When Monica and John Montero moved from Miami to Vermont last year, they brought Cuban home cooking with them. Earlier this month, they began sharing it with their adopted community when they opened Havana 802 at 41 South Main Street in Hardwick.
The opening menu offers about 70 dishes, ranging from tamales and empanadas ($4-6) to sandwiches, soups and entrées ($11-15). The last category includes ropa vieja (a tomato-beef stew) and churrasco (grilled skirt steak) with chimichurri. Once a liquor license goes through, Havana 802 will serve wine and beer, too.
Monica, born to a Cuban American family in Little Havana, does most of the cooking. Her saucy grilled and stewed meats, beans and rice, and plantains (crispy or ripe) are grounded in traditional Cuban cookery, which has a mild spice-ometer compared with other Latin American and island cuisines. John, who moved from Cuba to Florida at age 4, handles business and front-of-house operations.
In recent years, Havana 802's storefront has housed three relatively short-lived restaurants: Vermont Supper Club, Claire's Restaurant and Bar, and A Vermont Place. The Monteros hope to halt the revolving door by offering unique and approachable food at an affordable price point. "Cuban food is not an expensive food," John told Seven Days just after opening in early October. "Why should we charge more than we need to?"
The Monteros say they hope to add live Latin music on weekend nights and perhaps brunch later this fall or winter. For now, the restaurant is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday.
Read the complete article at SevenDays
The original print version of this article was headlined "Cuban in the Kingdom"
More insulation, more savings
PureWow — October 25, 2016
When the cold-weather chill hits, there’s nothing quite like coming home to a toasty house. But, ugh, your heating bills last winter were too damn high. Here, seven precautions to take now to help offset the cost of keeping your thermostat up.
Open the Curtains
On a sunny day, pulling back the blinds on any south-facing windows is the most natural (and cheap) way to heat your home. Just be sure to close them again at night to limit the cold-window chill.
Invest in Energy Efficient Window Treatments
For example, roman shades versus venetian blinds. It’s all about curtain density so interior heat—that you’re shelling out big bucks for—doesn’t escape.
Add Weather Stripping Around Drafty Doors
For a grand total of $4, you can tape up any spots where you detect an air leak. (In most cases, you’ll be able to feel a cool breeze coming in with your hand. Or you can jiggle the doorframe—if it’s loose, you’re at risk of drafts.)
...And Seal Off Cold-Weather Leaks With Plastic
Another cheap repair—it’s just $5 for a window insulation kit. All you have to hang the sheets over the frame indoors.
Lower Your Thermostat—Especially While You Sleep
Dropping it as little as five to 10 degrees (say from 73 to 63 at night) can lower your annual energy bill by as much as 10 percent. To make up the difference, just throw on an extra blanket or invest in sheets with a higher thread count for winter snoozing. (The higher the thread count, the greater the warmth.)
Check Your Chimney
When you’re not using your fireplace, an open damper can make the difference between a living room that’s warm and one that’s frigid. (We repeat: When your fireplace is in use, the damper should always be open to let smoke escape.)
Schedule a Check-Up for Your Heating System
The cost of an HVAC technician making a house call can run you anywhere from $40 to $250. But depending on the age of your furnace, a check-up to make sure everything is tip-top condition could be worth it if it shaves dollars off your monthly bill. Just be sure you get an estimate before any repair work begins.
Read the complete PureWow article with photos and links here.
This post is more than a tad after-the-fact, but if you didn't know, and haven't yet been to the Bierhall, read on:
Seven Days Bite Club
Posted By Hannah Palmer Egan on Tue, Sep 13, 2016 at 5:42 PM
Ten years ago, the Trapp Family Lodge was a stodgy resort for tourists seeking an Alpine escape. In 2010, the family started brewing lager on the premises; by 2014, that operation had expanded its capacity from 2,000 to 50,000 barrels per year. And two years ago, executive vice president Sam von Trapp told Seven Days that workers had broken ground on a new Austrian-style bierhall, which would welcome mountain revelers for steins and sausages, hopefully by summer, 2015.
As with most construction projects, things didn't go according to plan. But after nearly two years of building and preparation, the bierhall opens tomorrow with an all-star team.
