Page 1

Central Vermont best of

winter 2012/2013 volume 1, no. 1 $4.95

communities and lifestyle in the heart of the Green Mountains

winter in


New England Culinary institute

A Central Vermont Crown Jewel

sugarbush resort A Great Place to Ski

more than a sled

Make Memories with a Norton Toboggan

peacepups Dogsledding

CV_C1 v2 0113.indd 2

11/28/12 10:11 AM


winter 2012/2013 | Volume I No. I




a central vermont crown jewel 32



best of central Vermont | Winter 2012/2013

New England Culinary Institute.

42 Sugarbush resort more than a sled 52

by amy cook

A great place to ski.

Make memories with a Norton toboggan.

by kate carter

by bridget wiedl





publishers’ Note



10 12


Occasions party time

A holiday toast Good Stuff

14 The best gifts ever!

16 Out & About by Cassie Horner

Season’s Best

22 Winter’s Inspiration

Bright Ideas

27 Montpelier Alive

by Pat Goudey O’Brien

great outdoors

38 PeacePups dogsledding

by Lee Kemsley


what’s cooking

49 simple winter soups & stews by mj bouvier

dining guide

59 enjoy a night out

Arts & Entertainment

61 A calendar of events

face to face

64 A moment with Dan Keene

by stephen morris 4

best of central Vermont | Winter 2012/2013


Central Vermont best of

winter 2012/2013 | Volume I no. I

Coffee Table Publishing P.O. Box 1460, Quechee, VT 05059

(802) 295-5295 Publishers

Robin Gales John Gales Bob Frisch associate Editors

Kristy Erickson Deborah Thompson Creative Director

Ellen Klempner-Beguin Art Direction/Design

Robbie Alterio Advertising Design

Hutchens Media, LLC Web Design

Ryan Frisch Advertising

Robin Gales John Gales (802) 295-5295 Keep us posted. Best of Central Vermont wants to hear from our readers. Correspondence may be addressed to letters to the editor, Best of Central Vermont, P.O. Box 1460 Quechee, VT 05059. Advertising inquiries may be made by e-mailing ctpublishing@ or Best of Central Vermont is published quarterly by Coffee Table Publishing, LLC, Š 2013. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly prohibited. Best of Central Vermont accepts no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts, artwork, or photographs.


best of central Vermont | Winter 2012/2013


publishers’ note

Nice to meet you! Welcome to Best of Central Vermont magazine. It is our pleasure to spotlight this beautiful, vibrant, and active area. We bring you the new, the traditional, the interesting, and the heartwarming, all through beautiful and stunning photography and storytelling. You’ll find our magazine—your magazine— sprinkled with entertaining ideas, places to see, and gems around the corner you may not have known about. As publishers we feel that it is not only important but also a responsibility to spread the word on various nonprofit organizations doing great things for those in need throughout Central Vermont. Most importantly, it is our goal that after reading Best of Central Vermont you come away with a newfound sense of pride and appreciation of the area. Our focus is on the communities of Stowe, Waterbury, Waitsfield, Warren, Barre, Montpelier, Northfield, and the towns and villages in between. Issues are mailed directly to homes through the postal service, as well as to over 400 businesses. You’ll find complimentary copies all over the region as well. We look forward to bringing you the Best of Central Vermont every season for many years to come. If you’d like to reach out to us directly, please feel free to do so at And feel free to check out our sister publication, Best of Burlington, now celebrating five years, at We’d also like to thank our supporting team of editors, writers, photographers, and the local communities for welcoming our publication so enthusiastically. We wish you a happy holiday season filled with friends and family. Enjoy the winter in Vermont!

John and Robin Gales | best of central Vermont




Mj Bouvier

Kate Carter

Amy Cook

Cassie Horner

Stephen Morris

Pat Goudey O’Brien

A chef, photographer, and writer living in Jeffersonville, Vermont, Mj Bouvier believes in the art of simple food—easy to prepare, healthy to eat, and beautiful to look at! She is the author of the foodie blog, The Savvy Skillet (www.savvyskillet. com). Mj works as the sales and marketing manager at Power Shift Online Services in Stowe. She also owns and operates Emjay Technical Studios, which offers digital photography, video production, WordPress customization, and social media integration and consulting.

Amy Cook is the creative director of Amicus Studio, located near the Lamoille River delta in beautiful Milton, Vermont. She is an independent curator, interior designer, and multimedia artist. Amy is part of the inaugural class of graduates of The Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts, the country’s first PhD for artists. She is a southern transplant to Vermont from Charleston, South Carolina, and celebrates the rich cultural gifts of both regions in her everyday life.

Stephen Morris is a writer, editor, and publisher who works from an office on the banks of Gilead Brook between Randolph and Bethel. His company, The Public Press, publishes books (most recently The Wrath of Irene) and the quarterly journal Green Living. Reach him at


best of central Vermont | Winter 2012/2013

Kate Carter has been self-employed as a writer, editor, and photographer for more than 25 years. She wrote, photographed, designed, and published Wildflowers of Vermont, a field guide to 255 wildflowers that grow on Vermont’s trailsides, roadsides, woodlands, bogs, and alpine summits. Kate was the founding publisher and editor of Vermont Sports magazine and is a frequent contributor to Stowe Guide & Magazine. She lives in Waterbury Center with two border collies and two cats.

Cassie Horner is a writer, editor, and publisher, and author of the historical novel Lucy E.—Road to Victory. Her roots in Vermont go back almost 200 years and inspire her love of the natural world and history. She lives in Plymouth, Vermont, with her husband and two dogs—an English shepherd and a mini dachshund.

Pat Goudey O’Brien is a writer, editor, and owner of her own small press, The Tamarac Press, located in Warren. She started out in book publishing for PrenticeHall, Inc., in the early 1970s and has been writing journalism and nonfiction for newspapers, magazines, and book publishers for about 30 years.

occ asions

Top four photos by Bob’s Camera of Barre

Central Vermonters gather to hear presidential candidate Teddy Roosevelt in a recent re-enactment of Roosevelt’s 1912 campaign visit to Barre.

Vermont Historical Society’s New Heritage Galleries’ long awaited exhibits recently opened to enthusiastic Vermonters of all ages: The Emergence of the Granite City: Barre 1880 to 1940 shines a light on Barre’s major contributions to the Granite Industry. The second exhibit, Icons, Oddities and Wonders, Stories from the VHS Collections, treats visitors to a fascinating collection of whimsical items, peculiar and disturbing tales, and a host of uniquely Vermont memories that if not preserved will be lost forever. Admission to the new Vermont Heritage Galleries is free through the end of 2012. The Galleries are in the Vermont History Center at 60 Washington Street in Barre. Send photos of your events to


best of central Vermont | Winter 2012/2013

Bottom two photos by Vermont Historical Society

part y time

a holiday toast

Celebrate in style with this festive beverage

Spiced Eggnog Makes about 3Âź cups

4 ½ 2 2 1 1 1

egg yolks cup sugar cups milk whole cloves Pinch of ground cinnamon cup heavy cream tsp nutmeg tsp pure vanilla extract Optional: 2 Tbsp spiced rum or bourbon Garnish: whipped cream, a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg, and cinnamon sticks

1. Using an electric mixer, beat egg yolks in a large bowl. Gradually add the sugar until the mixture has thickened slightly. 2. Combine milk, cloves, and cinnamon in a medium saucepan. Cook mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to bubble around the edges (do not boil). 3. Gradually add half of the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture. Stir egg mixture into the remaining hot milk in the pan. Cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. 4. Remove from heat and stir in cream. Remove the cloves. 5. Let cool 1 hour. Stir in nutmeg, vanilla, and optional rum or bourbon. Chill for another hour in the refrigerator. Top with whipped cream, a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg, and a cinnamon stick. Serve warm or chilled.


best of central Vermont | Winter 2012/2013

good stuff


the best gifts ever!

