April – Vacation Month for Vermont Inn Keepers

May 3rd, 2013

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

Diane with Owen Kai, 10 weeks old

Yoshio relaxing with Owen

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

Magnolia about to bloom

Green grass and gold mop cypress

Green grass and gold mop cypress

A Lag in Our Blog

April 16th, 2013

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

“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.

Join us in March for…

March 7th, 2013

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.

The Many Faces of February

February 24th, 2013

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.

Winter at Ormsby Hill

January 16th, 2013

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

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.

This coffee will never touch a burner.

Our new coffee

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.

Almost on our way to Spring

December 30th, 2012

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

Lime green

Demure pink

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.

C & C’s Cranberry Orange Sugar Plums

December 9th, 2012

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.

Decorating for Christmas and the Holiday Inn Tours

December 2nd, 2012

Flowers and greens are the core of our Christmas decorations.

The first weekend of the Manchester Merriment Holiday Inn Tour (go to visitmanchestervt.com for information on the December 8 tour and other events) was a resounding success here at Ormsby Hill. I’m sure our Christmas cookies, made by Candi and Courtney were the most spectacular in town.

Christmas cookies by C&C

Gingerbread men and mittens

We had visitors from Manchester and neighboring towns as well as out of state guests of nearby inns. The weather added to the holiday spirit, with a gentle snow fall. Scott McCampbell (scubamcc@yahoo.com) was playing sensational jazz guitar, and Taylor Farm (www.taylorfarmvermont.com) brought cheese and artisinal goods from their farm, as well as other local sources.

Taylor Farm offerings

Scott will be back with us next Saturday, and we hope Taylor Farm can make it back, too. Come taste some Vermont wine, eat some cookies, or just to say hi. Then, explore the other inns on tour, and you might as well do some shopping while you’re in town!

It’s Time To Think About The Small Things; Maple Butter and Paper Cups

November 2nd, 2012

Maple butter

Yoshio and I were wondering how we would switch gears after an insanely busy six weeks. We didn’t have to worry because nature nudged us to a solution. It’s getting chilly here in Southern Vermont. I want to spend time in the kitchen, puttering. Puttering inspires creative tweaking. Creative tweaking leads to tastier, more efficiently prepared food. For instance, making and serving maple butter with our Japanese milk bread is both yummier and more efficient than serving one bowl of cut butter and one bowl of jelly. It is also way more Vermonty. Another idea that came to fruition in the last week is healthy homemade maple sausage, half ground turkey and half ground pork. Our taste-tester guests gave both the thumbs up.

Yoshio has also spent some time being creative. How do we keep enough ceramic mugs in the dining room while encouraging guests to use the Keurig machine and the instant hot water dispenser for tea and cocoa? He (with the help of our daughter, Kelly) designed an Ormsby Hill take out cup. They are a big hit, and a stress buster for us.

Ormsby Hill take out cups

We are both looking forward to the ebbs and flows of inn keeping; finding the balance between doing and thinking.

No Damage from Sandy

October 30th, 2012

We are very fortunate to report no damage at Ormsby Hill from Sandy moving through southern Vermont.

After losing power for eight hours in a September thunderstorm, we ordered a stationary generator. It will power our well pump, hot water heaters, furnace, and lights at the inn. You can be assured a comfortable stay regardless of the weather outside. This mind-easing machine should be operational by the end of the week.

Tucked behind the shrubs…our new generator.