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Dog Sledding :: Stowe, VT

“Ready , hike.”

Football?

No.  Dog sledding.

Know much about dog sledding?  Neither did I.

Wanna go?  It sounds like fun but, if you are like me, you would first be concerned about the dogs.  You wonder about the discipline that must be applied to these creatures to get them to pull several hundred pounds in numbing cold for hours.  Perhaps you have seen pictures of dogs chained to their outside dog house when they aren’t running (very common), or you’re just concerned about the amount of time that they must remain outside – particularly in the winter!

Not at Eden Dog Sledding in Eden Mills, Vermont.  Jim Blair, in addition to being owner, musher and a national and international sled vermont dog sled tourdog racing champion, is recognized as a do-it-my-way innovator when it comes to the care and training of these Alaskan Huskies.  Jim calls them the Unchained Gang, because he has learned that letting teams of dogs live and play together (in enclosed areas) is good for their health, their disposition and makes them fun with the guests.  It takes time to learn which dogs like to be with which, but Jim thinks its well worth the effort.

Preparation for your ride.  Guests spend their first hour with Jim learning about the Alaskan Husky breed, the principles of the Unchained Gang, and why he believes in them.  Also during this hour you will meet each dog personally and then hitch them to your sled.

Barking dogs — they want to go!  They’re calling Jim to get on the trail.  Off you go!  You spend your next hour folded together under a thick blanket in one of Jim’s sleds.  Jim has over a 100 gorgeous acres and more than 10 miles of trails. (He grooms them every day; summer and winter.)  Snow is flying, dogs are barking, you can smell the freshness of unspoiled Vermont all around you!  If you love natural beauty and vistas, you’re having a stunning experience!

Once you have returned you help Jim feed the dogs and unhitch them.  Later you feed them treats.   Inside the large cabin Jim’s sister has a cup of hot chocolate and baked goods for you.  You note that there are several couches near the fireplace.   All the seats are taken by the parents of the dogs that just took you on your ride.  They don’t control the trails anymore; they control the couches!  Your team of dogs passes through on their way to one of the fenced areas where they can play.  Jim comments on the typical comments he hears from past guests:  “I’ll never forget this.”  “I love the dogs!”  “The dogs couldn’t have been more affectionate.”  “They seem never to tire and love the whole experience.”  We hear the same comments when they come back to Stone Hill!

Vermont Sled Dog toursThe dogs aren’t really tired.

This has just been a warm-up run for most Alaskan Huskies.  “When it comes down to sheer capacity for prolonged exercise,” says Ken Hinchcliff, an Australian veterinary physiologist who’s done more research on sled dogs than any other scientist, “there is no other animal, including humans, that comes close to competing.”  (Feb 15, 2010; Outside magazine).  Peak sled dogs have a VO2 max of 200 milliliters of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute.  (VO2 is a measure of oxygen consumption that reflects aerobic physical fitness and sustained endurance.)  Bicyclist Lance Armstrong (Tour de France winner) maxed at about 85.  Peak sled dogs when running as part of a team can run sub-four minute miles for 60 or 70 miles.  (Perhaps not every sled dog, but even the “ordinary” dogs have exceptional endurance by human standards!  When in peak condition the best of the sled dogs can increase the size of their heart by 50%)

Sled dogs are much more efficient than we are.  “On the level of genes and regulatory proteins, we’re surprisingly close [to sled dogs].”  Research competed by Hinchcliff and others reveals that – “sled dogs aren’t’ just extreme in their aerobic capacity; they possess a variety of souped-up systems.”  Sled dog muscle cells contain about 70 percent more energy-producing mitochondria than that of human cells.   Secondly, sled dogs don’t sweat; they dissipate heat through paws, noses, and tongues.  “Our human system of evaporative cooling may cool us off, but it costs us water, electrolytes, sugars and proteins.  Sled dogs conserve theirs by relying on a cool environment. “Lastly, human muscle relies on the burning of glucose (stored glycogen in muscles), but it burns HOT, so it is only good for short spurts.  Sled dogs burn fats which contain twice the caloric density vs carbohydrates and fats burn much “cooler,” so dogs can sustain muscle use for a much longer period of time.   Sled dogs, when training for big races, are often fed a diet that contains up to 60% fats.

“In other words, the human strategy for using energy becomes unsustainable much more quickly.  Even at slower paces, as in a marathon, we use up the muscles’ stores of glycogen in about three hours.  After a day’s rest, we’re still depleted.  Sled dogs just keep on going. “

Jim has been working with six different generations of dogs at his Eden Mills headquarters.  His concern for the dogs and the quality of the overall experience at Eden Dogsledding is why we like working with the Unchained Gang and why they are the number one event that we list among 15 different activities in guests can participate where Stone Hill Inn will pay the first $150 of the total fee!

