New England Culture/events

Festival Season

Summer in Vermont is bursting with festivals and fairs for anyone and everyone. We like to have a good time, and you can see that with how many events we have going on in June alone! From family friendly Renaissance fairs to more music festivals than you can count, we've got something for everyone. Check out the lineup: 

June 10th - (Warren) Sugarbush Brew-Grass Festival - Dozens of brewers, three bands, and a variety of food vendors make up the Brew-Grass Festival in the Lincoln Peak Courtyard.

June 23rd - 25th (Essex Junction) - Vermont Quilt Festival - The oldest and largest quilt festival in New England is back for another year! Contests, classes, presentations, exhibits, and much more make this a great way to immerse yourself in the quilting community.

June 23rd - 25th (Stowe) Stowe B3 Festival (Bikes, Brews, & Beats) - Kicking off on a Friday with a block party for the whole family. The rest of the weekend hosts multiple group rides and other events for mountain bike enthusiasts.

June 24th - (Waterbury) Grooves and Brews Festival - Following the Waterbury Parade and ending with the firework display, this festival brings you three kicking bands, tons of delicious food options, the best of von Trapp Brewery, and much more!

June 24th - (Stowe) - 25th Vermont Renaissance Faire - Travel back in time as you enjoy all the best of a festival with a Renaissance twist. Attendees are encouraged to come in garb, so it makes for some pretty memorable photos!

June 29th - July 1st (Warren) Frendly Gathering Music Festival - (There is no "I" in frends) With over twenty bands playing throughout the festival grounds this event is all about the fun. Enjoy camping, yoga, art, local food, dance workshops, and much more!

 

 

 

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!

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.

Seasonal Fun

There are a lot of fun things to do leading up to the holidays. Many local towns have ongoing events for whatever your interest. Check out some of these events this month:

Nov 11: Rusty Nail Dance Benefit for Veterans

Nov 12 & 25: Cider Tasting: Champlain Orchards

Nov 12: 40th Annual Milton Pre-Christmas Craft Show

Nov 14: Pint Night at the Reservoir Restaurant and Tap Room

Nov 24: Turkey Skate in Stowe

Nov 25: Homemade Candy Cane Demonstrations

Nov 25 - Dec 17: Waterbury's Wrap It Up & Win

Nov 26: Waterbury Holiday Artisan Boutique & Small Business Saturday

Dec 2: 24th Annual Vermont International Festival

Dec 2 - 4: Mad River Valley Country Holiday Fest

Dec 3: River of Light Lander Parade

There's something for everyone! We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday season. Click here for more Mad River Valley Events, Waterbury Events, Stowe Events, and Burlington Events.

Top Tips for Selling your House in Fall & Winter

This article, from Jaymi Naciri at Realty Times, highlights some advantages and pitfalls to selling your house in the fall or winter. Admittedly there is a lot more work to do to keep your lawn looking good. Vermont's fall and winter scene can be unpredictable so make sure you stay on top of raking and plowing in the winter. Keeping in mind the holiday seasons, use decorations to your advantage but don't go overboard. People want to see your house, not the gazillion Christmas decorations you have from over the years. Check out the other tips listed below.

The temperature is dropping, the leaves are changing, and pumpkin spice everything has taken over the world. With fall color and produce so prominent at this time of year, you may be tempted to load up your home with an abundance of both. But if you're trying to sell your home now, a little discretion may go a long way. And that's just one of the tips for selling your house in the fall and winter.

Pay close attention to your curb appeal

We've admitted to having a problem resisting the temptation to buy every available pumpkin and decorative gourd at the market at this time year, so we feel your pain. But when it comes to styling your front porch, there's a slippery slope between nicely decorated and Farmer's Market.

The idea is to enhance your curb appeal, not obscure it. "While too many fall decorations will take focus off of your home and its best features, a few tasteful accents can create an inviting setting and make your home feel fresh," said HGTV.

You also want to make sure that fall leaves haven't taken a toll on your yard. Buyers may be understanding if your lawn is covered and unkempt, because they're living the same reality, but that doesn't mean the home will make a good impression.

Go Easy on the Holiday Displays

Apply the same logic when it comes to holiday decorations. Tasteful displays will, quite literally, show the home in its best light. Outfitting the home to compete with the Griswolds will make it a spectacle, but not necessarily saleable.

Let In the Light

It's always a good idea to open blinds and make sure windows are sparkly when trying to sell your home. But especially with shorter days in the fall and winter, you want to make sure you maximize the light in your home, which can make it look larger, fresher, and also "highlight your home's best features," said HGTV. Still need a little help? "Let in as much natural light as possible…and place plenty of lamps throughout your home for additional illumination."

