Safford Mills Inn Giveaway



The Safford Mills Inn and Cafe is celebrating a recent award by hosting a giveaway with Try Vermont First! This three room Inn is located in historic Bennington, VT. It’s cafe offers both a light fare and delicious desserts made in house., the world’s most comprehensive site for planning and booking bed and breakfast getaways, announces the first “B&B Innovator of the Year Award” to recognize bed and breakfast pioneers who constantly evolve their business and hospitality offerings to better meet the ever-changing needs of travelers.’s inaugural award goes to John Redding and Lisa Harrington-Redding, owners of The Safford Mills Inn and Café in Bennington, Vermont. To attract a younger, more contemporary traveler, the innkeepers added a martini bar to the inn and cleverly re-branded it as an A&A, or “Accommodations & Apertif.”

The inn offers complimentary martinis, wine, beer and appetizers every night. Since reopening as an “A&A,” the property has doubled its occupancy and attracted a wider mix of global travelers as well as locals craving staycations. “We are changing the face of traditional B&Bs,” says Lisa Harrington-Redding. “As avid travelers ourselves, we prefer comfortable, intimate spaces to enjoy each other as well as the local flavor. We have created an upscale martini/craft cocktail bar where our guests mingle with locals, and this focus on evening interaction and personal attention has been met with interest and delight.”

This is an international honor awarded to 1 out of 11,000 bed and breakfasts/small inns around the world. The Safford Mills Inn and Café has been recognized for business and hospitality innovations.



Congratulations Safford Mills!!!! What an exciting time for you and your A&A! We are thrilled to host this giveaway for a one night stay complete with a round of drinks, appetizers, and dessert for one couple. (Overnight must be booked by contacting Safford Mills Inn and date will be dependent upon availability when the winner books the room but must be used between November 2015 through April 2016.)


Are you ready to come visit Vermont? Do you live locally and need a stay-cation night away? Are you traveling through Bennington and want to stay in a comfortable upscale setting?


Simply ENTER HERE: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Champlain Valley Apiaries Honey Giveaway


Champlain Valley Apiaries, located in Middlebury, VT has been a leader in the Vermont honey business for three generations. It was started by Charles Mraz and is currently run by Charles Mraz (the grandson!). Champlain Valley Apiaries are best known for their raw honey and liquid honey.


Raw honey is naturally crystallized without heating or filtering. It retains its natural fragrant flavor and healthful properties that it has when extracted from the honey comb. (from the CVA website)


This liquid honey is a staple in our house! We use honey in morning coffee, breakfast oatmeal, to bake with, and with evening tea. In comparison to VT’s other natural sweetener, maple syrup, I would say that honey is richly full of sweet flavor (not overly sweet!).

Last week I was fighting a head cold and drank warm water with honey for days. Honey is naturally antibacterial and full of antioxidants.


You can shop online for honey from Champlain Valley Apiaries anytime here. Join their mailing list for 10% off. Check out their great gift baskets.


Champlain Valley Apiaries is sending TWO lucky winners the gift pack pictured above.

ENTER HERE: a Rafflecopter giveaway


Stay sweet,


Best taste tester!


Sweet Seasons Farm Giveaway


Sue Haynie opened Sweet Season Farms with a mission in mind: “Seasons Farm went into production in 2014 but began its ‘Test’ phase of growing an assortment of fruit crop back in 2006. We care about people and what is going on in U.S. food production. We see a great need for Americans to have access to nutrient dense and safe-to-eat fruit.”


“Christmas” and “Beacon” apples from the farm.

Sue is passionate about her farm, her produce and her craft. Here’s more about the details behind the scenes:“Currently, we are tending to 40 Heirloom Certified Organic Root Stock Apple / Pear trees along with Organic (CNG) Strawberries, Raspberries, Blueberries and Heirloom Peppermint. In addition, we grow 150 foot of Raspberry canes and 70 low / high bush Blueberry plants which are grown for the Leaf Teas. In May of 2015 we planted 2,400 of high bush Blueberries for our future PYO Blueberry Orchard. If we don’t grow the fruit or nuts that go into our confections, we seek to purchase as much as possible directly from U.S. family farms. The Black Currents used in the Black Current bonbon are Certified Organic from Walden Heights Nursery, Walden VT.”