Treat your friends and family to practical, thoughtful gifts— and maybe even an outrageously luxurious one.




1. Vermont Evergreen Trees by Simon Pearce are the perfect gift or holiday keepsake. The beautiful handmade blown glass trees are available in four sizes. Priced from $100–$300, 2. All ages enjoy the gift of reading. The Kindle Fire HD features a 7-inch HD display, Dolby audio, and Wi-Fi and is available in 16GB or 32GB. This gadget weighs less than 6 ounces and has more than 800,000 titles to choose from, typically priced at $10 per book or less. Prices for other Kindle models start at $79. Model shown: $199,


best of central Vermont | Winter 2012/2013

3. Topping the list of luxury items is this distinctive watch by Swiss maker Tag Heuer. The Mikrograph style in anthracite is also available in brown. The automatic chronograph means 360,000 beats per hour. Price upon request from the manufacturer. Item CAR5041.FC8178, 4. Victorinox Swiss Champ Pocketknife is 33 tools in one, including screwdriver, bottle opener, corkscrew, wire stripper, tweezers, and lots more. Made of high-quality stainless steel. $85, Item TA279888,



5. Treat your favorite sports fan to a Boston Celtics Sweatshirt. There are plenty of styles and colors to choose from to keep you warm all through the basketball season. $54.95, Item 366253, 6. Slip your feet into L.L. Bean’s Wicked Good Moccasins. Not only are they deliciously comfortable and cozy, but they also have sturdy rubber soles to keep you from slipping. Available for men and women. $69, Item TA264593, | best of central Vermont


out and about

b y c a ssie h o r n e r

Stowe Tour de Snow If you live in Vermont in the winter, enjoying the outdoors is a surefire way to make the cold season go by enjoyably. This is a motto put into action in the village of Stowe with the annual Stowe Tour de Snow, named one of Vermont’s Top 10 Winter Events. Set for Sunday, January 20, from noon to 4pm, the 2013 event promises to be more fun than ever.

“People come to try new things from all over Vermont and beyond,” says founder Pascale Savard. “The day can be as long or as short an adventure as you want.” Stowe Tour de Snow takes place on the groomed terrain of the Stowe Recreation Path. Families and friends ski, walk, snowshoe, or run and participate in fun-filled activities grouped into stations, each sponsored, organized, and staffed by local and area businesses and organizations. Activities include games, paintball target shooting, yoga, new exercises, kick-sled challenges, hockey puck shooting, and environmentally themed crafts. There will also be 60 sets of Nordic equipment available for kids to try out in the learn-to-ski clinic. Back again is the popular Winter Camping Station, and new for 2013 is the Avalanche Rescue Station, a hot-button topic in the news. For the second year, there will be adaptive athletes on hand giving demon16

best of central Vermont | Winter 2012/2013

out and about

strations and answering questions. There will be food available along the way, including hot cider. Stowe Tour de Snow began as a way to bring the community of locals, businesses, and visitors together. “Everyone can spend the day enjoying all Stowe has to offer,” Savard says. “I love to see all ages come together, from people pushing babies to grandparents holding hands.” For more information, visit www.stowe or call (802) 253-9216. | best of central Vermont


out and about

ECO Program at North Branch Nature Center Last winter, first graders from Union Elementary in Montpelier made the trek across the bridge to their final destination of Hubbard Park, where they quickly became engrossed in building mini-sleds— suitable in size for say, a squirrel—out of recycled materials from school. They ducttaped and stapled together their constructions, and even brought them out to recess on subsequent days, such was the excitement of this learning experience. This activity is part of “Force in Motion,” a component of ECO (Educating Children Outdoors) Program from the North Branch Nature Center. “Real learning starts when the kids are in the outdoors,” says Amy Butler, the North Branch director of education. “For example, why does one sled go faster than another? There is a fine line between kids’ work is play and kids’ play is work.” ECO’s “playground” is the ordinary outdoor world that kids can experience every day. “The goal is for every Vermont child to have a sense of place and care for the community and surrounding environment,” explains Butler. The “work” of the program brings together classroom teaching and the outdoors. For example, the Force in Motion program begins with pre-teaching vocabulary and ideas by the school classroom teacher. After the sled-building exercise outdoors, the kids bring what they learned back to the classroom where they write about it. On the same winter’s day, the students also focused on “Properties of Matter.” The group stopped on the bridge over the North Branch 18

best of central Vermont | Winter 2012/2013

out and about

River to suspend a long rope with a thermometer to check the temperature of the water. They also checked the temperature of the snow. “It is natural to stop at the river every time we cross the bridge,” Butler says. “They observe change over time, which is one of the education standards. The springboard activities outdoors let them bring sensory-loaded experience into the classroom.” Five schools currently participate in ECO: Union Elementary (K–2), Twinfield Union (K), Waitsfield Elementary (K), East Montpelier (K–1), and Moretown Elementary (K–6). To learn more about ECO, call North Branch Nature Center at (802) 229-6206. | best of central Vermont


out and about

The Valley Players Community theater done right unites people with enthusiasm and talents they probably don’t get to use in their everyday lives. The Valley Players, based in the historic district of Waitsfield, is remarkable not only for the excitement it generates but also for its 33-year history, and its roots that go back even further, into the 1960s. “We’re community theater and very proud of it,” says Jennifer Howard, a member of the board who knows the ins and outs of the group’s legacy. “Our desire is to give people an opportunity to get on stage or direct or do what they like to do but have no other opportunity. We want you; if you want to get up on stage, please come. It’s successful because there are so many talented people.” The group’s winter production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever concludes with performances the weekend of December 14 to 16, and they will soon be busy planning the


best of central Vermont | Winter 2012/2013

annual Cabin Fever Follies—really a talent show for locals—scheduled for late winter. Cabin Fever Follies is especially designed for the performers and audience to just have fun. “The focus is the people on the stage, and there’s a lot of silliness,” Howard says. Variety is the name of the game with people singing, reading their poetry, doing skits, and performing music. The local high school students traditionally perform a teaser snippet from the play they do in the spring. The theater is set up cabaret style, and people enter the decorate-your-table contest for a diversity of themes that might be all-white elegance or Big Bird fun. There may also be another winter show; check the website for updates. The Valley Players have a rich history. In the early days of the 1960s, people mostly from Warren got together and put on shows at Sugarbush and downtown Warren. “They all grew up and had kids, so no

more shows,” Howard laughs. She came on the scene in the 1970s and saw an opportunity to get the theater going again. Fastforward 33 years to an active organization that owns its own theater. For more information about The Valley Players and the Cabin Fever Follies and other productions, visit | best of central Vermont


season’s best



best of central Vermont | Winter 2012/2013

“Sometimes our fate resembles a fruit tree in winter. Who would think that those branches would turn green again and blossom, but we hope it, we know it.” —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

inspiration Winter is a time for quiet reflection, when a fresh blanket of snow makes every tree and shrub sparkling and perfect— as if frozen in time. Savor the stillness and enjoy the crisp air, peace, and beauty of winter while it lasts. | best of central Vermont


“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, ‘Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.’” —Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

20 w w. a r oVermont undcon o r d2012/2013 24 best ofwcentral | cWinter

“I do an awful lot of thinking and dreaming about things in the past and the future—the timelessness of the rocks and the hills—all the people who have existed there. I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape—the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show.”

