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Birch Ridge Inn
Fall Foliage Picture
of the Day
Birch Ridge Inn foliage
Monday, September 24, 2018
Overcast and cold. Temps in 40's most of the day. Rain expected Tuesday.

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Fall colors surround Killington

Fall colors surround Killington 

The beginning of this week brought some of the warmest days of the year to Killington. For a town which thrives on the cold, it was not pleasant in the least (and I am being kind). All is now right with the Killington world again as a weather front with luxurious, cold, crisp air from Canada has settled over the region. Fall has finally arrived. "Bring a sweater".

Colors on the mountain tops around Killington are brightening up. The warm temperatures of the last several weeks slowed the progress slightly. But Mother Nature will not be fooled by temporary weather events when it comes to the leaves changing colors in the Green Mountain State. A couple of days of cooler tempertures with moderating sunshine will catch the progress of fall right up to its normal pace.

On Killington itself, the base area is showing nice color. Not all of the trees have started to change in earnest, so the color profile spans the gamut from summer greens to fall reds, with some yellows and orange thrown in for good measure.

Color at the base of Killington peak.  Taken September 29, 2017
Color at the base of Killington peak. Taken September 29, 2017

Color around the inn in the Killington basin area is following the same pattern. Many of the trees behind the inn are engaged in the process. Colors are becoming more pronounced each day.

This weekend at Killington brings the annual Killington Brew Festival at the Killington Resort. If you like your suds, this is a great time to sample many local Vermont brews.

With Fall Foliage season fully underway, the restaurant at the Birch Ridge Inn will be open nightly for the next 2 weeks (including Sunday and Monday evenings) to service fall guests to the area. Stop in and enjoy some cider at the bar when you visit the area.

Where ever you may be, get out and enjoy the fall season. Keep it in the fairway.....and start making plans for winter... it will be here before you know it!

Phil Tarren at Green Mountain National Golf Course with the Birch Ridge Cup (Photo courtesy of Bobby Peterson at GNMNGC)

Phil Tarren at Green Mountain National Golf Course with the Birch Ridge Cup (Photo courtesy of Bobby Peterson at GNMNGC) 

Congratulations are in order for Phil Taran for winning the Birch Ridge Cup in 2017. Phil took this years honors in the season long competition held as part of the Thursday Night Twilight League at Green Mountain National.

Loosely based upon the PGA's Fedex Cup, the Birch Ridge Cup is a competition to see who can amass the most points during the Twilight Season at Green Mountain. Points are assigned to each player each week based upon where their team finished in that weeks competition. Additional points are assigned for skills in the game, like closest to the pin. Points are also assigned for attendance, with extra points awarded if a player had perfect attendance every Thursday night (which Phil did by the way).

Phil took first place in the tournament. In addition to having his name placed on the cup, winning first place in this years tournament allows him to host a cocktail party for 25 of his friends at the Birch Ridge Inn to celebrate his victory.

Jeremy "Creeper" Rayner took second place in this years competition, winning dinner for 4 at the inn. Last years winner, Joe Havelka, took third place, winning dinner for 2 at the inn.

Congratulations to all of this years Birch Ridge Cup winners, and thank you to all of the people who played in the 2017 Thursday Night Twilight League at Green Mountan National Golf Course.

Where ever you may be, keep it in the fairway, and savor the last days of summer.

Fall colors greet Spartans at Killington on Sunday

Fall colors greet Spartans at Killington on Sunday 

The march of the seasons is underway. Fall colors are invading the area as the seasons make their annual change.

Killington peak is starting to show good color at the base areas. Treetops are showing deep colors with maroon red being the favorite thus far. Orange hues are not far behind. As the days get shorter as we enter the march towards winter, the colors will become much more pronounced over the next few weeks.

Colors around the inn and in the Killington Basin are following the lead of the mountain and beginning to pop. While the last several nights have been warmer, we had a spell of cold weather last week which helped to set the color change in motion. We have not yet seen a frost on the mountain, but low lying areas around town appeared to have experienced one last week, according to reports from some local gardeners.

The area around Killington Peak is beginning to show color.  Taken September 17, 2017
The area around Killington Peak is beginning to show color. Taken September 17, 2017

Elsewhere around town, colors are starting to get vibrant along both the Route 100 and Route 4 corridors. Along Route 100, colors are showing quite nicely in the hills surrounding the Green Mountain National Golf Course. On Route 4, the Sherburne Pass near Pico is becoming also quite colorful. The Sherburne Flats of Route 4 are showing some color, especially highlighted by early morning or late afternoon sun.

It is a beautiful time to visit Central Vermont and the Killington region. For the next 30 or so days, the area will be beautiful with fall colors. After that, it is on to winter with the World Cup on tap for Thanksgiving Weekend.

If your travels bring you to Killington...stop in and see us. Where ever you may be, keep it in the fairway and keep using your sun screen.

