Mad Bavarian Brass Band. Compete in the stein hoisting competition, keg tossing, and corn hole tournament for a chance to win lift tickets for the upcoming winter season. Friendly Lens will provide photo booth fun.

 

Vermont Community Events

Crowd ConcertVermonter's love to celebrate. Seriously, we'll celebrate everything from cheese and wine to bikes and cars. We like to think we know how to have a good time, which is evident from our numerous festivals and fairs. Upcoming fun includes:

Music in the Meadow - A summer-long concert series at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, VT.

July 14-15 - Waterbury Arts Fest - Kick off this fun-filled event with a Friday night block party, followed by a day of entertainment, crafts, food, and more. This event has quickly become one of the most anticipated of the summer.

July 15 - Vermont Cheesemakers Festival (Waitsfield) - Don't be fooled, this festival celebrates much more than cheese with local foods, wines, ciders, beers and spirits for you to try. 

July 21-23 - Vermont Mountain Bike Festival - Head to Sugarbush for this festival celebrating all things mountain biking, but the fun doesn't end there with live music, BBQ's, a bonfire, games, and much more all weekend long

August 11-13 - Stowe Antique Car Show - In its 60th year, this car show is the one of the biggest and longest running in New England. Check out over 800 vehicles on display with lots of fun music, contests, and activities throughout the show.

August 27 - Race to the Top of Vermont - Bike, hike, or ride to the top of Mount Mansfield, Vermont's highest peak with this challenging course. Then, rest and relax with a BBQ and Music at the base lodge. 

Tips To Get Your House Sold

Let's face it, most Vermont towns can sell themselves with their close-knit feel, community activities, local amenities, beautiful landscapes, etc., but that doesn't mean someone will be willing to buy a house there if it doesn't make a good impression. Buying a house is a huge deal, and you want someone to be wowed when they enter yours for an open house or private viewing. Making a few improvements doesn't have to break the bank, but it can be the difference between them walking out the door or making an offer. Jaymi Naciri, from Realty Times, has written up ten tips to help you on your way.

Staging your home is a critical step in getting it sold, but all the recommended updates and upgrades can get pricey. Thankfully, there are tricks you can use to make your home look bigger, better, and brighter, without spending a dime.

1. Fix up your floors

Don't want to pay to replace or refinish your floors? No prob. Grab a brown crayon to fill in divots. A one-to-one mix of olive oil and vinegar rubbed directly on scratched areas will also help make it look new. You can also use canola if you don't have olive, but then use a one-part vinegar, three-part oil mixture. 

Floors look great but don't sound so hot? "Fix creaky wood floors with a generous dusting of baby powder," said One Crazy House. "Work it into the cracks until the floor is no longer noisy."

2. Make it sparkle

Presumably, you already have cleaning supplies, sponges, and paper towels in the house. Now all you need is some elbow grease to make your home look shiny and new.

When selling your home, you need to take the cleaning beyond your typical weekly run-through. Think "Spring cleaning" turned up a notch or two. Remember that potential buyers will be looking everywhere, including inside drawers and cabinets. Make sure they're crumb-free and well organized. They may also open your refrigerator. While this can seem intrusive, you don't want to give them a reason to walk away, so make sure to tidy up the inside, wipe up any spills, throw away rotten food, and put a nice big box of Baking Soda in there to absorb any leftover smells.

3. Let the light in

Everyone is looking for "natural light," so show off what you've got by opening up those blinds and drapes. Did you just reveal a bunch of dirty windows and sills? Ewww. Grab that cleaning spray and make them shine. An old toothbrush is a great way to get gunk out of corners and in window tracks.

If your place isn't light and bright, even with all the blinds and drapes drawn, you'll need to depend on artificial lighting. This is no time to have lightbulbs out. Go hit that stash in your laundry room cabinet and switch out for fresh bulbs.

4. Declutter

Home stagers will tell you there is no more important step when preparing your home for sale. "If you are serious about staging your home, all clutter must go, end of story," said Houzz. "It's not easy, and it may even require utilizing offsite storage (or a nice relative's garage) temporarily, but it is well worth the trouble."

Do a walk-through with an outsider's eye, or ask a friend or family member to help since they'll be more objective. Anything that isn't used regularly or is taking away from the open feel of the house can be packed away. Small appliances and anything else hanging out on countertops can be put in a cabinet if you're not ready to stick it in a box. You want people to see the bones of the house, not your blender.

5. Depersonalize

While, you're decluttering, keep personalization in mind. Buyers want to be able to picture themselves living in the home, and they might not be able to do so if they can't take their eyes off your wall of taxidermy.

