Category Archives: News

News from the Mad River Barn

Can you believe we’ve been here four years already? Yep, December 31st was our four year anniversary of owning the Mad River Barn. What a tremendous blessing it has been. We are so grateful for the friends that we’ve made and for the support shown to us by the community and our customers.

On that note, we’re excited to take this opportunity to update everyone on our latest project: The Mad River Barn Wedding & Event Pavilion. Over the past four years, we learned that in order to survive in the Mad River Valley cyclical economy, you have to diversify. For us, the natural path forward was hosting weddings on the weekends in the warmer months. Weddings ensure our Inn rooms are occupied, our kitchen crew can stay busy, and we can keep our beloved staff employed year round.

Over the past couple of summers, we did have the opportunity to host several weddings in tents on the Upper Landing (the flat grassy area behind the Mad River Barn). Through this experience, we learned that tented weddings pose a lot of challenges… there is a tremendous amount of labor involved in setting up the tents each weekend, and that labor gets passed onto the wedding couple in the form of pretty expensive tent rental fees. The wedding couple also has to rent all the furnishings (tables, chairs, plates, glasses and flatware)… adding to the expense. We provided the food service, but that was also a challenge – we cooked all the food in our restaurant kitchen and then transported it up to the tent for service. After two summers of this, we were exhausted! So we decided to invest in some proper infrastructure. While surfing Pinterest, we found the perfect inspiration: a gorgeous post & beam pavilion:

Mad River Barn Pavilion Inspiration

Our pavilion will look very similar to this – it will be a bit bigger (40’ x 100’) and will include a commercial kitchen and men’s and women’s bathrooms. To help manage noise, we modified the design to add a solid wood wall on the fireplace end and an acoustic glass wall on the 80’ length facing Route 17.  The opposite 80’ length will have motorized roll down clear vinyl panels designed for weather protection for guests. Heaters in the ceiling ensure we can keep guests warm, even on chilly fall nights.

After contacting several post & beam construction companies, we found one in Connecticut that we really liked: The Barn Yard & Great Country Garages. Why did we like them? The people! It’s a multi-generational family run business and we just loved the people. And after looking through their portfolio, it was clear they do really beautiful work. We showed them the picture of our inspiration, and the project took off from there!

Construction began in May with the well drilling process. We hired Chevalier Well Drilling, and after drilling only about 225 feet, our well was producing 25 gallons per minute (an excellent supply!). We were relieved and grateful for that, as lack of water can kill a project faster than anything. After we drilled the well, we were ready to commence with filing for our local and state building permits.

We sailed through the local permitting process – the Fayston Development Review Board were thorough, but fair. They drafted a permit with reasonable limitations that ensured protections for our neighbors.  The Act 250 permit took a bit longer to conclude, ultimately finalizing late November. We started site work the very next day. Kingsbury Construction arrived with their earth moving equipment and began prepping the foundation, expanding our septic field, and trenching water and gas lines. Alliance Mechanical installed the under-slab plumbing. We started pouring the foundation and kitchen slab early December, and finished the week after Christmas.

Great Country Garages arrived onsite January 16th to “raise” the pavilion. It is truly a raising in every sense of the word. They brought 11 guys to help including a crew of Amish craftsman who are exceptionally skilled in this sort of work. After the first week, the side posts were up and the trusses were assembled and ready to be put in place.

Next week, they pavilion crew will be back with a crane to set the trusses onto the posts, and then to frame out the rest of the pavilion. The raising will be complete by next Friday. Following that, the mason will begin work on the fireplace and we’ll proceed with electrical, plumbing, and finish carpentry.  In the spring, we’ll pour the main pavilion slab. Then, onto the finish landscaping. Our schedule calls for completion by end of April so that we can be ready for the wedding season!

Watch the blog for future posts for continued updates, and check out the construction pictures below!

Our best,

Andrew & Heather

Hand Craftsmanship

Setting Side Posts

 

Trusses

 

Posts are Up!

 

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Valley Arts…Promoting, Encouraging and Sharing Particiation in the Arts

 

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For a small Valley, we have big dreams and in 1997, a group of folks got together and dreamed up The Vermont Festival of the Arts to share the work of local artists as well as encourage residents and visitors to participate in the arts. Well, it worked! And the Festival has grown immensely since then, and has been has been named one of the “Top Ten Summer Events in Vermont” by Vermont Chamber of Commerce, a top Vermont activity by Yankee Magazine, one of the top 100 attractions by American Business Association and, wait for it…Top 5 Summer Festivals by Travel and Leisure!

