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2019 Birch Ridge Inn Christmas Tree

2019 Birch Ridge Inn Christmas Tree 

Christmas is coming fast. With one less week between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the holiday season is on us quickly this year. Hope you have your shopping done!

This weekend we got together with friends who participated in our annual Christmas Tree Monday. When we harvested Christmas trees this year, in addition to the large tree we got for the Birch Ridge Inn, the group of us also got 5 additional trees for friends (and thier adult children) who live in Killington within walking distance of the inn. Since the completion of the World Cup, everyone has been decorating their trees to get ready for the holidays. Between multiple trips to various hardware stores and internet web sites, and laser light shows in front yards, the rush to decorate for the holidays for family, friends and guests has been in full swing. Last night, we got to view each others work with a Christmass tree stroll to each others homes to view the trees, enjoy some refreshments, and celebrate the holidays.

Birch Ridge Inn Christmas Tree
Birch Ridge Inn Christmas Tree
Back L-R : Peter, Richard, Mary M, Sherry, Mary, Ed
Front Bill

First stop was at Birch Ridge for cocktails and appetizers. For starters, we served spicy shrimp wrapped in bacon, and Duck breast waffles with cranberry drizzle. After a few adult beverages we were off to our next stop.

The Smiths Christmas Tree
The Smith's Christmas Tree
Back L-R : Ed, Sherry, Mary, Peter, Mary M
Front L-R: Righard and Bill

Next stop was to Peter and Ellen Smith's house for more refreshments and appetizers. Peter and Ellen own the Forerunner Ski Shop, where many of our inn guests go for equipment during their stay in Killington. Their son, Brian, now runs the shop as Peter has "retired". Put even though he has retired from day to day at the shop, Peter still enjoys keeping things in order. For instance....

Santa at the Forerunner
Santa and his reindeer at the Forerunner Ski Shop

Peter and Brian have been having a great time these last couple of months refurbishing an old Killington gondola cabin. Brian mounted it in front of the Forerunner several weeks ago. Peter, inspired by the holiday season, comandeered the gondola cabin turning into a sleigh for Santa, complete with tiny lighted reindeer to pull Santa on his way. We could not resist on our stroll last night not stopping to have our picture taken with Santa.... There is a little kid still left in each of us.

The Albert's Christmas Tree
The Albert's Christmas Tree
Back L-R : Peter, Ed, Sherry, Mary, Mary M, and Richard
Front: Bill

Between the Smiths and the Forerunner, we stopped at the Alberts for some soup and salad. Ed was functioning as mixologist creating a new cocktail with his favorite spicy gingerale. It went down really well, and my head did not hurt too much this morning. As they say... Happy Holidays!

The Mercier's Christmas Tree
The Mercier's Christmas Tree
Back L-R : Bill, Ed, Mary, Sherry, Mary M, Peter, and Richard

The final stop of the evening was to view the Mercier's Christmas tree, share some dessert(a delicious Red Velvet Cake) and share a night cap.

Holiday traditions make the holidays real. Every year for the last 22 years, Mary and I have also been working to get the inn just right to greet our holiday guests. In addition to decorating the inns Christmas Tree, Mary has been busy putting out decorations all around the inn. I have been working with the Chef to develop the holiday menues. Our Christmas menu is now available for viewing online.

For holiday dinners this year, we will be serving at the inn on both Christmas Eve and Christmas night. Reservations for either evening are recommended, especially for the dining room at the Inn. We will also be serving the same menu at the bar in the Great Room if you would like a more casual setting.

Also, while at the inn, take a few moments to register for this years Christmas Tree contest. This year Mary has created a contest where you guess the total number of Christmas Ornaments and Bows she put on the tree. The winner, who guesses closest or equal to the number wins a dinner for 2 at the inn.

Wherever you may be, we hope your holiday season is joyful. We look forward to a happy holidays at the inn with lots of snow on the montain for people to enjoy. Stop in for a visit if you are in K. We will be happy to take your picture under the tree. Let It Snow!

Let our personal ski season begin.  Getting equipment on in the K1 parking lot at Killington

Let our personal ski season begin. Getting equipment on in the K1 parking lot at Killington 

The alarm went off at 7:45 this morning.

The night before we had spent a couple of hours finding our ski kit. No matter how hard you try at the end of the last ski season to clean it and put it all away together, there are always items that escape. If we're not careful, there can be a large round of "Where is my blankety blank" as we try to find all of the stuff to support our skiing habit. We've done that on the first day of skiing before... we were determined not to do that this year... and for the most part we succeeded.

With the kit found and packed the night before, and a bowl of raisin and spice oatmeal in the microwave, we proceeded to get ready for our first day on the mountain of the 2019, 2020 ski season. With the exception of a little banter about "boots on in the house" or "boots on in the lodge", everything went very smooth.

