Friday, November 27, 2009

Early Bird Skiing Packages - Burke Mountain, Jay Peak, or Bretton Woods

Both Thanksgiving and the lengthy/exhausting ski show season are in the rearview mirror
{{{The hotel's sales teams collectively let out a thunderous cheer}}}.

We are no longer eagerly looking forward to the start of the ski season... it is here!

I am offering three early bird specials that no one can touch. Your ski and stay packages includes: your overnight accommodation, hot breakfast, and TWO adult lift tickets. Both your stay and skiing must occur before December 25th, 2009.

ST. JOHNSBURY, VERMONT (802) 748-1500
Burke Mountain is only $129.99
Burke opens in early December

Jay Peak is only $129.99 Per Night

Bretton Woods is only $119 Per Night

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"It is a small world, after all"...c'mon now sing a long

Several years ago, after our first visit to the Bahamas, my wife and I promised each other that we would go back annually. With four school-age children, my wife running a daycare and me overseeing four hotels, by the time September rolls around each year...we seriously need to recharge our batteries.

On our first visit to the Bahamas we befriended an incredible local bartender, Christal. On our first encounter, she introduced me to a drink she created called the "Comfort Zone". I am still convinced that the drink is 98% 151 rum, 1% juice and 1% ice. I think the drink should be renamed "Island Time". After flying for half the day, clearing customs, getting ground transportation, checking-in, unpacking... just one of her drinks lets you know... you are officially on "Island Time". Christal works at one of the best swim up bars on Pleasure Island, located at the Comfort Suites, Paradise Island.

On our last visit, my wife, Christal and I were talking about the different hotels that I manage (just what I want to be doing on vacation). As a result, the next night, I brought Christal a business card and brochure. For years, we've been trying to convince Christal that she and her family should visit northern New England. Christal has always joked that it is too cold in August to visit New England, never mind any other time of the year.

It was the following night that Christal left me with my jaw on the ground... no it wasn't because I had too many "Comfort Zone/Island Time" drinks. After sitting down at the bar, Chrystal excused herself. To my amazement, Christal returned holding a postcard of and from my hotel in Saint Johnsbury, Vermont. To put it mildly I was confused and was looking for some explanation. After flipping the postcard over, I noticed that the card had been sent back in 2003 and was addressed to Christal. The sender had written that the hotel "was really nice! The grounds were breathtaking - so pretty".

Apparently my wife and I are not alone in our appreciation for the job Christal does. Christal went on to explain that the two people who had sent her the postcard were also regulars of the island and fans of her mixology skills. After a visit seven years ago, they left the island and toured northern New England. Their travels brought them to my Vermont hotel. They simply sent Christal a postcard letting her know that they were thinking of her. Each employee of the hotel, keeps a safety deposit box for valuables and other items. The postcard has sat in that box for almost seven years as a reminder of some of Christal's favorite guests. The whole experience was strangely ironic. Needless to say, since returning to my hotel, I have reprinted the complimentary in-room postcards. Three large postcards are now available for our weary travelers. Guests have stopped by daily thanking us for the postcards. My staff smiles each time they are left at the desk to be mailed... wondering where I might find them on one of my next travels.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Burlington, Vermont has gone BONKERZ - Awesome weekend of comedy shows!

Remember "Hannibal" from the show A-Team??? For those of you that don't...Colonel John H. "Hannibal" Smith led a band of misfit retired soldiers on mission after mission to help a needy cause. Nothing ever went as planned. Yet, by the end of each show, the team was always successful.
All the pieces of the puzzle miraculously would fall into place, and Hannibal would exclaim "I love it when a plan comes together!".

Our first weekend with the Bonkers comedy club in Burlington Vermont was a tremendous success!!! Hundreds and hundreds of people flocked to the Hampton Inn, Burlington for the grand opening of our Bonkers Comedy Club. The local management team that pulled this off, should be incredibly proud of themselves (Maureen, Jim, Vicky, Darcy, Joe...they're my version of the A-Team...except leave out the part about them being misfits). Another huge thank you to our sponsor's WIZN (Classic Rock that REALLY Rocks) and Bud Light...we could not do it without your help and support.

And as Hannibal would say..."I love it when a plan comes together!"

Friday night was our grand opening. We had an acoustic act from 7-8pm. It gave attendees time to have a drink, mingle, grab a bite to eat and settle in for what promised to be a great night of Comedy. At eight o'clock the opening act, took the stage and warmed up the crowd. By 8:30...Artie Fletcher "New York City's Bad Boy of Comedy" hit the stage like I have never seen before. It was obvious from the start that Artie knows the region well and had played the Burlington market in the past. Fans from days gone by, had called in and reserved their seats in advance. You could tell it was special for both them and Artie. Artie was enjoying himself so much that he ran 30 to 45 minutes long. On multiple occasions, he said . "Okay, this is the last one"...15 minutes later he was still up on stage, sharing stories and having a great time. At the end of the show, Artie took time to sign autographs, sell CDs and take pictures with the fans.

