Tuesday, May 19, 2020

May Blog: History of Lake Whitingham & Mountain Mills

Part 3 of 5: History of Lake Whitingham & Mountain Mills
Greetings!
The official start to summer is almost here! As Vermont begins to slowly open, we hope everyone is doing well and staying safe. We have continued to make a lot of great refreshes as well as focus on a few changes working towards everyone’s health and safety at the Inn. We continue to wait to hear more direction on out of state visitor quarantine requirements, but hope to be open to all in late June!

In the meantime, feel free to check in with us! Say hi, visit our social media platforms to see what we have been up to, or give us a call to book that future reservation! We love what we do so much but do count on all of you for on continued success, we thank you so much for your support thus far and in the future. 

Please also see the bottom of the newsletter with a great way to support the Inn and local business!!

See you all soon,
Megan and Charlie
Part 3 of 5: History of Lake Whitingham & Mountain Mills
Lake Whitingham

Before Harriman Reservoir flooded 2,200 acres of surrounding farms and woodland, the meandering, uninterrupted Deerfield River wound its sinuous way through this fertile valley. The river's power was harnessed in the late 19th century by the creation of Mountain Mills Pond as a holding area for logs floated down from Somerset Reservoir. This is where the town of Mountain Mills was founded in the early 1900's.

In 1923, Lake Harriman was created by the New England Power Company as part of its hydroelectric system. Fifteen hundred men labored for one year to provide hydroelectric power for the Northeast, including workers from surrounding towns, Nova Scotia, Maine, Prince Edward Island, as well as many Austrian Italians, Canadians, and some Native Americans from Maine. The Harriman Dam at the south end of the lake is named for Henry I. Harriman, engineer for the New England Power Company. The maximum depth of the reservoir is 185 feet.

In the early 1900s, the New England Power Company began intensive hydroelectric development of the Deerfield River along its entire length in Vermont and Massachusetts. A massive earthen dam was constructed in 1912-13 to create the Somerset Reservoir. Somerset Reservoir is the largest wild body of water in the state of Vermont. For many years it has been a special destination for canoeists, kayakers, and fishermen who seek a quiet, wild place to be on the water. Currently, there is no waterskiing or jet skiing allowed on Somerset Reservoir, and a 10 mph speed limit is in place.
Occasionally glimpsed by travelers on the Molly Stark Byway is a black tube that looks like a giant caterpillar crawling through the woods along the Deerfield River. This wood-staved pipeline conducts water from the Somerset Reservoir to the Searsburg Power Station, a small brick hydroelectric station (built in 1921) on the south bank of the Deerfield River near the Searsburg-Wilmington town line. Frequent travelers along the Molly Stark Byway will notice the seasonal drawdown of Harriman Reservoir in which the water line drops many feet and much of its coastline is revealed. This annual drawdown is now regulated to ensure the ecological health of local fisheries.

(excerpts from mollystarkbyway.org)


Mountain Mills

Mountain Mills was established in the 1900's as logging town located north of the Town of Somerset. The town of Somerset served as a logging beachhead into the southern Green Mountains. Old-growth spruce logs were driven down the Deerfield River, where they would end up in the sawmills of Mountain Mills.

By 1906, the lumber companies of the region recognized the need for better transportation facilities, to accommodate the increased demand. A network of 41 miles of track was devised to reach over 300 million feet of trees for logging.

Driven by the logging industry, the town of Mountain Mills was flourishing. The Deerfield River wound lazily through the valley, feeding its fertile crops. In the late 19th century, the town harnessed the river’s power with the creation of Mountain Mills Pond, a holding spot for logs coming down from the Somerset Reservoir.

By 1912, the Mountain Mills settlement included a railroad station, a store, post office, a six-bed hospital, brick office building, boarding house, row housing and water tower. In 1923, New England Power began developing hydroelectric power along the river. The Dam was built in a little over a year & the town of Mountain Mills was flooded. Three cemeteries were relocated and 14 miles of highways were discontinued. When the waters began to fill the lake, some residents of Mountain Mills had to hastily gather their belongings as the waters rose to their doorways to engulf their former homes and village. The submerged foundations of the mill and other buildings can occasionally be seen when boating.

