Thursday, January 24, 2013

Moose Meadow Lodge

There's a moose on the loose in Vermont...according to a recent news report a skier was chased off a ski trail at Sugarbush by a moose a few weeks ago!  I've been spooked by a herd of teenage boys on snowboards barreling down an icy trail behind me...but a moose?  Who expects that to come out of the woods and bully you off the trail?  Then again, speed-skiing away from a moose could be a great story to tell for years to come!

Either way, it inspires me to look for a ski house that's all about the moose;  so the Ski House of the Day is the Moose Meadow Lodge in Waterbury, Vermont.  Formerly a single-family home, the lodge was converted into a B&B.  It's situated on an sprawling, picturesque wooded mountain property.  Great skiing isn't far away at Stowe, Sugarbush, Bolton Valley, Mad River, and more.

There are just four guest rooms in this lodge's spacious 4,000 sq.ft.  Reminiscent of the great camps of the Adirondacks, this log lodge has a style all its own!

Before you even get inside, the moose weather-vane atop the house sets the moose-inspired tone:

The front steps seem welcoming and unique:

But it's on the inside that the lodge begins to reveal its unique personality with a cool, slightly quirky vibe that's all about the moose...and so much more!  If you like an abundance of theme decor (like I do) this place will thrill you.  Just inside, the display of vintage fishing gear and wooden canoe is a relaxed and unexpected welcome:

The unique collections seem to be the stick chair collection displayed on the wall, the puppets, teddy bears, vintage skis and snowshoes, fishing gear, and of course, the moose decor throughout the entire lodge.  Probably unmatched among all of these collections is the "wildlife trophy" collection starting with the signature 19-point moose head overlooking the fireplace...

and continuing with all sorts of other furry, feathered and finned creatures (even an African water buffalo!).

But the lodge reminds us that it is a ski house with its collection of gorgeous vintage wooden skis and ski poles included in the decor throughout.  In addition to all of that, each guest room has its own unique theme, with its own unique decor/collection, like the Duck Room:

...the cozy and adorable Teddy Bear Room:

...the fishing-inspired Creel Room...

...and the Mountain View Room ...with this beautiful Vermont mountain view:

Any moose out there?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Bette Davis' Ski House

The Academy Award nominations were announced today, and that means it's movie season as well as ski season.  So, with a nod to the silver screen, here's a ski house with an unexpected history -- one that connects the White Mountains of New Hampshire to the golden era of Hollywood!  The Ski House of the Day is Butternut Lodge in Sugar Hill, New Hampshire.  This isn't an ordinary ski was built in 1940 by the iconic American actress, Bette Davis!  The electrifying and individualistic Bette Davis was considered to be "the star" of Hollywood in the 1930's and into the 1940's (and was nominated for 10 Academy Awards during her movie career!).  It was during the height of that movie career that she constructed this house in the mountains of New Hampshire.

The vintage ski house, Butternut Lodge, retains the charm and character of that grand, bygone era, and is in the quintessential understated New England country style, with a twist of Hollywood glamour:

Butternut Lodge has 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, and is situated on 22 secluded private acres close to Franconia Notch with skiing there as well as at Cannon Mountain which is only about 5 miles away.

Imagine the glamorous movie star Bette Davis heading out into the snow from here with a pair of those long wooden skis from the '40's!

It has been said that the mountains of New England make you feel like you belong there;  and according to New Hampshire Adventures, White Mt News and other accounts, this house and the surrounding mountains were a refuge of sorts for Bette Davis, providing her with a place to feel at home while enjoying a measure of anonymity.  In return she brought some Hollywood glamour and her generous personal philanthropy to this quiet rural area.  So this ski house seems to have been born out of a connection between anonymity and fame, glamour and philanthropy.  That connection continues to linger;  and to experience this house is to experience that connection.

Along one side of the house is a unique silo (which is said to have been re-purposed from an old Vermont barn) which still holds the grand staircase that leads from the bar on the first floor up to Bette Davis' master bedroom, and then continues up to the third floor sitting room/observation area with sweeping views:

The house is split in half by a massive, central, double-sided brick fireplace:
...with a formal living room on one side:

...and an open kitchen/family room on the other side:
This looks like a nice spot to relax apres-ski, and maybe watch a Bette Davis movie or two!

Bette Davis, with the help of her mother, filled the house with antiques; and the original vintage New England character of the house has been lovingly maintained throughout:

With its wonderful history, I think it's really amazing that Butternut Lodge is available for vacation rentals!  

Here's the huge master bedroom suite, where you can fall asleep in the same space as Bette Davis did all those years ago:

Another bedroom was originally the library...and it still retains a bit of that identity, as well as a bit of the identity of the intriguing movie star who created this house:

Life Magazine published this photo of Bette Davis in 1941...relaxing in her classic ski outfit and 1940's lace-up leather ski boots in front of the fire....possibly even taken in front of the brick fireplace right in this ski house:

......And years later Life concluded that she was the most significant actress of her era.  Yet world-famous Bette Davis, it seems, felt a strong sense of belonging at home in these quiet, seasonal snow-covered mountains.

"A New Englander never forgets New England, the change of seasons, and these mountains that really make you feel like you belong here....I've just got the New England blood in my veins."     -- Bette Davis 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Fun at Chalet La Couronne

The Ski House of the Day is Chalet La Couronne in La Tzoumaz Switzerland (part of  Les 4 Vallees Ski Area which links it to Verbier, Bruson, and more, to total 410 km of trails!).  La Tzoumaz is a family-friendly ski area on the north-facing side of the steep mountain area.  This lovely, spacious chalet is nestled up against the mountain cliff:

Chalet La Couronne has a bright and beautiful interior with a stone fireplace and an abundance of woodwork:

The kitchen is modern, sleek, and bright:

...and the custom wooden dining table is a lovely handmade feature:

With five bedrooms (plus 5 + bathrooms) there's room in the chalet for a big family:

And the view from Chalet La Couronne is pretty spectacular:

Here's what I think is the most unique feature...the chalet has a private funicular (...think inclined plane meets elevator and mini cog-railway) that takes you right to the ski trail, making this a ski-in ski-out chalet!  (I know how wimpy this must look to all those back-country skiers who hike and skin up miles of steeps...but for the rest of us, it's pretty cool). Check out this photo of skiers exiting the private funicular and arriving at the piste:

Looks like fun, as in FUNicular!