Make your space inviting

As the weather cools down, a warm and cozy atmosphere will give potential homebuyers a warm and cozy feeling. Use plush throws on the couch and beds, add fall-accented pillows to choices and chairs, and, "Try displaying vases of fall foliage or bowls of seasonal fruit throughout your home," said HGTV.

Prepare your fireplace

A roaring fireplace during showings adds to the welcoming feeling. But, even if you're not yet ready to light a fire, making the fireplace look great is important. Clean those doors well, and sweep out the inside, too. If the paint inside your fireplace is wearing away, a fresh coat will help. Now, stack that wood nicely or replace it with some modern glass, and you're ready to go.

Use fall scents to your advantage

Cinnamon and pumpkin spice and vanilla, oh my! The flavors of fall are unmistakable, and when they're flowing through your home, you can create a powerful connection with buyers.

"The fall and winter months are associated with certain smells and flavors (think: pine needles, cinnamon, peppermint and pumpkin pie). Beyond setting the mood with decorations, you could try appealing to buyers' senses in multiple ways," said Smart Asset. "For example, if you're hosting an open house you could keep hot chocolate and pumpkin muffins on hand for visiting buyers. If you don't want to go that far, keeping a scented candle burning in the background or playing some holiday music can work wonders."

To read the original article click here.

Have a Happy Halloween!

Halloween is quickly approaching, and there are so many fun activities for kids and adults alike.

Join the fun at the Wicked Waterbury Halloween Ball, a fundraiser for Revitalizing Waterbury! Costumes are a must, cash bar, adults only, dancing, fabulous munchies, special prizes and a silent auction. Auction proceeds will benefit RW and the River of Lights Parade. Learn more and purchase your tickets here

Trick or Treating: Waterbury is a hotbed of activity on Halloween with almost all of downtown participating. Best streets to hit include:

  • Randall Street
  • Stowe Street
  • Main Street
  • Winooski Street
  • Union Street

If you're in the Stowe or Morrisville area, both towns feature a Maple Street that's bustling with activity as well.

Looking for more than free candy this Halloween season?

For those willing to drive a little the biggest corn maze in New England is in Danville, VT, and Stowe features the Percy Farm Corn Maze. There are plenty of haunted houses and forests all around Vermont. Click here to see a list of Vermont Halloween Events. 

Grab a pumpkin from any of the local patches and go to town creating a masterpiece for the big day! There's something for everyone during Halloween in Vermont.

Prepare for a Rural Life: The Things You Don't Expect

This article from the staff at Realty Times highlights some of the benefits of switching to a more rural community. Some of these are completely up to you, like if you want to own a firearm for hunting or target practice. Trust us, there are plenty of other pastimes that don't include a gun. Taking up outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and winter sports are great ways to meet new people with shared interests. Vermont has a variety of options from city-like environments in Burlington to bustling towns like Waterbury and Stowe. While Waterbury and Stowe are more developed they still have plenty of wilderness just waiting to be explored. Moving to Vermont will change your life.

Making the move from city life to country living can be one of the best decisions you ever make. The lifestyle changes can be shocking at first but often have a strong positive impact on your health, family and overall quality of life. Chances are you've already put some serious thought into relocating, but there are many aspects of rural living that aren't as obvious as you think.

To better prepare yourself for a move to the country, take a moment to read over and consider the implications of the following insights. As a person who spent the first 13 years of her life in the heart of a bustling city before moving to the country, I can understand why it may feel like you're moving to an entirely different world. Everything around you will change, from the scenery to your mentality, and it's not a bad idea to prepare yourself and your family for the lifestyle transitions you will undoubtedly face.

The Perks of Mother Nature

Let's start with the obvious fact that the city endlessly burps out clouds of pollution and exhaust while the countryside constantly emits fresh, clean air. The close proximity to mother nature has a very positive effect on your physical and mental health. You don't have to deal with traffic, trash or a 5-mile commute to reach a city park. All you have to do is step outside and you're there.

Your children can play without constant supervision, which will give them a much greater sense of independence. You will have more room to spread out and indulge in new interests and hobbies. Growing your own food is common in rural communities and is a useful tool for adults to overcome a variety of health and social issues. Not only is it relaxing and therapeutic to spend time tending your garden, it's also a great way to cut down on your grocery bill too.

But with all this space and freedom come other factors you may not consider, factors that aren't necessarily drawbacks, but definitely worth noting. If you live in a big enough city, chances are you don't have a car, or if you do, it's economical and small. But out in the country owning a vehicle is a necessity (as is an Amazon Prime account), seeing as you can't walk to the grocery store or take public transportation to school or work. It's necessary to drive and most of the time it will take more than a few minutes to get where you're going. Owning a reliable vehicle, preferably with four-wheel drive, depending on how you intend to use it, is something to look into when preparing to move to the country.