—Andrew Wyeth | best of central Vermont


“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” — Edith Sitwell


best of central Vermont | Winter 2012/2013

by Pat Goudey O’Brien

bright ideas



Explore the vibrant downtown community For locals and visitors alike, Montpelier’s downtown neighborhood offers a taste of small-city Vermont culture and community at its liveliest. A host of activities and events that highlight the area’s arts, leisure, recreational, and commercial sectors provide something for everyone to see and do in Montpelier. There’s a wide selection of annual and seasonal happenings. With events like summertime Brown Bag Concerts in the open air at Christ Church’s Courtyard; bustling farmers’ markets outdoors for summer and indoors for winter; regularly scheduled Art

Walks highlighting local talent at downtown galleries and businesses; downtown trick-ortreating for Halloween; the Flannel Friday kick-off to holiday shopping; New Year’s celebrations; and the month-long Winter Festival in February, Montpelier is hopping with activity year-round. There’s even the designation of “Poem City” to celebrate National Poetry Month in April, bringing poems and poets from all over Vermont to take part in special events supported by the Kellogg-Hubbard Library, Vermont College of Fine Arts, the Vermont Humanities Council, and the National Endowment

for the Arts. The city’s month-long immersion in poetry includes workshops and readings, while poems are posted in shop windows all over town for public viewing. The city’s Downtown Community Association—Montpelier Alive—launched in 1999 to help the area achieve its Designated Downtown status among Vermont cities and towns. Since its inception, Montpelier Alive (MA) has played a leadership role among the many businesses and community organizations that help to maintain the area’s welcoming character and bustling schedule.4

Youngsters, parents, and grandparents anxiously await Santa’s arrival downtown. | best of central Vermont


Downtown Montpelier’s traditional decorations set the holiday mood as kids of all ages wait to greet Santa.

“Montpelier is a vibrant and thriving community,” says Bob Watson, owner of Capital Grounds, a popular coffee shop down the street from the capitol building on State Street. “Montpelier Alive is part of the reason for that.” Being a Vermont Designated Downtown offers a locus for coordinated programming that highlights the city’s commerce, leisure, and recreational attractions. But it also offers property owners and renters access to benefits like special tax credits as well as the ability to act as a unit when applying for transportation funds or taking advantage of programs designed to help downtowns remain vital and active players in the success of their wider communities. MA’s Executive Director Phayvahn Leukhamhan says the nonprofit organization supports special events that draw people to 28

best of central Vermont | Winter 2012/2013

The entire family enjoys a day downtown with horsedrawn wagon rides and lots of window shopping.

the area throughout the year, and MA also helps with strategic programs and services that enhance the vitality of business and recreation in Montpelier. The group functions according to guidelines from the national Main Streets Program, charged with helping to plan physical aspects of the neighborhood—things like the streetscape, lighting, and use of public space—as well as working to maintain economic vitality, coordinate activities, and help with promotion and marketing for the city’s downtown. Dedicated volunteers drawn from businesses, organizations, and city residents provide the energy and resources that fuel MA’s success. Leslie Roth is co-owner with Lee Youngman of The Knitting Studio on Main Street. They, too, are active supporters and participants in MA’s programs and events. Roth says the organization does a lot of value-added work for the area and performs | best of central Vermont


A little one gets up close and personal to meet the horses and thank them for giving his family a wonderful wagon ride.

two very important functions for residents and businesses in Montpelier’s downtown. “It provides a forum for people getting to know each other,” she says. “And it also puts on many really fine events. They help to energize the community and bring people into the downtown for special and unusual programs.” The calendar of special events offers activities that are more than simply commercial opportunities, Roth says. She mentions events like the Art Walks that involve not only studios and galleries but also include venues like restaurants and retail shops where local artists and performers display their work. This month, the first Friday in December featured Art Walk displays at as many as 30 venues, Leukhamhan says, with special performances in downtown shop windows featuring drama students from local schools as live “window displays.” The public was invited to tour the area on foot and to stop in to view art displays, enjoy the performances, 30

best of central Vermont | Winter 2012/2013

and meet-and-greet members of the downtown neighborhood and arts community. Roth says taking part in MA and the life of Montpelier’s downtown is more than just good for her knitting shop. “It makes us a community and not just a collection of businesses,” she says. Montpelier Alive’s First Night celebrations have been a popular mid-winter offering for almost two decades, but Leukhamhan says this year the laborious and volunteerintensive program is being suspended. But mid-winter events and New Year’s celebrations still rank high on the event schedule. The day after Thanksgiving, typically called Black Friday, is the number-one shopping day before Christmas and the winter holiday season. Montpelier offers its own twist—Flannel Friday, when shoppers who wear flannel or purchase an official Flannel Pin receive special discounts and bonuses at participating locations all over town. “It encourages people to think of Montpelier for their holiday shopping,” says Leukhamhan. Family-friendly activities round out the day all over downtown and

are continued throughout December, she says. She notes that Montpelier offers Capital City Cash, a community gift certificate program cooperating with Shaw’s Supermarkets, which will donate $1 to the local food pantry for every $10 in certificates sold through December. Capital City Cash certificates are redeemable at a wide number of participating businesses around downtown. The first Saturday in December featured the city’s Tree Lighting ceremony, Leukhamhan says, including a visit from Santa in a Fire Truck, and a host of activities at locations up and down Main and State Streets. Every Saturday in December is special, she notes, with wagon rides through town and other attractions planned that make each visit more than just a shopping trip. Activities and event schedules can be found at the MA web site at www.montpelieralive. org, and they’re are posted on the organization’s Facebook page also, where visitors and friends can promote and discuss what’s going on in town, contributing to the sense of community that enhances the quality of life in downtown Montpelier. | best of central Vermont


A Central Vermont Crown Jewel

New England Culinary Institute


best of central Vermont | Winter 2012/2013

by amy cook

Last month, as always, Thanksgiving revealed the myriad ways savoring and sharing a meal can have a unifying effect on families, communities, and the nation, a point embodied in the everyday ethos of one of Central Vermont’s crown jewels: The New England Culinary Institute. No doubt you have experienced such stimulating repast if you have ever had a meal at one of NECI’s teaching restaurants; Montpelier is home to three: La Brioche, The Chef’s Table, and NECI on Main. The Restaurants

Above: NECI student at Capital City Farmer’s Market, Montpelier. Opposite top: NECI’s multi award-winning flagship restaurant, NECI on Main, in picturesque downtown Montpelier. Bottom left: French Master Chef Jean-Louis Gerin, NECI’s Vice President of Culinary Operations and Executive Chef. Bottom right: NECI’s 2012 graduation reception.

Chef’s Table 118 Main Street Montpelier, VT (802) 223-3188

La Brioche Bakery and Café 89 Main Street Montpelier, VT (802) 229-0443

NECI on Main 118 Main Street Montpelier, VT (802) 223-3188

La Brioche is a bakery and café perfect for lunch and sweet desserts. It is a great place to relax over a lunch hour or warm up with coffee or tea and a pastry while shopping in some of Montpelier’s fun boutiques. The corner location at the intersection of State and Main Streets makes it an easy-to-find impromptu meeting spot for hearty soup and warm conversation. The Chef’s Table is an elegant private dining room for special events. The emphasis on service and creative cuisine in an intimate atmosphere are designed to complement the particular needs of receptions, holiday parties, banquets, and other innovative group dining experiences. NECI on Main is a leading farm-to-table classroom restaurant recently selected as one of the Top Ten for Brunch in the OpenTable Diner’s Choice survey. The brunch is served from 10am to 2pm on Sundays. Of additional note is the Mediterranean Tapas Menu available from 5:30 to 9pm Tuesday through Saturday. Tapas means small, savory bites, which are often a prelude to a lighter dinner meal, but are enjoyable in their own right as well. You can preview the menu and make reservations online at

