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Butterfly fueling up on Zinnia at the Birch Ridge Inn as the southern migration begins

Butterfly fueling up on Zinnia at the Birch Ridge Inn as the southern migration begins 

Todays wet weather aside, now that we are done with Labor Day weekend it is fair to say that signs of fall are all around us in Killington.

The early "signal" trees in the area are begining to show faint signs of color. Flights of migratory gease are honking overhead on a regular basis. Humming birds are continously topping up at the hummingbiurd feader. Monarch butterflies are everywhere visiting the flower gardens Mary created all around the inn. It will not be long before the signs of fall become clear to all.

Killington Resort Sunday September 1, 2019.
Killington Resort Sunday September 1, 2019. Here is a reference picture of the resort to compare to as fall progresses.

It was a beautiful Labor Day weekend in Killington with sunny skies and early fall temperatures. The resort overall was busy with visitors inspecting the construction taking place for the new K1 Killington Base Lodge. Many guest were taking the gondola to Killington Peak for spectacular late summer vistas. Mountain biking and the Killington Adventure center were busy. We even had a small wedding take place at the inn with the flower gardens as a backdrop for the exchanging of vows.

High school friends come to visit.
High school friends come to visit. I can't believe it been 49 years!

With the good weather, we were busy at the inn. A high schol friend, Tom, and his wife Valerie joind us for the weekend, riding up to the inn from Massachusetts on Tom's Harley with a custom trailer in tow. It was great seeing an old friend at the inn from high school... But it is very sobering to realize that we graduated 49 years ago... Where did the time go!

Today, of course, like most of New England it is a little wet. Showers have overtaken the area, which is a good thing. August has been a dry month, so a little rain will help the local foliage and the gardens. Future precipitation will be white soon enough, but we don't need to rush the seasons just yet. There is plenty of time for several more rounds of golf and some mountain hikes before we need to bring out the winter coats.

Wherever you may be this week, enjoy late summer. For those on the coast, stay safe with Dorian on the prowl. Everyone else, hit the ball straight, and don't forget your sun screen.

Flowers in full bloom in the gardens at the Birch Ridge Inn

Flowers in full bloom in the gardens at the Birch Ridge Inn 

That was a quick summer.......

It seems like summer was unusually short this year at Killington. In late October, we will have owned the property we call the Birch Ridge Inn for 22 years. Each summer over that time has been unique... This one for some reason has seemed short.

Our summer activities have been taking place at regular intervals. Mary has been able to take her Mustang out for rides pretty much every week. We have been golfing, mostly at the Killington Resort Golf Course, at least once a week. Hiking the mountain has taken a back seat this far, but even that we have done a couple of times.

Golfing with the Bagel on the 16th tee at the Killington Resort Golf Course.
Golfing with the Bagel on the 16th tee at the Killington Resort Golf Course.

The Killington Resort itself is going crazy with construction. The new lift at North Ridge is nearing completion. New Tunnels are being built based upon the plan outlined last year. And the big news is what's happening at the K1 Base Lodge.

Parking at K1 is a challenge.  But the Resort has made sure that the signage is clear to help guests maneuver through the construction.
Parking at K1 is a challenge. But the Resort has made sure that the signage is clear to help guests maneuver through the construction.

Construction began in July, after permits were awarded by the State of Vermont, on a new K1 Base Lodge. The overalll project will take about 2 years, with outside construction taking place this and next summer. This summers work is to create a new entrance building in front of the existing K1 base lodge, and to organize all of the infrastructure around the facility.

Concrete foundation work underway at K1.
Concrete foundation work underway at K1.

In very short order after the permits were awarded, excavation work began at K1. The area in front of the existing base lodge is loaded with infrastructure ranging from simple drainage culverts to power, sewer, water and the like. The area in front of the existing lodge has been excavated out to lay the footers for the new front building. Over the last week, re-bar has been woven and covered with concrete to build the basement floor of the new building. Forms were being erected on Friday to begin pouiring concrete for the new foundation walls. And excavators are still moving every which way at the construction site digging out and filling in spots in an impressive ballet of heavy machinery.

Currently the resort is being coy about the extent of the work to be completed this summer. From the plan, it is thought that the structure of the front building will be closed in before winter, to allow finish work to take place protected from the elements. The FIS Women's World Cup is returning again to Killington this year over Thanksgiving weekend. The resort is openly saying to the public that parking may not be available at K1 for the event. But that is still several months away and a lot of dirt can be moved between now and then.

The next big event to come to Killington in two weeks is this years edition of the Spartan Beast Race. It will be enlightening to see how the resort handles the 15000 people who usually turn up for that event with the construction going on at K1. But, after 22 years full time in Killington, the one thing I can say with some clarity is that the resort does know how to handle large amounts of people, so I am very confident that the events planned while the new K1 base lodge is being built will go off just fine.

To our friends in the south east looking at Hurricane Dorian spinning of the coast, stay safe. To everyone else, have a great Labor Day weekend. Enjoy the last weeks of summer while we witness Mother Nature cycle through the seasons once more at Killington.