Summer construction season coming to a close at Birch Ridge <br />First

New "Casa Casella" beside the Carriageway at Birch Ridge Inn 

As they say... "Mi casa es su casa" or "my house is your house"

Well the bears of Killington took that a little too literally with "Casa Casella" at the inn this summer. For those not in on the joke, Casella is our waste hauler. "Casa Casella" is what we call the enclosure beside the carriageway shielding our dumpsters from public view.

On the evening of our wine dinner for the Killington Wine Festival in July, a family of bears decided that the scraps left over from the dinner were just too irrestible to ignore. "Casa Casella" being exposed to the elements for 20 years (yes we have been at this for 20 years now) was no match for momma bear and her large cubs. They succeeded in ripping the doors of and damaging the other wood work.

We had planned on replacing "Casa Casella" in the fall to add an additional "Recycling" dumpseter into the enclosure to comply with VT State Law. We have been taking our recycling to the local transfer station all summer. During the summer months when our deliveries to the inn are smaller, going to the transfer station was a sustainable activity. As we ramp into the fall and winter, things get more serious so we needed to add an additional dumpster exclusively for recyclables.

But the Birch Ridge Bears had other ideas on our timing. As a result, over the last 2 weeks we have spent time completing the demolition of the old enclosure that the bears had started and rebulding a new one in its place. The old enclosure was approximately 9 by 9. The new enclosure is 12 by 12. Undoubtedly the construction effort costed us a few rounds of August golf. Hopefully we get those back in the fall when we had originally planned the construction efforts.

Speaking of fall, there are clear signs around Killington that the annual fall foliage progresssion of the leaf canopy has started. The early "signal trees" have started to show some brilliant color. Whaile not many have changed, they are harbingers of things to come.

It is hard to predict how the color will be this year. However, if past history is a guide, it should be beautiful this year. The leaf canopy of the forest is fully developed and not stressed. We have had more than adequate rainfall this summer, combined with very mild temperatures. As a result, the trees have gone wild with leaf production.

Usually this will signal a long, vibrant, fall season. But is it too early to know for sure.

You can keep track of the fall colors around the inn with our annual "Fall Foliage" gallery. Each day a new picture of the inn will be posted showing the forest behind the inn. In the pictures of the last 2 days, you can see a signal tree I have mentioned behind the Great Room A-Frame (left) that has already changed.

While your mileage may vary, you can also compare the progress of this years fall colors with fall foliage from the last 10 seasons. While not a perfect indicator, the historical record can help you plan your trip to Killington to see optimal color in the region over the fall.

Mother nature always puts on a great show in the Green Mountains of Vermont each fall. Don't be a spectator. Get our and enjoy it!

Where ever you may be, keep it in the fairway, and savor the last days of summer.

New bathroom treatment for Room 2, Antique Lace Room

New bathroom treatment for Room 2, Antique Lace Room 

When you own a very large building that is open 365 days a year to the public, your tool kit is always nearby. Sometimes the projects are very minor like changing a light bulb or (yck) plunging a toilet. Other times, the projects take on more life. You have to figure out how something was built so you can put it back together again. Or, you just destroy everything and build it over again. it's all in a days work with you run an inn.

Some time around 1970, in the history of the building that is now our home and the Birch Ridge Inn, what is now Room 2 (the Antique Lace Room) Room 3 (the Shaker Room) and Room 4 (the Colonial Maple Room) were built. Lovely avocado green tile, which was de rigueur at the time, was chosen for the design. Contrasted with built in formica counter tops, and rustic stained pine trim, and these bathrooms were all the boss in 1971.

Fast foward 50 years. The formica is scratching. The avocado tile....well it's avocado tile.... (thank god we did not have orange shag carpets to go with it!). A change was needed. Our spring projects this year were pretty clear!

The overall design concept was very straightforward.....rip out the green tile! In addition, delicately removing the old countertops to preserve the vanities was key to the project. We knew we could modernize the vanities by sealing them and painting them with a black enamel. But they needed to be intact to allow that to happen.

The bathrooms in Room 3 and 4 were partially rebuilt when we did the original construction of the inn. The effort in Room 3 was mostly cosmetic, with the old wallpaper being removed in favor of a custom paint job. Room 4 was a little more complicated. 2 walls of green tile were removed and replaced with new sheetrock. The vanity and the frame around the 6ft mirror were totally refinished. New light treatments above the vanity were installed. New moulding was added to finish the entire room. And then, of course, multiple new coats of paint.

Room 2 was a bigger effort. The bathroom was brought down to studs, as well as the old popcorn ceiling in the room itself. The old tile was very well installed, as there was minimal repair needed, other then rebuilding the shower wet wall. I installed a new shower tub, new concrete board as an underlayment for new tile, and new sheetrock through out. A new sink, toilet (comfort height of course) and new light treatments were also added. With the help of our plumbing contractor, and our tile guy, the overall project lasted about 8 weeks.