The School For those in search of an education in the culinary arts or hospitality management, NECI has a diverse menu of degrees and certifications, which appeals to students of varying ages, professional experience, and interests. Founder and CEO Fran Voigt puts this advantage into perspective: “People in

this area should know that located right here in Montpelier, Vermont, is one of the best culinary schools in the country. It’s not because we have a beautiful campus, it’s not because we are the biggest, but because we have a unique educational model. The evidence of its effectiveness is the success of the graduates.” According to Voigt, part of what sets NECI apart from other culinary institutions is the school’s three educational traditions: European apprenticeship, progressive teaching, and a live laboratory model. Apprenticeships allow students to study the development of hand-eye coordination and the ability to taste and season under a master; Executive Chef Jean-Louis Gerin, a recipient of the James Beard Award, is a fine example of this in action. The live laboratory model built into NECI’s curriculum promotes a solid work ethic including being timely, clean, groomed, organized, and a good team member, especially when faced with the reality of getting up at 4am to bake pastry! In addition to the restaurants, NECI students run three other kitchens, including The Dewey Café at the Vermont College of Fine Arts and the National Life cafeteria, which are both in Montpelier, and the cafeteria at Husky Injection Molding Systems in Milton, Vermont. Mr. Voigt explains, “There are all these food services out there that need help and we want live labs. Why spend a fortune building our own labs? Let’s put the money into teachers and have a low studentfaculty ratio because, finally, it’s teachers who teach, it’s teachers who train the students—it’s not a fancy kitchen.” Collectively, these diverse settings provide students with | best of central Vermont


Above: Members of an advanced (senior) culinary class. Below: NECI student prepares a plated dinner. Opposite, top: Delicious offerings at NECI’s 2012 graduation reception. Below: Chef Lyndon Virkler and students at Capital City Farmer’s Market in Montpelier.

experience and choice in venues, such as bakeshops, cafeterias, popular price eateries, catering, and high-end restaurants. Chef Lyndon Virkler, Culinary Arts Department Chair, explains, “I saw NECI’s impact on Central Vermont and the whole state as the food scene in the state was evolving. Initially, it was a badge of honor to import something: we had Roquefort cheese and I was using Jarlsberg cheese for my French onion soup and using frozen chicken. Through NECI’s influence, the quality of food available became better. Chef Michel, who was the executive chef at the time, was demanding better quality, so suppliers were looking for that. Quality producers wanted someone to showcase their offerings, and NECI was able to develop recipes around those ingredients. And at the same time, NECI had a series of forums about food and from that evolved the Vermont Fresh Network.” 34

best of central Vermont | Winter 2012/2013

Striving for Excellence Similarly, the institutional goal became not growth but excellence, which brings us to the emphasis on the instructors. NECI instructors hail from a variety of settings, including fine dining establishments in major

metropolitan areas, hotels and resorts, and catering entities of varying sizes. First and foremost, the instructors must view teaching as a rewarding experience, and they must possess a desire to influence the industry rather than retire from it.

Voigt attributes the school’s ability to retain such an accomplished and recognized leader as Chef Jean-Louis to the fact that “the subculture of the restaurant industry is aware of NEC. Jean-Louis knew about the school, understood the model, and wants to take it | best of central Vermont


Top: Working at La Brioche Bakery and Café. Above and right: NECI’s 2012 graduation reception required stacks of dinnerware and utensils as well as a delicious menu. Opposite: Hospitality and Restaurant Management classes provide front-of-house instruction.


best of central Vermont | Winter 2012/2013

to the next level.” He continues, “Both Chef Lyndon and Chef Jean-Louis had hired NECI graduates before coming to the school. They can compare NECI graduates to graduates from other schools. They know the structure of the training that led to their superior performance, and they understand what has to be perpetuated for the school to continue.” From a consumer’s point of view, Chef Jean-Louis points out that NECI’s restaurant offerings are an amazing deal. “Yes, you are

sels and Watercress Soup, and Crispy Thai Dumplings are just a few of the starter options. Entrées include Seared Striped Bass, Chicken Schnitzel, and Vegetable Strudel. Among the farm partners providing fresh local ingredients are Bardwell Farm in West Pawlet, and Hazendale Farm and Jasper Hill Farm in Greensboro. The contribution of a good eating establishment to a community’s sense of place cannot be underestimated. NECI serves up a fresh and delicious array of ingredients, recipes, and presentations in each of their menus. Whether you are looking for a way to realize your dream of becoming a great chef, or simply a great place to gather over a delicious meal with friends and colleagues while supporting higher education in Vermont, NECI is a great choice because of the way it marries the many variables that come to bear on a satisfying dining experience.

part of the education system and you are helping the students to produce, to have real life experiences, and at the same time, you, as the customer, are getting the most amazing value,” he explains. “It is impossible to have the quality of food that you are getting

at NECI on Main for that price in pretty much any restaurant that I know of. So it’s a fair trade, a very fair trade.” A case-in-point is the three-course tasting menu, which includes a starter, entrée, and dessert for $28. Salmon Tartare, Mus-

New England Culinary Institute 56 College Street Montpelier, VT (877) 223-6324 | best of central Vermont


peacepups Dog

gr e at o u t d o o r s

b y l ee k e m s l e y


Enjoy a twilight tour on a winter evening


best of central Vermont | Winter 2012/2013

Left: Hercules is one of Ken’s largest Siberians. Above: Muddy and Buck lead the way as Ken takes a client on a tour. Right: Hercules and his brother Orion rest between runs.

A Mission of Peace

Ken’s mission at Peacepups Dog Sledding is to donate 10 percent of profits to nonprofit organizations working to promote world peace and at the same time provide the best possible care for his dogs. “I feel this is a way that I can act locally and have a positive global impact,” says Ken. Some recipients of donations over the years include the following:

and a team of eight Siberian huskies is pulling you up a trail that winds its way up the base of Mount Mansfield. There’s nothing like riding with a team of dogs through the woods of Vermont under a brilliant starlit winter sky, and according to Ken Haggett, owner of Peacepups Dog Sledding in Elmore, Vermont, it’s an experience you won’t soon forget.


Democracy Now Breast Cancer Relief Fund Special Olympics Vermont Native American Aid Council of Indian Nations Professional Fire Fighters of VT March of Dimes

Picture this: It’s a snowy winter night, | best of central Vermont


Now in his eighth year of business running his Siberian huskie sled tours through locations in Lake Elmore and Stowe, Ken got his inspiration for Peacepups “when we adopted our first Siberian husky, Jake, from a local shelter in 2001.” He created Peacepups Dog Sledding in 2005, and its popularity has steadily grown.

A Special Connection “Although the dogsledding trend is toward Alaskan huskies, we’ve decided to stick with Siberians because we just love their personalities, their love of running, and even their stubborn dispositions,” says Ken. “It’s all about the dogs here at Peacepups. The reality is that no one would trek all the way to Vermont from halfway around the world just to see me, but they do to meet our dogs. There is no doubt that there’s a special connection between the dogs and the people who come to visit them, and it brings me great pleasure to be a part of that.” An important part of Ken’s mission is to teach visitors about compassion and caring for animals. “Taking guests out with the dogs gives them the rare privilege of seeing a dog team doing what they love to do—run,” says Ken. “There are many misconceptions about these dogs; some people even think it’s mean to make them run. But this couldn’t be further from the truth, and an hour or two with the dogs makes that evident. This is the easiest part of my job, because the dogs speak for themselves.” Ken enters a few races each year, but his focus isn’t on winning. “Mostly we do it to make sure our training is going well and to socialize with other New England mushers. What I really enjoy is just being out in the woods with my canine family and exposing people to the exciting world of dog-powered sports.”

