Wednesday, April 28, 2010

JAY PEAK - Four days of amazing spring skiing

This morning residents of Vermont's Northeast Kingdom woke up to 16+ inches of fresh snow and more coming later today. A week ago I was contemplating whether or not I should cut my lawn.

Watching the morning news I was shocked to hear that my friends at Jay Peak are reopening the mountain tomorrow and are closing for the season on Sunday. Temperatures are forcasted to be in the mid-seventies this weekend.

If you love to ski Jay Peak and want to take advantage of some incredible and reserve a $79.99 room today (SAVINGS OF $50 PER NIGHT!). Only $79.99 for one of our deluxe accommodations, hot breakfast, use of our indoor heated pool, whirlpool, sauna and fitness center.

Lift tickets for Jay Peak are not included in this discount. Jay Peak lift tickets must be purchased directly from the mountain for only $39 a piece.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Kingdom Trails - 2010 Mountain Biking Season

I'm so pumped...Kingdom Trails is opening earlier than ever before. The warmer than usual conditions have allowed the trails to dry on Darling Hill. A trail maintenance day is scheduled for May 2nd. For those of you that ride Kingdom Trails regularly, it is a day to to give back, meet some great mountain bikers and improve the quality of the trails.

Kingdom Trails mountain biking day passes are only $10, season pass are available for $50 and if you have a family of mountain bikers you can get one season pass to cover the whole tribe for only $100. Kingdom Trails season ticket holders are entitled to amazing savings (discount of $30 - $40 per night) all season long at both the
Fairbanks Inn and Comfort Inn & Suites, St. Johnsbury, Vermont.

Comfort Inn & Suites Kingdom Trails Season Pass Holder Discount $109 per night

Fairbanks Inn Kingdom Trails Season Pass Holder Discount $89 per night

2010 Foliage Season Rates:
Comfort Inn & Suites $159
Fairbanks Inn $139

You cannot beat the value...fresh air, great exercise, amazing views, and mountain biking trails that cater to every level of rider. Don't forget that Mother's day is coming right up...nothing makes mom more happy then bombing down Burke Mountain!!!

Comfort Inn and Suites, St. Johnsbury, Vermont

(802) 748-1500

2010 Kingdom Trails Mountain Biking Package

- Package includes two day passes to Kingdom Trails

- Overnight Accommodation

- Hot Complimentary Breakfast

Only $149.99 per night plus tax

Fairbanks Inn, St. Johnsbury, Vermont

(802) 748-5666

2010 Kingdom Trails Mountain Biking Package

- Package includes two day passes to Kingdom Trails

- Overnight Accommodation

Only $119.99 per night plus tax

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Everyday is "Earth Day" at the Comfort Inn & Suites, St. Johnsbury, Vermont

More than a year and a half ago, I decided to convert my St. Johnsbury, Vermont hotel into an eco-friendly green property. My decision to "do the right thing" was based on many factors. First and foremost, the hotel's guests regularly wrote comment cards requesting green alternatives. The quaint village of St. Johnsbury is located in the heart of the Vermont's Green Mountains and is the gateway to the majestic "Northeast Kingdom". I understood our guests holding us to a higher standard and expectation. Ultimately, we agreed that we should do our part to preserve the natural beauty of the land around us. It should be stated for the record...I was not a "tree hugger" (not that there is anything wrong with hugging a tree). I've owned a pair (or two) of Birkenstocks, but "treehugger" was not often used to describe me. Two years later, I have to admit that what started as a test project has become much more important to me. I was impressed when my team of managers and staff supported the initial concepts. One person's idea led to another and before long we were addicted to saving energy and implementing eco-friendly concepts. The hotel's guests have joined in and are encouraged to submit their suggestions (many of which we have adopted). People and businesses avoid going green because they think it will cost to much. The truth is by "doing what is right"...we've improved guest satisfaction as well as increased our profitability. Eighteen months later we have implemented more than a dozen significant eco-friendly initiatives (and we're still not done). In the process, we've received nothing but praise and appreciation from our guests. Our guests are not the only ones that took notice. Next month we will be receiving an award from Jim Douglas, the Governor of Vermont. The award recognizes our steps in becoming a green hotel.

The hotel is recognized for it's green initiatives by Choice Hotels,
Green Hotels in the Green Mountain State, and Below is a list of some of the steps we took to make the Comfort Inn & Suites, St. Johnsbury, Vermont one of the state's most green eco-friendly hotels.