Chef Justin making dinner rolls for the start of the 21st season serving dinner at the Birch Ridge Inn

Chef Justin making dinner rolls for the start of the 21st season serving dinner at the Birch Ridge Inn 

Sampling time is over. It's time to go public.

The restaurant at the Birch Ridge Inn reopens to the general public this coming weekend. On Saturday June 29th, the dining room at the inn will re-open for dinner guests.

The kitchen staff has been back at work the last month identifying new dishes for our menu for our 21st season serving dinner guests. This week their attention changed from sampling food dishes to a production environment to get ready for the re-opening.

Opening menu for the 21st dinner season at the Birch Ridge Inn, Killington.
Opening menu for the 21st dinner season at the Birch Ridge Inn, Killington.

Our schedule for the coming week is fairly simple. Once we get through the weekend, we will be serving dinner Tuesday through Saturday starting at 6. Next week the restaurant will be closed on Thursday July 4th to celebrate Independence day. But other than that, we will be open and ready to cook for you.

Stop "Inn" if your are at Killington.

And even if you are not at Killington, get outside and enjoy the early summer. And don't forget your sunscreen......

Bill raising the flag at the inn to start summer

Bill raising the flag at the inn to start summer 

Spring never lasts long enough!

Coming off a busy winter, there is always work to be done around the inn. And that's a good thing. Simply put, if no one is using it, it's not going to break. And since the inn is a business, it is good when things get used. Add in some R and R time to the mix of fixing things at the inn, and spring goes bye in a flash.

While Mary worked on the gardens around the inn, Chef Justin and I concentrated on refurbishing the kitchen in preparation for our 21st season operating the restaurant.

The contents of the inn's kitchen emptied into the restaurants dining room
The contents of the inn's kitchen emptied into the restaurant dining room.

To do the work that needed to be done, we had to move the contents of the inn's kitchen into the restaurant. This freed up a whole bunch of space to allow work to get done.

Old floor at servers station in kitchen stripped of linoleum tiles prior to being repaired.
Old floor at servers station in kitchen stripped of linoleum tiles prior to being repaired.

About 2/3rds of the linoleum tiles in the kitchen along with portions of the sub-floor were shot. While we were prepping the entire kitchen to get a fresh coat of epoxy paint, we pulled the floor and did the necessary repairs.

New floor at servers station prior to re-installation of equipment.
New floor at servers station prior to re-installation of equipment.

After washing all the walls and ceiling, we applied white epoxy paint to all of the painted surfaces. We put down new linoleum tiles, and coated the floor with 4 coats of sealer. Once the floor was buffed out, all the kitchen equipment was re-installed. We can cook again!

Kitchen equipment moved out of the restaurant back into the kitchen.
Kitchen equipment moved out of the restaurant back into the kitchen.

Carpet and tables moved back into the restaurant to make it ready to receive guests.
Carpet and tables moved back into the restaurant to make it ready to receive guests.

With all of the equipment moved back into the kitchen, the restaurant floor needed a little love. Mary and Nicole worked on it for a few days to clean and polish it before putting the carpet and all of the tables back in place. With all of the work done to the restaurant completed, it was now time for some vacation.

The "Holiday" part of our spring saw us visiting the moms in Massachusetts before taking a "City Fix" in the "Big Apple". It has been a while since we had the opportunity to visit New York City, so we played the tourist game to the hilt.

Down on a pier on the Hudson River
Down on a pier on the Hudson River.

Lady Liberty
Lady Liberty

One World Trade Center near Wall Street
One World Trade Center near Wall Street.

While in New York City we walked an average of 9 miles a day. We love to walk in cities when we visit them; it gives one a real sense of the city. We were staying at a nice hotel 4 blocks south of Times Square. Our travels took us as far north as the Metropolitan Museum in Central Park down to the southern tip of Manhattan at Battery Park. In between we visited the previously mentioned MET, MOMA, Central Park Zoo, St Patricks Cathedral, Rockefeller Center and the "Top of the Rock", Times Square, Macys, Wall Street, NYSE, 9/11 Museum, Battery Park, Statue of Liberty, Intreped Sea, Air and Space Museum, The Highline, Hudson Yards, and so many other places in between. In our prior, pre-innkeeping, lives we had visited NYC many times on business. Usually quick dashes in for meetings or functions. So it was really nice to just plunk ourselves down in the city and take in the sites.

But all play and no work is not in our DNA, so after what seemed like a very short week, we headed back to Vermont and the inn for our final big project of the spring: renovating the owners quarters.

Last year we completely re-did the bathroom in the owners quarters of the inn; turning the existing space into an empty box and installing new flooring, sheet rock, wainscoting, and fixtures. This year it was the owners quarters proper that received our love.

Prepping to paint the owners quarters of the inn.
Prepping to paint the owners quarters of the inn.

How do you paint a 16 foot peak with a 12 foot step ladder? With a brush on a pole of course.
How do you paint a 16 foot peak with a 12 foot step ladder? With a brush on a pole of course.