Book Your Tour Peacepups runs daytime tours at Lake Elmore on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays during the wintertime, and the tours last about two hours. Evening tours are on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Stowe Mountain Resort and last for an hour. There are only three tours per day, so book your tour well in advance. (Same-day bookings are sometimes available, but tours are often full a month in advance.) Ken’s dogs also run dry-land cart tours during fall foliage season and when snow 40

best of central Vermont | Winter 2012/2013

Above: Buck and Muddy lead the team as they run on one of the bigger downhills on the trail. Below: Hercules, Allie, and Barron practice their pre-run howling.

conditions don’t allow for sled rides. Carts and sleds are even crafted by Ken, who worked as a custom woodworker for many years before getting hooked on a more outdoor-oriented lifestyle. Peacepups also offers an hourly rate for custom sled building and repairs. A Peacepups dogsled adventure is much more than a ride—it’s a great way to experience the winter and see for yourself what makes these dogs so special. “I strive to spread the joy of working with dogs to a broad audience and promote dogsledding in Vermont,” says Ken, “as well as encourage people to get outside and enjoy the natural beauty of our state.”

Peacepups Dog Sledding PO Box 165 Lake Elmore, VT (802) 888-7733 | best of central Vermont


By kate carter Photos Courtesy of Sugarbush Resort


best of central Vermont | Winter 2012/2013


resort a great place to Ski

When Sugarbush Resort’s founding owners Jack Murphy, Damon Gadd, and Sara Gadd opened the resort 54 years ago—December 25, 1958, to be exact—it’s doubtful their long-term vision included guided backcountry adventures, sunset groomer rides, and terrain parks, not to mention snowboarding, snowmaking, and certificates of composting excellence. Back then, they were happy just to get people to pay $5.50 for a lift ticket. A hardworking trio, they had the foresight and marketing savvy to recruit skiing idols, such as former Dartmouth ski racer Peter Estin, who brought a loyal entourage to the Mad River Valley; Austrian Sigi Buchmayr, who ran Sugarbush’s first ski school; and Olympic gold medalist Stein Eriksen of Norway, whose flashy skiing style added pizzazz to the slopes. Their fame drew a swanky following of jet setters, politicians, and high rollers, and the resort became known as Mascara Mountain. That was over half a century ago, when Eisenhower was president, gas cost 25 cents a gallon, and The Chipmunks’ Christmas Don’t be Late was at the top of Billboard magazine’s list of number-one singles.

Fast-Forward 50 Years Since then Sugarbush has changed hands five times and has expanded exponentially, both at the base and on the slopes. It boasts the second-most vertical drop in Vermont, with 111 trails, 16 lifts, three terrain parks, and 20 wooded trails. It is situated in Warren on the eastern spine of the Green Mountains, between Lincoln Gap and Appalachian Gap, where 2,000 | best of central Vermont


Clockwise from left: The Church at Lincoln Peak. Sunrise over the Mad River Valley. Sugarbush makes an ideal wedding destination. David Babic catches some air.

acres of backcountry skiing in the nonlift-served Slide Brook Basin have earned nationwide accolades for best backcountry skiing in the east. Today Sugarbush is owned and operated by Summit Ventures NE, LLC, which is majority-owned by Win Smith Jr., who also serves as the company’s president. Investors in Summit Ventures are skiers and riders devoted to the long-term success 44

best of central Vermont | Winter 2012/2013

of Sugarbush and the Mad River Valley. “The Valley,” as it is known to anyone who has lived there or visited, includes Duxbury, Fayston, Moretown, Waitsfield, and Warren, as well as Sugarbush and Mad River Glen resorts. The individual communities are inextricably linked to each other, and the success of each is felt by all the others. After Summit Ventures acquired Sugarbush in 2001, they set about making substantial improvements. The Castlerock and Green Mountain Express chairlifts were replaced, the snowmaking system

was upgraded, new grooming equipment was purchased, the Gate House Lodge was completed, the slopeside residences of Clay Brook opened, and backcountry skiing was introduced in Slide Brook Basin. Through it all, Summit Ventures skillfully maintained a sense of Sugarbush’s days gone by, blending old-time quintessential Vermont charm with the modern amenities any skier or rider would expect from a 21st century ski resort. The term “Vermont vernacular” is used frequently to describe the resort’s architectural appearance and ambience, and Vermont

vernacular is the vibe the company hopes to achieve moving forward.

Groundbreaking News Sugarbush’s spoken objective is to be the leading four-season resort in the Northeast, and every day it comes closer to achieving that goal. In 2010 Outside magazine named nearby Waitsfield “Best Ski Town in the East,” a title that not only reflects the town’s worthiness but also pays kudos to the resort, for what would a ski town be without a mountain on which to ski? A year later SKI Magazine named Sugarbush Resort | best of central Vermont


Top: Twilight at Lincoln Peak Village. Below: Jr. Castlerock Extreme Challenge. Opposite, left: Springtime Cat skiing at Mount Ellen. Right: Hang time at Lincoln Peak.

number-one in the east for terrain variety in its annual Reader Resort Survey. Local skier and season-pass-holder Drew Simmons, owner of Pale Morning Media in Waitsfield, moved to the Valley in 2004 with his family. He considers himself an advanced skier and skis as often as possible. “The amount of terrain at Sugarbush surprises me,” he says. “It has a small mountain feel at the base, but the amount of terrain and skiing is sizeable. They’ve made remarkable strides in woods skiing. The more I ski there the less I ski on groomed trails. Of course it’s weather dependent, but even in a slow snow year there are still great days in the woods.” The latest effort to bring more community to the base of all that great terrain is Rice Brook Residences, situated between Lincoln Peak Village and Sugarbush Village. The 15 slopeside homes at the foot of Lincoln Peak 46

best of central Vermont | Winter 2012/2013

will consist of two-, three-, and four-bedroom townhomes and condominiums in three separate buildings. According to Public Relations Director Patrick Brown, Rice Brook is an important step in Sugarbush’s commitment to create a vibrant community at Lincoln Peak Village. “Groundbreaking was in early November, and Sugarbush has selected The Design Group Architects of Warren, Vermont, and Engelberth Construction as the general contractor. At this point Rice Brook Residences are expected to be ready for occupancy in the fall of 2013,” Brown says.

Partners without Borders In a historic union of the minds, Sugarbush and Mad River Glen have agreed to partner on joint lift ticket programs designed to promote the Mad River Valley as a single New England ski destination. Skiers who book extended ski-and-stay packages can purchase a Ski the Valley Plus ticket which includes unrestricted access to all three mountains— Lincoln Peak and Mount Ellen at Sugarbush, and Mad River Glen—along with extra “pluses” at restaurants and shops in the Mad River Valley. Both resorts also are targeting the young adult demographic by offering special rates for skiers under the age of 30. If you are between

the ages of 20 and 30, Sugarbush’s For20s Pass gives you unrestricted access to both of Sugarbush’s mountains for $419. For an additional $80 you can “Add Mad” and get access to Mad River Glen midweek. And if you’re a full-time college student, you’re entitled to the jackpot: unrestricted access to the three mountains with the Threesome College Pass. Drew Simmons sees this initiative as a step in a positive direction. Since moving to the Valley eight years ago he has become acutely aware of the closeness of Sugarbush and Mad River Glen. “I realize they are separate businesses, but from a skier’s perspective it makes sense to partner on lift tickets,” he says. Even though there is not a combined ticket that Drew, personally, can benefit from, he appreciates the opportunities the partnership presents. “It’s a natural fit and a good way to get younger skiers involved in the sport and staying with it.”