Old avocado tile bathroom in Room 2
Old avocado tile bathroom in Room 2

New vanity, light treatment, and carrara marble style tile in Room 2
New vanity, light treatment, and carrara marble style tile in Room 2

Avocado, avocado, avocade.. Old shower seat in Room 2
Avocado, avocado, avocade.. Old shower seat in Room 2

New shower seat and tile in rebuilt Room 2 bathroom
New shower seat and tile in rebuilt Room 2 bathroom

Room 2 proper also saw some changes. The old popcorn ceiling was replace. New ceiling trim was installed to liven up the room. New window treatments were installed to compliment the new paint job. We are ordering a new loveseat for the room to complete the total make over.

It's been a busy spring. With the sheet rock dust out of our hair, we have now moved outside the inn. Mary is busy working on her gardens. Her dahlia's are just relishing the moist weather we have had early this summer in the green mountains. I have been busy battleing bears attacking our dumpster. "Casa Casella" is the next project on the list. As i see it, if you are not on the golf course, you might as well be using a power tool!

Where ever you may be, have a great summer. Keep it in the fairway. And don't forget your sun screen.

Killington Wine Festival

Killington Wine Festival 

If it's the middle of July....it's time to drink wine in Killington.

The Killington Wine Festival returns this weekend to Killington with events of Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Formal events run by the Killington Pico Area Association include an Estate Tasting of fine wines on Killington Peak on Friday evening and the Grand Tasting at Killington's K1 Base Lodge during the afternoon on Saturday. Sanctioned KPAA events run by local businesses include the Killington Wine Trail on Friday evening, several wine dinners on Saturday evening, and "Wine And Nine" at the Green Mountain National Golf course on Sunday afternoon.

At the inn, we are getting ready to hold 2 different wine events at the inn over the weekend.

Wines from J. Lohr featured at the Birch Ridge Inn during the Killington Wine Trail
Wines from J. Lohr featured at the Birch Ridge Inn during the Killington Wine Trail

On Friday evening, as part of the Killington Wine Trail, we will be hosting J. Lohr Vineyards. During the Wine Trail, we will be featuring 2 different small plates paired with appropriate wines. Chef Colin will be paring a J. Lohr Flume Crossing Sauvignon Blanc with an Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl. He also will be pairing J. Lohr South Ridge Syrah with Duck Wellington. The Wine Trail is always a great "hang out" event at the bar in the Great Room. Just a perfect "starter" to get the palate reved up for the overall wine weekend.

Wines from Wente Vineyards featured at the Birch Ridge Inn during the inn's annual Killington Wine Festival dinner
Wines from Wente Vineyards featured at the Birch Ridge Inn during the inn's annual Killington Wine Festival dinner

On Saturday night, Birch Ridge will feature our annual Killington Wine Festival Dinner. (Our 17th and counting). This year we will be featuring 6 different wines from Wente Vineyards paired with some beautiful dishes Chef Collin has been crafting since before we took our spring hiatus in May. To get you thinking about the dinner, the final entree for the evening is an incredible champagne butter poached lobster paired with a Wente Riva Ranch Chardonnay. The full menu for the wine dinner is available on our website .

While the Wine Trail on Friday evening is a drop in no reservations event, the Wine Dinner on Saturday is a different story. Seating is limited. If you would like a reservation for our wine dinner you can make it online or give us a call at the inn at 800.435.8566 or 802.422.4293.

In addition to the Friday and Saturday restaurant events, we are also offering full lodging packages with tickets to the Killington Wine Festival and reservations for our Wine Dinner on Saturday.

Whether you decide to make a weekend out of it, or just stop in for the Wine Trail on Friday night, we hope to see you this weekend at the Killington Wine Festival.

Where ever you may be, keep it in the fairway, and don't for get your sun screen.

Full parking lot on great Easter Friday ski day at Killington.

Full parking lot on great Easter Friday ski day at Killington. 

What a fantastic Easter Friday for skiing and riding at Killington. With many schools and businesses closed for the Easter weekend, the slopes of Killington were crowded with families taking advantage of prime spring skiing conditions under full sunshine.

While the resort is starting to shrink as the snow melts, conditions overall were beautiful. If you love spring skiing on soft bumps, there were found in abundance everywhere you turned at the resort. And with a weather forecast calling for good weather all weekend, this is a great time to slip away and visit Killington one last time before putting the skis together for the season.

Herb crusted Rack of Lamb from the restaurant at the Birch Ridge Inn.
Herb crusted Rack of Lamb from the restaurant at the Birch Ridge Inn.

Speaking of the change in seasons, the restaurant at the Birch Ridge Inn will be going on "Spring Break" after this weekend. The last evening for dinner service for the 2016-2017 season will be Saturday April 15th. After a brief hiatus, the restaurant will re-open for regular dinner service on Friday June 30th. The inn will remain open for lodging during most of the period, with the exception of a few days when we have some projects to complete.

Thank you to all the inn and restaurant guests who have made the 2016-2017 season a success. With the restaurant on hiatus for a few weeks, we are looking forward to continuing to enjoy the mountain for lots of spring skiing.

The snow season has not ended here in Killington. So...Let It Snow! is still an appropriate salutation. But with golf season gearing up down south (and at some local courses), I won't fault you if your pursuit changes from snow balls to golf balls over the next few weeks. What ever you pleasure, please do not forget your sunscreen.

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