Monday, August 25, 2014

Labor Weekend in the Manchester Area

Labor Day Weekend seems to be a natural time to celebrate the end of a fantastic summer and say hello to the start of an exciting autumn in Vermont. The warm days are turning into cool nights and it's time to turn in bathing suits for bonfires! Looking for fun things to do? No worries, you don't need to go very far! This coming weekend there are many different options for excitement!

Stratton Mountain has multiple events including a Food & Wine Event entitled "The Full Palatte." Aug 30 - 31, 2014. Celebrate the harvest at Full Palette, southern Vermont’s premier farm-to-table food festival. This two-day event unites a quintessential country farmer’s market with the culinary expertise of top chefs from Vermont and beyond.
Meet and greet local farmers, artisans and craftspeople in the Full Palette Pavilion. Learn new tricks directly from the pros during cooking demonstrations. Roll up your sleeves at one of the intimate, hands-on workshops. There’s something for every palate, including a Junior Iron Chef competition for aspiring chefs aged 12-18.

For more information about events at Stratton please follow the link:

If you are interested in staying closer to home, you will be lucky enough to be able to catch the last few productions of the highly acclaimed show "The Mousetrap" at the Dorset Theatre Festival. “Blood, gore, black humor, circuitous chatter…the play is substantial and the characters not just cardboard cut-outs. It’s woderfully structured – up there with A Midsummer Night’s Dream” — The Guardian.

For more information about the wonderful production, show times, ticket prices, or The Dorset Theatre Festival in general please follow the link:

For something a little different, right up the road from Barrows House at Merck Forest and Farmland Center there will be a free concert from 5pm - 7pm on Saturday, August 30th. Bring your lawn chairs, blanket and a picnic supper to the evening bluegrass concert at Merck Forest and Farmland Center. Snake Mountain Bluegrass and the Connor Sisters will be playing in the Sap House, and people are welcome to set up inside or listen to the music from the Sap House deck.

For more information regarding the concert please follow the link:

Enjoy all Vermont has to offer this Labor Day weekend!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Mud season is well behind us, the days are longer and the mercury is rising. I am often asked if there is anything to do in the area and I always respond……there is as little or as much as you want to do. From napping in a hammock, curling up with a book in a sunny window seat to the more thrilling activities of zip lining, there is certainly plenty of things to do for everyone.
Wildwood Berry Farm and Merck Forest are open to the public and blueberry picking is now in season.
The Dorset Quarry is the oldest marble quarry in the United States and is now a local swimming hole and well known for its jumping cliffs.
The Northshire Bookstore was founded in 1976 and has been a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. Grab a coffee at Spiral Press Café and immerse yourself in some decadent summer reading.
Experience the first Aerial Adventure Park built in Vermont, featuring 63 elements spread over 5 courses, or the one-of-a-kind thrill of the half-mile-long, 50 MPH Sun Mountain Flyer, a ZipRider! Fun for the entire family!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Locally Foraged Mushrooms!!!

Fantastic. It has been a banner year for mushrooms! One of the pluses of cooking in Vermont is the natural variety of the seasons. First the Morels and now the boom of the Chanterelles and the Black Trumpets. The Hen of the Wood and the Chicken of the Wood will makes the scene soon. Menu development is easy when local foragers are crowding into the kitchen. Don't be tempted to bury these in rich sauce, toss them in Olive oil, season them and roast in high heat. Maybe finish with herbs from our backyard garden. Enjoy the the nowness of it simply. Appreciate it for what it is, it wont be around until next year.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Dressing Down Salad Dressings