(excerpts from an article in Sentinel Source)

Last chance to get a free T-Shirt with purchase of Wilmington Inn gift certificate
Purchase a gift certificate* to the inn & you will receive a free T-Shirt to support Wilmington!
Please also know that shirts are being printed by a local woman owned business right here in Wilmington, so you support TWO small businesses with this purchase!

* min purchase of $100 to receive shirt- shipping included
Stay Smiling!

Sunday, April 26, 2020

April Blog: Part 2 of 5 Series

Part 2 of 5: History of Mount Snow & Haystack Mountain
Greetings!
Hope everyone has managed to stay happy and healthy throughout April. We have stayed busy at the Inn doing little improvements here and there and a lot of great clean out.

Please enjoy this blog about the history of two mountains that are a huge part of Southern Vermont!

Please also see the bottom of the newsletter with a great way to support the Inn and local business!!

See you all soon,
Megan and Charlie
Part 2 of 5: History of Mount Snow & Haystack Mountain
Mount Snow

The original name for Mount Snow was Mt. Pisgah. which is a 3,556 peak located in the town of West Dover, Vermont. The mountain was originally purchased by Walt Schoenknecht in 1953. Schoenknect purchased 500 acres of land on Mt. Pisgah for $15,000. The name of the mountain was changed to Mt. Snow after the family & become the new federally recognized name.

The mountain opened in 1954 with 2 chairlifts & a rope tow serving 5 trails and 2 slopes. After a great first year, Mt. Snow added its longest chairlift at the time; a 3,800 foot chain double lift which helped push the vertical drop of Mt. Snow over 1,700 foot mark making it one of the largest ski areas in the Northeast.

Within 4 years of opening, Mt Snow boasted 32 trails, a summit lodge & a large base lodge. In 1959 after opening the North Face for skiers, the Boston Globe called Mt. Snow the "World's Largest Ski Area."

Schoenknecht was just getting started on his expansion plans for Mt. Snow. In 1960, he opened Snow Lake Lodge at the base of the mountain with a large man made lake. In 1964, Mt. Snow took another step into the future of the ski industry & installed a gondola. By 1970, Mt. Snow had over 44 trails over 3 parts of the mountain.

Due to energy issues & multiple bad winters, Mt Snow was forced into bankruptcy in 1975. The mountain was eventually purchased in 1977. In 1986, Carinthia Ski Area was purchased & combined with Mt. Snow. In 1992, the first snowboard park in the East was established at Mount Snow, named  Un Blanco Gulch . The park featured jumps, a half-pipe, quarter hits, spines, wedges, banked turns, and a buried van. "

In 2000, Mount Snow hosted the 4th Annual Winter X-Games. The Games shattered previous attendance records and drew in athletes from around the world. The Games returned to Mount Snow the following year. Then in 2002, Kelly Clark, a snowboarder raised on the slopes of Mount Snow, won the first American gold medal of the XIX Olympic Games in women’s half-pipe. The Gulch" remained a staple of Mount Snow's freestyle terrain until the 2008-2009 season when all terrain parks were moved to the Carinthia area of the mountain. A new lodge was built at the base of Carinthia in 2018.

Mt. Snow is currently owned by Vail Resorts & has 86 trails with over 600 acres. In the summertime, Mt. Snow offer hiking trails, mountain biking & chairlift rides to the summit.

Haystack Mountain

Haystack Mountain is located on the same ridge as Mt. Snow. Haystack is 3,445 tall with a vertical drop of 1,400 feet. In 1964, the US Forest Service issued permits for a 30 year agreement for the 307 acres to be operated as a ski area on Haystack Mountain.

Using a slogan of "Ski Haystack Before Everyone Else Does," the Everett Lord-Wood designed area likely debuted on Christmas of 1964. The initial rollout included a three story lodge atop the beginner area, three T-Bars, and a double chairlift on the lower part of the main mountain, serving some 75 acres of terrain. A shuttle bus service carried folks throughout the fragmented base area.