6. Create closet space

Even if you have the world's largest walk-in closet in the master bedroom, you can give buyers the impression that there isn't enough space by overfilling it. Stagers recommend taking half of your clothes and shoes out and packing them away to create some airiness. Does the idea of packing up your stuff freak you out? You're going to have to do it when you move, anyway. This is just giving you a head start.

7. Remove the stink

Does your home greet guests with a big whiff of cat box? Potential home buyers might just turn right back around and get in the car. You also want to make sure your animals aren't irritating those who are touring or impeding them from entering certain rooms. Don't want to board them? Surely you have a friend or family member who'd love to watch your pets during showings, right?

8. Pull those weeds

You really can't overestimate the importance of curb appeal today. Even if you don't want to spring for a few bags of mulch and some colorful flowers to frame your door, there are easy and free steps you can take to give buyers a great first impression. Dispose of any visible weeds, leaves, and other unwanted stuff hanging out in the yard. Give your bushes a trim and mow the yard. If you can't power wash your home, at least wash the outside of the exterior windows that are within eye level.

And don't forget about the area closest to your front door. Sweep that stoop and make sure your welcome mat is actually welcoming, instead of dusty and dirty.

9. Address your furniture

Some of the most common problems in homes when it comes to furniture: 1) It's ugly; 2) It's old; There's too much of it; The arrangement is uninviting. Ugly and old might be hard to overcome when you're trying not to spend money, but the rest you can do something about.

"Sometimes when sellers are trying to make a small room seem like it's more spacious, they have a tendency to push all of their furniture against the walls to leave a big open space in the middle. This type of arrangement may leave a lot of open space, but ultimately leaves the interior design looking unfinished -- a big turn off for buyers. In this situation, it's better to create furniture groupings. First, envision the way the space should be used," said Freshome. "Do you have a huge flatscreen TV that requires a lot of seating? Is there a corner in your living room that would serve perfectly as a reading nook? Group the furniture in ways that would make sense for the intended use. Then, make sure that there are clean and direct pathways through the room. You want potential buyers to be able to envision themselves living in your home and one of the quickest ways to do that is by creating a cozy seating area that's fit for conversation."

If the problem is that you've created a crowded space by using too much furniture, ditch a few pieces in a friend's garage for the time being (or, even better, donate them!) to create an intimate seating area. You can always bring those pieces back into your new home.

10. Borrow stuff

If, at the end of the day, your home still isn't looking show-ready, maybe it's time to raid a friend's house. Have a loved one who has an extra couch that's more neutral than yours or a couple of great accessories? It's time to test their love for you.

To read the original article click here.

Homes with High Standards

Green building practices and Energy Star ratings are growing in importance among home buyers and home builders, alike. Paul Arnot, of Arnot Development Group in Waterbury, is a respected builder who understands the importance of green design and technology. Arnot is well known for his Waterbury Commons village community, which meets the Energy Star criteria. It is a close-knit neighborhood that embodies the term "community."

"The Blue Energy Star on a new home means it was designed and built to standards well above most other homes on the market today. When Energy Star's rigorous requirements are applied to new home construction the result is a home built better from the ground up, delivering better durability, better comfort, and reduced utility and maintenance costs," according to Energy Star.

Not only do Waterbury Common homes earn the Energy Star rating, but other aspects of the community fit nicely in the sustainability category of being in close proximity to public transit, and walkable to many village amenities like shopping, restaurants, library, schools and recreational venues.

For more information on Waterbury Commons, visit waterburycommonsvt.com

Pond Skimming Season

It's just about April which means pond skimming is just around the corner! For anyone who is at a loss for what this event could possibly be, it's just as it sounds. Contestants race down a small hill and try and see how far they can make it across a 'pond' with their skis or boards as they skim across the water. Awards are typically given out for best splash, longest skim, style, best costume, etc. It's a great pastime that draws hundreds to the mountains for a fun-filled day. 

Bolton, for example, designates a theme for each years' pond skimming event. This year is 1966 to celebrate their 50th year. Visit each mountain's page below for more details on their event.

April 1st - Stowe Mountain Resort

April 1st - Bolton Valley

April 8th - Sugarbush Resort

 

 

It's Snow Time!

We're smack dab in the middle of ski season and there are so many fun races, parties, and events at all the local mountains. Check out everything from a Retro 80's weekend in Stowe to an Island Weekend bash at Sugarbush Resort. Whether you ski, board, or fat bike, there is a race here for you. Check out the links below for detailed information on these events and registration for races. These are only a few of the many events in the area so make sure you check out each resort's calendar of events.

