October in Southern Vermont

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“I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
 L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Image result for halloween/october

October is here! The means our days in Southern Vermont are filled with the flush of falling leaves, cold weather, and the beginning of our holiday season! Did you know Halloween started off as a Celtic festival of Sahmain where people would gather around a bonfire and dress up to ward away ghost? It eventually made its way from Europe to America where the first celebrations included “play parties,” which were public events held to celebrate the harvest. Neighbors would share stories of the dead, tell each other’s fortunes, and dance. Today in American people will spend more than 6 million annually on Halloween, making it the second biggest commerical holiday after Christmas. This year Winhall and Bennington County are offering up some awesome activities to do with the family to get you into that "spooky" mood. 

Just 30 minutes away from Stratton Mountain is Arlington, Vermont. On October 19th they are doing a Haunted House to benefit the Arlington Food Shelf at the Arlington Rec Park from 3pm to 8pm. There will be tons of free activities for kids and a dinosaur haunted house theme! Cost is $5 entry fee OR 3 non perishable food item donations for the haunted house portion. How cool is that? For more information please visit: www.facebook.com/arlingtonvtlions

On October 26th from 11am to 3pm. Bennington, Vermont which is about 45 minutes away from Stratton is hosting a Fallapalooza! There will be store front trick or treating for the children! Also including in-store specials all day! Crafter and gift vendors, escape rooms, sand art, food trucks, live entertainment, pig roast, and so much more! For more information please visit: https://www.betterbennington.org/fallapalooza!

Also happening on October 26th from 11am to 2pm in Manchester just 15 minutes from Stratton is Halloween on the Hill. This event will include plenty of fun and family-friendly activities and games. Explore the SVAC galleries as you crack the code on a scavenger hunt, decorate some seasonal crafts, or you can enjoy the magician Tom Joyce from 11:30am to 1:00pm. Snacks and refreshements as well as goodie bags will be provided. For more information about this awesome event please visit: https://www.svac.org/class/halloween-on-the-hill-2/

South Londonderry which is just 9 minutes from Stratton is holding a Haunted Firehouse Trunk or Treating at the Fire Station on Thursday October 31st! This year will include trunk-or-treating next to the fire station. The firehouse will be open starting at 5:00pm on halloween night for kids and adults. For more information on this event please visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/2415006048771222/

This is a first for Winhall! The First Annual Halloween in the 'ville (Bondville that is!) on Thursday October 31st from 4:30pm to 7:00pm at 1 River Road in Winhall. Join the the Winhall Community Arts Center and the Grindstone Pub for their first annual Halloween in Bondville! trunk or treat, haunted house, and games/crafts! For more information please visit:  https://www.facebook.com/events/384491392481493/

Last but certainly not least, there will be trick or treating at the Dorset Village Library (which is only 30 minutes from Stratton) on October 31st from 5:00pm to 7:30pm. The haunted Library has something new, exciting, bigger, and scarier in store for trick or treaters and lovers of haunted houses! There will also be outdoor activities this year!

Halloween seems to be a pretty big deal in the Winhall and Bennington County area, as it is in so many other areas of Vermont. We hope to see you at some of these events!

Vermont Open at Stratton Mountain


Got a snowboarder in the family???

In less than a week Stratton Mountain will be crawling with snowboarders of all ages and abilities.  Never Summer Snowboards once again will present The Vermont Open!   The event kicks off on Thursday night with DJ Nook n Kranny n Friends, which is sure to be a lively night of music and dancing.  Friday is rail jam time and a chance to see the Pro Heats in the afternoon.  Saturday is for Slope Style and the crowd favorite Snurfer Challenge.  Saturday night promises to be a sensory overload with the Retro Pipe under the lights.  Ross Powers will end the event with a vintage snowboard meet and greet.  The proceeds for the Vermont Open go to the Ross Power Foundation which gives financial assistance to athletes from across the United States in a wide range of sports.  

There are prizes, medals, giveaways, and cash to be earned by riders of all ages!  It sure to put smiles on a lot of faces after having a great time ridging together and enjoying the best the sport has to offer.  

For Event information click below:


For more on the Ross Powers Foundation click below:


Here is an example of a couple of winners from last year's Vermont Open including our own Meghan Szkutak's son Jack!

SKI-IN SKI-OUT Luxury townhouse waiting for you at Stratton Mountain!

Please Contact Carrie Matthews, (802)236-8458, Carrie.Matthews@raveis.com
The most magnificent SKI-IN SKI-OUT luxury townhouse at Stratton Mountain! A truly remarkable setting gives you the most convenient SKI-IN SKI-OUT access in & out of your door to trails. This SKI-IN SKI-OUT location is coupled with the extraordinary high quality craftsmanship that makes this stunning residence a must see! Four bedrooms (2 master suites) has so much to offer. Ski in/out, snow shoe, hike, or even bike right from your door onto Stratton Mountains trails. Enjoying evenings by the fireplace or in your private hot tub on the deck! High end furnishings and new stainless kitchen appliances.

