Middlebury Inn's Blog
A Very Merry Middlebury
Holiday magic is once again coming to Middlebury, beginning on December 1st with A Very Merry Middlebury!
We are planning a festive and fun-filled month of December, complete with visits from Santa, horse drawn wagon rides, an evening shopping night, a pancake breakfast with holiday characters, an “I Spy” contest with prizes, the Hot Chocolate Hut and free gift wrap for items purchased in Middlebury. This year’s events and promotions are still being planned– check back often for the latest information or follow Experience Middlebury on social media.
I Spy Contest, all December long
Try to find the hidden baby bear ornaments (designed by artist Ashley Wolff) in ten store windows in downtown Middlebury and be entered to win $100 in Middlebury Money. Rules and contest details will be displayed in the window of the Vermont Bookshop beginning December 1st. The contest is free.
December 1st-31st: Be Your Favorite Christmas Character
Ever wonder what you’d look like as a snowman? Or a gingerbread girl? Your family can pose for pictures with an assortment of adorable character cut-outs around town, including Santa, a nutcracker, gingerbread siblings, and snowmen. Posing with the character cut-outs is free.
Don’t leave Middlebury without doing a bit of holiday shopping. Anything purchased in Middlebury can be wrapped for free at 51 Main from 12:00-4:00pm—just show your receipt! And, of course, make time for a cozy cup of hot cocoa from the always-popular Hot Cocoa Hut in Cannon Park; just 25 cents for a cup with all the fixings! The Hot Cocoa Hut will be open from 9:30am-2:00pm.
Thursday, Dec. 8th: Midd Night Stroll
Your favorite Middlebury shops will be open late for extended shopping for Midd Night Stroll (formerly Stag & Doe Night), on December 8th. This year will once again offer tons of sales, discounts, giveaways and other special promotions, as well as free tastings of many of Vermont’s premier beverages, live performances, traditional Christmas caroling, the holiday SD Ireland truck and more surprises!
The Hot Cocoa Hut (Cannon Park) and Gift Wrap Station (51 Main) will both offer extended hours as well—everything is open from 5:00-8:00pm.
Check out this list of promotions, deals and tastings: midd-night-stroll-promos
Saturday, December 10
Santa will be visiting Maple Landmark on Exchange St. from 10:00-noon; visits are free! Gift wrap will once again be offered for any item purchased in Middlebury 51 Main from 12:00-4:00pm—just show your receipt! The Hot Cocoa Hut will be open from 9:30am-2:00pm.
Reserve your tickets for the Holiday Pancake Character Breakfast, one of the best events of the year. Characters, coloring, balloons, music and a delicious pancake breakfast graciously donated by the Middlebury Inn! Tickets are on sale now with limited seating at 8:30am and 10:00am. Tickets are $12/adult and $8/kids 12 and under.
Saturday, December 17
Catch Santa Claus one last time before he heads North! He’ll be at Danforth Pewter (Seymour St. Ext) from 10:00-noon and visits are free. Grab a cup of cocoa from the Hot Cocoa Hut, open 10:00am to 2:00pm and take advantage of gift wrapping at 51 Main- free for any items purchased in Middlebury- from
We use a phrase in the Lodging industry - "Heads in Beds" which encompasses our effort to sell as many rooms as we can on any given night. Of coursse, that's the business we're in.
More literally, what about those heads and what do they require for a good nights sleep. A great pillow is certainly one requirement. Every hotelier knows, however that one persons 'great pillow' is another persons 'awful pillow'. This holds true for other contributors to a good nights sleep - mattresses, sheets, blankets, comforters etc., but the pillow is a very basic and preferential item. So much so that a fair amount of travelers bring their own pillow from home.
Most hotels choose a Medium Polyester hypoallergenic pillow because it will satisfy the broadest range of everyday traveler. At the other end of the spectrum are the hotels that offer a 'pillow menu' where you can choose, upon arrival, from menu of pillow choices. But where do you stop in your pillow offerings? There are Down Free Pillows, Feather and Down, 100% Down. Organic Down, Natural Latex, Memory Foam, Firm, Medium, Soft as well as Body Pillows & Neck Pillows....You get the idea.
Having bought thousands of pillows over the years, I've come to realize that there is no one answer. As important as what stuffing is in the pillow is how it looks on the bed. If the pillow looks flat or lumpy or too large, there will be a guest reaction right from the beginning and it will likely go downhill from there.
How about the issue of Down vs. Synthetic? Many feel that they are allergic to Down or Duck Feathers, but experts agree that it is the dust that these natural products attract that is really causing the allergic reaction. But this is why many hotels offer just synthetic and maybe keep a dozen or so Down Pillows available for those who might request them.
And what are the firmness requirments of the general public? As a general rule, people who shift sleeping positions through the night should opt for a medium-density pillow. If you spend more time on your stomach than on your back or side, however, go for a softer pillow. Side sleepers require a firm or superfirm pillow. Should we offer hotel rooms based upon what kind of a sleeper you are? - 'The second floor is for those who toss and turn and the 3rd is for stomach sleepers'.
Maybe the 'pillow menu' is the way to go.
Now, about the threadcount of sheets......
The Changing Landscape of Travel
What brings the many thousands of visitors to Middlebury and Addison County this time of year? Of course Middlebury College is an important draw, but certainly less so in the summer compared with during the school year. Our iconic Vermont scenery; lakes, mountains, hiking trails, bikeways and farms are often the initial attraction, but when the visitor starts digging deeper in their planning they discover museums, orchards, shopping, theater, art, restaurants and inns, or perhaps a specific sporting event they want to attend or participate in. But how does this process work, and how has it changed over the years?