- Joined “Clean the World”…we collect the partially used bars of soap and shampoo which are sanitized and then shipped to third world countries. Instead of clogging up our landfills...we are literally saving lives.
- Introduced “
Taterware” plates, bowls, forks, knives, and spoons…a 100% compostable product made from potatoes.
- Operate an extensive recycling program...a blue box in the bathroom allows guests to place all their recyclables into one bin...we do the rest.
- Energy efficient bulbs are used inside and outside the hotel
- Our linens are washed using eco-friendly ozone generators
- Switched from a bromine to a salt pool system
- Timers limit energy consumption for our ice machines, video arcade, and non-essential lighting

- Motion sensors control lighting throughout the building
- Use 35 - 100% post-consumer recycled paper
- We compost biodegradable material which naturally enriches the soil in our flower gardens
- Implemented a linen reuse program

We applaud Earth Day and what it stands for...we just wished people and businesses celebrated it 365 days a year.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

When a walk is more than just "a walk" - hiking in New Hampshire's White Mountains and Vermont's Green Mountains

There is something about walking in the woods of northern New Hampshire and Vermont that transcends the average jaunt into the countryside. Exploring the White Mountains of New Hampshire or the Green Mountains of Vermont can be rewarding on many levels. First and foremost, it's quiet...real quiet. I love that you never know what you will see or experience. I've heard about people practicing the art of walking meditation, I can't imagine it being much different than the hikes my boys and I take into our local mountains. From the first steps on to the trail, to summiting the mountain's crest, each step along the way is rewarding and an experience unto itself.

Just over a week ago, while we were experiencing unseasonably warm temperatures, my oldest son and I decided to go for a hike. I swear his obsession with the woods has been there since birth. He's grown up wanting to spend his life outdoors. Hiking, mountain biking, cycling, skiing, fishing, hunting or four wheeling...doesn't matter what the season...he's in the woods. Over the years, I've given him the responsibility of deciding where we are going and leading the way. At an early age he loved the responsibility of choosing our trail and being the "guide". In my book, "guide" translates to the person carrying the most amount of weight in their backpack. Personally, I loved the fact that I didn't have to think and someone else was in charge. Early on I decided we make a good team. For our first hike of the year, he chose an old favorite located in the White Mountain National Forest. We started the hike shortly after noon. Approximately two hours into into a 3+ hour climb, he stopped abrubtly and I ran square into his backpack. After blurting out some random "thoughts/suggestions", I saw what had him "hitting the brakes". Just off to our left in a marsh was a HUGE moose and her calf. Now I've seen moose before, most of the time they are grazing at sunset on the side of the New Hampshire and Vermont roads. Never had I been face to face with a moose in the wild. Fact #1...Moose are big (think "Clydesdale big" with funny skinny legs)! Only to make me more nervous was the fact that said moose was with it's baby. Fact #2...Mothers are protective! I should mention that every moose I had ever personally seen looked like they were posing for a postcard. The males were monstrous and always had amazingly large racks/antlers.

Well, one lesson learned that day is that moose are "scary ugly" in the spring. These were not "postcard moose". Fact #3...Moose are REALLY UGLY in the Spring. Both the mom and baby had survived the winter by growing a thick dense fur. Due to the warmer than usual weather, they were well into the the process of shedding their winter coats. The end result was two moose that looked like they were wearing camouflage. The mother was never aggressive and the calf never strayed more than ten feet from mom. They allowed us to sit on a rock and watch them for almost fifteen minutes before deciding to mosey on into to forest. It was an amazing experience.

If you are planning a vacation to my Hampton Inn, Littleton, New Hampshire or the Comfort Inn & Suites in St. Johnsbury, set aside a few hours to go hiking. Fact and your family will love the experience. No matter what trail you choose, you'll need good footwear and at minimum a small backpack for water, snacks, camera, etc. Please hike responsibly and make sure that whatever you bring in comes out with you..."leave no trace" is our family's motto when in the woods.

I'm proud to say that my son, Matthew who will be graduating high school next year is planning on a career in the great outdoors. He plans to attend college in pursuit of a game warden's job as his life's ambition. Who would have ever thought... we actually found a career in the woods (just wish I had been able to get a picture of it).

New Hampshire hikes closest to the Hampton Inn, Littleton, New Hampshire

Vermont hikes closest to the Comfort Inn & Suites or Fairbanks Inn, St. Johnsbury, Vermont