 

Last year's schedule of event for the Festival of the Arts

Last year’s schedule of event for the Festival of the Arts

 

But there is so much more to Valley Arts than their incredible August festival. In their newly renovated and expanded space, on Main Street, in Waitsfield, Vermont, they have gallery shows, discussions, presentations, workshops, and events!

For example, now showing at the Festival Galley are the amazing watercolors of Amanda Amend.

Amanda Amend's Watercolor Show at Festival Gallery in Waistfield

Amanda Amend’s Watercolor Show at Festival Gallery in Waitsfield.

There is a weaving class…

Rigid Heddle Weaving with Susan Nider

Rigid Heddle Weaving with Susan Nider

There is so much to see and do, and participate in through the Valley Arts, that this blog post doesn’t do it justice. So check out their CALENDAR of EVENTS. It’s just amazing in a small Vermont valley, we have such big talent, dedication and artistic love.

How lucky are we!

Our best,

Heather and Andrew

Mad River Barn Friends…

Can we be Friends? Facebook Friends that is! The reason we bring this up is because we post much more often on Facebook about last minute cancellations (gasp — we know…but it does happen), dinner specials, employment opportunities, local events, and Mad River Glen or Sugarbush ski deals than we do on our BLOG.  And we would bummed if you missed out!

We love writing the blog posts but they are just twice a month and FACEBOOK allows us to get info to you fast — especially if you are looking for a dinner special, what’s happening or if there is a last-minute place to stay in Waitsfield,

Our goal is 2000 friends by the end of Febraury…what do you think? Can you LIKE US? SHARE US? to help us reach our goal.  Here are some of the things we share…

You wouldn't want to miss hearing about Sugarbush's deals! Like this $30 ski pass on Thursdays! When we hear about things like this we pass the info along!

You wouldn’t want to miss hearing about Sugarbush’s deals! Like this $30 ski pass on Thursdays! When we hear about things like this we pass the info along!

 

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Sometimes it is sharing a dinner, appetizer or dessert special. Burger nights...apple crisp, ramen noodles... you wouldn't want to miss out would you?

Sometimes it’s sharing a dinner, appetizer or dessert special. Burger nights…apple crisp, ramen noodles… you wouldn’t want to miss out would you? 

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Pictures of when it is snowing...so when you are sitting at your desk at work...working of course...you can sneak a peek at our weather!

Pictures of when it is snowing…so when you are sitting at your desk at work…working of course…you can sneak a peek at our weather!

When the boot room was finished -- we let you know via our FACEBOOK PAGE...

When the boot room was finished — we let you know via our FACEBOOK PAGE…

And sometimes we are just plain silly and creative and want to share what we see and hear with you! So if you like our Moose...just click LIKE!

And sometimes we are just plain silly and creative and want to share what we see and hear with you! So if you like our Moose…just click LIKE!

So let’s be friends!  Okay? :)

Our Best, Heather and Andrew

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Week and Holiday Break

 

 

 

 

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Snowmaking happening up on the mountain. Colder weather coming soon!

Well, It’s officially here…Winter!

Today officially starts winter and we’re happy to say that we’re finally feeling it! This past weekend, it snowed but even better news was it was cold enough for the mountains to make snow. This week, during Christmas,  we’ll get a day or two of warmer weather but around the corner the cooler weather is coming to town!

As you know we are taking December 24 and 25th off to celebrate Christmas with our family and to give the Mad River Barn team a chance to be with their families as well. BUT THE DAY AFTER we’ll be well rested and ready for you!  The pub is already hopping and there are lots of fun things to do and see in the valley if you want to do more than ski!

Pub at Mad River Barn Design by Joanne Palmisano

Of course, we’d love it if you came and hung out with us in the pub — or watch a game on the big TV or play a game–air hockey, shuffle board, and foosball, in the game room.

Draft Beers at Mad River Barn Vermont

Try one of our local beers on tap — or even better — the local chamber of commerce is listing some organized brew tours next week!  Visit some awesome breweries and let someone else do the driving!

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Teach your kids how to play cribbage. When do you get a chance to sit down and play a game? Cribbage rules here.

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Check out Andrew on the FAT BIKE. These conditions are perfect for this type of biking.

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Our friend Gabrielle, snowboarding on the slopes — taking advantage of the snowmaking days!

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Trail map for Shelburne Farms. In the winter, when the Inn at Shelburne Farms is closed, the trails are still open. They are free this time of year and you can bring a dog (on leash) which you can’t in the summer months. The trails and views are amazing, worth the drive.