"Boots on in the house" won, which means Mary puts her boots on at the inn, and I put my boots on in the parking lot. With all of the construction taking place to build the new K1 base lodge, it only made sense to ski from the car. No matter what approach we would find in the parking lot, some hiking would be required. But it is easier to go straight to the lift, than it is to schlep all of the kit to the far side of the K1 lodge away from the construction and then put it all on.

An artifact of Boots on in the house .... Making helmet adjustments in the K1 parking lot before beginning our ski day.
An artifact of "Boots on in the house" .... Making helmet adjustments in the K1 parking lot before beginning our ski day.

With all of our kit assembled, we headed off across the parking lot towards the K1 Gondola. We were in what was originally "Bay 3" in the lot. To reach the K1 Gondola we needed to climb 2 sets of stairs and traverse around the K1 Gondola car storage shed before arriving at the lift. Carrying only skis and poles, it was not a bad walk at all. Plus the exhilaration of actually committing to our first day of skiing this season also took the sting out of the walk.

The stairs across the parking lot bays heading towards the K1 Gondola.
The stairs across the parking lot bays heading towards the K1 Gondola.

The next obstacle to overcome was the RFID pass gates at K1. The first time through each season is always a challenge...Will they work? or will I need to go to guest services and have something fixed. They Worked! We dodged that bullet.

The gondola ride up was uneventful. We rode up with some KMS staff who had a bunch of kids with them spread out over multiple cabins. As we got about halfway up, the cloud deck eveloped the cabin. Not a great sign for the first day of skiing, but totally predictable for Killington where a storm is due to move in later in the day. To our relief, the clouds were not on the ground at the top of the mountain. Visibility was decent, in flat light. Anytime you can actually see the trail you are skiing is a big plus on the first day out.

Mary on Great Northern from Killington Peak
Mary on Great Northern from Killington Peak

Of course we skied right to the new North Ridge Quad. We had to partake in the newest edition to the Killington lift portfolio. Several items to note.... it's fast, it's smooth, it does not creak or make strange sounds at every stanchion. Ski patrol still has a funky corral at the lift entrance at the bottom which was annoying, but given the crowds this new lift has seen over the last few weekends, it is perfectly understandable. Oh... did I mention it's fast!

It's so fast, several of our friends advised us to exit the chair at the top quickly so the chair does not catch up to you as it swings down the return line. So when the chair reached the top, exit promptly we did. With no problems what so ever....

The new North Ridge Quad... what a sweet ride.
The new North Ridge Quad... what a sweet ride.

In addition to K-Peak, Snowdon was open today for skiing and riding.
In addition to K-Peak, Snowdon was open today for skiing and riding.

Being the first day, and with low light conditions, it was not a ski till you drop day. We took a few runs down Rime and Reason, and a few runs at Snowden on Bunny Buster and Mouse Run. Conditions everwhere were primarily a mix of natural and man-made snow that was skiing soft and pliable. Just perfect for our first day out.

Snow season has definitely arrived at Killington. If you haven't already, find your equipment, and get ready for your own personal first day of the season. It will be fun. Let it snow!

Utility pole feeding the Birch Ridge Inn downed by Thursday nights storm.

Utility pole feeding the Birch Ridge Inn downed by Thursday nights storm. 

A big "Thank You!" to Green Mountain Power.

The utility pole feeding power to the inn snapped on Friday morning at 2:30 AM as a result of a large tree falling across the lines. It was an interesting night.

Green Mountain Power was great. I met with their advance team at the inn at 5:30 AM to determine the logistics of getting everything back as quickly as possible. While Mary was cooking breakfast and making sure our guests were cared for, Green Mountain Power sent a dozen people to the inn with multiple pieces of heavy equipment to replace the utility pole and restore service. We had a contingency plan in place with another nearby inn to relocate guests, but fortunately we did not need to execute it. GMP had the power restored with a new utility pole, new transformer, and new high tension line by 3PM allowing Mary and I to get the inn, with the help of our employees, fully back in operation by evening dinner service.

Below are some pictures of all the comings an goings at the inn.

The tree that brought down the utility pole.  Snagged wires snapping the pole just above ground.
The tree that brought down the utility pole. Snagged wires snapping the pole just above ground.

Temporary road being cut to access the utility pole.
Temporary road being cut to access the utility pole.

Another view of the temporary road.
Another view of the temporary road.

Large tractor up at the site of the damage.
Large tractor up at the site of the damage.

Behind the tractor with bucket deployed.
Behind the tractor with bucket deployed.

The tractor is quite a rig with a crawler base, auger attachment, Cherry Picker attachement, and small plow
The tractor is quite a rig with a crawler base, auger attachment, cherry picker attachement, and small plow

50 FT Cherry Picker brought in to assist.
50 FT Cherry Picker brought in to assist.

Mid-air ballet to repair the lines.
Mid-air ballet to repair the lines.

Testing the connections before throwing the switch.
Testing the connections before throwing the switch.

Thank You Green Mountain Power for quickly reacting. It is unsettling to say the least when you walk outside of your home and see a snapped utility pole. The quick response was awesome.

