Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Foliage Preview

The halfway point of August has come and gone and things in and around Stowe are getting busy. Folks are getting in their last vacation time before school starts. For us in Stowe it is time to look toward foliage.
In late September the leaves begin turning in earnest around here. While there isn't an exact date that corresponds to peak foliage, anywhere from the last weekend in September through the Columbus Day holiday offer excellent opportunities to view Stowe's extraordinary seasonal event. Colors on the trees change rapidly from north to south, but the real trick is knowing which valley is in full colorful glory. That's where your innkeepers come in handy.
After four years up here, we can direct you to the best place for viewing foliage. We make it a point to recon the area often. We network with other folks, and we pass the information on to you, the happy traveler. And if you're really lucky, you'll experience a unique event.
Three years ago we awoke on early October morning to a three inch snowfall. The leaves on the hill behind us were fully aflame with astounding color. As the sun rose and bathed the hill with honey yellow light, the contrast between the color of the trees and the bright white snow was breathtaking.
Now I'm not suggesting you pray for snow when you come up to visit. But if you are lucky enough to view this event, you will never forget it. So plan on coming up to see us...you won't be disappointed either way.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Summer Finally Heats Up...Sort Of

Hi folks, and welcome to the blog for the Auberge de Stowe Bed and Breakfast in Stowe, Vermont (http://www.aubergedestowe.com). Before I talk about the innkeeping business this summer, I'd like to tell you all a little about the Auberge.
My wife, Chantal, and I have been innkeepers for nearly 4 years now. We bought the inn (formerly the Bittersweet) and called it the Auberge de Stowe. Chantal is French and the old place really felt like a classic French country inn, which is the definition of the word "auberge."
The Auberge is a small inn with 8 rooms, located on Route 100 just a half mile from Stowe Village. It's a funky, eclectic place, with clean, comfortable accommodations at Stowe's most reasonable prices. We serve a Continental breakfast that often veers off into inspired baking creations. It really depends on the crowd we have staying here. A lively, engaging crowd will inspire Chantal to whip up something hot, like her skier's favorite egg and sausage casserole, or stacks of buttermilk pancakes.
Out back there is a large pool in the middle of our two acres of field and lawn. Beyond that there is a river coursing through the backyard that holds a few colicky trout, the occasional blue heron, and, in the spring, a beaver. There are several decks to enjoy, as well as a hammock, and a five person hot tub. The hot tub is the biggest seller for the cooler weather, and if you've never relaxed with a glass of wine under the stars in a hot tub with your significant other, I urge you to try it. Hot tubs bring you closer together!
The rooms don't all have televisions in them, but we have a nice guest living room with a color television and a fireplace. Rooms 4 and 5 have new bathrooms that I installed this spring, after much blood, sweat and tears. The result was worth it, and they look great. Our rooms have a variety of bed setups: 1 and 4 have two doubles, 2 and 3 are actually a suite connected by a bathroom, and they have two twins in one room, a twin and a double in the other. 5 and 6 have queens, and 7 has a king. 8 has two twins, and can be sold with 7 to form a suite.
This summer has been strange and challenging, but that can be said of every season in the innkeeping business. May and June--traditionally dead months for us--were busier than normal. July was a disaster for every one in town. Business was down 20 to 40% all over. August, however, is heating up, and we've already eclipsed all of July's earnings in the first week of the month. Bookings look good for September and October, but there is still plenty of good availability at the Auberge.
Weather, as it so often is in Northern Vermont, is the big story this summer. It has been raining nonstop since Easter. We had the 5th rainiest July on record. One day we received 4 inches of rain in 3 hours. It was downright Biblical. Everything is massively green and overgrown up here right now. But the weather is improving. We are finally seeing more sun than rain, and the forecast looks good for the rest of the month.

I'll close this by promising to try and update once a week with more information and stories about the innkeeping life. I'm also going to graduate school so my time is precious, but at 6 in the morning, before my M.F.A. brain has gotten heated up, my innkeeper blogging should be slugging along.