Check out the video here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5ToIljDUAI&feature=youtu.be


May Stratton Real Estate update

What a beautiful day in Vermont today.   After Several cold days and lots of rain,  we are enjoying all that Vermont can bring.  

Our first very exciting news is that after 41 years, Ted and I have merged with the William Raveis Company and are very excited about the opportunities this will bring us.   Raveis is the Largest family owned real estate office in the Northeast.   They are the most successful in Connecticut and have a strong presence in Westchester, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.      The referring network and exposure on their high quality website can only enhance our marketing and selling efforts.   I am not leaving but will enjoy the ability to spend less time running the office and more time selling.

The number of pendings and closings is down slightly from last year, which is a reflection of the slower end of the season that we had.    On the positive side, we are getting a number of calls looking for information, and have been on a number of showings.   The fact that the rental market is tightening up, with less properties on the market for the winter will push people into purchasing decisions.   the good news is this month the average sale price has moved up with more closings over the $250,000 mark.   If you are thinking of renting, let's talk about that but with a buyout  of the lease option  in late September.

We are gearing up for Wanderlust in mid-June,  Stratton's village is open but they are hard at work on the base lodge.

Link to pendings and closings:



Spring Has Sprung at Stratton

The weather has finally warmed up although it does look like the SMS mogul kids are still skiing the bumps on World Cup.   As always, this time of year everything comes to a screeching halt.   Restaurants close and people go on vacation.   The numberof Sales and contracts  at Stratton seem to be pretty similar to the previous month.   Hit this link to see recent Stratton Sales and closings.

  The Stratton Foundation is selling the original chandelier's in the base lodge so I anticipate construction for the new Lodge should start soon.  

 Wanderlust  is coming back to Stratton in mid -June.  Debbie and Lisa in our Stratton Short Term Rental Department  are very busy booking rentals for that time period.  I know lots of owners are planning to be here to enjoy all that Wanderlust at Stratton has to offer.

The phones have been ringing with people looking for summer rentals and winter seasonals' for next year.   We are seeing appointments with people looking for next year even though it is early.

There does not seem to be a large number of properties coming on the market which is a good trend and the number of available seasonal rentals is done. This should convert to people who realize that they should buy instead of rent.   Property values have not come up much from the low so there are still a lot of great deals.

We are very excited about our new Web page -- www.winhallrealestate.com 


March Update of Stratton Real Estate

February pending and closings:  http://www.nnerenmls.com/nne/maildoc/cet345_1425236077-Mar-01-2015-1_54_37pm.html

The calendar says that Spring is coming but so far it doesn't seem to be anywhere in sight.  3 inches last night and more predicted for tomorrow.    Skiing at Stratton is still absolutely outrageous and people are out having a great time.    Stratton reported over 6 ' of snow in February. Sadly  I had one buyer who was coming to Stratton last weekend to ski and look to buy, was unable to get his children in Little Cub so he bagged coming.   We have had a number of people who don't want to start looking until after 4 so they can ski all day.   That being said,  we have all been busy with lots of showings and had a bidding war on a slopeside condo with a P & S  and another agreed price today.    People are spending a lot of time looking and evaluating all the information about the properties they are focusing on and slow to getting off the mark and making offers.   But as the season is winding down, we hope for a lot more good activity.     Additionally, we have a number of requests for seasonal rentals next year they we may not be able to satisfy.

Looking at the statistics, there are more closing and more pendings from last a month a good sign.  Prices are still generally under $400,000.

You may have heard there was a fire in the base lodge last week in Grizzly's.  I was in the base lodge today and the main floor is fully open for business.   Stratton did a super job in the clean up.

I have an owner who did an amazing redo of a High Meadow at Stratton home.    He took an old contemporary and created the living/dining/kitchen into an amzing space that bring the feel of a NYC loft to the mountains.  He is listing it for sale for $849,000 - in addition to the great space if has 4 bedooms, 3.5 baths, family room and large garage.   Call us if you want to see this property.


Stratton Ice Castle

Coming to Ski Stratton for a weeknd or are here for the season - Don't miss Stratton's Ice Castle.   I skied by the castle in the SunBowl where it is being constructed.   It is a pretty wild thing and will be awesome to see when its completed this weekend. 1/16/2015

Here is more information from WCAX:

Destination Recreation: Stratton Mountain Ice Castle

Posted: Jan 10, 2015 9:00 AM EST Updated: Jan 10, 2015 9:08 AM EST


Nestled in the snow covered slopes of Stratton Mountain a magical kingdom is under construction.

"I just want you to feel like you are in a different place. You know, an ice wonderland," says Cory Livingood.

Livingood is King of the Castle...ice castles. He and his crew are busy harvesting icicles to complete the wonderland. They work for an entertainment based company out of Utah that travels the U.S. handcrafting large-scale events from ice.

