Congratulations to Chris Francis of Stowe!

Stowe, VT (April 9, 2009) On Wednesday, April 7th Chris Francis, owner of Ye Olde England Inn, was named the 2010 Vermont Travel Person of the Year at the Vermont Travel Industry Conference held at the Stoweflake Mountain Resort and Spa in Stowe, Vermont.

Chris Francis

Francis began his career in the travel industry the summer of 1983, when he purchased the Ye Olde England Inn while on vacation with his wife Lynn. They had traveled to the states from England to catch the Americas Cup Races in Newport, Rhode Island. After, Chris and Lynn made their way up to Stowe, Vermont. It was during this visit that Chris decided he would like to own an inn and pub there, was interested in the lodging property San Souci and made an offer using his credit card. On the way back to England, he was notified that the offer was accepted and on November 4th, 1983 the Ye Olde England Inn officially opened.

Francis' devotion and dedication to both Stowe and Vermont has kept him actively involved in the community. He has been on the board of the Stowe Area Association for 25 years and its president for 8 of those years. Francis is also the force behind many of Stowe's car shows including The British Invasion. This event attracts hundreds of British cars and thousands of visitors to Stowe and to the state of Vermont each summer. Francis is known for his wit, negotiating skills and peacemaking and most importantly his strong advocacy for Vermont and the town of Stowe.

The Vermont Travel Person of the Year exemplifies an ongoing dedication to what makes Vermont such a special place to visit. The award is presented to an individual who contributes significantly to Vermont's travel and tourism Industry.

Source: Stowe Area Association

Personal Note: Ye Olde England Inn: Best and biggest beer selection you've ever seen, and great pub food!

Sign Says IHOP, but Syrup Says Vermont (NYT)

By Katie Zezima, New York Times, April 21, 2009 SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. – For years, diners at the International House of Pancakes nationwide have slathered their pancakes, waffles and French toast in a variety of flavored syrups, like fluorescent strawberry and "old-fashioned," the chain's artificially-flavored take on maple syrup.

The label "old-fashioned" was bound to raise red flags for many Vermonters, who will tell you it is neither old-fashioned nor maple syrup (corn syrup does not come from trees).

So when the land of piping-hot pancakes and fresh maple syrup became the 50th state to welcome an IHOP last month, the franchise owners sought permission to depart from the chain's standard fare. The IHOP here is the only one of about 1,400 in the United States, Canada and Mexico to serve real maple syrup.

"You can't open up a Vermont pancake shop without Vermont maple syrup," said Sam Handy Jr., who is the restaurant's general manager and whose family owns the franchise. Read the complete article here. ---------------------- When you're ready for the "real thing," I can help you make the lifestyle change you may have only dreamed about. Whether for permanent relocation, or for your vacation or second home, when the time is right, I'll help you find the ideal Vermont home.

Stowe Realty, one of the top local-area vacation-rental agencies, is a one-stop shop for Stowe, Vermont residential, vacation, or commercial real estate and rental information. If I can help, write or call me at 802.730.4343

Diverting Idle Hands (and Feet) (NYT)

YOUR SECOND HOME | THE LONG DRIVEBy Steve Bailey, New York Times, March 26, 2009

March 26 (New York Times) -- IT'S the weekend routine. Almost every Friday everyone piles into the car for the trip to the weekend house. You and your spouse or partner alternate between private thoughts, casual conversation and listening to a favorite song that has popped up on the radio. ... The drive is never going to be the best part of second-home ownership, but it doesn't have to be two lost hours going and two lost hours returning. And, for the back-seat crowd, it doesn't have to be endlessly boring. Read the complete article here.

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My wife and I used to make the trek from Boston to our cabin in northern Lamoille County for more than 10 years before we moved here. We usually left the South Shore late afternoon; or, worse, after work, on Fridays. After a year of that routine, arriving up here, many times after dark, to what became inevitable surprises (like no water, any season; or, a frozen chimney damper in the winter,) we changed our departure time to Saturday morning! We live here now, so those little things are no longer a problem for us. Whether or not you're thinking of renting your vacation home, we can suggest a number of options to make sure you won't have to deal with these kinds of problems when you're not here or when you arrive.