Vermont snowshoeingSTOWE WINTER FUN SPECIAL : $150 ACTIVITY CREDIT

Book 3+ nights at our Stowe bed and breakfast and enjoy a $150 activity credit towards any of our great winter packages, including:

The promotion lasts until March 15, and you must complete an event to take advantage of the $150 Activity Credit.  Please call (802) 253-6282 to book this special offer! 

 

Evenings! The Second Act

Six weeks ago The Stone Hill Inn inaugurated Evenings! a series of packages that combine the magic of the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center with the Phoenix Table & Bar, a new restaurant in Stowe.  This pairing brings together two organizations committed, each in their own way, to performing arts excellence.  Evenings! blends Spruce with its excellent performance reputation and intimate mountain venue, with Phoenix Table & Bar with a fresh, hip, contemporary scene enhanced by the innovative offerings from chefs Jack and Josh.

Our first Evenings! – Itzhak Perlman — was wildly successful.  The theater was sold out and within a week from the time we launched our first Evenings! package three guests committed – one claimed the last two available seats!!  Swan Lake is already half sold out due to the reputation of The State Ballet Theatre of Russia and their last year’s, sold out performance of Sleeping Beauty.

January 31, 2015; 7:30pm: The State Ballet Theatre of Russia performs Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake

Swan Lake BalletThe Evenings! Package includes:

  • A two night stay in any of our Luxury rooms (King bed with fireplace; bath with double Jacuzzi fireplace & shower).  Corner rooms, if available, are available at a premium of $20/night.
  • Linda’s three-course breakfast each morning
  • Two tickets to the January 31st Swan Lake Ballet performance at the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center*.
  • A voucher for $50 towards dinner for two at the Phoenix Table and Bar restaurant before the performance.

Total Package cost is $875.  Please, you must call to make a reservation.  (802-253-6282)

*Tickets and seating based on availability, please hurry as this as selling out quickly. Once tickets are purchased they cannot be refunded. This package may not be combined with any other offer or promotion.

The State Ballet Theatre of Russia is composed of more than fifty dancers.  Among the new breed of Russian ballet academies and companies, theItzhak Perlman Concert principal dancers are competition winners and trained in St. Petersburg, The Bolshoi Ballet, Mariinsky Ballet, Grogorovich Ballet, Russian Ballet directed by V. Gordeyev, Cairo Ballet, and the Tchaikovsky Ballet Theatre.  This is their fourth US tour and hails from Ufa, famed dancer Rudolf Nureyev’s home town.  The company has performed in 13 countries outside of Russia since 1995.

Some consider Swan Lake the world’s most beloved Russian folk tale.   Here we find Siegfried, a young Prince, full of bright spirit and enthusiasm, but seems to have little interest in his royal role. He clearly cares more for socializing, merry events and sporting activities, as shown when he is celebrating his 21st birthday with his best friend, Benno and his tutor, Wolfgang. When his mother, the Queen tells him he must soon marry, he refuses because he has not yet found a woman of his preference. His favorite hobby is hunting, so to end his birthday celebrations, he and Benno head into the forest on a hunting expedition with their companions. However, everything takes an ironic twist on this expedition, for deep in the forest, Siegfried and his friends arrive at a lake, where Siegfried spots a beautiful swan wearing a crown. But before he can shoot it, the swan transforms into the most beautiful girl he has ever seen.  She tells him her story, explaining that she is under a spell of the evil sorcerer Von Rothbart.

Ahhhh, that is all we can reveal of the Swan Lake plot!  Some of you already know the ending, but it isn’t the ending as much as how a truly Stowe VT romantic getawayacclaimed company can bring it to life and capture minds and hearts – something at which the State Ballet of Russia excels!

The première of Swan Lake took place on Friday, 4 March 1877, as a benefit performance for the ballerina Pelageya Karpakova (also known as Polina Karpakova), who performed the role of Odette, with the Bolshoi Theatre’s Première danseur Victor Gillert as Prince Siegfried. Karpakova likely also danced the part Odile, although it is not known for certain.

The Russian ballerina Anna Sobeshchanskaya — for whom the original (1877) role of Odette was intended — was pulled from the première performance when a governing official in Moscow complained about her, stating that she had accepted several pieces of expensive jewelry from him, only to then marry a fellow danseur and sell the pieces for cash. Sobeshchanskaya was replaced by Pelageya Karpakova who danced the rôle of the Swan Queen until the former was reinstated by Petipa.  (A story within the story!)

We are very excited about Evenings! because in addition to being a unique offering within Stowe, it also represents the beginning of a new dimension in guest experience for the Stone Hill Inn.  Yum!

As many of you know our mission at Stone Hill is:  “Provide unexpected opportunities to celebrate life…together.”  In this quest we pic_extras_4shall source, vet, and partner with a broad variety of local and regional vendors, artists, and suppliers so as to provide unique opportunities for couples to explore, learn, be challenged and make memories while here in multi-dimensional Stowe, Vermont.  Our goal?  Be the Best-in-Stowe at providing memory-making opportunities to celebrate life…together!