We de-camped from the owners quarters to several guest rooms; sleeping in one, storing furniture in another. With the rooms cleared, the process began to repair and repaint all of the walls including the kitchen, bedroom, and living room (with the vaulted ceiling no less). With the exception of a couple of trim pieces, everything is now put back together. We have moved back in to our home in the middle of the inn. While we are still waiting for some new furniture we ordered to complete the overall renovations, it is good to be home.

With our spring projects behind us, the inn as re-opened for guests. This weekend we have many guests in the inn who are either attending weddings in the area, or participating in the Vermont Adaptive Charity Ride. They have gotten a great weekend for both.

The chefs are back in the kitchen working to perfect new dishes we will be putting on the menu during the summer. More on the restaurant re-opening in posts later this week.

And what ever you may be doing, as the weather turns nice in the early summer, get outside and enjoy. Oh... and don't forget your sun screen.

Mary and assistant Nicole cleaning front gardens

Mary and assistant Nicole cleaning front gardens 

Spring had a minor fake out earlier in the week. A minor spring snow stormed covered the ground around the inn with a 3 inch coating of heavy wet snow earlier in the week. Of course with temperatures soaring to the mid 60's at 1900 feet where the inn is located, it did not last long. But it was just enought to remind us that we need to pay attention to Mother Nature over the next few weeks as we work around the inn.

Spring maintenance season is upon us. We will be putting the inn on hiatus starting on Easter Sunday so we can get at our spring construction projects. We have several major projects planned, and a lot of the usual maintenance. Over the next few weeks we will be taking the kitchen down so we can put in a new floor and paint it. We also have more work planned to upgrade the owners quarters, following on to the project we started last spring. We will be busy, as is usually the case this time of year.

With the very warm weather outside, Mary has started to work to clean the gardens around the inn. She and our assistant, Nicole, were working this morning to clean the gardens at the front of the inn along Butler Road. It is way too early to begin spring planting, as many nights we are still approaching frost level temperatures, but it is not too early to begin the debris clearing from last fall and the winter.

The resort is still in full swing for skiing and riding over the Easter weekend. If you are in the mood to get some late season time in the snow, you will not be disappointed.

With a little luck, we will get out on the slopes this weekend, possibly for our ski swan song for the season before we beging construction activities.

Where ever you may be, have a great Easter weekend. Hopefully you get a chance to get outside and play in the sunshine as well.. and don't forget your sunscreen......

Mary on Caper earlier in the week

Mary on Caper earlier in the week 

Although it has turned into a rather dreary late afternoon, with heavy rain pounding on the slate roof over my head in the office, Killington has had a great run this season.

And with some luck, it looks like there are a few more days to have some fun on the snow.

While we were out enjoying the ski slopes this week, and taking in some nice spring weather in the process, it was obvious as we looked around the resort that Killington was still basically burried in snow. From the work of Mother Nature, to the patience of the Killington snow making team, everywhere we turned there was soft snow for our carving pleasure.

Our restaurant served it's last meals for the winter season last night. The crew will be in doing deep cleaning and some repairs over the next few weeks before dispersing for a well earned vacation. After a brief hiatus, the restaurant will resume operations in late June for the 2019-2020 season.

The inn is still open for guests. We will be at it for a few more days before construction projects get in the way. Each year there is a list of spring projects to complete. We will start attacking those in a few weeks as well, before before starting the next season.

Thank you to all of the guests who stayed and/or dined with us during out 20th season serving guests at Killington.

We hope to ski a few more days at Killington before the spring is done. Hopefully you can too... and don't forget your sunscreen......

Ruts heading to his swan song run of the season on Cascade

Ruts heading to his swan song run of the season on Cascade 

The weather over the weekend might have made the Gorton's fisherman in his yellow slicker happy but it was not great for a ski resort.

Yet as if Killington has struck a Faustian bargain with the devil on April Fool's day, the snow cover remains all over the resort. And the skiing was actually good!

You had to be here the last couple of days to understand how good things are on the mountain. Yesterday, April Fool's Day, as long as you stayed on groomed trails, everything was aces. The resort had groomed most trails early. Mother Nature cooperated with a layer of fluff on top, which was just delightful to ski on. Some of the trails that were not groomed (Upper Wildfire for instance) were still quite enjoyable. The snow cover had not yet frozen on many of the ungroomed trails as the new snow was acting as an insulation of sorts from the cold temperatures. While skiing on these surfaces, you had the new snow on top with a generally pliable base that carved pretty nicely.

And today was even better.

The resort clearly had time to get out again and groom most trails. Some of the steeps were developing cookies as the surface was getting broken up. Others were developing some spring cream if they were exposed to the full sunshine that was bathing the resort all day.

All in all, a miraculous recovery from a r@!ny weekend. But as they say April (or late March) showers bring May flowers.

Today was the last day of the season for our friend Ruts. He is prepping for wind surfing so he decided that under today's bright sunshine he would hang the ski's in the rack for the final time this season. We have skied over 40 days together this year. Not bad at all... Looking forward to doing it again next season.....

Even with the wet spring weather we had last weekend, we have tons of snow on the mountain for you to enjoy this spring. Get your boards out and head to Killington!

And don't forget your sunscreen......





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