First snow at The Inn at Shelburne Farms along Lake Champlain in Shelburne, Vermont.

The Inn may be closed this time of year but the miles of trail systems are open! Enjoy!

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Joanne’s friend Sarah Lavoie took this amazing picture of Church Street in Burlington the other day. An evening out on the town would be another great outing!

The Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce has a large list of HAPPENINGS and EVENTS! Art Shows, Bands Playing, Tours, Workshops, Cooking Classes, Cookout and more! Don't miss out on the fun happening during the holiday week!

The Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce has a large list of HAPPENINGS and EVENTS! Art Shows, Bands Playing, Tours, Workshops, Cooking Classes, Cookout and more! Don’t miss out on the many things to do in and around the Mad River Valley and Sugarbush.

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Hope to see you during the Holiday Week and this coming winter!

 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season,

Our best, Heather and Andrew

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giving Thanks…Staff, Guests, and Gardens

We can’t believe another holiday is upon us.  The three years we’ve been in Vermont has flown by and we feel that you all have embraced us and made us part of your family. We are so grateful.  There are so many people we are thankful for and we hope that each and every one knows how much we appreciate them.

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As we take a break for Thanksgiving week, we wanted to say a thank you to Gary for building our tiered landscaping in front of the farmhouse and Inn.  The amount of work he has put into building all of these by hand–placing each stick, lifting every rock and moving all the dirt– is unbelievable. For years, Gary been helping us with many jobs and he’s part of the Mad River Barn family. Thank you Gary!

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We look forward to planting the blueberry plants, peas, flower and more, next spring but we wanted to share with you what the space looks like before the plantings went in. As with anything that’s great in our lives, it starts from the ground up and it requires a lot of hard work (okay that’s philosophical as we’ll get today).
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We cannot even begin to say how much we appreciate all the folks that are now part of our lives…regular guests, our staff, vendors and our communities in Waitsfield and Warren. Thank you all.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

From our Home…Mad River Barn, to Yours,

Heather and Andrew

 

 

 

November Already? Time to Start Working Out for Ski Season

It’s November!?!? Why didn’t anyone tell us! We cannot believe how fast time is flying by.  It’s almost time to get our skis on — we could be on the slopes as early as 3 weeks from now! Yikes!

We don’t know about you — be we haven’t done a single squat (unless you count, sitting down in front of the computer, or picking up the fries we dropped from our dinner plate). Otherwise — nada, nothing, a big fat zero– is how much we’ve prepared our bodies for skiing.

So here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to look up some of the best “get ready for skiing workouts” and pick 6 exercises we like (may not be the perfect ones but it will be the ones we are comfortable with doing).

Let’s start with the article — 3 weeks to Skiing — From Couch Potato to the Slopes. Hello! That’s us! Of course, after looking it over, it looks a little hard, so we’ll just pick one  from this. (Photo courtesy of article.)

1. The speed skater. Hardwood floor and socks — we have those!

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2. This article from the Daily Burn is… 5 exercises to Get Ski and Snowboard Ready! All of them look great but we like Supermans! Another exercise we can do on the living room floor. Our lower backs always seem to get neglected during ski season. Not this time!

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Photo Courtesy of the Daily Burn

3. This article from the National Geographic — Preseason Ski Workout has two excerises we like. The ski squat and side lunges.  Let’s face it, it’s all about the quads and hamstrings. If these puppies are strong then they’ll protect our knees.  We’re going to start slow — maybe 10 on each leg and work our way up from there. (Drawings courtesy of same article.)

4. We also like the SIDE Lunges from the same article. Okay…let’s be clear, we don’t really like lunges… but we like this exercise for getting ready to  carve up the slopes.

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5. Skiing is like a sprinting sport — high bursts of cardio and strength. So we can’t avoid it… no matter how much we want to… but we have to do — Squat Jumps.  Here is pro skier Paula Moltzan showing us at Shape.com how it’s done. We’re going to start without weights and the moment we can actually get to 20 without stopping (or fainting), we’ll “consider” a small dumbbell or two.

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Photo Courtsey of Shape.com

6. Hamstrings. It is another muscle that protects the knees.  Straight leg dead lifts are probably the ones we’ll stick with — something we can do in the living room and build up to using weights. This photo is courtesy of Women’s Health Magazine.

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OKAY! That’s our six… we won’t add stretching as a number — just do it! We also know there are lots more great exercises but we want to be realistic as well.

So start here. We’ll try and join you!

See you on the slopes!