Time to make your mouth water! The bon bons and truffles that Sue shared with my family were some of the best I’ve ever had, and they didn’t last long at my house!

Here’s more from Sue: ”

Our Bonbons & Truffles are made with authentic whole fruit, whole nuts, whole spice, rather than extracts and concentrated (liquid) flavorings, which merely imitate the genuine. There is no added sugar to our Truffles & Bonbons. We use Fruit, Couverture Chocolate and a touch of cream or a touch of butter – that’s it.

How the Bonbon came to be… Bonbon means: “Good Good” in French. We call this confection a “Bonbon” because we think it is doubly good! Not only do you get a unique confection with authentic whole fruit flavor, the fruit used is Organic (CNG) and the Chocolate is fine Couverture!

With a bumper crop of 500 lbs of Strawberries and every farmers market turning us away back in 2011 because we didn’t have vegetables, we saw the beauty of strawberries being all dressed up with nowhere to go!  So, we took them to the kitchen for a few years experimenting until the Strawberry Bonbon was born. In addition to Strawberry, we have Raspberry, Blueberry Lime, Apple Spice and our newest bonbon flavor: Black Currant.”


The pretty little truffle above lasted only a few minutes but the intense orange flavor lasted much longer. After enjoying it I went to brag about it’s greatness to my husband. He was only a bit jealous as he also had been enjoying a fine truffle from Sweet Seasons Farm.


Apples + caramel + pecans + chocolate = the best thing ever! Look how pretty it is too! I cut the apple and our whole family shared it. My husband was unsure at first, and ended up asking for more. The candy layer was just thick enough to complement the apple.



I once jokingly asked Sue if she ever slept. She laughed and told me that she had been up until 2AM making confections, and then back up at 5AM to leave for that day’s Farmer’s Market.


Here are Sue’s Organic Peppermint Patties, which sadly I didn’t get to try as my family snatched them up. I can tell you that because of Sue’s dedication to using real ingredients and not extracts the flavor profile on these is strongly rich and wonderful.

“My personal favorites are the Maple Caramel Apple, Maple ‘Thin Snap’ Toffees, Peppermint Patty, and the Black Forrest Raspberry Truffle. I look at the countless hours of labor, discovery and knowledge it takes to successfully grow apples and raspberries organically. It took 27 hours straight to capture the peppermint oil from our Heirloom Organic Peppermint crop.” ~Sue


I kept this Salted Maple Caramel Peanut Patty hidden just for me (sorry kids). It was both chewy and crunchy and had the best maple flavor. Sue has really perfected the marrying of different flavors to make something amazing.


Sweet Seasons Farm will be at many different Farmer’s Markets and Holiday events including:

Burke Fall Festival, Sat. 9/26
Peacham Foliage, Thurs. 10/1
Danville’s Autumn-On-The-Green, Sun. 10/4
Quechee Gorge Antique Festival (Columbus Weekend Oct. 10-12)
Cabot Apple Pie Festival, Sat. Oct 17
As members of Vermont Handcrafters, Sweet Seasons Farm will participate in the Holiday Show at the Sheraton Hotel third weekend in November.  They also ship customer orders nationwide, offer home/business delivery or customers can visit the farm to pick up their orders.
Look for posts on their Facebook page in regards to more events they will be at, and the launch of their new website.


ENTER HERE:   a Rafflecopter giveaway  to win a $20 gift card that can be used on confections of your choice!


Happy sweeting,



Tree Corners Family Campground Giveaway

This summer my children and I were lucky enough to visit Tree Corners Family Campground in Irasburg, VT. We enjoyed fun days and quiet nights. Our weekend at Tree Corners was one of our top summer memories.


Tree Corners has over 130 sites as well as cabin rentals.


They have a great playground, giant chess set, two pools, two water slides and much more to keep kids (and adults) entertained and having fun!

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There are weekly rides on a fire engine and an arcade. The staff at Tree Corners is friendly and helpful.


