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pirates_lake_champlain_575Lots of events for this first week of June in Vermont, from food and music to sports, for adults and for kids.

Monday June 1, 2009 – David Byrne – Shelburne Museum
David Byrne
(formerly of The Talking Heads), a Grammy and Oscar recipient, will perform songs from his new album while taking in a beautiful sunset over Lake Champlain. His long collaboration with Brian Eno has resulted in ethereal, world-music influenced musical landscapes. The Shelburne Museum, a gorgeous venue, hosts this show on “The Green” as part of Ben & Jerry’s Concerts on the Green series.
Time: Doors open at 6:30pm, concert at 8:00pm.
Location: Shelburne Museum, 5555 Shelburne Road (US7), Shelburne.
Tickets: www.highergroundmusic.com.
Cost: $45 in advance; $50 day of show.

Thursday June 4, 2009 – “Three Girls and Their Buddy”, Emmylou Harris, Shawn Colvin, Patty Griffin & Buddy Miller – Shelburne Museum
Folk, bluegrass and country from this quartet with Emmylou Harris, who sang on the soundtrack of “O Brother, Where Art Thou,” Shawn Colvin, Patty Griffin, and Buddy Miller.
Time: Doors open at 5pm, concert at 6pm.
Location: Shelburne Museum, 5555 Shelburne Road (US7), Shelburne.
Tickets: www.highergroundmusic.com.
Cost: $50-54.

June 5-14, 2009 – Burlington Discover Jazz Festival
Burlington Discover Jazz Festival, in its 27th year, features concerts at the Art Deco Flynn Theater, with headliners like Diana Krall, Branford Marsalis and Pink Martini – as well as day-long music in the streets. Ticket prices vary, and some events free.
For the complete schedule, visit www.discoverjazz.com.

Some of the concerts of note for the week of June 1 to 7:
Friday June 5, 2009 – Anat Cohen Quartet (double bill with Esperanza Spalding) – Flynn Center
Tenor saxophone and clarinet, Anat Cohen has thrilled audiences throughout the US and Canada. She is said to be “one of the brightest, most original young instrumentalists in jazz”.
Bassist, vocalist and composer Esperanza Spalding, is a remarkable performer who has played and been acclaimed on world’s stages. Her 2008 album incorporates the rich traditions of jazz, soul, Latin, R&B and world music.
Time: 8pm
Location: Flynn Center for the Arts,153 Main Street, Burlington
Tickets: $34, $27, $21; www.discoverjazz.com.

Sunday June 7, 2009 – Diana Krall- Flynn Center
Pianist and singer Diana Krall, recipient of two Grammys, doesn’t need any presentation. Millions of people have already enjoyed her vocals, her rhythmic music, her remarkable stage presence and unmistakable piano interpretation.
Time: 8pm
Location: Flynn Center for the Arts,153 Main Street, Burlington
Tickets: $99, $69, $49, www.discoverjazz.com.

June 5-7, 2009 – Strolling of the Heifers Weekend – Brattleboro
Only in Vermont – it seems – can you see a parade of 100 heifers on Main Street. What’s a heifer” may you ask. Well, it’s a young cow which has not yet had a calf of her own. Parade is at 10am sharp on Saturday June 6. It will be followed by by a dairy festival that includes the Future Chefs of Vermont tent, a Children’s Farm Fun Tent, a Royal Farmer’s Feast, and farm tour. Don’t miss as well the Great Vermont Grilled Cheese Cook-off, on Friday June 5, at River Garden, on Main Street, a contest with the aim of discovering the best grilled cheese sandwich recipes in Vermont.
More information at: Strolling of the Heifers

June 4-7, 2009 – Vermont Dairy Festival – Enosburg Falls
It’s also dairy festival time at Enosburg Falls, for the 53rd year – a family event with rides for the kids, crafts, baking contest, food vendors including ice cream and cheese, a parade on Saturday and stage entertainment all weekend.
More information at: www.VermontDairyFestival.com.

June 6-7, 2009 – Kid’s Pirate Festival – Lake Champlain Maritime Museum – Vergennes
Who doesn’t like to play pirates? Kids will love to come in costume, participate in activities, including a treasure hunt, enjoy live performances of pirate comedians.
Location: Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, 4472 Basin Harbor Road.
Time: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Cost: adults, $10; youth 5 -17 and under, $6; children under 5, free.
More information at: Lake Champlain Maritime Museum

And last but not least, for the more athletic crowd:

June 4-7, 2009 – 2009 National Life Group VerMontreal Tour – from Burlington to Montreal
As part of the events for the 400th anniversary of Lake Champlain, groups of 40 and 60 cyclists will ride 139 miles in 3 days or 210 miles in 4 days. The journey will take them from South Hero to Montreal, where they will join the 30,000 cyclists, participating in Montreal’s famous day-long Tour de l’Ile. Tour includes fine hotels, full breakfasts, support vans, nightlife, historical and culinary highlights. Note: we are confirming with the organizers that this tour is indeed still happening.
More information at: Local Motion

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black_fly_festival_575This article is a special contribution from Montpelier’s local resident Karen Kane, owner of Paris by design and Montreal by design.