Our Best,

Heather and Andrew

 

 

Mad River Barn T-shirt and Sweatshirts!

Mad River Barn T-shirts and Sweatshirts are now available!

Mad River Barn T-shirts and Sweatshirts are now available!

It was 39 degrees when we woke up today–sweater and sweatshirt weather! And what better way to celebrate than with our very own Mad River Barn T-shirts and Sweatshirts–just in time for the cooler weather and the holiday season (shameless, we know).

Sweatshirt has printing on the front only. Soft, soft, soft...gray color.

Sweatshirt has printing on the front only. Soft, soft, soft…gray color.

 

T-shirt has M.R.B. on the front and Mad River Barn, Vermont on the back. Great vintage style gray.

T-shirt has M.R.B. on the front and Mad River Barn, Vermont on the back. Great vintage style gray.

The back of the T-shirt!

The back of the T-shirt!

The Unisex T-shirts are only $20 each and Sweatshirts are $40 each. Sizes — small, medium, large, xlarge, and xxlarge. We have limited sizes of each — so call and make sure we have your size, or come in and try one on.

We know… you guys are saying…finally! It took us a little bit but we have finally managed to get a few made. We are not selling them online (yet).  It took us a year to finally make it happen — it will take us a little bit to manage to sell them online. But you can walk into the Inn and grab them. Can’t manage to come in, then we can send you one the old fashion way — by mail. Just give us a call to make sure we have your size and then send us a check (add $6 for shipping)  and we’ll mail them to you!

How much fun it will be to see you wearing our t-shirts and sweatshirts.

Our best,

Heather and Andrew Lynds

 

 

 

 

A Guide to Fall Foliage…a leafy education

Does it get any prettier? Vermont in the fall — one of your must visit bucket list places. Photo Credit: https://lightcentric.wordpress.com

We can’t believe we’re already starting to see changes in the leaves…it’s around the corner…FALL that is! Personally, it’s one of our favorite seasons in Vermont, especially here in the Mad River Valley. Some of the best fall foliage drives are right in our back yard — the drive over the gap, Route 100, even just our back country roads, are perfect for viewing the changing of the season.

We feel that while you’re driving around, it’d be great to enjoy the view and look really smart while your doing it. So here is a little info about the leaves…Vermont trees and the changing of seasons…

Deciduous tree on your left…conifer tree on your right. Photo Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org

There are more than fifty species of trees in Vermont, split into two groups — coniferous trees (evergreens, like your pine trees) and deciduous (broad leaf trees that lose their leaves in the fall).  See, knowing that you already look cooler!

It’s the deciduous trees (these are also hardwood trees) that get all the attention in the fall. These trees make Vermont look like a ROCK STAR! Combined with pops of deep green evergreens (that’s right…conifers…you’re getting it…) are what picture perfect postcards are made of.

Hardwoods in Autumn

See the variety of colors…depending on the weather…will change the reds but not the yellows…Photo Credit: sawig.wordpress.com

The most common deciduous trees in Vermont are Sugar Maples, Beech and Yellow Birch.  The Sugar Maple is Vermont’s state tree (of course, it is!). There is also oak, white birch, ash…we could go on and on.

L.L.Bean's Guide to Fall Foliage

Study this chart and when you are walking through the woods, you can point out the different trees — again…how cool will you be? Photo Credit: L.L. Bean

The color changes are caused by chlorophyll (green), carotenoid (yellow, orange and brown) and anthocyanin (red). Basically, in the fall, the trees stop producing chlorophyll, so they stop being green and their other colors (the carotenoid that is already in the leaves) shows through. The trees that turn to red leaves, get anthocyanin (which is like a knight in shining armor)– it protects them before they fall, so the tree is ready for next spring. The temperature, rain fall and cloud coverage, all effect the red colors but the other colors (yellows, oranges, browns) remain mostly consistent, since the carotenoid is already in the leaves. That is very general, and of course, there are some tweaks to those rules, but that’s the basic principal of the changing of the leaves.  That’s all we are going to say about that  — any more technical and you’ll need a cheat sheet while you drive.

The famous red leave of a fall Maple tree.Photo credit: Bombay Outdoors.

The benefits of the fall are too numerous to mention, but we’ll throw out a few reasons… cooler weather (humidity drops), less bugs, the colors of the leaves, stunning vistas, getting to wear a sweater that goes great with new jeans…

Fall foliage drives and tours around Vermont are famous around the world.  We hope your drive, hike, bike trip, motorcycle adventure, brings you to us this fall for a goodnight sleep, a glass of wine on our deck overlooking our spectacular mountainside backyard, a cold beer by the fire, a hike in the woods, or dinner in our cozy restaurant with our fall menu.