My children, and two nieces, were happy to cook dinner over an open fire and end the night with smores.

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We are excited to host a giveaway with Tree Corners! WIN this giveaway and go camping, or stay in one of their cabins!

Learn more and ENTER HERE: a Rafflecopter giveaway


Get out and enjoy our beautiful state!

Happy camping,


Shelburne Farms Giveaway 2015



Shelburne Farms is one of my favorite places in Vermont. Last year I blogged about how special Shelburne Farms is and I am here to do it again!

Last month I took my children and a friend to the farm. It was a lovely Vermont day! Take a look:



Park at the Welcome Center and then follow the signs to the Farm Barn (which we also call the “Castle Barn”).




Go around the corner and through the woods and then…. there it is!



We stopped to admire the art work.



Once in the Children’s Farmyard look for the Chicken Parade and help gather eggs. This is my son’s favorite activity!







We helped ourselves to a few tasty basil leaves in the garden.






Another favorite activity is milking the cow. The staff members assist the children and teach them about how/why/when cows are milked/kept on the farm, and more. Did you know that one brown swiss cow makes up to 5 gallons of milk a day! That’s a lot of milk….. which is good to have on hand to make Shelburne Farm’s award winning cheese!



The animals are as happy to see the kids are the kids are to see the animals. We are particularly fond of the old donkeys and the goat kids.






Here is my favorite part of the day: the storywalk.


This story walk used the book Before We Eat: From Farm to Table by Mary Azarian. The kids led the way up the hill, reading the story as they went.


There was a rewarding view at the top (of Lone Tree Hill) and the perfect picnic spot!




My children had a great day hiking on the trails, being hands on with the animals, and learning about their environment.


On our tractor ride back to our car we were able to see the resident Osprey in their nest.



Be sure to visit the gift shop for samples of Shelburne Farms cheese! They have a great variety of Vermont made products for sale.


There is so much to see on the farm: the market garden, the dairy barn, the lake! There are 1400 acres to explore! I have a list of things I want to see on our next visit already started!


Mark your calendar for the Harvest Festival at Shelburne Farms on September 19th. This is a great family event!

Shelburne Farms is hosting another giveaway for our readers! Today’s giveaway is for a one year Family Membership Pass!


ENTER HERE to WIN: a Rafflecopter giveaway


Good luck, and happy farming!

Back to School Giveaway 2015


Have you noticed that the sun is setting much earlier? “It’s just about winter” says my husband. It’s not quite winter, but it is Back to School season! This year it stings a bit more to wrap up summer and head into fall. We had a great summer exploring Vermont (and beyond!). Take a look:

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To celebrate kids and teachers going BACK TO SCHOOL we’ve collected a variety of gifts for one lucky winner! Note: Each prize will be directly sent from the VT business. Our winner can choose to have the prizes directly sent to them-self or to a number or friends/family members/teachers! Here are the prizes that will be sent to our winner:


Vermont Village Applesauce is the only applesauce we buy! They will send our winner two cases of applesauce pouches. Perfect for lunchboxes, field trips, after school snacks and more!


My 7 year old feels famous when he wears his Eat More Kale tshirt. Everyone stops him to say “Eat More Kale!”. Your child will be sent their very own Eat More Kale shirt to proudly wear!



Kat’s Paw is going to send our winner a colorful multi use lanyard. Check out this Etsy shop for many different quilted items including bibs, dresses, crayon rolls, coasters, wallets and more.


Real Sticks get packed in my son’s lunch often! Win a pack of 24 Real Sticks from Vermont Smoke and Cure. There are six different Real Sticks including Turkey Ancho, Beef BBQ, and Turkey Pepperoni.


Vermont Custom Works will personalize a Frozen themed car bag for our winner. Choice of blue or purple. Vermont Custom Works can print a special back to school or birthday shirt for you!

Grannie Snow is going to send our winner a copy of her latest book: Silas and Opal Meet. Contact Grannie Snow about reading one of her three books to your group or class!



Is your child’s school Nut Free? Ours is! Send our favorite nut free granola bars: Tanabars from Vermont Nut Free! Our winner will receive an assorted pack of Tanabars.