Forget about fiddleheads, peepers, or maple sugaring. Blackflies are the real harbinger of spring in central Vermont!

And excitement is building as the residents of Adamant, VT, a rural village near the state capital of Montpelier, prepare to host the 7th Annual Adamant Blackfly Festival on Sat. May 16th, 2009.

Adamant is a small, unincorporated village, situated on the town line between Calais to the north and east Montpelier to the south. There is no true boundary to define the village, and as such there is debate as to what constitutes residence. This is, however, purely theoretical as there is no legal, governmental or commercial status associated with residence.

The general wisdom is that “Adamant is a state of mind.”

The Blackfly Festival exemplifies an important aspect of the small community’s state of mind: creativity. Its inhabitants, many of whom are artists, are resourceful and fun-loving. The festival is the brainchild of Adamant resident Cindy Cook, whose family timed a trip to Ireland to avoid the small flying creatures, one year.

“They bite, draw blood and leave welts,” says Cook. “I can’t go outside the house without a head net when they’re out. Creating the festival was one way to keep us from going insane.”

With any luck, the guests of honor won’t be in attendance this year.

The Blackfly Festival has two purposes: to benefit the Adamant Co-op, which is the oldest food co-op in Vermont, and to have some serious fun. The event brings together the entire community – and visitors from across the country – to celebrate, in Cook’s words, “the bug we love to hate.”

The day’s events take place at the Adamant Co-op. The oldest food cooperative in Vermont was incorporated in 1935, when eleven families contributed five dollars a piece to provide working capital. Since then, the coop has functioned as a small, community-run general store and post office. It is a place where folks stop to get a few groceries, pick up their mail, and find out what’s new with their neighbors. The store is the heart and soul of Adamant.

There is a parade at 3pm featuring eclectic costumes, impromptu music, synchronized bug zappers, a local Ferrari, and farm equipment. Past parades have been described as “campy,” “a whole lot of fun,” and “the Macy’s Day Parade of the Insect World.”

The Blackfly Pie contest at 1pm is expected to draw out the competitive spirit in local bakers. Categories include Best Tasting, Best Appearance, and Most Creative. Judges include chefs from the nearby New England Culinary Institute, one of the finest cooking schools in the country.

The grill fires up at 11am. Music throughout the day will be provided by several bands, including Earthman Band, with local musician Pitz Quattrone playing the digeridoo. And there is much more to discover…

For more information, visit Adamant’s Blackfly Festival. And to see a video of the festival, click on this link.

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justin_morrill_homestead_575Photo: Justin Smith Morrill Homestead – Vermont State Historic Site – Strafford.
You’re starting to think about your summer vacation. I know it, because many of you read our article “Fun things to do in the summer in Vermont” this month…
So here are some tips and links to help you plan your summer vacation in Vermont, and some ideas on things to do here this summer:
1- Vermont Life Magazine – monthly e-newsletter – You can subscribe for free to Vermont Life Magazine’s monthly e-newsletter. They usually have a list of events for the month and more…
2- Vermont Public Radio – e-newsletter – Another e-newsletter you can subscribe to. They cover interesting topics and take you to the web pages where you can download a special program. Last month for instance, they talked about the documentary “Maple Sugar Time”.
3- Vermont Life Magazine – web extras – Free on their website. Lots of great information. In the Spring 2009 web extra, you can see maps of the 5 riverside bike rides discussed in the printed issue (zoom close to see details).  In the Summer 2008 web extra, they presented restaurant hopping suggestions for Northern, Central and Southern Vermont, recipes by awarded-chef Michael Kloeti and even a nice little documentary filmed in the kitchen of his restaurant on a Friday night “Behind the scene”…
4- Vermont Life Magazine – I don’t get anything for promoting Vermont Life Magazine but it’s a nice publication to plan your vacation to Vermont. You can start with a free issue! See their website.
5- Vermont Summer Vacation Guide – Vermont Department of Tourism has a vacation guide for each season. You can order it on line.
6- Outdoors associations websites – Here are 3 official websites for information and events on outdoors activities (Vermont Outdoor Guide Association), hunting and fishing (Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department), and golfing (Golf Vermont)
7- Vermont State Historic Sites – There are a number of events all summer long at Vermont Historic Sites, and an open house week-end in June at all sites. For the calendar of events, you can consult their official website.
8- Vermont Mozart Festival – July 19th to August 9 – The Vermont Mozart Festival is in our opinion one of the nicest series of events of the summer in Vermont. It is a series of classical music (and some jazz) concerts in wonderful outdoor settings, including some historic sites. Let’s hope for better weather than last year, when they needed to use their indoor “rain site” too often. For the complete calendar of events, see Vermont Mozart Festival.
9- The Quadricentennial of Lake Champlain – You may know that this year is a very special year in Vermont. It is the 400th anniversary of Lake Champlain and there are tons of events organized by public and private organizations. The major event is “Celebrate Champlain Burlington International Waterfront Festival” from July 2 to July 14. You can see the complete calendar of events on their Events page. They also printed a magazine you can find on local news stands or buy on line.
10- Our Amazon bookstore: right here we have compiled for you a list of travel guides, maps, outdoors books, gastronomy and more. This online bookstore takes you to the Amazon website to complete your purchase. Hope you’ll find it helpful. See our Bookstore page.
11- Last by not least, you can check our Summer 2008 articles on outdoors, Vermont historic sites, things to do, summer concerts, bike rides, etc. on our List of Articles page.
On that note, we hope you come to Vermont to enjoy a great summer, and we’d love to hear from you on ideas, suggestions, things and places you loved…