Haystack expanded upward for the 1965-66 season with the installation of the  Oh No double chairlift   and the addition of 50 acres of terrain. In 1966, a chairlift was built connecting the lower base lodge to the upper base area eliminating the need for a shuttle bus between the base areas. In 1971, Haystack built a golf course and a sewage treatment plant with plans to add snowmaking & more lifts. From 1974 to 1978, Haystack had financial problems & finally closed in 1980; the mountain sat idle till 1984.

In 1984, a group was formed to reopen Haystack. Money was invested & new chairlifts were installed which reached the top of the mountain. In 1987, an expert area on the mountain was opened called "The Witches" served by a new triple chairlift. Around the same time an upper base lodge was constructed.

In 1991, Haystack experienced more financial problems & went bankrupt. Mount Snow's parent company leased the mountain for 3 seasons & ended up purchasing in 1994. In 2005 the mountain was sold & was converted to a private ski area for two seasons until it sat idle again.

In 2011, the mountain was sold to the Hermitage Club which operated the mountain as a private ski club. Multiple modern chairlifts were installed as well a brand new base lodge. In 2018, after years of financial woes, the club was foreclosed upon. Most recently in 2020, after a long battle in court, a group of members purchased the mountain in auction. We are excited to see what the future holds for the mountain!

(excerpts from New England Ski History)

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We have partnered with a local vendor, Cronin Creations & we are excited to share this great offer with everyone!
Purchase a gift certificate* to the inn & you will receive a free T-Shirt to support Wilmington!

* min purchase of $100 to receive shirt- shipping included
Hope you enjoyed- next blog coming soon!

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

March Blog: Part 1 of 5 Series

Part 1 of 5: History of Windham County
Greetings!
We hope that everyone is staying safe & healthy during these trying times. We are staying safe in Vermont and are keeping busy working on some renovations & upkeep of the inn. We miss all of our guests and it is certainly a scary time for all especially small businesses like ours. We are confident that we will come out stronger than ever together.

As we mentioned in our February blog, we are starting a series of blogs leading up to Old Home Week in July.

Our first blog is about the history of Windham County.
Part 1 of 5: History of Windham County
Windham County is a  county  located in the  U.S. state  of  Vermont . As of the  2010 census , the population was 44,513. The shire town ( county seat ) is  Newfane , and the largest municipality is the town of  Brattleboro .

This section contains excerpts from Windham County Historical Society.

In colonial New England, the king of England appointed governors to his various royal provinces and ruled through them. They had the authority to grant, in his name, any unchartered land in their province, but this could be complicated when the land to be settled was unsurveyed wilderness, and the province borders uncertain.
The earliest grant in what would become Vermont was land in the future town of Vernon, included in the 1672 township of Squakheag (later Northfield MA). A further deed “…….covering (this) grant was made August 13th, 1687 by…..Indians of the place, in consideration of 200 fathoms of Wampum and 57 value of trading goods”. In 1736, Massachusetts granted another section of future Vernon, and it was here that Sartwell’s and Bridgman’s fortified settlements were built around 1740.

The year 1740 is an important date and will be returned to later, but first it is necessary to backtrack to another early land sale. In its eagerness to found new towns, the province of Massachusetts had exceeded its bounds. In 1713, in settlement of various disputes, Massachusetts agreed to cede to Connecticut 107,793 acres of equivalent lands. These lands were then sold by Connecticut in 1716 “one of the portions, containing 43,943 acres, being the present towns of Putney, Dummerston and Brattleboro”.
Unfortunately for the aspiring settlers of these newly acquired backwoods, “….the whole of this tract of county had previously, from time immemorial, been in the possession of the native Indians”, the Abenaki, who wanted to keep their land and were prepared to fight for it. Until the end of the French and Indian Wars, the Abenaki presented a formidable obstacle to settlement.

