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.
Labyrinth on July 13, 2013
Wildflowers growing amongst the grass
Seat in the labyrinth center
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.
More rocking chairs for relaxing on the patio
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.
Our wounded oak tree
Yoshio and staff inspect the damage
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.
Our repaired north gates
Repaired south gates
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.
Pick a sweet strawberry on the patio
‘Rebecca’ clematis, moon flower and morning glory near the patio doors
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.
Labyrinth meadow ready for wildflower seed
We love the outdoor spaces at Ormsby Hill, and hope you will find a spot to call your own while you are here.
April is a quiet time for inn keepers in Southern Vermont. The ski slopes closed, and mud season/stick season has not yet given way to spring greenery. Yoshio and I took advantage of this lull, and went to San Francisco for our first bonding visit with Owen, our grandson.
Diane with Owen Kai, 10 weeks old
Yoshio relaxing with Owen
It was heartbreaking to leave Owen, Lisa, and Jesse, but our return to Ormsby Hill couldn’t have been better. Green grass, clear blue skies, and temperatures in the seventies lifted our spirits. The forecast still calls for night temperatures in the thirties, but screens are in place, plants are popping up, and our patio is open for mountain viewing. Hope you’ll join us in our celebration of the season.
Magnolia about to bloom
Green grass and gold mop cypress
I apologize for the lag in our Ormsby Hill blog. We are very diligent Facebook posters, and we love it because of the immediate feedback. We have never received one comment on this blog. I realize that doesn’t mean it isn’t read, so I will take greater care to post more frequently.
Spring is giving us all kinds of opportunities to indulge our senses. Flowers, bird feeders, and views of the yard make a cheerful setting for breakfast.
“Bird” table set for breakfast
Cupcakes are our new weekend tradition – always seasonal, and always delicious.
On April 12, this was our outside situation. More than an inch of sleet and snow fell that day.
This is the scene we are waiting for:
If you would like to see our Facebook page, click the “f” button on our website, or go to: https://www.facebook.com/theinnatormsbyhill.
I promise to write again soon.
The Crucible Presented by The Dorset Players the weekends of March 8-10 and 15-17. Show times are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 2pm at The Dorset Playhouse. Tickets are $20 and are available at The Dorset Playhouse box office at 802-867-5777.
Marchdi Gras Festivities at Stratton Mountain Saturday, March 9 from 3pm – 10pm. Celebrate March in Mardi Gras fashion! Enjoy live music, street performers, delicious food and give aways in Stratton Village at the base of the mountain.
Bird Walk at Hildene Sponsored by The Vermont Bird Place & Sky Watch, local birders meet to conduct a survey of birds on the Hildene grounds. Meet at the Hildene Welcome Center at 8am on Saturday, March 16th; free to all birders.
The Saturday Series at Burr and Burton Academy World renowned performing artists presented in high definition broadcasts. Saturdays at 7pm in the academy’s Riley Center for the Arts, cost is $18 per adult.
March 16 – JEWELS, a George Balanchine ballet presented by the Mariinsky Ballet Company from St. Petersburg, Russia.
March 30 – PEOPLE, a comic play by Britain’s celebrated playwright, Alan Bennett, from the National Theater of London.
Off the Shelf Series sponsored by the Northshire Bookstore Author Jodi Picoult presents The Storyteller in this author in conversation series at The Maple Street School. Thursday, March 21 at 6:30pm.
Sugar on Snow The Vermont Country Store presents this time honored tradition of indulging in sweet maple syrup drizzled over snow! The store is also offering Maple Syrup sampling. Join the VCS on Saturdays and Sundays in March from 12pm – 3pm (through March 24th).
Vermont Maple Sugar Open House Weekend This annual event is statewide and being held on Saturday and Sunday, March 23 and 24. Visit sugar houses as they boil maple sap. Learn how goods such as maple syrup and maple candy are produced. Watch the boiling process and sample different grades of syrup.
February is not even over, and we’ve had all kinds of excitement in addition to the usual snow, freeze, thaw, snow, etc.
Yoshio and I attended the national inn keeping conference in Las Vegas. It was our first, and was a lot of fun. To preserve our dignity, we can only show you one photo from this trip.
From Las Vegas, we went to San Francisco for the biggest event of our year: the birth of our first grandson. Owen Kai Endo was born on Feb 5. He is amazing, and his parents are amazing, too.
We returned in time for Valentine’s/President’s weekend, and had a wonderful time helping people with their plans for extreme romance. I’m happy to report smiles, good cheer, and an abundance of flowers.
Although not really a February event, planning is well underway for our first, and only IOH pop-up picnic, being held Saturday, March 9 from 6-8 pm. We will serve some of our favorite Japanese foods in a casual buffet style. Please call us if you’d like to reserve a spot. The cost is $40 for two people.
We did not receive snow from the latest New England storm, although the mountains had better luck. February will continue on it’s fickle path, and we can only guess what March what March will do.
I hope everyone had a good start to this new year. After our first big snowfall, it has been seasonally cold except for two glorious spring teaser days. It is snowing again as I write, so the weather is behaving appropriately, just in time for the upcoming holiday weekend.
At the inn, we are all about cookies, coffee, and comfort. Candi, Courtney, and Yoonie have been baking away to ensure we have plenty of cookies; ten varieties right now, including a dairy free, gluten free blueberry mini bite, and gluten free banana bread. If we get snowed in, or we all have a simultaneous snack attack we will be covered.
Ten varieties for your snacking pleasure
Our brand new Mocha Joe’s Coffee service is active as of today. Mocha Joe’s is a Brattleboro, VT coffee company with incredibly knowledgeable staff, and a business ethic that includes kindness and generosity of spirit. The computerized Fetco brewer was precisely calibrated to our coffee choice. We will order our beans, they will be roasted that day and shipped to us the next day. We will grind the coffee each morning before brewing. Your morning cup will be coffee shop fresh.
This coffee will never touch a burner.
Our new coffee
For your comfort, we are now offering winter special rates in Thompson Purdy and Tower. We have a new “midweek two night stay” special, and a “two night suite getaway.” Check out our “Specials & Packages” page for more details.
Hope you can come to see us soon. We’ll be here with cookies, coffee and comfort.
This is the view from my kitchen desk
We have just had our first major snow storm in Manchester, VT. The Inn at Ormsby Hill has been transformed into a winter paradise. The view from my kitchen desk is truly remarkable. That being said, I can already envision a different scene out this window: green leaves on the crab apple, a soft breeze blowing through the screen, multi-hued green on the Taconic mountains…in other words – SPRING! The days are already getting minutely longer; the darkest days are behind us. I am celebrating the new year with beautiful cymbidium orchids purchased at Equinox Valley Nursery, the place I sneak off to when I need to feed my soul.
Mini white with blush
So, when you visit us here, you can enjoy the actual climate outside, or you can join me inside for a hint of warmer days to come.
No cook Sugar Plums
Candi and Courtney were at it again – making holiday cookies for the Inn, that is. The biggest hit with our guests and Inn Tour visitors were the Cranberry Orange Sugar Plums. These surprisingly light and refreshing treats are a breeze to make.
Combine the following ingredients in a food processor until minced, and the “dough” sticks together:
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup orange juice
3 teaspoons spiced rum
Use a tablespoon sized scoop to make balls. Roll balls in sparkling sugar and place in mini muffin cups. Refrigerate until balls are firm.
This recipe makes about 35 cookies.