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Brookfield floating bridge in winter Photo: Courtesy of John Hughes, photographer.

Post-event note: It is 1 pm as I am writing this and would like to alert readers that the event has ended early, as the ice was not safe for competitions today…
Saturday January 31 – 10:30 am to 2 pm – It’s ice harvesting in Brookfield, Vermont. It is the 30th year that this traditional event takes place and it is one of the last ice harvest festivals in New England. It is also one of the Top Ten Winter 2008/09 Events, according to the Vermont Chamber of Commerce. There will be demonstrations and competitions, ice cutting, ice sculpting, dog sledding, food and more. We are trying to get more information on the exact timing of the various events. Stay Posted! And for more details, you can read the 2001 The Herald article which describes nicely how the ice is prepared for harvesting for several weeks and how it is carried to the ice house.
We had lots of fresh snow in the past couple of days, so the scenery should be spectacular, but dress warm because it is going to be on the chilly side (14F; 0F with the wind chill factor). We’ll definitely be there with our camera!
Note: If you are interested in the history of ice harvesting, don’t miss the ice house at the Justin Morrill Homestead, a Vermont historic site in Strafford, and its exhibit on ice harvesting, including some interesting old photographs. The site is not open in the winter though.

Related article: Brookfield: its Unique Floating Bridge
More information on Brookfield Ice Harvest Festival
at:
802-276-3959

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New Year fireworksNote: This is a 2008 article which we will update in a few days.

Vermont is celebrating New Year’s Eve with First Night events, fireworks and torchlight parades throughout the state. We’ll gather here information on all towns and ski resorts’ celebrations.
First Night events happen throughout the US. They feature a number of artists in a number of venues. In Vermont, Burlington, Montpelier and St. Johnsbury have First Night’s celebrations planned for you. First Night Montpelier has even been voted a Top 10 Winter 2008-2009 Event by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce.

First Night Burlington – Downtown Burlington – Wednesday December 31, 2008 – Noon to midnight
The complete schedule of the indoor performances is at www.firstnightburlington.com. Outdoors, the annual parade will take place at 6 pm on Church Street. It is a special parade this year for the beginning of a year of celebrations for the 400-year anniversary of Lake Champlain, in commemoration of Samuel de Champlain’s exploration of the lake, to which he gave his name. The parade will be led by the Abenaki Community and will have the theme “400 years together – The Lake, the Land and the People”. Then, the official kick-off of the Quadricentennial Celebrations will take place in front of the City Hall at 7 pm. Fireworks will be 7:30 pm and midnight at Burlington Waterfront.
More information at: www.firstnightburlington.com
Live webcam on Church Street

First Night Montpelier – Montpelier – Wednesday December 31, 2008 – Noon to midnight
Like in Burlington, you can enjoy many artist performances, music, dance, theater, storytelling and magic, plus children’s activities, and more. From noon to 3 pm, you can cross-country ski at Morse Farm or ice skate at the Central Vermont Civic Center. There is a 5K race at 3 pm, and the performances are from 3 pm to 8 pm at various venues. Parade and fireworks are at 8 pm. Finally, starting at 9 pm, the Dance Party and Midnight Countdown is at the City Hall auditorium with The Chrome Cowboys.
For the full schedule, visit: First Night Montpelier

First Night St. Johnsbury – St. Johnsbury – Wednesday December 31, 2008 – 4 pm to midnight
Around 50 performances at various venues, music, dance, magic, children’s activities and more. Outdoors, fireworks are at midnight at the Academy gym, and they will raise a lighted ball!
More information at: First Night St. Johnsbury

And there are more fireworks at your various ski resorts as well.