Sarita’s Bagita’s will send our winner a set of three reusable lunch bags. These are all we use to pack snacks and lunches. They are easy to use, easy to clean, eco friendly and come in really fun patterns.


Marsh Hollow will keep your day sweet with their mouth watering jam. Our winner will receive one jar. My son’s favorite is Christmas Jam (all year!).


Alaina’s Mosaics has sold close to 500 of Alaina’s self published books to families and schools across the country. Our winner will get two books, one to keep and one to share with their classroom.


Time Out For Whoopie is one of our favorite Vermont treats!! Send them to your teacher or share in celebration of surviving the first week back to school! Our winner will receive a Sampler Pack of 6 pies.


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Teachers have countless notes to send home. Pen to Paper Designs will personalize a set of beautiful Orchid note cards for your child’s teacher. Lucky teacher!


WIN all this to celebrate the Back To School season! Click and ENTER here: a Rafflecopter giveaway


Good luck (with the giveaway AND school!),

Ready for another great year!

Ready for another great year!

Butterfly Bakery Giveaway

I recently asked Claire Georges of Montpelier’s Butterfly Bakery how many different products she makes. It’s an ever changing number and product list. There are 17 different sweets and 30-40 different hot sauces and mustards a year. Because this bakery is continuously coming up with new wonderful products I encourage you to LIKE their Facebook page and find them at a Farmer’s Market near you!

Now let me tell you more!


My son brought his own money to the Farmer’s Market and choose to buy a cookie from Butterfly Bakery.

Butterfly Bakery opened in 2003 when Claire started inventing recipes to work around her dietary restrictions. Claire shares: “I started with sweets, since sugar is my main nemesis. Then I got into vegan and whole grain baking, because treats should taste like treats, even if you have a restricted diet.”

After selling at farmer’s markets and seeing such great local produce around her Claire decided to create a line of hot sauce and mustards. I first met Claire years ago when shopping for hot sauces. I picked up two that day: Vermont Maple Sriracha and Vermont Dill Sauce. Both were full of their own distinct flavor and were used up quickly. Currently Claire works directly with The Alchemist, Stillmeadow Gardens, Eastman Long and Sons maple syrup, Seedfolks Farm and many more.

What are buyers liking best? My most popular items are our Chocolate Peanut Butter Chunks and our Mighty Tasty Granola. My personal favorite are our Chocolate Peppermint Snap and our Sugar Shack Sriracha.” -Claire


Claire sent us a few of her newest projects which both have Heady Topper (beer) as an ingredient. Here is more info from Claire: Our Heady Pepper hot sauce is so well loved that its garnered both international distribution and love from the Alchemist itself. We pride ourselves on being able to truly bring out the World Famous IPA flavors in our products.


The mustard was strong and rich in flavor without being overwhelming and compliments hot dogs, Italian sausage, or a ham sandwich well by adding a touch of excellence.


I first tried this hot sauce on a spoon and my initial response was “BOOM!” It was powerful! Spicy, of course, but full of complex flavors.


Most Butterfly Bakery products can be purchased at and at Vermont coops and independent grocers, but the widest variety can be bought at the Montpelier Farmers Market on Saturdays.

ENTER HERE to win a Heady Topper gift set from Butterfly Bakery –> a Rafflecopter giveaway


Nitty Gritty Giveaway



Plant the seeds, harvest the grain, grind, blend, package… you may think that I am retelling the classic Little Red Hen story but really I am introducing you to the Nitty Gritty Grain Co located in Charlotte, VT. Sibling owners Tom Kenyon and Cathy Kenyon are helping to not only continue to write their family’s history of farming and land conservation, but they are also putting top quality products on our grocery shelves.


All Nitty Gritty Grains are grown on the family farm. They are milled locally and packaged back at the farm. The final products – grains and baking mixes – can be found around Vermont, can be purchased online and can also be picked up at the farm.


