The snow in southern Vermont has been around long enough. Today is the first day of SPRING! It’s time to measure for my new garden and and mentally place plants here and there (fun stuff). It’s time to order additional seed for the wildflower labyrinth (more fun). It’s time to call Jimmy to remind him he promised to help me remove sod, and prepare the new planting beds (not fun, but necessary). It’s time to call Craig at Equinox Valley Nursery to schedule the installation of irrigation for the new garden (not fun, worthy of procrastination). So why am I not doing any of that? The field is still buried under a foot of snow, and a glacier blocks my entry.
Manchester and the Mountains Regional Chamber of Commerce is getting creative and serious about endorsing the diverse activities in our area. The first annual Women’s Outdoor Weekend, May 15-17, is a shout out to women of all ages. You don’t have to be an athlete, or an outdoors woman to participate. Just come with your sense of adventure, and be prepared for luxurious lodging, fine dining, and Land Rover shuttle service to your chosen activities.
Activities include fly fishing, clay target shooting, Land Rover driving training, and hiking. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights you will stay at our inn, The Barrows House, or the Reluctant Panther. You will dine at the finest restaurants in town.
Honestly, if we weren’t lodging hosts, I would sign up for this weekend as an opportunity to try things I would never attempt on my own, or with Yoshio. I can’t remember the last time I did fun, challenging stuff with a bunch of women, and I’ve never had a weekend where all the logistics were taken care of and I just had to show up. That, to me, is a real luxury.
To reserve your spot call 802-362-6313 or go to wowvermontweekend.com.
This is a nice breakfast option if our guests are vegan, or can’t eat eggs and/or dairy.
Ormsby Hill Banana Blueberry Oatmeal Cake
½ cup canola oil
½ cup applesauce
1 cup evaporated cane juice
4 ripe, bananas, pureed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 can coconut milk
1 cup almond (or soy) milk
6 cups rolled oats (not quick cook)
1 pint blueberries
1 cup sliced almonds
More sugar for sprinkling on top (optional)
Combine all the ingredients except the oats, blueberries, almonds in a blender and pulse until mixture is smooth. In a large bowl, thoroughly combine the wet ingredients with the oats. Gently mix in the almonds and blueberries
Pour the mixture into a greased 9×13 baking dish. Sprinkle with evaporated cane juice if desired. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Remove oatmeal from refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned.
Hooray for our guests! Braving blizzard conditions, guests are arriving for their Valentine getaway in Vermont. May you be rewarded with more love, joy, and romance than you could possibly imagine.
I am not a sucker for chocolate, but I can’t stop thinking about the rich, luscious, silky goodness in a jar of New England Hot Fudge (www.newenglandhotfudge.com). Especially when it is paired with small pretzel logs, that are just the right size for dipping and double dipping.
Look for the special Valentine treat in your room this weekend only!
Manchester Merriment is just around the corner, and the weather is cooperating with our first snow accumulation. Join us in Manchester from November 30 through January 1 for ongoing activities to support 7 community food cupboards. A highlight of these festivities is the Holiday Inn Tours, held on Saturdays, December 7 and 14 from noon until 4pm. Fourteen area inns are participating this year, including Ormsby Hill. Each inn will be decorated for Christmas in their unique style. Tickets are available for purchase ($15 per person or $25 for two people)here, or at businesses in town. See visitmanchestervt.com for more details.
A guest leaving an Etch A Sketch drawing is still a random act at Ormsby Hill, but it is one of the most exciting events. Every room at the inn has an Etch A Sketch, and mostly it is ignored or erased before the guests leave. Occasionally, though, a masterpiece is propped up on the mantle, or casually left on the coffee table. We reverentially admire the drawing, applaud the artist, and reminisce about our artful attempts in the olden days. We take a picture with our iphone, and then someone has to shake the drawing away because the next check-in is expected soon. All that work gone in a few flicks of the wrist…so sad.
Here for your enjoyment (get ready to be amazed) is a photo collection of Etch A Sketch art made by our guests since July 11, 2012.
Our first year of inn keeping went by neither too slow nor too fast. It was just right. We now have, under our belts, some very important information for this business: the seasons with their respective number of visitors. Foliage season brings the most visitors, while mud season in April seems the least attractive to our guests. Winter is called stick season in Vermont. I always thought of trees in winter as skeletons; a bit more dramatic than sticks.
A list of changes we made in the last year, big and small, would fill a sheet of paper, I’m sure. Each and every change was made to either improve your experience at the inn, or to make it easier for us to help you feel welcome and at home. Most projects are ongoing, inherited from the previous owners, and will probably have no end, like painting, and stacking wood. Other projects have been thought up and realized, like our upgraded patio and porch seating. Bigger projects, like our labyrinth meadow, are still evolving. This area is now slated to incorporate most of the area beyond the parking lot. I’m dreaming of a garden with perennials, vegetables,and pathways which will flow beautifully into the wildflower labyrinth. I do go on and on about this labyrinth; it has become very meaningful to me for reasons yet unknown.
Yoshio and I, along with our amazing staff, feel a tremendous responsibility to honor Ormsby Hill with love and care. We feel this is the best way to honor you, also.
Happy summer everyone!
Summer is only five days old and we have already had the best and the worst of the season. The best was one day in the upper 70s, no humidity, and the smell of flowers, earth, and greenery in the air. The worst has been this spell of hot, humid days with violent thunderstorms crashing in and whimpering out. Yesterday’s storm brought flash flooding and lightning damage to our area. A giant tree in our front yard was partially skinned by lightning. Yoshio and I, along with our guests and staff, huddled and hovered (not too) near the windows in anxious fascination.
All of us at Ormsby Hill have worked very hard over the last (almost) year to make this inn a place you can feel special, yet comfortable. We learn something new everyday that helps us help you relax and enjoy your stay. We have also replaced and repaired, planted and painted, welcomed and well-wished…and we don’t see the end of any of these endeavors in the near future.
This time of year I am full of inspiration for garden projects. I know I have to edit and prioritize, but it is fun to be full of ideas. Here are some changes (I hope) you will see this year at Ormsby Hill.
The patio is getting two more sets of Adirondack rocking chairs, along with pots filled with edibles like mini tomatoes and strawberries. New perennials will border the patio, including a few new varieties, like the ‘Oso Happy Smoothie’ thorn-less rose.
Our labyrinth is in year two of its existence. Jimmy Colvin worked his magic getting the field ready for the wildflower seed, which will transform this unused space into a tranquil spot for serenity and contemplation.
We love the outdoor spaces at Ormsby Hill, and hope you will find a spot to call your own while you are here.