Bolton Valley – Wednesday December 31, 2008 – 8:30 pm kick-off
There will be a torchlight parade followed by fireworks. New Year’s Eve fireworks will be against the backdrop of Bolton Valley. Both events can be best viewed from the base lodge.
See: New Year’s Eve fireworks

Jay Peak Resort – Wednesday December 31, 2008 – 9 pm
New Year’s Eve fireworks will be shot off on The Interstate Trail, which is on the Tramside of the resort at 9pm.
More information at: Jay Peak Resort Events

Smugglers’ Notch – Wednesday December 31, 2008 – 11:45 pm
Beginning at 11:45 pm, there will be a bonfire on the Village Green near the Gazebo and a fireworks display against the backdrop of Morse Mountain.
See: Smugglers’ Notch winter vacations

Stowe – Wednesday December 31, 2008 – 7 pm
New Year’s Eve fireworks start at 7pm at Spruce Peak. The best place to view them is from the new Spruce Camp base lodge.
See: New Year’s Eve fireworks

Stratton Mountain Resort – Wednesday December 31, 2008 – 8:45 pm
New Year’s Eve fireworks and torchlight parade are starting at 8:45 p.m. in the Main Base Area.
More information at: New Year’s Eve at Stratton

Sugarbush Resort – Wednesday December 31, 2008 – 6:45 pm
There are also fireworks and a torchlight parade at Sugarbush for New Year’s Eve.
See: New Year’s Eve fireworks and torchlight parade

And finally,

There is fireworks and ice skating at midnight at the Hawk Mountain Resort in Plymouth, for New Year’s Eve.
See: Hawk Mountain Resort – Holiday Events 

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Christmas concert

Note: This is the 2008 article. Check our 2009 article on Handel’s Messiah concerts.

Christmas is not quite Christmas without the joy of listening to Handel’s most famous creation, the Messiah, written in 1741 and still played every Christmas all around the world.
For the Vermont Philharmonic, it will be the 50th anniversary of performing the Messiah but there are several other groups playing this beautiful music throughout the state of Vermont this Christmas.
Montpelier – Friday December 5th, 2008 at 7:30 pm – Saint Augustine Church – and in Barre – Sunday December 7th, 2008 at 3:30 pm – Barre Opera HouseVermont Philharmonic performs the Messiah with guest conductor Brian Webb.
More information at: Vermont Philharmonic
Brattleboro – Saturday December 6th, 2008 at 1 pm – 38th Annual Community Messiah Sing – Centre Congregational Church. Conductor Patty Meyer, organist Bill McKim, and trumpeter Charlie Schneeweis will perform with 4 soloists and more than 300 singers will join in the choruses. It is a fund raising event for the homeless.
More information at: Friends of music at Guilford
Wells River – Saturday December 6th, 2008 at 7:30 pm – 61st Annual Christmas Concert – Congregational Church – Soloists, orchestra and chorus of the North Country Chorus, all under the direction of Alan Rowe will perform the Messiah.
More information at: North Country Chorus
Peacham – Sunday December 7th, 2008 at 3:00 pm – Congregational Church – The North Country Chorus will perform there.
More information at: North Country Chorus
Rutland – Sunday December 7th, 2008 at 3:30 pm and 7:00 pm – Grace Congregational Church – The annual performance of Handel’s Messiah will take place in the beautifully decorated sanctuary.
More information at: (802) 775-4301.
Burlington – Ira Allen Chapel at the University of Vermont – Tuesday December 9th, 2008 at 7:30 pm – It is the annual Handel’s Messiah Sing-along lead by David Neiweem with a chorus of students and enthusiasts. For the first time this year, they will be accompanied by the University Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Michael Hopkins. Free admission.
More information at: University of Vermont
– Middlebury – Sunday December 21st, 2008 at 2 pm – Middlebury Congregational ChurchA sing-along led by Jeff Rehbach, conductor of the Middlebury College Community Chorus.
More information at: Middlebury College – Annual Messiah Sing
Stowe – Monday December 22nd, 2008 at 7:30 pm – 17th Annual Handel’s Messiah Community Sing – Stowe Community Church – It’s also a sing-along with the soloists and the 20-piece orchestra.
More information at: Go Stowe
And finally,
Arlington – Sundary December 28th, 2008 at 3 pm – 6th Annual Messiah Sing-along – St. James Episcopal Church – See comment below the article for more information.
Also visit their website: St. James Episcopal Church

Enjoy the music!