Stowe Realty, one of the top local-area vacation-rental agencies, is a one-stop shop for Stowe, Vermont residential, vacation, or commercial real estate and rental information. Whether you own a second or vacation home, or are planning to buy or rent one, we'll deliver focused first-class service and support. If I can help, write or call me at 802.730.4343

Lifestyle, Lifestyle, Lifestyle

In last week's Stowe Reporter, Jeff Wise, Stowe Mountain Resort's communication director, was quoted, "Unlike a decision to go to the beach, take a cruise or visit a theme-park, skiing and snowboarding is how people define themselves. It's not a vacation; it's a lifestyle choice." It is a lifestyle choice. It's why many of us are here. It's why I'm here. It's why you want to be here.

A Winter of Firsts

The 'vision comes to life' as Stowe Mountain Lodge, which opened this past summer, begins its first winter. Spruce Camp, the new, and wildly anticipated base lodge, opened last Saturday. It is "central services" for skiers and snowboarders, with ticketing, rentals, a restaurant/food court, a bar, event spaces, public lounge area, FREE locker use, and indoor and outdoor fireplaces. You've got to come see the 'new' Stowe Mountain Resort. Take a look at these November 23rd photos!

I've Gone Independent

...and am planning to devote more time to:

  1. StowePatrol blogging;
  2. real-estate;
  3. repping for Xtreme Sports ID;
  4. ski patrolling (it's snowing as I write this; the Resort is planning to open N-E-X-T Saturday, the 22nd); and
  5. staying open to marketing-consulting gigs.

7 Days of Adrenaline-Pumping Action, Stunning Cinematography

The Stowe Mountain Film Festival

For the benefit of the Vermont Ski Museum. Better plan on spending a(nother) week in Stowe: November 29 through December 6th! You won't want to miss a single one of these newest releases from the ski/snowboard film industry's top production companies.

  • Find out more here
  • See the schedule here

Are your skis ready?

If you haven't yet met Graham (a former World Cup technician) and Mila Lonetto, and their black dog, Shelby, take your skis and go meet them at their shop, Edgewise, as soon as you get into town. Graham's been tuning my skis almost since he arrived in Stowe more than four years ago.

Here's what you need to know:
After you've had Graham tune your skis and you've yo-yo'd a few laps up at the Mountain, come back to this post and tell me what you think.

A Little Holiday Cheer From Kim Lambrechts

Kim is Stowe Mountain Lodge's Director of Food & Beverage. He moved to Stowe from the Maldives where he spent a year as the director of food and beverage at the Four Seasons Resort Maldives. I met Kim shortly after he arrived at the Lodge and watched as he and Executive Chef Sean Buchanan, planned, organized, recruited, and built a culinary gem at the top of the Mountain Road.

Earlier this week, I asked Kim to whip up a little holiday cheer for you and here it is -- Enjoy!:

Front Four Maple-Chili-Tini

Ingredients 3 oz of Sunshine Vodka 2 Tablespoons of Vermont Maple Syrup 1 Teaspoon of Finely Chopped Habanero Chili 1 Tablespoon of Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice 4 cubes of Ice

Best Practice Infuse the vodka with the chili and let it sit for about 10 minutes to extract the natural flavor. In a shaker combine the ingredients, shake well.

Xtreme Sports ID

Vermont Sports Magazine - September 2008

Stowe, VT, and Maui, HI -- Everyone has seen Lance Armstrong's "Live Strong" yellow rubber bracelets. XTreme Sports ID takes the bracelet to a whole other level, by turning the simple piece of silicon rubber into a lifesaving piece of information. Each bracelet bears a medical symbol, a toll-free phone number, and the wearer's unique ID number. If, say, while on a bike ride you are hit by a car and left unconscious, whoever comes to the rescue can call the toll- free number embossed on the band. The voice system prompts the caller to enter the ID number, also embossed on the band. Once the wearer's ID is located, the caller is prompted to enter #1 for medical alerts, #2 for emergency contacts, and so on. You can even record "in case of death directives," "do not resuscitate instructions," and "organ donor" information. When you purchase the band, all you need to do is log onto the Xtreme Sports web site and create your ID record. The band is $8 for the first year and coverage can be renewed online for $5/year.