Jack Pickett — whose Phoenix Table and Bar, Frida’s Taqueria and Blue Moon Café fed locals for years — is leading the kitchen. Former Gracie’s Restaurant owner Paul “Archie” Archdeacon will run the front of the house. “It’s been really neat bringing two really popular Stowe restaurateurs together,” Sam von Trapp said, speaking by phone on Tuesday.
The menu offers exactly the kind of food one might expect from an Austrian beer hall in central Vermont. Snacks such as pretzels, cheddar-beer soup and savory dips whet a palate for sausages including bratwurst, knockwurst and bockwurst. These can be paired with potato salad, sauerkraut and an array of mustards. “We’re calling it a ‘relatively authentic Austrian bierhall menu,’” Pickett said, adding that he’s firing meats and fish on an Argentine wood grill. The menu also includes seasonal salads and fried vegetables along with burgers and sliders, which are pressed with grassfed or von Trapp farm-raised beef.
Read the rest of the story at SevenDaysVT.com
Avoid winter’s nastiest tricks.
Wintry weather is great at turning up problems you didn’t even know you had. Like that first snowy night in front of your fireplace that you thought was pure bliss — until you noticed a leak in the ceiling corner, which apparently was caused by a lack of insulation. How were you supposed to know that?
Many homeowners don’t realize they’re making critical missteps that can cost a ton when winter sets in. Here are seven wintertime mistakes homeowners often make (and what they could cost you!):
1. Not Buying a $2 Protector for Your Outdoor Faucet
What It’ll Cost You: Up to $15,000 and a whole lot of grief
It’s amazing what a little frozen water can do damage-wise. An inch of water in your basement can cost up to $15,000 to pump out and dry out. And, yet, it’s so easy to prevent, especially with outdoor faucets, which are the most susceptible to freezing temps.
The simplest thing to do is to remove your garden hose from your outdoor faucet and drain it. Then add a faucet protector to keep cold air from getting into your pipes. They’re really cheap (some are under $2; the more expensive ones are still less than $10). “Get these now,” says Danny Lipford, home improvement expert and host of the “Today’s Homeowner” television and radio shows. “When the weatherman says we’ve got cold coming, they’ll sell out in minutes.”
While you’re at it, make sure any exposed pipes in an unheated basement or garage are insulated, too, or you’ll face the same pricey problem.
Wrap pipes with foam plumbing insulation — before the weather drops. It’s cheap, too, just like the faucet cover (only $1 for six feet of polyethylene insulation). And it’s an easy DIY project, as long as you can reach the pipes.
2. Instagramming Your Icicles Instead of Preventing Them
What It’ll Cost You: $500 — if you’re lucky; a lot more if you’re not
Those icicles make your home look so picturesque, you just gotta take a few pics. But you better make them quick. Those icicles can literally be a dam problem. (Yes, dam — not the curse word that sounds the same. )
Icicles are a clear sign that you’ve got an ice dam, which is exactly what it sounds like: a buildup of ice on your gutter or roof that prevents melting snow and ice from flowing through your gutters. That’s really bad news because these icy blocks can lead to expensive roofing repairs.
Depending on where you live, expect to pay at least $500 for each ice dam to be steamed off. Leave the ice and you risk long-term damage, which could ultimately cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars to your roof, depending on what type of shingles you have and the size of the damaged area.
How to prevent them? Insulation. “Ice dams, icicles, and ice buildup on the gutters is a symptom of not enough insulation in the attic,” says Chris Johnson, owner of Navarre True Value and several other stores in the Twin Cities area.
And “you need to have at least 14 inches of insulation in your attic, no matter where you live,” says Lipford. If you live in a colder climate, you’ll need more.
If you don’t have the cash to insulate, heated gutter cables, which run between $50 and $150 each, can be a less expensive alternative when temporarily affixed to areas prone to ice damming, Johnson suggests.
3. Going Lazy on Your Gutters
What It’ll Cost You: You really don’t want to be in a position to find out
It can be so tempting to skip gutter cleanups as winter nears. It seems like as soon as you clear your gutters, they clog right back up again. So what’s the point?