Exciting Offerings A partnership that has already proved wildly successful is the one between Sugarbush and extreme skier John Egan of Warren Miller ski flick fame. “Adventures with John Egan is one of our most popular programs,” notes Patrick Brown. “It’s a backcountry skills and awareness program, with John guiding people in the Slide Brook Basin

area.” Egan also leads backcountry tours in Slide Brook. Participants access the wooded terrain from Lincoln peak and ski down to German Flats Road, where a shuttle takes them back to the lift. Full- and half-day tours are available, and skiers can take as many runs as they are physically able in the allotted time. Also popular is First Timer to Life Timer, an introductory program for people who have never skied before, but want to bring skiing into their lives as a new hobby. For $255, enrollees get three lessons, rentals, and a free season pass, and instructors take them from neophyte sliders to turn linkers. “In the past, most people who tried skiing and took a lesson didn’t come back,” says Brown. “Not so with the First Timer to Life Timer program, where we have found a high conversion rate. It gives new skiers all they need to be proficient by themselves on the slopes. Skiing becomes a new passion and they come back every year.” It won’t be long before those first-timers will be ready for Cabin Cat Adventures. The Lincoln Limo is a PistenBully with room for 12 passengers in a luxury cabin complete with flat-screened TV and plush seats. One of Sugarbush’s most popular offerings, with early risers, anyway, is Powder Morning First Tracks, when the Lincoln Limo takes 12 | best of central Vermont


ers to the top of Lincoln Peak for first tracks from 6:30am to 9am. “The Limo is in high demand on powder mornings,” says Brown. “We meet at 6am for coffee and pastries. Then we get in the Cat and ride to the top. Depending on the level of skiers, the group can usually get three to five or six runs in before 9am.” Cost per person is $75, and reservations are recommended. As owner Win Smith says, “If it’s snowing we’re going,” and if it’s snowing, you can bet the Limo will be full of Mad River Valley’s die-hard powder hounds.

All smiles at the summit of Mount Ellen.

For More Information For general information about Sugarbush, go to For information about Rice Brook Residences, go to Current ticket prices, season pass rates, discounts, and deals are posted at www. Information about Cabin Cat Adventures and Adventures with John Egan can be found at adventures.

coming in our Spring 2013 issue

trend watch Build, Remodel & decoRate


trend watch

Don’t miss out! Showcase your products and services in


our special Trend Watch section. We’ll feature the latest in home construction and improvement, landscaping, kitchens, baths, interior design, energy-efficient heating systems and appliances, furniture, best new materials, and more.



For information contact John Gales For advertising advertising information, contact Bob Frisch at at, (603) 643-1830, or or Robin Gales at e-mail him at or call (802) 295-5295.

s p e c i a l a dv e rt i s i n g s e c t i o n

s p e c i a l a dv e rt i s i n g s e c t i o n

“People want to be efficient with the space they have, whether it is a large house or a small one.” Susan Fuller, David Anderson Hill, Inc.

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s our lives become more hectic, our homes are our sanctuaries—our space to enjoy family, friends, and sometimes solitude. Savoring that space, our connections between indoors and outdoors are closer than ever. In new homes and renovations, in town and in the country, designs increasingly integrate home and landscape. Along with connecting to the

environment, we are also choosing to care for it—with style. Energy efficient designs and products are attractive and affordable, and they have become the norm. Come along as we tour the latest home designs, discover the best new materials, and share tips and advice from local professionals on every aspect of creating a comfortable, welcoming home.

hether it’s a weeknight dinner with your family or a holiday open house, everyone knows that people love to gather in the kitchen. Make it marvelous with a beautiful design and the highest quality materials and appliances your budget will allow. “We are selling more painted cabinets with a multitude of colors, primarily whites and creams,” says Jonathan E. Blodgett of Blodgett’s Sash & Door in Lebanon. “Barn Red has been a popular color also, along with natural finishes in maple, cherry, and red birch. The Shaker-style door is definitely the most popular at this time.”

Granby Home courtesy of DaviD anDerson Hill

HartlanD Hill cape courtesy of DaviD anDerson Hill

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best of central Vermont | Winter 2012/2013

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buIldErS & ContrACtorS

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SPRING 2012 •



w h at ’ s co o k in g

by mj bouvier

Simple Winter Soups & Stews From the Family Recipe Box

I was lucky enough to grow up living right across the street from my great-grandmother and around the block from my grandmother. Both of these women were amazing soup makers. I called my great-grandmother Great Mother, and she used to say she could throw a rock in boiling water to make a great soup. In fact, some Italian soup recipes actually do use a stone from the ocean to lend the flavor of salt and brine. I have a memory of my mother and me walking over to visit Great Mother one day as she was just sitting down to lunch. “Pull up a chair, I’ll throw another potato in the stew,” came the usual response we had been hoping for. So we sat down and joined her for a wonderful chicken stew. Before we left, my mother asked her for the recipe, which Great Mother was more than happy to share from her box of handwritten recipe cards.

Later that week my mother made Great Mother’s chicken stew. While it was delicious, it didn’t taste like Great Mother’s. My mother called her and asked what she had done wrong. As she checked off the ingredients that were on the recipe card, my Great Mother answered, “Oh, I didn’t have a can of diced tomatoes so I added stewed tomatoes,” and, “I didn’t have chicken broth so I used vegetable broth.” On this went until we both realized the stew we shared with my great-grandmother that day wasn’t anything like the original recipe. The lesson in soup making I want to share is this: start with a recipe as a guideline, and then add your own twist and have fun! Once you learn what foods and spices go well together, any soup or stew is easy. Tarragon or rosemary and chicken are very happy together. Veggies and thyme or sage work well too. | best of central Vermont


The recipes I’ve included here

are my take on some of my Great Mother’s and grandmother’s soups and stews. For the pumpkin soup I decided to add coconut milk, making it vegan as well as vegetarian. The chick pea soup combined with rosemary is so savory your family will think you slaved for hours, but in truth this soup takes only about 20 minutes! My version of a classic chicken stew includes only five ingredients—six, if you count the garlic. I won’t go so far as to promise it will cure the common cold, but it will surely make you feel warm and cozy.

Chicken Stew 2 boiled bone-in chicken breasts (save liquid) 2 quarts liquid (use saved liquid from chicken and add enough water to make 2 quarts) 1 cup celery and leaves, chopped 1 cup carrots, chopped 1 cup onion, chopped 1 cup potatoes, chopped 1–2 cloves garlic 1 tsp Bell’s Seasoning or other poultry seasoning Salt and pepper to taste Simmer all ingredients together until vegetables are cooked through.

Chick Pea Soup 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling 1 onion, finely chopped 1 (14 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed 1 sprig fresh rosemary, or to taste (if you use dried you might want to chop it up a little) Salt and pepper to taste 1/2 cup water Grated Parmigiano cheese to taste, optional 1. In a saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and gently sauté until lightly golden, and then add the drained chickpeas, rosemary, salt, and pepper. 2. Remove from heat and with the back of a fork or a potato masher, mash 1/3 of the chickpeas—or to your desired texture. Return to heat and add the water. Cook for approximately 15 minutes or until your desired thickness. 3. Add a drizzle of olive oil and fresh gratings of Parmigiano cheese before serving.


best of central Vermont | Winter 2012/2013

Pumpkin Coconut Soup 1 pumpkin, halved and seeded (a pie pumpkin is best) 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 1 cup of minced onion 1 tsp ground coriander 1 tsp ground cardamom 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg Salt and pepper to taste 4 cups water (you could use vegetable stock, but I think it takes away from the pumpkin flavor) 1 can of coconut milk 1. Preheat the oven to 350째. 2. Place the pumpkin cut-side down on a baking sheet. Bake at 350째 for about 25 minutes, or until tender and a knife inserted in the flesh comes out easily. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, scrape out the flesh and set aside. 3. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat and add the onion. Reduce heat to low and cook until the onion is transparent but not browned. Add the roasted pumpkin (or uncooked cubes of pumpkin) and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. 4. Add coriander, cardamom, nutmeg, salt, pepper, water, and coconut milk and bring to a slow boil. Then reduce heat to a simmer. If using cubed pumpkin instead of roasted pumpkin, cook until pumpkin is soft. Otherwise cook for 15 minutes. 5. Once pumpkin is cooked, remove from heat and puree, adjust salt, and serve. | best of central Vermont


Gary Norton and Glen Norton in their workshop.


best of central Vermont | Winter 2012/2013

Every winter, the first snowfall marks the beginning of a new season filled with one of New England’s most popular and ageless pastimes, sledding. The traditional wooden toboggan, a type of sled that was introduced to the United States from Canada during the late 1800s, has withstood the test of time and perhaps is best known for its trademark candy cane shape. Glen Norton, founder and owner of Norton’s VT Toboggans, and his father Gary have been creating wooden toboggans by hand for five years and are dedicated to preserving their place on snow-covered New England slopes for generations to come. 4

By Bridget Wiedl Photos by Jack Rowell

sled more than a

Make memories with a Norton toboggan | best of central Vermont


Each step of the process uses tools that they have created—everything from jigs to the steamer. “I have the ideas and my dad has the know-how,” says Glen. “We work well together.”


best of central Vermont | Winter 2012/2013

Gary and Glen create another beautiful handmade toboggan (opposite) and proudly display the finished product with one of their signature bird feeders.