February 26th: Stowe Derby at Stowe Mountain Resort

March 4th: Castlerock Extreme at Sugarbush Resort

March 5th: High Fives Fat Ski-A-Thon at Sugarbush

March 8th: Bolton Valley Rail Jam

March 10th - 12th: Retro 80's Weekend at Stowe Mountain Resort

March 18th: Ski and Ride New England Party at Bolton Valley

March 19th: Sugarbush Mountaineering Race

March 25th: Island Weekend at Sugarbush 

Menagerie Makes Purple Rain

North Country Animal League is putting on an evening of fun and fundraising! Participate in the auction and raffle for a chance to go home with some sweet prizes. The theme is Purple Rain so come dressed in the 1984 movie attire, anything purple, or simply bad weather gear. Admission is $90 per person and tickets can be purchased here or by calling Tracy at (802) 888-5065 x 106. Expect delicious food, cocktails and a night of dancing! 

North Country Animal League is a limited-access facility which means they do not euthanize to make room for more animals. Every animal is spayed or neutered, treated for fleas, dewormed, and microchipped before they are adopted. This event is a great way to have fun and raise awareness and funds for a good cause. 

 

Come to Menagerie Makes Purple Rain on Saturday, February 4th from 5:30 pm to 10:00 pm at the Stoweflake Resort and Spa!

Area Winter Festivals To Know About

                               

Hopefully, if you're living in Vermont, you actually like the snow, cold temperatures, and all the wonderful activities that come with this type of climate... or at least you don't dislike them. But whether you're a seasoned winter enthusiast, or are just starting to work on your 'icy-parking-lot-walking' form, there are a few winter celebrations in the area you won't want to miss.

Stowe Winter Carnival - January 14 - January 28

In its 43rd year, this Stowe carnival is 15 days long and full of tournaments, ice carving, skating, dance parties, movie nights, karaoke nights, brews, and a fishing derby. 

Shelburne Winterfest - Saturday, January 21

This indoor/outdoor winterfest at Shelburne Farms includes family friendly activities including sledding, horse-drawn rides, crafts, music, and a rock climbing wall by Northern Lights Rock and Ice.

Waterbury Winter Fest - January 17 - February 5

New England Landmark is a Proud Sponsor of Waterbury Winterfest!

10 days of awesome winter activities in and around Downtown Waterbury, and Waterbury Center. Partake in anything from guided hikes and classes to the Winterfest Snowball, craft beer tastings, and the highly competitive annual broomball tournament! (Some preregistration needed, so check out the schedule in advance.)

Montpelier's Ice on Fire Winter Festival - Sunday, January 29

A celebration of community along with the season, this festival features storytellers, theatre acts, music, facepainting, crafts and winter games, hot cider, chili, and warming hut to help keep warm.

Brrrlington Winter Bash - Saturday, February 25

A kid-centered celebration of snow-fun a the Miller Recreation Center in Burlington. Free snowshoeing, xc skiing, face painting, crafts, and youth yoga classes by Spark Youth Yoga. 

 

Thanksgiving 2016 Survival Guide

We found this article titled, "Thanksgiving 2016 Survival Guide: How to Get Through this Year's Gathering with a Smile on your Face" by Jaymi Naciri at Realty Times. It's been a little...tense this past month and while this should be a time for family and friends, we don't always see eye to eye on integral parts of our lives. Here are some tips on how to avoid an all out brawl at your holiday meal.

For many people across the country, Thanksgiving represents a time of togetherness when the entire brood can gather around the table and sink into some family love - and a vat of mashed potatoes. For others, it's a terrifying time of strife and stress.

Well, get ready for the "normal" fabric of family dynamics to be stretched to its limits this year. In the aftermath of the most contentious U.S. election of our time, nerves are frayed, and two distinct and disagreeable (and that's putting it mildly) camps of voters could make sitting across the table from each other more challenging than usual.

So how can you get through it, and maybe even enjoy yourself? Here's your Thanksgiving 2016 Survival Guide.

Cocktails Any One?

Depending on your family dynamic, you may already be quite familiar with the whole drinking at Thanksgiving thing. But this year may call for more - and stronger - imbibing.

There are a lot of great, Traditional (and some not so traditional) Thanksgiving cocktails out there, like these from the The Food Network. If you think you can inspire a little humor in your family members, set up a blue and red bar and allow everyone to show their true colors. Or, go with Purple Drinks that mix the blue and red to show unity.