Well, if it looks like you’re living inside a waterfall when it rains, water is missing your gutter system completely. It’s being directed to your foundation instead. And a water-damaged foundation is never, ever cheap to fix.
A contractor can plug foundation cracks for $1,500 to $3,000, says David Verbofsky, director of training for exterior home products manufacturer Ply Gem. But a worse problem, one that requires a foundation excavation or rebuild, can set you back (gulp) $30,000 or more.
Suddenly, cleaning your gutters a few times each fall doesn’t seem so bad. A pro can do the work for anywhere between $70 and $250, depending on the size of your gutter system.
4. Giving Cold Air a Chance to Sneak In
What It’ll Cost You: Nights where you never feel warm, despite sky-high heating bills
“If it were possible to take every crack on the outside of a typical home and drag them together, you’d have the equivalent of a three-by-three window open all the time,” says Lipford. Yikes.
Yet cracks can be easily and inexpensively sealed with a simple tube of caulk, and it’s available in hundreds of colors to match your window panes, outside siding, and even brick. Not sure where to caulk? Look for visible cracks around:
5. Not Getting Personal with Your Thermostat
What It’ll Cost You: Money you could spend on something else besides heating
We all know we should, but we seem to have some mental block when it comes to programming our thermostats to align with our schedules. It’s not that hard, and sometimes all it takes is buying a new one that suits you. (Like maybe a Wi-Fi one that’ll give you a little money-saving thrill each time you swipe your app.)
“From a cost-savings perspective, a programmable thermostat is a great investment,” Lipford says — as much as 10% off your energy bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Related: Get tips on choosing and programming a thermostat
6. Skipping Furnace Tune-Ups
What It’ll Cost You: A furnace that’ll die years before it should — and higher energy bills
“Forget to service your furnace and you could easily cut five years off the life of your system,” says Lipford, who added that five years is a full third of the typical unit’s life span. New units can cost around $4,000 installed, making the $125 annual maintenance charge a no-brainer.
While you’re at it, don’t forget to replace the furnace filter, which cleans the air in your home, and also keeps your furnace coils cleaner, which can shave up to 15% off your energy bill. Johnson suggests at least every three months, but possibly as often as monthly if you have allergies, pets, or smoke cigarettes at home.
7. Foregoing a Fireplace Inspection
What It’ll Cost You: Possibly your life — and your home
“A cozy fire is great, but if you don’t maintain your chimney, a fire can cost you thousands of dollars,” says Johnson, not to mention the risk to you and your family.
Schedule your maintenance appointment as early as you can. ”If you wait until the busy season, you’ll have a hard time getting them out there, you’ll pay more, and you’ll get a lower quality job,” says Lipford.
You can also read this article at Houselogic, by ALAINA TWEDDALE, a freelance writer who writes about money, home, and investing. Her work has appeared on Forbes.com, the Huffington Post, and Time.com. When she’s not writing, she’s working with her husband to slowly renovate what seems like every square inch of their home.
I've been mountain biking since shortly after moving to Vermont almost 14 years ago. I'd been biking almost my whole life -- as a very young paperboy, on a 3-speed bike, in a Pennsylvania borough many, many years ago. Then, in Los Angeles, as a Hollywood Citizen News paperboy in both Junior and Senior High School, on my first 10-speed 'road bike.' I didn't realize until years later that I was then the in the best shape I've ever been!
While I'd always had a bike, I started riding less and less as I transitioned from my bike to my first car at seventeen. It was a1966 VW Bug 1600 -- thanks to my paperboy earnings I'd saved all those years. Fast forward to our move to Vermont in 2003 that presented a number of opportunities to get out and about. Of course, there was the skiing -- practically in my back yard, and mountain biking, to which I was introduced by one of my new friends in Hyde Park.