Reshaping Your Hobbies and Social Circles

Now that you're living in a rural community, enjoying your space, freedom and hopefully a shiny new car, you might be surprised to hear gunshots in the distance or even nearby. Don't worry, the chances that the gun shots are crime-related are very slim. Instead, it's likely they're from a neighbor enjoying some target practice in his backyard or a hunter filling his tag for the year. These activities are completely normal and great pastimes to consider when moving to the country. If you're not quite comfortable with the idea of owning a firearm or unsure of how to safely use one, you can always buy an airsoft gun to first learn and potentially invest in a firearm-related hobby.

A major thing that most don't consider when moving to the countryside is the dramatic decrease in social interaction. You may notice a drop in time spent in your social circles when you move because you won't be around all of the time. But in return, you will be rewarded with a greater sense of community and, hopefully, an especially fruitful grapevine. Rural communities tend to be spread out but close knit. If someone doesn't have something you need, chances are they know someone who does. Prepare yourself for these social changes by visiting the community you're interested in and attending local classes or events to meet new people and make new friends.

Investigate the Community

Visiting the community you're interested in is another great way to prepare for your move. If you have children, make sure you do your research on the local school district; compared to city, educational programs can be few and far between. Don't worry, though, your children will benefit in many ways from a move to the country, especially when crime rates are significantly lower in rural areas than in the city.

Another thing you should prepare for is the cell reception or internet speed in your new home. Check out available internet providers so you don't wind up in a tight spot. If you work from home and use the internet a lot, or you're used to streaming Netflix on TVs, an iPad and your son's laptop, you might need to consider the implications of slow internet connection for where you want to live and the costs of improving it.

To read the original article click here.

First-Rate Fall Foliage

If you live in Vermont, one of the best times of the year is fall. The scenery around you changes on a daily basis from deep greens to an assortment of warm colors. Looking out your window to a collage of yellow, red, and orange is enough to make anyone grateful that this is their home. Luckily, we know it and celebrate it through many harvest and foliage festivals throughout the season.

In our area, you'll find the Stowe Foliage Arts Festival taking place from October 7-9. And, while fall is amazing, every season in Vermont is beautiful from snowy peaks to refreshing dips in our lakes. Living here, you get the best of every season. Vermont is an ideal place to raise a family with numerous outdoor activities for everyone year round.

 

6 Essential Things to Look for in a New Home

There are some basic things to look at when looking for a new home. Waterbury and Stowe offer a variety of housing needs with homes coming into the market frequently. Never settle for less than what you want in a home. We found an article by Kara Masterson about some basic tips for first time buyers.

Investing in real estate is one of the most financially sound things you can do, but buying a new home might feel intimidating when it is your first time. It is understandable that you'd want to make the best decision possible. Here are six things to look for that can help with your decision.

Efficient HVAC System

Heating and cooling count for a large percentage of a home's monthly operating costs. An outdated heating and air conditioning system will drive up your bills and decrease your comfort. Make sure the HVAC system is one of the newer efficient models and has been well maintained.

Good Layout

Decorating a home is easy and inexpensive, but big renovations like knocking out walls or adding rooms can drive up your costs later on. It is better to start with architectural details that you already enjoy. Pay attention to how one space flows to another, ceiling height, number of rooms and the amount of natural light.

A Sturdy Roof in Good Repair

Many homebuyers forget to check out this important home feature. A damaged roof can indicate water damage and mold problems elsewhere in the home. Your real estate agent can supply you with information about any recent upgrades to the structure and a professional home inspection can supply you with any other data you need to know before making your decision. These agents can also help you find solid listings of homes that have recently been repaired.

Upgraded Plumbing

Old homes can possess a lot of charm, but if you are considering buying a piece of vintage real estate, make sure you have the plumbing checked. Old metal pipes can leak or might be corroding and adding visible sediment to the water supply. Upgraded plumbing helps you avoid problems such as burst pipes and high water bills from inefficient plumbing features.

A Great Kitchen

The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the home. Even if you don't plan to spend a lot of time there, you will want to make sure the kitchen adds a lot of value to the home in case you put it back on the market in the future. Renovating a kitchen can be costly, and so it is better to start out with a kitchen you know you can live with and enjoy.

The Right Number of Bathrooms

Adding a bathroom is not a simple task. Don't settle for a home that lacks the right number of bathrooms to match your family's needs. Two bathrooms at minimum are ideal.

Remember that details such as cabinet color, carpeting and other decorative features can be changed when you tire of them, but the architectural bones of the home is another story. Put more worth on a sound structure that you can do a lot with, and features such as a stone mantel, rather than easily replaced incidentals.

See the original article here.