The bands are available in a variety of colors and are sized for small children as well as adults. The bracelets are attractive, comfortable, and virtually impossible to destroy. Anyone who does outdoor sports, and especially anyone who embarks on solo adventures, would be wise to wear this ID bracelet. Xtreme Sports ID national sales director Bryan Gillam of Stowe says, –Why carry your identification when you can simply wear it?– Xtreme Sports ID is headquartered in Maui.

For more information, visit www. xtremesportsid.com.

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I'm already wearing one. Many of my fellow ski patrollers at Stowe Mountain Resort will be wearing one. They'll also know to look for them on guests who need help. Buy yours at the new Spruce Base Camp up at the Mountain, set to open on November 22nd; or, if you're not local, send me an eMail.

How Did I Get Here?

My wife and I never saw our major life change coming. I was a casualty of the 2001 high-tech collapse; after an almost 20-year software industry marketing career at a number of established companies and startups, I was laid off. I struggled for the next two years to find suitable permanent employment while trying to support us with consulting and project work. Never mind the health insurance worries. Almost two years later, in July 2003, during a visit to northern Vermont, we stumbled across a beautiful old colonial-revival house for sale in one of the many idyllic areas surrounding Stowe. Coming from the Boston area, with its explosive property values, our first reaction to the listing price was that it was missing a leading "1" – it wasn't. We'd been going to Vermont for years; I had always wanted to move there (or should that be "here"?). After spending close to eight hours going through the house repeatedly over the next two days, we looked at each other, shrugged, and asked, "Why not!"

We returned to Boston's South Shore, listed our home, had our offer accepted on the Vermont house, and began planning our huge lifestyle change. We cashed out of Massachusetts the week before Thanksgiving 2003, paid cash for our new home, and eliminated the chronic worry and challenge of making monthly mortgage payments. We arrived in Vermont the day before the 2003-2004 ski season began at Stowe Mountain Resort.

Given the state of the high-tech industry, I was more than ready for this change, figuring that if I continued as a marketing consultant or contractor, I could do it from anywhere. And, since I didn't currently have any assignments, I might even give myself the winter off to pursue one of my passions.

In August 2003, because I'm a passionate skier, I had begun to think about how to best pursue every avid skier's dream: to ski full time. If I could join the Mt. Mansfield Ski Patrol (MMSP), I might even get paid to ski. With what was probably an unrealistic and romantic notion about what that entailed, I enthusiastically, and with great determination, began making the serious job-hunter's cold calls. In less than two weeks, I'll begin my sixth season on Patrol.

Getting Ready to Launch Stowe Patrol

Thanks for stopping by. I'm getting ready to launch, so please check back soon. In the meantime, here's what you can expect, based on what I do around here. I'm currently the real-estate marketing manager at Spruce Peak at Stowe Mountain Resort. I've been here for a bit more than a year and a half. I'm a licensed real-estate salesperson, which was a requirement for my position. And, I'm about to begin my sixth year as a member of the Mt. Mansfield Ski Patrol, here at the resort. I've lived in the Stowe area for almost five years, having decided to make a major lifestyle change after living in a South Shore suburb of Boston since 1980. I traded Rt. 128 for Stowe's Mountain Road -- I am living the dream!

This blog will be about the lifestyle that is living in northern Vermont. I'll tell you what I know and experience as:

  • a local resident;
  • the Spruce Peak at Stowe real-estate marketing manager, which, at the moment includes whole-ownership and fractional-ownership opportunities at Stowe Mountain Lodge; and,
  • a sixth-year ski patroller at the resort.

I'll tell you about my favorite places in town: where to eat, drink, shop, and get your skis tuned. I'll tell you about the Lodge, its restaurant (Solstice,) its spa and wellness center, and what you can expect as a guest as well as an owner. And, if it turns out that you're looking for a second or vacation home, I'll tell you with whom you should speak. I'll also tell you about Spruce Camp, the new base lodge on the Spruce side of the resort, and the winter cottage, which serves as the Golf cottage during the other three seasons. And, I'll pepper my posts with my photographs, which I've been shooting around the resort for the last five years.

I'm going live with this blog soon; I hope you'll come back. And when you do, please post your comments. If you'd prefer to communicate with me directly, you can always send me eMail