Recipes can be found on the inside of the packaged mixes and on their website. I have a tried and mastered Pumpkin Bread recipe that I make almost weekly. Despite making it weekly the picture above shows what our pumpkin bread usually looks like… almost gone! Here’s the recipe for your family to enjoy:

1/3C vegetable oil
1 C sugar
2 large eggs
2C pumpkin (or use one 15oz can)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 & 1/2C Nitty Gritty unbleached white flour

Mix well and bake at 350 until done (the time will vary based on your muffin/pan size).


My friend Jennifer is a phenomenal baker and because I know she values locally grown products I shared my Nitty Gritty Flour with her.

“Flour Power

I love to bake and I love to use local, wholesome ingredients! So, I was extremely excited when I was asked to try this local flour from Nitty Gritty Grain Company of Vermont! I have never heard of this company but loved the idea that everything is grown organically on their farm in VT, overlooking Lake Champlain. I experimented with two of their flours.

The first one I used was the VT White Flour, which is an unbleached all-purpose flour from hard red winter wheat. I was amazed at how silky the texture was of this flour and it had a beautiful light white color to it! I baked muffins, breads, pancakes and cookies. My breads and muffins came out light, moist and fluffy.

Next, I used the pastry flour to make pie crust. This created a nice silky and smooth dough to roll out. It was very pliable and easy to work with. I also added pastry flour to other baked goods, like pancakes, cookies, muffins and scones for a more whole grain, richer and lighter flavor and texture. The pastry flour works well with cakes too.

I can truly taste the difference and feel great knowing that it comes locally, organically grown and minimally processed. This ensures the best flavor and healthiest for me and my family as well as the environment. I look forward to using more if this flour and hopefully find it in my local store to purchase.” ~Jennifer




I love cornbread and was really excited to try the Nitty Gritty Cornbread Mix. The mix combines organic corn and organic wheat flour grown on the farm as well as a few leavening agents. Add an egg, a bit of oil, and water and let bake. Easy! I put mine in the oven and then focused on making the perfect soup to pair with the bread.


The end result was melt in your mouth wonderful. The pan only lasted a day! We ate second and third helpings with our dinner and polished the rest of the following morning for breakfast. It was divine!



Enter to WIN a pancake mix and a bag of cornmeal from Nitty Gritty Grain. The pancake mix is a best seller and a personal favorite of the Kenyon household!
ENTER HERE ——> a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy baking,


Grannie Snow’s NEW Book & Giveaway


Vermont author Grannie Snow is back to introduce you to the third book in The Silas Series: Silas and Opal Meet. We have shared the two previous books in this series with you before and invite you to read about them again: Big Ole Striped Silas, Silas Gets a Sister.


My children started to judge this book by its cover, and were worried that the two cats would not become friends or even be friendly to each other. Rest assured, while I won’t give away the ending, it all ends well.


Each book is so sweet and fun to read. Our family likes to sit down and read all three stories in order to see the full progression of the story.


I asked Grannie Snow what (else) she would like readers to know and this is what she shared: “(These are) wholesome books with many messages/topics you can discuss with your child, i.e. grieving process, hope, animal companionship/endorsement of shelter adoptions, patience, love, etc. (no fighting superheros, etc.)”

It’s also important to know that this book, and the whole series, 100% Vermont made (not sold on Amazon). Grannie Snow encourages her readers to visit local brick and mortar bookstores and gift shops. If you don’t see her books there, or if they are out of stock, ask for them! You can also purchase books anytime on the Silas Series website. I was thrilled to see a woman walking out of an NEK book store with The Silas Series a few weeks ago! My kids spotted the books right away too.


Good news…. illustrations for the fourth book have already begun by Matthew Gauvin! You heard it here first!

Please support this Vermont author and Vermont illustrator by LIKING their Facebook page. Doing so will give you book updates and information about scheduled reading events. Let’s help Grannie Snow reach 500 LIKES this week!


This is a very generous giveaway… Grannie Snow is offering our winner a set of three autographed books as well as a reading at a place of their choice. The last time we offered this prize it was won by a parent at my son’s school. Grannie Snow met and read to over 60 kids during her visit!

ENTER HERE to win this giveaway —–> a Rafflecopter giveaway


Good luck, happy reading!