Hope your ready for fall foliage in Vermont. We are! :)

Our Best, Heather and Andrew

 

 

Renovations Continue at Mad River Barn

Well, things are coming along at the Annex and the Barn. We had a week off in April and are refreshed and ready for some summer fun! The weather has been amazing and we’ve been working away on spring cleaning, a few tweaks at the Barn, and the renovations at the Annex are in FULL SWING!

Loving this reclaimed wood look rug by FLOR!

Loving this reclaimed wood look rug by FLOR!

We’ve added a full wall to wall carpet in the dining room — it is a recycled product and goes in like tile. So if one gets ruined we don’t have to replace the whole carpet. Clever… we know…

Now off to the Annex (soon to be the Longhouse). Things are moving along… the framing is almost complete and we are so thrilled with the look of these rooms! They are going to be awesome!

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The walkways are being put in and some ofthe landscaping will be done. We will incorporate the last two antique grinding stones into the pathway. (Those things are heavy!)

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We know this part may not seem exciting, but check it out — look at the large windows, big room space and the alcove for a wall mounted TV… can you see it?

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It is official… we have caught our designer, Joanne Palmisano’s bug… the “save every little tiny piece of wood — we could use that somewhere”—bug! And we are… checking out what we made this weekend…

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That’s right, from this reclaimed wood and the old square head nails we pulled out of them, and the old pipe hangers, we made menu holders for the dining room and pub. How clever are we?!?

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And the less thick pieces of the left over wood we will add the cast iron robe hooks to and place in the rooms. It seems we can never have enough hooks!

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And while we are all working away, Joanne’s out shopping… hmm…something is wrong with this picture! Just kidding, Joanne! We are so excited she is once again finding some cool old pieces to add to the rooms, including more chicken feeders for bathroom lights. She picked these up while she was presenting at the Country Living Fair in Nashville!

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The relatives are back from the Midwest to help us out. Thanks so much! They are taking a quick break, checking in with the painter, Frances (left). Check out this amazing roof line in the upstairs bedrooms — can’t wait to see how these turn out!

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Future firepit? Not sure…but we had to keep the bottoms of the old tanks…how cool is this!

That’s it for now! More to come soon… follow along (just put your email address in the sidebar and you’ll get the blogs when they post).

Our best, Heather and Andrew

 

New Name for Annex and The Winner Is…

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So how much fun did we have sending out our first Enewsletter blast asking folks to help us rename the annex. Since we are giving half of it (4 rooms) a serious renovation starting in two weeks, we thought we should have a name that reflects the new and improved Mad River Barn eight guest room building.

We had 164 name submissions. Yahoo!  Also, anyone who submitted a name, was entered into a contest to win a Gift Certificate. And the winner was (selected by computer random drawing) Richard Barry! Congrats Richard!

Okay, we have to share some of the names that people sent in…so fun and funny… Mad River Stable, The Henhouse, Sky Wing, Siberia, The Sugar Shack Rooms, The Barn Mo Betta, The Mad House, The Mad Pad, The Corn Crib, Gizmo’s House, The Hay Stack, The Dog House, The Out Haus, (like spelling it that way as going to make that name better — ha ha).  There were others but this is a family program…

Then there were ones we seriously considered… The Back Barn, The Glen House, The Lodge, The Carriage House…but none of those fit quite right. So we thought about our current buildings names… the barn, the farmhouse…those really fit what they are.  We mean literally…they fit what they are.

So the definition of a historical house type that is for family groups, or serves as a housebarn is called the Longhouse.  Well….dah! that is what that building is for! Since we are already being so literal with the other two buildings, we thought…what the heck…let’s be that way with the annex.

It’s with great pleasure we give you the new name of the annex…drum roll please…The Longhouse! (a.k.a. The Barn Mo Betta)  We will be starting to call it that ASAP!

Thanks again for your participation — it was so great to get such an amazing response.  If you are not on our email list, just email us at madriverbarn@madriver.com and say… Yo! Please Put Me on Your Email List. We will only send a handful of Enewsletters out a year, but you could win something awesome like Richard did!

Soon, we’ll be showing off the progress of renovation of the Longhouse…we hope you will follow along (just add your email to the SUBSCRIBE box on the left hand side of this page to get the blog updates).

Our best, Heather and Andrew

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Current room in the annex…soon to be the Longhouse!