Afterwards, we headed over to the Hampton Inn's on-site restaurant T-bones. There we discussed our plans for New Year's. While not all the details are worked out, I am pretty sure we will be ringing in the New Year on "Fletcher Time". We are already planning our own "stimulus packages" for this very special evening.

Always remember..."Laughter is the Best Medicine"

BONKERZ COMEDY CLUB at the Hampton Inn, Colchester, Vermont
(802) 655-6177 call in advance to reserve your seats and/or make group reservations
Our Local Sponsors...WIZN & Bud Light
BONKERZ COMEDY CLUB is located at the Hampton Inn, Colchester, just off exit, I-89, next to Costco (Lower Mountainview Drive)
Thursday, December 17th at 7:30 and Friday, December 18th at 8pm and 10pm

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bonkerz Comedy Club in Burlington / Colchester, Vermont

Today's the day...I am seriously pumped! Our new BONKERZ comedy club is set to open in just a few hours. In addition to running a large hotel in West Virginia. I also opened and operated my own comedy club for two years. A tremendous amount of work goes into starting a comedy club and I am really proud of my local management team that made this a reality.

Our first show is tonight, with doors opening at 7 PM (and two shows tomorrow night at 8pm and 10pm). In addition to an opening act, we also have some local entertainment. This week's headliner Artie Fletcher... is out of this world. I could not ask for anyone better for our grand opening night. I hear he is already at the hotel, planning his own New Year's Eve celebration in Burlington. It's not set in stone but ringing in the New Year "Fletcher Style" has some merit.

New York City's Bad Boy of Comedy, ARTIE FLETCHER as seen on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and “The Late Show with David Letterman”. No Stranger to film and television, Artie has been taking the industry by storm. He has been seen in dozens of TV appearances including Law and Order, Third Watch, and NYPD Blue. He has performed his dynamic act in such places as Las Vegas, Atlantic City and even Radio City Music Hall in New York.
BONKERZ COMEDY CLUB at the Hampton Inn, Colchester, Vermont
(802) 655-6177 call in advance to reserve your seats and/or make group reservations
I want to send out a huge "thank you" to our local sponsors...WIZN & Bud Light
BONKERZ COMEDY CLUB located at the Hampton Inn, Colchester, just off exit, I-89, next to Costco (Lower Mountainview Drive)

Thursday, December 17th at 7:30 and Friday, December 18th at 8pm and 10pm

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Chronicle on WCVB TV Boston - Explores St. Johnsbury and Vermont's Northeast Kingdom

If the old adage of "a picture is worth a thousand words" is true...streaming video on Vermont's majestic Northeast Kingdom must be worth a trillion. WCVB TV Channel 5's Chronicle out of Boston aired a wonderful thirty-minute special last night on why you should escape the rat race and rejuvenate in Northern Vermont. Having grown up in southern New England, I know firsthand why people vacation in what is backyard.

Driving up I-93, the first sense of relief will occur when you come through Franconia Notch State Park and get a glimpse of New Hampshire's "North Country" and Vermont's "Northeast Kingdom". Less than 3 hours north of Boston, Vermont's Northeast Kingdom is far enough away from southern New England to make it feel "special". Truth is special. It is clean, it is safe, it is unassuming, it is unique and it is very much like going back in time. The best part...Vermont's Northeast Kingdom is close enough to visit multiple times in a month (just ask my snowmobiling and skiing enthusiasts). When I-93're officially "there". I mean "here"...I mean in St. Johnsbury. For those that are directionally challenged...let me just reiterate the directions from Boston...I-93 North til' it ends...ok, that's it.

Vacationers coming north on I-91 experience the same stunning views but approach them in a slower and less dramatic fashion. Foothills in western Massachusetts, roll into southern Vermont and continue to the White River Junction region. North of White River the 60 minute drive offers some of the most breathtaking views in all of New England. Be sure to take a few minutes at the rest areas to "stop" and "start" the rejuvenating process. A well-placed picnic table, breathtaking views and a cup of freshly brewed java can go along way towards setting the pace for the rest of your vacation. "You're on island time" is a standard phrase in the Bahamas to remind vacationers that there is no rush or reason to hurry. The same applies in the kingdom..."You're on green mountain time"...slow down and take it all in.

If the video snippets below peak your interest and you are new to my blog, please take time to go back through my entries. The Chronicle did an amazing job but only scratched the surface of what I would recommend doing in Vermont's majestic Northeast Kingdom.

I hope to see you soon!

Chronicle WCVB TV Boston - Explores St. Johnsbury and Vermont's Northeast Kingdom

Main Streets and Back Roads, Saint Johnsbury, Vermont: Segment One
Kingdom Trails and Stephen Huneck's Dog Mountain

Main Street, Railroad Street, St. Johnsbury History, Boxcar and Caboose Bookstore, Fairbanks Scales, St. Johnsbury Atheneum, Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium

St. Johnsbury Academy; Graham Highlanders

Great Vermont Corn Maze