Often visitors’ initial search may involve local resources such as the Chamber of Commerce or Addison Independent’s website. Once the visitor has an idea of what they want to do, they may move on to a lodging or attraction website to further plan their itinerary.
Over the last five years, there has been an exponential increase in the number of visitors using what we in the industry call OTAs – online travel agencies. These sites take various forms whether it’s the traditional (Expedia, Booking, Orbitz), the less popular “opaque” sites (Priceline, Hotwire) and the increasingly influential “review” sites (Trip Advisor, Oyster). And these tools aren’t just for lodging, but increasingly give exposure to restaurants, attractions and museums.
And what about these review opportunities? How many times has that been the first thing you looked at when searching for a restaurant, hotel or attraction? All tourism businesses should go check their Google, Yelp and Trip Advisor reviews and start making this free exposure work for them. And why is this important in our small market that is Addison County? The travel world is increasingly global. No longer do visitors say “Let’s go to Middlebury, Vermont” but rather, “Where can we get a good deal within a half day’s drive for this weekend?”
As more of us in the local travel industry pay attention to this and work the system, the more visitors we will bring to our region to discover such gems as the Henry Sheldon Museum, Rokeby Museum, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum or UVM Morgan Horse Farm. They’ll try our great restaurants, stay in a quaint inn and then write a great review for each one of these. Every time a visitor goes through this process, they are inviting hundreds of visitors to Middlebury – the only catch is we want a great review. In my experience, the picture perfect town and the welcoming atmosphere of our community are just as important as the meal or quality of the mattress they slept on.
Random Thoughts on what to do in Middlebury VT
UVM Morgan Horse Farm is a short 5 minute drive from the Inn and is one of the more unique visitor attractions in our area. The UVM Morgan Horse Farm is dedicated to the preservation and improvement of the Morgan Horse through breeding and selection. Designated as a site on the National Register of Historic Places, the farm is also home to significant Morgan history and a variety of educational programs. There is a small entrance fee.
About 30 minutes southwest of the Inn straddling the lower end of Lake Champlain are two Revolutionary War sites that are not to be missed by you lovers of history. On the Vermont side is Mount Independence and on the New York side, after a short Ferry ride is Fort Ticonderoga. Both will give insight into some of the great battles of this time in our history.
The Sheldon Museum, the oldest community-based Museum in the country, has welcomed visitors and researchers since 1882. We offer lively tours, exhibits, and programs to enrich the understanding of Vermont’s past.
A short drive north to Shelburne VT you will find two gems of Vermont history that are the premier attractions in this area. At the Shelburne Museum, explore and discover art, history, and the natural beauty of Vermont, an unconventional and utterly delightful destination in the Champlain Valley. Folk art, Impressionist paintings, circus collections, and even a steamboat—it’s all here on our beautifully landscaped campus of historic buildings and galleries, each one filled with fascinating collections.
At Shelburne Farms, our 1,400 acres of pastures, woodlands, gardens, and historic buildings are a unique campus for learning. Whether the topic is sustainable agriculture, sustainable forestry, or simply learning how we are connected to the world around us, Shelburne Farms makes learning real. The stature of its buildings and beauty of its landscape make the learning inspirational.
In addition to our historic barns, the campus includes our Market Garden, woodlands, dairy, and The Inn at Shelburne Farms.
Waterfalls Day Spa
5 Reasons why 2016 is the year you treat yourself to the Spa
We all have our typical New Year’s Resolutions such as, exercising more, saving money and traveling the world. But did you think 2016 could also be the year of you? The year you turn your phone off and just unwind? 2016 is the year to have a spa date and here are the main reasons why;
The Waterfalls Day Spa is conveniently located within the historic Middlebury Inn in the heart of Vermont. This enchanting spa offers services from massages, facials, manicures, pedicures, wax and a'chromatherapy™. A'chromatherapy™ is an innovative patent pending spa treatment designed by the therapists of Waterfalls Day Spa. This treatment is designed to bring you a sense of balance and wellness using the healing properties of color, aroma, nature imagery and visualization.
Laurie Webb, a VT Licensed Esthetician and Nail Tech who opened the Waterfalls spa in 2007 sbelieves everyone deserves to treat themselves and take care of their heath. She is the Director of Operations for a'chromatherapy™ and believes using this treatment will make your spa day relaxing.
Whether we believe it or not stress plays a major impact on our bodies both inside and out. And only you have the power to de-stress yourself. In today’s society we are seeing more illnesses due to stress in the news. It’s important to take stress in your own hands and not let it get it you!
No phones allowed –
It’s time to turn your phone off and just focus on you. Enough said!
Why Vermonters love Maple Syrup?
We live in society full of people who just love to brunch! People enjoy spending time with their friends socializing while sipping on mimosa and munching on an omelet or pancakes. From salad dressings to marinating chicken or steak, Maple Syrup is the common ingredient. They take syrup to a new level, in Vermont it’s just not for pancakes it’s for everything!
The state tree in Vermont is no other than the Maple Tree, so of course the syrup has to be on point!
Morgan’s Tavern located in the Middlebury Inn is opened to the public and is known for their famous homemade French toast, drizzled in scrumptious Vermont style Maple Syrup.
Vermonters were absolutely right about the syrup especially at Morgan’s Tavern. The syrup is the perfect taste of sweet and delicious in one bite.
And on a side note, the bread used for the French Toast is handmade by the Morgan’s Tavern in-house baker.
Come try for yourself at Morgan’s Tavern!