The storm that brought down the utility pole at the inn also blanked the top of Killington with snow. While we were too busy taking care of our guests, Merisa did make the hike up to earn her turns.

Snow season at Killington will arrive any day now. If you haven't already, beging you ski/boarding excercises.... find your equipment, and get ready for opening day. It will be soon.....

Frizzy\'s deer standing watch over the Birch Ridge Inn from the forest behind the inn.

Frizzy's deer standing watch over the Birch Ridge Inn from the forest behind the inn. 

You could not have a better weekend in Killington to explore and enjoy the fall foliage. 3 spectacular blue bird days have brought wide smiles on all of the people who have travelled far and wide to visit with us in the middle of the Green Mountain state. Mother Nature has not let them down!

I took the opportunity over the last several days to take some pictues of the area. Below is a compilation for you, dear blog reader, to enjoy....

Beautiful colors at the Killington Resort, Friday, October 11, 2019.
Beautiful colors at the Killington Resort, Friday, October 11, 2019.

Overlooking the 11th hole at the Killington Resort Golf Course, Sunday October 13, 2019
Overlooking the 11th hole at the Killington Resort Golf Course, Sunday October 13, 2019

Killington Peak framed by foliage along a country road in Killington,  Sunday October 13, 2019
Killington Peak framed by foliage along a country road in Killington, Sunday October 13, 2019

Quite colorful around the Snow Stake at the Birch Ridge Inn,  Sunday October 13, 2019
Quite colorful around the Snow Stake at the Birch Ridge Inn, Sunday October 13, 2019

Trees behind the Birch Ridge Inn,  Sunday October 13, 2019
Trees behind the Birch Ridge Inn, Sunday October 13, 2019

Tree canopy behind the Birch Ridge Inn,  Sunday October 13, 2019
Tree canopy behind the Birch Ridge Inn, Sunday October 13, 2019

True sign the season is changing.  Compressors lined up at the Killington Resort ready to be deployed to the snow-making system.  Sunday October 13, 2019
True sign the season is changing. Compressors lined up at the Killington Resort ready to be deployed to the snow-making system. Sunday October 13, 2019



Wherever you may be, we hope you have had a great fall season. We have a few more colorful weeks in Killington before the start of ski season...but it is close. If you haven't already, beging you ski excercises.... find your equipment, and get ready for opening day. With some help from Mother Nature, it will be soon.....

View from the office window at the Birch Ridge Inn in Killington across the Roaring Brook Valley

View from the office window at the Birch Ridge Inn in Killington across the Roaring Brook Valley 

Fall colors are developing strongly this season around Killington. As you travel around town, most of the trees on the mountains are engaged in the process that transforms them from green to fall brilliance. When peak color will occur in Killington is anyones guess (hint... some time in the first 15 days of October usually), but fall visitors travelling in the area next week will be dazzled by what they find.

22 years ago next month, Mary and I took a leap of faith away from corporate America to start the Birch Ridge Inn in Killington Vermont. To start your own business, you need to be optimistic. You embrace every day. Every day has it's own little reward just waiting for you to discover. Today my reward is the spectacular view in the picture I posted taken from my office window.

If you plan to visit Vermont this fall to enjoy foliage season, don't procrastinate. The time to make your reservations is now. You reward in the Green Mountains of Vermont is waiting for you to discover.

Where ever you may be, enjoy the change in seasons. The pagentry of fall in the eastern United States is spectacular. Get out and enjoy it!

Color developing at Killington.  From 15th tee on Killington Golf Course looking towards Superstar and Skye Peak.

Color developing at Killington. From 15th tee on Killington Golf Course looking towards Superstar and Skye Peak. 

We had the good fortune this morning to be able to get out on the golf course and play. Just 9 holes as we did not have a lot of time. The good people at the Killington Resort Golf Course let us go off the back nine as there were some early morning groups out on the front side. While the golf was, to coin a pun, "not up to par", the very fact we were able to get outdoors was its own reward.

Color is starting to burst out all around Killington. The weekend brought cool temperatures and reduced sunlight due to low clouds.... just the perfect combination to stimulate the trees to begin their seasonal shifts. Color at the inn at the 1900 foot level is developing in the tree tops around the inn. Each day as I take my fall foliage picture I notice more color coming through.

At the mountains of the resort, color is developing in the mid altitudes. Deciduous trees rule the forest below 3500 or so feet, and they are all starting to change. (Above 3500 feet, the forest changes over to dwarf pine trees which basically stay green all year.) Mid mountain color is becoming clear. Cloudy skys over the mountain this weekend have pushed the trees along, resulting in losts of color begining to appear.

While the color is starting to show, we have several more weeks before we are at peak color in Killington. But thats ok... for it is a beautiful show.

Where ever you may be, enjoy the change in seasons. Hopefully you get a chance to get outside and play in the sunshine as well.. and don't forget your sunscreen......

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.





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