Why is it that we spend so much money on Salad Dressings that have such lackadaisical taste? Have you read the ingredient lists for these mass produced and mass marketed monsters? Mono-di-what? Hydrogenated who? M. S. Gee Whillikers, no thanks! Theres enough poison floating around in the air why would I put it in my food?
Ranch, Blue Cheese, Thousand Island, Russian, Catalina, and Italian are the originals. Then sprang up Caesar, Raspberry Vinaigrette, Honey Dijon, and a host of others. What many people dont realize, and Kraft doesnt want you to know, is that salad dressings are really quite easy to make. Now I admit, Hidden Valley makes an awesome ranch dressing, but make it with the seasoning packet and your own buttermilk and mayo. Maybe tweak it with a little fresh cracked peppercorn or shaved parmesan.
Try a Raspberry Maple Poppy Seed Dressing for a change.
2 Cups Mayonnaise
1/3 Cup Maple Syrup
¼ Cup Red Wine
¼ Cup Raspberry Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Sugar
2 Teaspoons Poppy Seeds
A Pinch of Salt and Pepper
Mix it up!
Lemon Herb Vinaigrette.
¼ Cup Minced Chives
¼ Cup Minced Parsley
3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
½ Cup Olive Oil
A Dash of Nutmeg
A Dash of Dried Mustard
2 Dashes of Salt and Pepper
Whisk it all together and love it!
Mark Downey’s Maple Dijon!
1 Tablespoon Dijon
½ Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
½ Cup Maple Syrup
1 ¼ Cup Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper To Taste
Make it so!
These homemade dressings have four things in common. They are easy to make, low in saturated fat, taste great, and flexible. Take away the poppy seeds and add orange essence to the maple dressing for a citrus twist. Change the vinegar to red wine for a smooth distinction. Slight substitutions change the personality of the dressing. Lemon Herb? How about Orange Rosemary, Cilantro Lime, or Lemon Basil!
Remember when it comes to dressings the sky, with your imagination, is the limit!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

June's the Best!

June is the best month of the year for me.  There’s that special early-evening glow on my back deck about 6 pm when the hummingbirds are dining at my feeder and I’m settling in with my favorite summer cocktail.  I just heard that Killington was open for 199 days this winter!  WOW!  But some of us don’t ski and have to play indoor tennis all winter – so we deserve those 30 days in June when everything in the gardens looks perfect (no weeds yet), the days are getting longer and warmer, and everything is open for the season in Manchester and the Mountains (except Killington, of course!) and tennis is OUTSIDE!!

What’s happening here in Dorset in June? The restaurants are humming, the golfers are golfing, the hikers are hiking and the Dorset Theatre Festival opens for the season.  There’s the Antique Car Show in Manchester June 7th and 8th, our two favorite nurseries (Mettowee Mill and Equinox Valley Nursery) are in full bloom, the Quarry and our state parks are open for swimming and sunning, and the farmers’ markets abound.  It’s the perfect month and I know that the whole summer stretches out before me!

So come and enjoy your favorite summer cocktail on the porch of The Dorset Inn or on the patio at Barrows House – Paddy, Colleen & Yuri will be happy to make you one of their specialties, too. 

Cheers -- And I’ll see you on the tennis courts!
Kathy, Assistant Innkeeper

Thursday, May 15, 2014

While the chefs spend most of their time working their magic in the kitchen, every once in a while they actually have some free time as well!!  There are a number of Vermont State Parks within a 40 mile radius of Dorset, Vermont that provide free access for great fishing & hiking.  Here are some photos of my favorites:
Gail Meadows, Londonderry, Vermont
Offers views of both Bromley & Stratton Mountains

Lowell Lake State Park, Londonderry, Vermont

Gail Meadows, Londonderry, Vermont

Lake Hortonia, Rutland County, Vermont
Chef Neil out for an excursion!

It is definitely worth exploring the local attractions around Dorset.  There are a number of well hidden gems worth getting to know!

Chef Mark

Friday, April 18, 2014

The pressures and pleasures of planning a wedding!

                          The pressures and pleasures of planning a wedding!

Tis the season in Vermont to be looking for a spot to hold your wedding or to be putting on the finishing touches.  There are site visits, budgets, tastings, music, photography, flowers...  A lot goes into make a very special day and it can seem overwhelming.

Make a list of the aspects of a wedding that are most important.  Do you want gardens, mountains, great entertainment, rooms for all your guests, exquisite food...?  Everyone is different.  Fall in love with the place that can give you what you desire.  If you find something outside of your budget, consider a Friday or Sunday.  Midweek dates have recently become a viable option.  Be candid about what you want and what you want to spend.  It is easier for everyone to accommodate you if they know what you want.

      Everyone should look as happy as Maggie and Kevin did on their wedding day!

                                                         Happy Planning!