New England Culture/events

Are Tiny Homes a Wise Investment?

Tiny Houses are becoming very fashionable in today's word. The absolute height of modernism and simplicity, a tiny home is meant to push the boundaries of living efficiently. Typically smaller than 400 square feet, these miniature abodes come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Is this surge of small spaces a sign of things to come? Or nothing other than a fad? Tony Gilbert of The Real FX Group examined all of the pros and cons of the tiny homes and compared them to traditional homes and living expenses. 

 

It seems there are Tiny Homes popping up everywhere. Magazines, websites, and reality TV shows all praise the space-saving miniature houses that typically range between 180 and 400 square feet in size. Is it a practical lifestyle choice? Is it truly possible to live comfortably with another person in such a tiny space? Do people still enjoy living in tiny homes after the first year? How much do they cost? These are questions you need to ask before you consider purchasing a tiny home.

What Does A Tiny Home Cost?

When you start visiting tiny home builder websites, you quickly realize these miniature residences aren't cheap. Prices for tiny homes as small as 200 square feet of comparably cramped living space can start at nearly $70,000, and the prices can increase significantly, depending on quality of materials.

One thing many tiny home buyers sometimes forget to take into account is that the price of the home does not include the land the home will eventually sit on. And, when you consider the fact that bathrooms average less than 3 feet wide, often contain recreational vehicle toilets, and have little or no plumbing, and the kitchens may not include normal appliances, that's a pretty high price tag for such a tiny space.

Do People Live In Tiny Homes?

Research on the internet, and you'll find stories from people who lived in their Tiny Homes for a short period of time, as the reality of living in such tight quarters becomes apparent. Some owners build the homes and decide to rent them. A few people manage to live in a tiny home for a few years, but many other people discover tiny homes don't meet their lifestyle or family needs.

While the idea of living more simply or off the grid can be appealing in our hectic world, the reality is very often not what people expect. Moving into a tiny home means disposing of or storing most of your belongings because obviously, tiny homes aren't known for their ample storage space. And storage space costs money.

There may be only a couple of cabinets for food in the kitchen area. Refrigerators are usually very small and fit under a counter. Loft bedrooms are very low, and placing a mattress on the floor serves as a bed. You can also have seating downstairs that serves as a bed at night. Some loft stairs have built-in drawers below them for clothing. And for some people, having no separate space to go when they want to enjoy some alone time, can be a major problem.

Buying A Traditional vs. Tiny Home

Fortunately, there are cozy and small traditional homes which can house a family comfortably, provide storage, give them roots in a community, and allow the potential for the homeowner to build equity. You don't need to give up the conveniences of being connected to town water, electricity, and cable to live in a cozier space.

Either way, if living more simply, and with a smaller footprint is the goal, be sure to consider all smaller home or condo options before spending your savings on a tiny home. Don't jump on the Tiny House bandwaggon without carefully considering all of your home buying options, because doing so may save you many thousands in the long run, and will give you peace of mind when it comes time to make a final decision.

To read the original article, click here.

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. 

Easy Summer Patio Upgrades

One of the many fun things to do during summer is to enjoy spending time outside on your patio. It's a place where you can rest and relax or party it up on summer nights. There are some easy way that you can make this space work for you 

Update your furniture

If you're looking to change things up you might be in the market for a new look for your patio. New chairs, tables, and cushions can completely alter the look and feel of this space. You might simply need to upgrade furniture that has weathered through one too many seasons. 

Shade

If your patio receives a lot of sun, then you'll definitely want to invest in some man-made shade. Table or free standing umbrellas are super easy but you could go bigger with a canopy or pergola. 

Light

When the sun goes down you might still want to enjoy your patio and that's why it's a good idea to install some light fixtures. These can be as simple as hanging lights off the side of your house or citronella torches to keep those pesky bugs away.

Party Time

Ensure that every get-together is a blast with a grill and cooler to keep the refreshments coming. Lawn games are super fun and with those lights, you don't have to stop when the sun goes down. 

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.