Make dinner a multicultural affair

What better way to make a statement about acceptance than by bringing in some new cultural dishes? "Thanksgiving dinner is conventionally associated with very specific foods. Turkey. Pumpkin pie. Stuffing. But that's not where every family's tradition begins and ends," said Mashable. "The U.S. is a melting pot. It's all about different cultures coming together with family traditions that blend the best of the old world with customs of the new.You might want to try them yourself this year. After all, the blending of American tradition and familial culture often starts with food."

A few of their suggestions: An eastern European Braised Red Cabbage with Bacon, Persian basmati rice stuffing, and Argentinian alfajores,  buttery dulce de leche-filled cookies that are perfect with that post-meal cup of coffee.  Will it cure the ills of the world? No. But it'll be tasty.

Play a game

Thanksgiving Bingo is a fun way to get through a strained holiday, but cards from years past probably won't do this year. Generate your own Thanksgiving Bingo cards (Great Aunt Linda starts talking about the woman down the street, and you're just waiting for her to drop the "N" word; Cousin Bill uses the words "whiny," "pansy," and/or "loser" when referring to Democrats), and pass them out to a few family members, or give them to friends who you know could really use some help at the dinner table next year. Keeping your ears open for the next winning phrase by making it a game could help soften the tension.

Volunteer

Maybe what your family needs this year is to not sit down to eat together at all, but, rather, to be of service. Volunteering at Thanksgiving can be rewarding for those who are on both the giving end and the receiving end. You can check VolunteerMatch to find a local spot in your area.

Be truly, sincerely, thankful

It's easy to get lost in the minutiae of sorrow or regret, especially when the big picture is also not one you can find much solace in. Whether you're feeling dread at what the next four years hold, or if you're feeling joy, or somewhere in between, taking a moment to get in touch with what you're grateful for can be powerful. Health, wealth, a good job, strong friendships, a loving family (even if this year some are a tad less so), and a table full of food to enjoy offer plenty of reasons to be thankful, which, not coincidentally, is the name of the game on this holiday. If you need help getting in touch with your gratitude, check out these tips.

To read the original article click here.

Weighing the Pros & Cons of a Home Addition

Andrea Davis, the editor for HomeAdvisor, brings up some important things to think about when a home addition might be in the cards. The cost of living in Vermont is pretty high, so you want to make sure you're getting the most out of your living space, even if that means doing a little construction.

Adding a new addition to your home is a great idea for various reasons. But interest rates and property values can change the effectiveness of your investment. If you are considering building a home addition, you'll want to consider the following information as you make your decision.

Cost

Possibly the greatest consideration regarding home additions is cost. Generally, many homeowners opt to build or renovate when interest rates are low and they can take advantage of home equity loans. When budgeting for your addition, it's important to plan for the costs that are often associated with major home improvement projects. The hefty cost of a new home addition is something that homeowners need to consider closely before embarking on this type of construction. It's also important to consider the additional costs of utilities and taxes that will affect your annual budget.

Investment Value

Experts suggest that you can recover the cost of a mid-range home addition at the point of sale. This is the main inspiration for many homeowners investing in extra square footage. Even though extra square footage should drive up the value of your home, sellers don't necessarily recoup their entire investment due to other variables associated with property values.

 

Enjoyment Factor

Cost and investment aren't always the main considerations for homeowners who opt for new additions. Many people simply want to enjoy the added space or have a significant need for expanding their home. Whether you're considering extra bedrooms or an expanded kitchen, an addition will improve the functionality of your home and increase your overall enjoyment.

Stress

From conflicts with contractors to the inconvenience of living in a construction zone, home renovations and new additions can be fraught with stress. While stress is a con, it's also likely to be a temporary problem. Moreover, selling your home and buying a new one may prove no less stressful. By working with skilled reputable contractors and planning carefully, you can avoid many of the headaches associated with residential building projects.

Design Aesthetic

A poorly designed addition can detract from the appearance of your home. It's important for homeowners to work with an architect who has the experience and knowledge to create an addition in keeping with the aesthetics of your home. An addition that's mismatched with the main structure can detract from the visual appeal of the house and ultimately turn off buyers.

Other Pros and Cons of a Home Addition

Unless your new addition is a second-story addition, a home expansion is going to swallow up some of your property. Less yard space could prove to be a turnoff to some home buyers. On the other hand, staying in your home allows you to keep your great neighbors and reside in the community you love. Adding on to your home also allows you to customize the entire project to suit your household's needs.

Conclusion

Consider all of the pros and cons when it comes to making a decision about a new home addition. Talking to other homeowners can also help you gather advice and enhance your decision-making process.

To read the original article click here.