In recognition of the threat posed to their frontier, the Massachusetts authorities voted to build a defensive “….blockhouse above Northfield, in the most convenient place on the lands called the equivalent lands”. By the summer of 1724, Fort Dummer was ready for habitation. It was used as a base for “…scouting and punitive expeditions into Abenaki country” during times of war, and as a trading post during times of peace. John Sargent arrived at the Fort with his family around 1730, followed by a few others. Another handful of frontiersman tried to develop settlements along the Connecticut River at Westminster (chartered by Massachusetts in 1735 as Township Number One) and Rockingham (under possible charters as Number Two or Fallstown or Goldenstown). Around 1740, fortified settlements were started on Fort hill on the Putney Great Meadows of the equivalent lands, and, as already mentioned, in Hinsdale/Vernon. All but Fort Sartwell were abandoned or destroyed during the King George’s War of 1744-1748, and many of the inhabitants killed or taken captive.

But to return to 1740. On March 5th, King George II ordered a survey to settle a north/south boundary dispute between Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Upon its completion, Fort Dummer was found to be in New Hampshire, whose governor was Benning Wentworth. Despite an inconclusive correspondence with the governor of New York over their respective east/west border, and the decision to refer the question to the crown, Benning Wentworth took the 1741 survey results as recognition of his jurisdiction over the lands to the west of the Connecticut River. With the ending of the King George’s War, he went to work issuing Royal Charters to this land, starting with Bennington in the far south-western corner. In 1750, his second Vermont charter went to Halifax, his third in 1751 to Marlboro, followed by one to Wilmington.

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Looking to come visit but not sure when? Take advantage of this great gift certificate special!

For every $100 spent in gift certificates, you will receive a $25 gift certificate from us!
Hope you enjoyed- next blog coming soon!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

January 2020 Newsletter: Upcoming events in the Valley

January Newsletter- Upcoming Local Events
Greetings!
Happy New Year! Winter is off to a great start and folks are enjoying skiing, snowshoeing, sledding and more! We wanted to send an update of some upcoming events in the area, we look forward to seeing you soon!

Thank you,
Charlie & Megan
2020 upcoming spring events in the Valley
There are some great local events in the first quarter of 2020!

Make sure to check out the Craft Beer & Chili Stroll in Wilmington as it ends with raffles at The Wilmington Inn!


February

2/12: Wicked Wednesday @ The Wilmington Inn
L ive music, great food & tastings from Mad River Distillers

2/15-2/22: Presidents Day and school vacation fun at Mount Snow
A full week of events, activities, live music, competitions, and fun for the whole family! 

2/15-2/16: Harris Hill Ski Jump in Brattleboro
Some of the world’s best up-and-coming ski jumpers are set to fly at New England’s only Olympic-size venue Feb. 15 and 16. An event not to miss!

2/21: Craft Beer & Chili Stroll in downtown Wilmington
Stroll through Downtown Wilmington tasting local Chili Samples & tasting craft beers!

2/22: Mardi Gras @ Mount Snow by Bud Light
Mount Snow transforms into Bourbon St!
March

3/11: Wicked Wednesday @The Wilmington Inn
Live Music from Priscilla Babchak

3/17: St. Patrick's Day Weekend @ Mount Snow
Weekend full of family fun activities!

3/21-3/22: 22nd Whitingham Maple Festival
Annual Festival celebrating the art & science of Maple Syrup & the sugar makers!

3/20-3/23 Reggaeest at Mount Snow
Bud Light Reggaefest featuring Easy Star All-Stars performing Dub Side of the Moon along with hits from Radiodread, Lonely Hearts Dub Band and Thrillah. Along with many more acts!

3/20: Bud Light Sink or Skim @ Mount Snow
Annual Pond skimming competition

3/22: Bud Light Duct Tape Derby @ Mount Snow
The Duct Tape Derby is one of the funniest and most unique competitions you'll ever witness

3/28: 12th Annual Winter Brewer's Festival
A one-day celebration of springtime, beer, and live music!

3/29: Bud Light Mogul Skiing Contest @ Mount Snow
Competitors will show off their bump and jump skills and will be judged on a combination of time, form, line, and aerial maneuvers off one of our two jumps
wedding_party_crowd.jpg
Book The Wilmington Inn for your next social occasion!
Whether it be a family reunion, anniversary, wedding or just a reason to get family & friends together!
The Wilmington Inn has 10 rooms and multiple event spaces for your event! We can assist in arranging caterers, entertainment & activities!

Thank you for your continued support