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Lake Champlain Bluegrass FestivalPhoto courtesy of Adam Frehm

New this week!

7th Annual Lake Champlain Bluegrass Festival – August 8-10, in Alburgh – If you like bluegrass music, this is your week-end. Pray for good weather so you can enjoy all the outdoors concerts. And if you are not familiar with the event, take a minute and look here on the Vermont Life Magazine website, at this slideshow with music (scroll down the page and be patient, it takes a little while to load) … Looks and sounds like lots of fun.
More information at: www.lakechamplainmusic.com
51st Annual Antique & Classic Car Show – August 8-10, in Stowe – It’s the big and famous antique car event of the summer at Stowe with around 850 antique, classic and collector cars expected.
More information at: www.vtauto.org
– The schooner Lois McClure is coming back home to Burlington – Saturday August 5, Perkins Pier, Lake Champlain, Burlington, 5PM. You may have heard that the Lois McClure has been traveling to Quebec city (and other places on its way down the Saint-Laurent and the Richelieu river) early July to represent Vermont at the 400th anniversary of the founding of Quebec city by Samuel de Champlain. It’s back home and invites you to bring your picnic and enjoy dessert this Saturday early evening.
Bicycle Film Series at the Savoy Theater, Montpelier – For the cyclists discouraged by the rain! Saturday August 9: The Bicycle Thief (Ladri di biciclette) (1948) – director: Vittorio De Sica (view the trailer) and Sunday August 10: Jour de Fête (1949) – writer and director: Jacques Tati. On your way, you can even admire some modern sculptures inspired by cycling, in front of several Montpelier buildings or inns!
– And finally, if you really enjoy wine tasting and want to offer yourself a very special treat, there is a very special wine week-end cruise – one-and-half day with an overnight – on the beautiful Moonlight Lady, hosted by Dellie Rex, senior Wine Instructor at New England Culinary Institute. The cost is $399 per person.
More information at: www.vtwinecruise.com

And for continuing events:
Les Miserables musical is playing in Vermont… from July 31 to August 23 in Weston. We’ll try to go and check this production in the next few weeks and tell you what we thought. We are not expecting the kind of production you can see in New York or London, but we’ll see…
More information at: www.westonplayhouse.org
Vermont Summer Festival Horseshow – 5th week-end of competition at East Dorset; Photographers: remember you can participate to a digital photography contest (see previous posting);
Related post: Vermont Summer Festival Horseshow
– And more chamber music at Marlboro Music, Marlboro College – Friday August 8 and Saturday August 9 at 8:30PM and Sunday afternoon August 10 at 2:30PM. It is worth the drive there and you can find nice romantic inns to stay at, in the area. Time Magazine says it’s “the most exciting chamber music in the U.S.”, the NY Times says “extraordinary rising stars and musical legends play side-by-side”.
More information at: Marlboro Music
Also, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment on one of these events if you have a chance to attend!

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Fourth of July celebrationsIt’s time to celebrate Fouth of July all accross the country. Here in Vermont, there will be parades and fireworks in a number of towns. But we have identified a few other Fourth of July events for you.
There are two events worth noting at State Historic Sites which we already mentioned in previous posts:
– At the President Calvin Coolidge Homestead, celebrations for the birthday of the only U.S. president born on the Fourth of July. There is chicken BBQ to enjoy for lunch there at the restaurant!
– At Hubbardton Battlefield site, it is the annual Battle of Hubbardton reenactment this week-end, July 5-6th, with the actual battle reenactment taking place Sunday morning from around 8AM to 10AM. The battle is the only American Revolution battle which took place in Vermont. The date was July 7, 1777. Interestingly, at 4PM on Sunday afternoon, at the Old Constitution House in Windsor, a messenger will arrive to announce the Battle of Hubbardton and the American withdrawal from Mount Independence and Fort Ticonderoga – just like the messenger did on that day of July 1777 when he announced the news to the constitutional delegates.
And…
– The Vermont Symphony Orchestra is at the Shelburne Farms tonight (July 4th) and if the weather is good, the program will end with musicians playing Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture while you enjoy the fireworks!
– For the very serious crowd, at the Bennington monument, like every year, an actor will read the Declaration of Independence at 1:00PM.
– Reading the Declaration of Independence is also part of the family celebrations at the Billings Farm and Museum today!
So, to all of you, have a very happy Independence Day!