"Most places the way they build is with blocks of ice. Ours in very unique. It started in a guy's backyard when he was just playing with sprinklers and icicles. He actually has a patent on the process. So not only are we the only people who do this, we're the only people allowed to do it too," he says.

Typically the team need three to four weeks to finish a project. But warmer temperatures in late December shortened the timeline. Stratton's castles are located next to the Sun Bowl Lodge. The kingdom will have 31 towers,12 to 20 feet tall arches, a reflecting pool and waterfalls, all illuminated with colorful lights.

Livingood says it's an attraction for all ages.

"A lot of people will say, oh the kids must love it. But even as adults, when you're standing next to a tower that's 20,30,40 feet tall, it makes you feel small," he says.

We got a sneak peak during the construction phase. The team carries bags of fragile icicles, cementing them in place with slush.

"Every temperature has a different growth that comes from it and we can use the temperatures to manipulate the way we want to build," he says.

When it's complete, the castles will look similar to the company's other creations. In addition to southern Vermont, they'll also appear in Lincoln, New Hampshire and as far away as Minnesota and Utah. You'll be able to tour Stratton's kingdom starting next Saturday, January 17. Livingood recommends dressing warmly and wearing winter boots.

"Basically when you enter we ask you no running, no climbing no breaking the ice and it's all for your own safety," he says.

Tickets range from $7 to $14 depending on age and time of week. You can spend just a few minutes or all day inside. Livingood says it takes most people about a half hour to tour the towers. His team will maintain castles throughout the winter, adding more water as the ice melts and evaporates. Depending on the weather, visitors should have until March to experience the magic.

The team members call themselves icicle farmers. If you'd like to learn more about the profession, they're the focus of this week's Odd Jobs. That's coming up Tuesday during our 6 p.m. broadcast.

Short Term Rentals

Short Term Rentals at Stratton Mountain

Our Short term rental department is busy booking weekend and weekly winter rentals here at Stratton.    The snow is better than out West this year and Stratton is  an easy destination resort. Short term rentals can also provide extra income to an owner. Please enjoy the article below shared by Ashley Halligan, a property manager software analyst for Software Advice.  For information on availability on any of our rentals, please call Tara or Katie in our rental office.


Risks and Rewards of Short-Term Rentals | A Starter Guide for Property Owners


With the growing popularity of short-term rentals, they're becoming all the frenzy in the property management market - both for second-home owners and property management groups with a vast portfolio of rentals. The income potential is one of the most obvious and attractive catalysts to dive into the market. But there's a handful of both risks and rewards that should be carefully weighed before converting conventional, long-term rentals into short-term rentals or before investing in a property solely for this use. In a detailed guide for property managers outlining four risks and four rewards of this market, we've created a launching point into the necessary research that should be done before diving in head first. 


Some of the controversy surrounding short-term rentals stems from both hotels and city departments. Hotels argue that property owners renting on a short-term basis should be subject to the same occupancy taxes that they have to pay as an operative business. City officials make the same claims, suggesting that if short-term rentals are allowed, the city should gain the revenue from the HOT (hotel occupancy tax). Because of the ongoing debate, some cities have banned short-term rentals altogether. Others have implemented restrictions. As a property owner considering this type of rental, keeping this in mind is crucial; if restrictions or bans are enforced, will you become subject to a financial loss? Other risk factors mentioned in the guide include the additional costs associated with short-term rentals, competition between other properties and community risks. 


The most obvious reward is the revenue potential, with some property owners claiming they can earn 25% of their monthly mortgage payment in a single night; factor in the opportunity to charge significantly higher rates during peak periods in your geographic area (highly attended events or festivals, holiday weekends and summer weeks, for example), and the opportunity to make significantly more than a conventional, leased rental is high. That said, this should be balanced with the aforementioned additional costs to truly calculate profit potential. Some property owners rent on a short-term basis as a way to preserve a property, claiming short-term renters are easier on a property and allows the owner more access for upkeep and maintenance. Other rewards that may surround these rentals include the community rewards - like promoting tourism, and tax breaks for maintenance, marketing and large-ticket purchases.


No matter which reward has attracted you to potentially managing these property types, it's important to gauge all possible outcomes and make the best decision based on your property type, its location and all the possibilities that may be potential rewards or hindrances. 


Stratton/Winhall Road UpDate

What a beautiful Vermont day!  Warm temperatures, a nice breeze and sunny skies.    After a possible accumulation of 14 inches of rain, we are digging out.  The community has pulled together to help those who have lost so much.   the Stratton Foundation has raised over $100,000 in funds to go strictly for Irene Disaster Relief.   The roads to our office had been badly compromised but walking today I was so impressed with the progress.   The bridge to the East of Starting Gate looks like it could open this weekend.

If you look carefully, someone has injected a bit of humor as well.    To the west of our office , Route 20 was washed out at least 100 yards, now there is only s small gap where a new culvert is being installed,  a rough road with gravel to road level is already in place.  I think it could be open by  next week.

Everyone has shown courage and a sense of humor.