During the first five months of 2015, beginning with Swan Lake Evenings! in January, we shall introduce one new, life-celebration package each month, each tied to the appropriate season within Stowe.  Each package will, of course, be anchored by a stay at Stone Hill of at least two nights, and based upon what we have learned from a few thousand guests over our past 3+ years, we shall focus upon four categories of guest activity:

  1. Romance
  2. Food
  3. Arts and Culture
  4. Adventure

Doesn’t this sound tasty?  There will also be additional Evenings! packages throughout 2015.  Excellent.  We look forward to celebrating life with you!

The Inauguration of “Evenings!”

Itzhak Perlman ConcertFor about two years (we complete our third year at Stone Hill Inn next week – Halloween), we have been trying to find a way to bring the magic of the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center to our guests.  This is a stunning facility built seven years ago that holds 420 people all of which have an excellent view and are relatively close to the stage.  Only a few years old it presents itself as a lovely, comfortable and highly functional environment for a broad selection of stage and screen performances.  While it is located adjacent to and built in the style of the large mountain lodge at the base of Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak, it is independent from the Lodge financially, so they are on their own.  As a result they have learned to provide excellent, albeit usually not headlining, stage talent to travel to the top of a mountain so they can entertain a permanent Stowe population of less than 5,000.  They are doing a wonderful job.

Recently several paths have come together to make it possible for the Stone Hill Inn to finally bring this talent to our guests on a regular basis.  This has been a journey that the management of the SPPAC fully endorsed and many times cheered from the sidelines hoping that we would emerge with a plan.  So….

Welcome to “Evenings!”

The concept is simple – even cliché – dinner and a show, but we’ve wrapped it up with a two-night stay at our Stowe bed and breakfast – the 8th Stowe Lodging Packageshighest rated Inn or B&B among all 21,000 in the U.S. according to Trip Advisor.  We hope to have at least four of these packages each year.

Our first Evening is with Itzhak Perlman – who IS a headliner!  This is his fourth annual Stowe Fall Residency and his exceptional Perlman Music Program  (PMP) which offers unparalleled musical training to young string players of rare and special talent. With a world-class faculty led by Itzhak Perlman and vibrant programs in Shelter Island, New York City, Florida, Israel, and Vermont, PMP is developing the future leaders of classical music within a nurturing and supportive community.

The other key component of Evenings is dinner.   There is a new restaurant in Stowe: Phoenix Table & Bar.  Contemporary, fresh, hip, excellent food, and unlike most restaurants in Stowe, it serves until 10:00pm.   While the facility is new and opened less than a year ago, its owners and chefs are not.  Chefs Jack Pickett and Joshua Bard are names recognized by everyone in the Stowe hospitality business.  Their last restaurant – the very successful Frida’s Taqueria and Grill– benefitted from their ability to constantly innovate, create new tastes, and their dissatisfaction with anything ordinary.  Jack and Joshua, as you will find when you sample both their food and the restaurant’s environment, are as much in the performing arts business as the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center!  A fabulous pairing.

The first Evenings Package: Itzhak Perlman, November 8, 2014 at 7:30pm

Perlman Music ProgramThis year’s Perlman program includes PMP alumni ensembles that perform chamber music masterworks, and, of course, Maestro Itzhak Perlman conducts the PMP String Orchestra, in a stunning Celebration Concert. Drawn from all over the world, PMP alumni are young professional artists with diverse a career, whose spirited music-making excites and inspires audiences around the globe.

Now in its fourth year, the Fall Residency in Stowe, Vermont has brought a new dimension to The Perlman Music Program. Students and faculty enjoy four days of orchestra and chamber music study in preparation for a Celebration Concert in the beautiful Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center.

The Itzhak Perlman Evenings Package includes:

  • A two night stay in any of our Luxury rooms (King bed with fireplace; bath with double Jacuzzi fireplace & shower). Corner rooms are available at a premium of $25/night.
  • Linda’s three-course breakfast each morning
  • Two $45 tickets to the November 8th Itzhak Perlman performance at the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center. (If $45 tickets are not available we shall substitute $38 seats.)  The concert begins at 7:30pm
  • A voucher for $50 towards dinner for two at the Phoenix Table and Bar restaurant either before or after the performance.

Total Package cost is $785 not including taxes; you must call us at Stone Hill to make a reservation. (802-253-6282)

Seating is very limited at this time; we recommend booking as soon as possible.  We shall endeavor to secure your seats while you are on the phone with us. Once seats are purchased they may not be refunded. This package may not be combined with any other offer or promotion.

Perhaps Itzhak is not your cup of tea?  But what do you think of the Evenings concept?  We would appreciate any thoughts you have about the Evenings concept and the pairing between the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center and the Phoenix Table & Bar restaurant!  Just drop us a quick email!

Thanks ~ Linda and George