I've been trying to ride at least 3 to 4 days each week, starting each year as soon as the Spring snows melt, and riding through Autumn, right up until the first serious snow of the season. I have a "riding buddy", a fellow Realtor -- we both live in Hyde Park, and often ride many of the trails that are within 5-minutes from my home. We also ride in Stowe, in a huge network of trails, where we're members of both the Stowe Mountain Bike Club, with its extensive network of trails, as well as those those belonging to and managed by Trapp Family Lodge. I also enjoy riding at Kingdom Trails in Burke, VT -- a phenomenal world-renowned mountain-biking destination! This summer It's been challenging to get out and on my bike as much as I'd like to -- apparently lacking the discipline to hit the trails no matter what!.
For several years, I've been tracking my rides on my iPhone, on an app 'for that.' It's Strava, and it tracks my rides and those of many other local riders, providing all kinds of stats that help us compete against ourselves and each other. I recently discovered a series of videos on Strava's website, and found the first to be an inspiration. Here it is -- be inspired. Strive. Then watch the rest of Strava's videos here.
This quintessential Vermont custom-built log cabin on 15+ acres is snuggled in a cove of maples, with privacy and gorgeous panoramic views from its hilltop setting. There are 5 acres of cleared pasture in which you can grow your own food or raise your own farm animals; and, 10 acres of treed land for exploring, hiking and harvesting your own firewood. It's an efficient home with a wood-burning insert in the field-stone fireplace in the living/dining area, and a woodstove in the finished basement.
Wildlife abounds. Snow shoe, cross-country ski, hike, or bike right out your front door. Good place for RC (remote control) flying. Tap into the maples for your own maple-syrup supply. Enjoy the small orchard of hazelnut trees, blueberry bushes and apple trees. Relax or dine on the front porch and enjoy the expansive views, or write the great American novel - inspiration awaits you!
See the complete MLS listing here.
Can I help you find yours?
Call (802-730-4343) or write for more information
Photo of the Day
Mountain BIking at Trapps yesterday with my riding buddy Jeff Beattie. We came out of the woods, headed down the road to Trapp's DeliBakery for the lagers, and enjoyed this view to the east.
YOUR KEY TO VERMONT
Travel along Vermont's scenic byways and discover the shortest route to meeting the people and places that make Vermont such a special place.
The best way to experience Vermont is to tour the roadways that wind through the mountains and meet in the valleys. These are the roads that take travelers through Vermont's forests and farmland to historic villages and towns that are vibrant hubs of culture, commerce, and recreation.
Vermont's 10 designated byways range in length from 14 miles to more than 400 miles. An exploration can range from an afternoon to an entire summer.
Tour the byways by car, motorcycle, bicycle, or train. Any mode of transportation on Vermont’s byways provides access to museums, art galleries, antique auctions, and curio shops. Trailheads, swimming holes, waterfalls, hikes, and valley views await travelers at every bend. Side excursions unearth the sublime, such as world-class music festivals and outdoor events of every kind. Delightfully down-to-earth occasions to break bread with locals include country diners, farm stands, and church suppers. Each stop along the way creates memories that linger long after the vacation ends.
Themed itineraries are available to jumpstart Vermont byway adventures. For foodies seeking local flavors, there's Chews & Brews. Arts & Culture reveals Vermont's creative spirit, while History & Heritage shares the state's varied past. For physical pursuits from mild to wild, Outdoor Recreation serves it up. Access these itineraries for each of Vermont’s 10 designated byways and start planning a byways journey today.
For entertaining and educational commentary along the way, download the Gypsy Guide before hitting the road. Explore the Vermont Scenic Route 100 Byway, the Mad River Byway, and the Green Mountain Byway as though a personal tour guide were leading the way. Download the Vermont Route 100 Byway Gypsy Guide on the App Store or Google Play.
For more information about Vermont’s 9 other byways, click here.
For information about exploring Vermont’s byways by rail, visit www.vermontvacation.com/amtrak.
8 tips to help homesellers prep on the fly
by Leigh Brown - May 27, 2016
- Be sure to eliminate any clutter around the house -- even if you have to hide it like a little kid.
- Take out the trash, and stash the laundry.
- When you're selling your house, it's crucial to leave during a showing to let the buyer's agent work.
Read the complete article by Leigh Brown, at Inman.com
Leigh Brown is a full-time residential Realtor, speaker, coach and smartass. She works in the Charlotte, North Carolina, market with Re/Max Executive Realty and can be reached @leighbrown on all networks.
DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | THURSDAY, APRIL 28, 2016
The average median property tax rate across the nation is 1.31 percent. That means a home owner with a home valued at $200,000, on average, pays an annual amount of $2,620 in property taxes, according to an analysis by CoreLogic’s data team.
Illinois has the highest median property tax rate at 2.67 percent. Hawaii, on the other hand, has the lowest at 0.31 percent.
“While higher median tax rates are seen primarily among states in the northeast, a notable exception is Texas, which has a median property tax rate of 2.17 percent,” CoreLogic reports. “Typically, the states with the highest property tax rates, with the exception of Illinois, have multiple levels of tax collection. Conversely, the majority of states with low median tax rates have a single level of collection at the county level. Other than Hawaii, the lowest median property tax rates are primarily in the Rocky Mountain region and southeastern states.”
CoreLogic calculated the median overall property tax rates nationally by state. Researchers took into account all taxing and collection entities. Take a look at the chart below to see how your state ranks.
Source: “Comparing the Real Cost of Owning Property Across the United States,” CoreLogic’s Insights Blog (April 27, 2016)
DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | FRIDAY, APRIL 01, 2016
The spring housing market is heating up and demand is high across the country. Some would-be buyers who were outbid last year or couldn’t find a home to fit their needs are returning this spring. They’re more determined than ever to buy too.
But the competition will likely be steep again this spring.
“Would-be buyers face a dilemma: There will be more homes on the market over each week of the next three to four months, but there will also be even more prospective buyers,” says Jonathan Smoke, realtor.com®’s chief economist. “We are entering the busiest season of home buying with the lowest amount of inventory in three years. To be competitive, buyers should get pre-approved for a mortgage and be ready to act quickly if they find a home that meets their needs.”
The median list price nationwide continues to inch higher and some markets are seeing long-awaited increases to inventories, although those increases been slight, according to realtor.com®’s latest housing report.
“Listings are growing as they normally do this time of the year, but because demand has been growing faster than supply, homes are selling faster,” says Smoke. “So the monthly trend is the normal seasonal pattern, but the year-over-year decline is reflective of demand being stronger than supply for more than a year, which is resulting in fewer homes available and faster-moving inventory.”
The median list price for March is $238,000, up 3 percent from last month and 8 percent higher than a year ago, according to realtor.com®’s preliminary analysis of this month’s data.
This month, there were 3 percent more homes for sale compared to February. The extra inventory is a welcome sign for buyers, but inventories are still 2 percent below what they were a year ago. That means the inventory crunch is still plaguing many housing markets.
Due to these limited inventories, home sold faster in March, spending a median of 77 days on the market. That's 20 percent faster than last month and 13 percent faster than a year ago, according to realtor.com®’s housing report.
Also, showing demand is strong, realtor.com® says its preliminary analysis of site traffic data shows that it likely grew 20 percent in March over last year, and there were 40 percent more searches for houses on the site than a year ago.
Source: “America’s 20 Hottest Real Estate Markets in March 2016,” realtor.com® (March 30, 2016)
Want to purge your records — and rest assured you have all the documents you need when you need them? Read on.
By: Dona DeZube
Unless you’re living in the 123-room Spelling Manor, you probably don’t have space to store massive amounts of tax and insurance paperwork, warranties, and repair receipts related to your home. But you’ll definitely want your paperwork at hand if you have to prove you deserved a tax deduction, file an insurance claim, or figure out if your busted oven is still under warranty.
Except for tax paperwork, there’s no official guideline governing exactly how long you have to keep most home-related documents. Lucky for you, we considered the situations in which you might need documents and came up with a handy “How Long to Keep It” home records checklist.
First, a little background on IRS rules, which informed some of our charts:
- The IRS says you should keep tax returns and the paperwork supporting them for at least three years after you file the return — the amount of time the IRS has to audit you. So that’s how long we advise in our charts.
- Check with your state about state income tax, though. Some make you keep tax records a really long time: In Ohio, it’s 10 years.