One-of-a-Kind Toboggans Glen worked in the flooring business for 14 years before he decided to try his hand at building sleds. His father, who has a passion and talent for working with wood and years of experience creating log-cabin bird houses and toy trains, was a natural partner. Together they spent thousands of hours studying the craft, devising their own building methods through trial and error, and testing prototypes on the hills surrounding their home in Braintree, Vermont. Finally, in the winter of 2007 they created their first toboggan, using a process that is anything but traditional. “It came to me in a dream,” Glen says. He credits his father, the “brainstormer” and troubleshooter of the operation, with making his vision a reality. Each step of the process uses tools that they have created—everything from jigs to the steamer. “I have the ideas and my dad has the know-how,” says Glen. “We work well together.” Their self-taught and self-made process, the details of which will remain a family secret, results in beautiful toboggans that are also one of a kind. Originally their workshop was located in a converted woodshed in their backyard, and the wood they use is sourced from a nearby

Janet Miller pulls her grandson Jackson on a handcrafted sled. | best of central Vermont 55

Clockwise from top left: Isaiah Norton, Glen’s son, enoys a day outdoors. Glen takes a break. Alden Berkey. Glen, his wife Shawn, and son Isaiah take a ride. Jackson Scott and Alden Berkey.


best of central Vermont | Winter 2012/2013

The inspiration behind Norton’s VT Toboggans is summed up perfectly when Gary quotes their slogan, “It’s not just a sled; it’s a memory maker.” lumberyard. In true Vermont fashion, the two are even creative in getting the materials they need. “Last year we bartered a baby sled for enough wood to make 15 sleds,” says Gary. The toboggans are made primarily of ash and oak, and depending on how the skis are assembled, the different wood types form subtle patterns that make each toboggan unique. There is one distinguishing feature, however, that all Norton’s toboggans share, and that’s a rounded nose. “The traditional toboggan has a more oval-shaped front,” Gary explains, “but because of the way we shape ours, the nose is very round.” They make toboggans with every person, big and small, in mind in their new location in Barre. The Green Mountain Family Toboggan, which can comfortably fit two adults and one child, is the most popular size at six feet long. They also make the Green Mountain Child Toboggan, and at four-and-a-half-feet long, this sled is designed to hold two youngsters comfortably. 4

Amy Berkey with son Alden. Below: Products in the shop. | best of central Vermont


The baby sled, outfitted with built-in compartments for storage, and their very own hybrid Toboggosled—a half-sled, halftoboggan design—are built to take even the smallest passengers for a ride. Glen and Gary will take custom orders as well, with the option of having your name burned into

Bethany Osha pulls her son Jackson on top of Braintree Hill in Braintree, Vermont.

the wood. The wood-burning skills of Glen’s wife, Shawn Norton, add another unique and personal touch.

Timeless & Priceless

After just a few minutes of visiting with this father-and-son team, it is obvious that the two enjoy the time they spend together. “I couldn’t do it without my dad,” says Glen. He also credits his deep faith in God for giving him the inspiration and motivation to continue working through the learning curves, especially in the beginning. “It would be dark coming in and dark going out,” says Gary about the long days spent in the workshop. The two feel that they mastered the process during their second season, and since then they’ve sold more than 50 toboggans to individuals, stores, and schools throughout Vermont—an impressive number, considering their only form of advertising has been word-of-mouth. Currently their sleds and toboggans are sold in stores in Stowe and Woodstock, Vermont, and online through their website. They are looking to expand their customer base throughout Vermont and into New Hampshire and the rest of New England. There is something about seeing one of their nearly completed toboggans that elicits a feeling of nostalgia and memories of sledding as a child. “We just need to finish sanding this one,” says Glen. This particular toboggan is one of three made for Braintree Elementary School, and Shawn will burn the school’s name onto the nose. The fact that this carefully crafted work of art will be enjoyed for years by hundreds of children makes Glen and Gary’s work seem timeless and priceless. The inspiration behind Norton’s VT Toboggans is summed up perfectly when Gary quotes their motto, “It’s not just a sled; it’s a memory maker.” For more information or to place an order, visit

Norton’s VT Toboggans 70 Country Way Barre, VT (802) 477-2273 58

best of central Vermont | Winter 2012/2013


special advertising section

best of

Central vermont

Dining & Entertainment Guide

J. Morgan’s Steakhouse Serving steaks, seafood, and Sunday brunch since 1994. Our recent renovation opens a new chapter in this award-winning restaurant. Known for exceedingly generous portions, we feature over 20 aged in-house steaks, daily seafood, designer pasta dishes, and mountainous salads and desserts. Located on Montpelier’s historic State Street. $$ Key to Symbols $ most entrées under $10 $$ most entrées $10 to $25 $$$ most entrées over $25

Vermont’s Cutting Edge Steakhouse 100 State Street, Montpelier, VT (802) 223-5222 | best of central Vermont


special advertising section

Beyond the Menu

entertainment and dining guide for central vermont

Red Hen Bakery and Café Famous hearth-baked breads, plus an excellent selection of freshly baked pastries—croissants, scones, cookies, maple-glazed sticky buns, and more. Soups and sandwiches made in house featuring local ingredients. Fine wines, beer, cheese, and specialty grocery items. $-$$ 961B US Rt. 2 Middlesex, VT (802) 223-5200

Discover Stowe & all of Central Vermont!

J. Morgan’s Steakhouse Vermont’s cutting-edge steakhouse featuring over 20 steaks aged and hand cut in-house, 12 daily seafood dishes, and award-winning Sunday brunch. Located on Montpelier’s historic State Street. $$ 100 State Street Montpelier, VT (802) 223-5222

Guild and Company Chef Phillip Clayton’s award-winning farm-to-table cuisine features dry aged locally sourced beef, seafood, and vegetarian options, and an innovative cocktail program. Open daily. 4:30pm to close. Barroom open 4pm. $$$ 1633 Williston Road South Burlington, VT (802) 497-1207


best of central Vermont | Winter 2012/2013

El Cortijo

The Farmhouse Tap & Grill

A vibrant atmosphere featuring tacos, soups, salads, and entrees prepared with local ingredients and expressed as traditional Mexican fare. Freshsqueezed margaritas and handcrafted cocktails. Late-night menu until 1am Fridays and Saturdays. $-$$

Dedicated to showcasing local farms and food producers, our menu features award-winning burgers, comfort entrees, artisan cheeses, vegetarian options, and nightly innovations. The Tap Room delivers highly prized and rare beers. “Special Happenin’s” Wed. nights. $$

189 Bank Street Burlington, VT (802) 497-1668

160 Bank Street Burlington, VT (802) 859-0888

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Arts & Entertainment

Central Vermont


December, January & February

December 14–16

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever Info: (802) 583-1674, The Valley Players Theater

Thursdays Figure Drawing Every Thursday with a live model. No instruction provided. Easels, benches, and drawing board provided, as well as limited materials. All levels and media welcome. $5 for Chaffee members, $10 for nonmembers. Info: (802) 775-0356, Chaffee Art Center, 5–8pm