- The IRS can also ask for records up to six years after a filing if they suspect someone failed to report 25% or more of his gross income. And the agency never closes the door on an audit if it suspects fraud. Just sayin’.
HOME SALE RECORDS
How Long to Keep It
As long as you own the property + 3 years
As long as you own the property
Until the warranty period ends
As long as you own the property
As long as you own the property + 3 years
As long as you own the property + 3 years
Forever, just in case a lender says, “Hey, you still owe money.”
Home sale closing documents, including HUD-1 settlement sheet
Deed to the house
Builder’s warranty or service contract for new home
Receipts for capital improvements
Section 1031 (like-kind exchange) sale records for both your old and new properties, including HUD-1 settlement sheet
Mortgage payoff statements (certificate of satisfaction or lien release)
Why you need these docs: You use home sale closing documents, receipts for capital improvements, and like-kind exchange records to calculate and document your profit (gain) when you sell your home. Your deed and mortgage payoff statements prove you own your home and have paid off your mortgage, respectively. Your builder’s warranty or contract is important if you file a claim. And sooner or later you’ll need to check the CC&R rules in your condo or community association.
When you read the complete article at Houselogic.com, you'll find out what documents you'll need, in the categories below, and for how long you should keep them:
- ANNUAL TAX DEDUCTIONS
- INSURANCE AND WARRANTIES
- INVESTMENT (LANDLORD) REAL ESTATE DEDUCTIONS
- MISCELLANEOUS RECORDS
This article provides general information about tax laws and consequences, but isn’t intended to be relied upon as tax or legal advice applicable to particular transactions or circumstances. Consult a tax professional for such advice.
Dona DeZube has been writing about real estate for more than two decades. She lives in a suburban Baltimore Midcentury modest home on a 3-acre lot shared with possums, raccoons, foxes, a herd of deer, and her blue-tick hound.
Posted on Mar 7 2016 - 4:24 pm by Suzanne De Vita
The low-maintenance movement has taken hold across generations of homeowners. For millennials—the leading segment of homebuyers—the lower, the better. So summarized by Jill Waage, editorial director of home content for Better Homes and Gardens:
“They want to use their brains for other things, not for remembering whether they adjusted the heat or closed the garage door.”
Smart home automation has answered that call (admittedly with a few questionable products), all but guaranteeing low-maintenance living. Still, there are other, lesser-known low-maintenance features millennials may want to consider when hunting for the home of their dreams.
A brick home, for instance, doesn’t demand the maintenance required for wood or vinyl siding. It won’t rot, and its color won’t fade, sparing the homeowner the expense to repaint the exterior.
“Brick itself is a relatively low-maintenance building material, thanks to its durability and color retention,” explains Jason Hargraves of Angie’s List.
Similarly low-maintenance is metal roofing, which, according to Paul Kazlov of Global Home Improvement, is “one of the most durable roofing materials available on the market.” Properly installed metal roofs don’t absorb water, reducing risk of damage from the elements and lessening the potential for costly repairs.
Inside the home, low- or no-maintenance features are practical in high-traffic areas like the kitchen. Among the “least fussy finishes,” coins Consumer Reports’ Daniel DiClerico, are black stainless steel and quartz.
“Stainless steel has dominated appliances for decades. The only knock against the material is that it can be prone to smudges and fingerprints,” DiClerico says. “That’s creating a lot of interest in black stainless steel.”
Thanks to its matte surface, black stainless steel resists smudges, significantly cutting down cleaning efforts. And quartz, which is non-porous and stain- and scratch-resistant, doesn’t require deep cleaning, either—or sealing, like other countertop materials do.
Wall paint can also be low-maintenance, given the right finish in the right room. Satin paint is a cinch to clean, and can be especially practical in the kitchen or bathrooms; semi-gloss paint is ideal for baseboards and moldings.
“No matter what paint you go with, our experts agree: steer clear of the cheapest choices,” says Stacy Giordullo, also of Angie’s List.
The common denominator among all of these features, of course, is the low-maintenance factor—but they’ll also serve millennials well come resale. Now that’s a no-brainer!
Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online associate editor. She reserves her brain space
for all 151 pages of the script of "Titanic."
Read this article at blog.rismedia.com