December 14–16, 19, 21–23

Candy Cane Making Demonstrations Watch as candy makers boil, pull, turn, roll, and twist these special candy canes into works of art that are both beautiful and delicious. Watch these free demonstrations or register ahead to make your own candy cane for $6 per person. Info: (802) 253-9591, Laughing Moon Chocolates, 11am daily plus 2pm on Saturdays

December, January & February

Fridays Writing as an Art Form Writers and wannabees gather to share ideas for writing for a piece already written. Explore the power of the written word as an art form. Info: (802) 775-0356, Chaffee Art Center, 11am–1pm

December 15

Live Music with Brandy Crain Info: (802) 253-3000, Stowe Mountain Resort, 2–6pm

December, January & February Saturdays Saturday Art Works Info: (802) 775-0356, Chaffee Art Center, 10am–3pm

December 15

Holiday Book Sale Info: Warren Public Library, 10am–12pm

Through December 28

December 16

Chandler Film Society: Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958) Info: (802) 431-0204, Chandler Music Hall, 7pm

Through January 13

Exhibit: Winter All Member Show Exhibit featuring artwork from juried and non-juried Chaffee members and Gingerbread Creation contest and display. Info: (802) 775-0356, Chaffee Art Center

Book Talk and Signing with Irini Rockwell: Natural Brilliance: A Buddhist System for Uncovering Your Strengths and Letting Them Shine Info: (802) 223-3338, Kellogg-Hubbard Library

December 22

Live Music with Dan Walker Info: (802) 253-3000, Stowe Mountain Resort, 2–6pm

December 26

Live Music with Richie Ortiz Info: (802) 253-3000, Stowe Mountain Resort, 2–6pm

Arts & Entertainment is sponsored by

Exhibit: Celebrate: Local Fine Art & Crafts by Member Artists of Studio Place Arts Info: (802) 479-7069, Studio Place Arts

December 19 | best of central Vermont


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Arts & Entertainment

Central Vermont


December 27

Live Music with Dux the Balloon Man Info: (802) 253-3000, Stowe Mountain Resort, 2–6pm

December 28

Live Music with Jatoba Trio Info: (802) 253-3000, Stowe Mountain Resort, 2–6pm

December 31

Ice Carving, New Year Race, Mountain Fireworks & Torchlight Parade Info: (802) 253-3000, Stowe Mountain Resort

January 1

Live Music with Frank Viele Info: (802) 253-3000, Stowe Mountain Resort, 2–6pm

January 2

Vermont, the United States, and the World: How Our Health Ties Together Info: (802) 223-3338, Kellogg-Hubbard Library, 7pm January 1 Frank Viele

January 19 Bow Thayer

January 9 & 10

January 19–27

January 9

January 20

History for Homeschoolers: Vermont People, Places, and Things—Vermont Weather Info and preregistration: (802) 828-1413, Vermont Historical Society, 1–3pm

Community Cinema: The Powerbroker by Bonnie Boswell Info: (802) 223-3338, Kellogg-Hubbard Library

January 14, February 4 & 25

Stowe Historical Society Brown Bag Discussions You’re invited to the Community Room at the rear of the library with your lunch in hand to hear and participate in presentations. Visit the website for details and topics. Info: (802) 253-1518, Stowe Library, 12pm

January 19

Bow Thayer CD Release Concert Info: (802) 728-6464, Chandler Center for the Arts, 7:30pm 62

best of central Vermont | Winter 2012/2013

Stowe Winter Carnival An opening night celebration, ice carving demonstrations, Snowgolf Tournament, a Meltdown Party, and more! Visit the website for events, times, and locations. Info: Chandler Film Society: Bergman’s Smiles of a Summer Night (1955) Info: (802) 782-6464, Chandler Center for the Arts, 7pm

January 26

Simone Dinnerstein Info and tickets: (802) 728-6464, Chandler Center for the Arts, 7:30pm

February 3

USSMA Sugarbush-Mad River Glen Randonnee Race Info and registration: Registration is from 8–9am, Base Box at Mad River Glen. Race begins at 10am.

February 6

Calvin Collidge: More than Two Words Info: Vermont State House, 7:30pm

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Arts & Entertainment

Central Vermont


February 16

Ruthie Foster and the Family Band Info: (802) 476-8188, Barre Opera House, 8pm

February 17

Chandler Film Society: Wilder’s The Apartment (1960) Info: (802) 782-6464, Chandler Center for the Arts, 7pm

February 8

Seth Glier Info and tickets: (802) 728-6464, Chandler Center for the Arts, 7:30pm

February 13

Community Cinema: Soul Food Junkies by Byron Hurt Info: (802) 223-3338, Kellogg-Hubbard Library

January 26 Simone Dinnerstein

February 13 & 14

History for Homeschoolers: Vermont People, Places, and Things—Vermont People Info and preregistration: (802) 828-1413, Vermont Historical Society, 1–3pm

February 22

The Talich Quartet Info and tickets: (802) 728-6464, Chandler Center for the Arts, 7:30pm

February 24

The Stowe Derby Info:

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face to face

by stephen Morris

How did you fare in the recent downturn in the auto business? Ford was the only major automaker who did not require a government bailout during the past recession. Locally, we were definitely affected. You can’t avoid a drop in sales when the number of vehicles sold in the country goes from 17 million to 10 million. But there were opportunities, too. Some of the weaker dealers were weeded out. The last four years have been a period of solid growth for us. Now that the number of sales has gone up to 13 million, there’s less competition, and that has created stronger growth prospects for the remaining dealers.

A moment with

Dan Keene

Providing big customer service in small markets Dan Keene, 44, is the owner of two car dealerships, Lamoille Valley Ford in Hardwick and Twin State Ford up the road in St. Johnsbury. In an era of hard times for the American auto industry, he has built two successful dealerships operating in small, rural markets. What are some of the challenges to operating car dealerships in what are considered secondary markets? The obvious disadvantage is that there are fewer potential customers. But there are advantages to a nonurban location such as lower expenses for land and rent. We’re actually the largest employer in Hardwick, so we’re very visible. Being big in a small town results in a tight-knit team of employees and keeps us close to our customers. Advertising also is more affordable in smaller media markets. Everyone who has a radio in Central Vermont knows our slogan, “We know price matters.” 64

best of central Vermont | Winter 2012/2013

How did Ford avoid the fate of GM and Chrysler, who needed a government bailout? Several reasons. Bill Ford Jr., great-grandson of Henry, recognized the importance of fuel economy very early on. The company made a crucial decision years ago to not introduce any new product unless it was the most fuel-efficient in its category. This has given us an efficient product line across the entire automotive spectrum, not just one or two models. Another thing Bill Ford did right was to recognize that he was the proverbial “car guy,” so he recruited Alan Mullaly, the current president, from Boeing to run the day-to-day operations. This gave the company modern management and team-building that other car companies didn’t have. What do you like to do when you’re not putting people behind the wheel of a Ford? I love the outdoors and am an active golfer and wavesurfer in the summer. In the winter there is nothing more fun than taking my boys, Peyton (11) and Ryan (8), to the mountain for a little snowboarding. My wife Karen and I also are active in our Montpelier community. If you had to name one thing that is uniquely different about your business, what would it be? I’d say our Military Appreciation policy. My father served in the military for more than 20 years. To show our appreciation and respect for those serving on active duty, both our dealerships offer free service. You don’t have to have purchased the vehicle from us. It doesn’t even have to be a Ford. Price matters at Lamoille Valley Ford and Twin State Ford, but some things matter even more.

Best of Central Vermont - Winter 2012  

Read about a central Vermont crown jewel in the New England Culinary Institute, Sugarbush Resort and Ski Area and how to make memories with...