Meet Anne M: VBT’s Traveler of the Month for August 2013

Trulli_Anne biking past Trulli a
We’d like to introduce you to the first featured traveler of our new ‘VBT Traveler of the Month’ spotlight – Anne M. from Frantoio_Dessertright here in Vermont. Although Anne hails from a close proximity to VBT headquarters, she and her family traveled thousands of miles to Puglia, Italy with us last summer. “We went to Puglia on our first VBT trip. It was marvelous!” Anne said, “It is off the beaten path for tourists but that’s what we loved about this trip. The landscape, people, food, towns are so like the Italy one imagines.”

Family in ItalyUpon returning home from Italy, Anne has continued to spread the good word about VBT. “A friend from Middlebury did the Puglia tour this year, after I told him how fantastic it was,” Anne recalled. She wrote an fantastic review of her experience on the VBT website and even stopped by the office in Bristol, VT with a DVD full of amazing pictures to share from her family’s trip.

Pasta Lesson with Nona_Alia

We just wanted to thank Anne for choosing VBT and for embodying the spirit of a true active traveler. When asked about where she was off to next she said “I am so tempted by another Italy trip but we may want to head to Patagonia too!”

To see some of the pictures Anne gave of us from her Puglia: Italy’s Undiscovered Coast vacation please click HERE

Monopoli skyline

Cross-Country Skiing in Vermont with VBT: A Conversation with Garrott Kuzzy, VBT’s Ski Product Manager

HX 2014 Secondary for web

After such a successful first year of cross-country ski vacations abroad, VBT is excited to be introducing two new domestic ski trips in 2014. One of which is located in our home state of Vermont. We’ve been offering biking vacations in Vermont for over forty years so we are delighted to finally share our home state with travelers during the months that Vermont is a virtual winter wonderland. We recently sat down with VBT’s Skiing Product Manager, Garrott Kuzzy, who isgarrott a world-class skier in his own right, seriously. Garrott was a member of the US Ski team and competed in the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. Here’s what he had to say about VBT’s new A New England Winter: Cross Country Skiing in Vermont vacation.

After a successful first season of ski vacations abroad, what made you decide to design a vacation in VBT’s home state?

From the beginning, we really wanted to launch a ski tour in our backyard that showcases the skiing and winter activities in Vermont.  A Vermont ski tour is within driving distance from many locations on the East Coast, offering the opportunity to try a VBT ski vacation without having to travel by plane.  Both of our ski centers on tour, the Rikert Nordic Center in Ripton and the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, offer snowmaking on their cross country trails which insures excellent conditions even in a marginal snow winter.  We strategically chose these destinations as they will offer the best experience for our guests.

Let’s say I have never cross-country skied before but love the idea of visiting Vermont in the winter.  Why would I choose to go on this vacation with VBT?

The Green Mountains are a fantastic place to ski, steeped in a rich history of winter culture.  We’ll learn about this history when we visit the Vermont Ski Museum in Stowe.  Also, we’ve always wanted to offer a maple sugaring demonstration on tour, as Vermont is the largest producer of maple syrup in the U.S.  While that’s not possible in the summer or fall, we’ve got a great snowshoe and maple sugaring tour planned at the Trapp Family Lodge.  There’s much more to a VBT winter vacation than just skiing.

100_0221Although you’re a World-class skier, how do the trails on this vacation apply to skiers of all abilities – will experts and novices both have a good experience?

All of our ski Trip Leaders are certified ski instructors and can teach beginners to ski or help experienced skiers improve.  Our beginner departures (on all of our ski tours) are a great opportunity for someone who has never skied to enjoy our winter tours without prior ski experience.  We’ve got a variety of routes planned for this vacation, from flat trails along the Little River in Stowe, to more challenging trails at Blueberry Hill in Ripton.  We offer snowshoes for guests on the Vermont tour who might prefer to snowshoe instead of ski.  Experienced skiers will find more than enough kilometers of skiing on the vast, well-marked trail networks on the tour.

What about Middlebury and Stowe drew you to include those towns in the itinerary?

Our ski tours are as much about experiencing winter culture as they are about skiing.  Middlebury is internationally renowned for its college and language schools.  This influence has brought many outstanding restaurants to this quintessential New England village.  Middlebury’s Swift House Inn offers comfortable accommodations at the end of a day on the trails and is within short walking distance of the village center.

Stowe is perhaps the best known winter community in Vermont—and for good reason.  Stowe attracts winter enthusiasts from around the world.  You may choose to take time off from cross-country skiing to enjoy a day of chairlift assisted garrott trying to catch a liftalpine skiing at Stowe Mountain Resort.  Of course, the Trapp Family Lodge has a special Austrian charm that comes alive in the winter.  These characteristics of Middlebury and Stowe made them easy choices to feature the best of what Vermont has to offer.

What aspect of the vacation, other than the skiing, would you say you are most excited for travelers to experience?

Vermont is quickly becoming famous for its wineries and microbrews.  This vacation features tastings and tours at three of them and I’m looking forward to guests raising a glass.  Lincoln Peak Winery produces their wine with grapes grown right here in Vermont.  We’ll enjoy one of their northern varietals and learn about what makes this wine unique.  At Otter Creek Brewery, we’ll have the opportunity to sample Long Trail, Shed, and Otter Creek beers.  Trapp Family Lodge recently added a brewery, Trapp Lager, to their facility.  We’ll raise a Trapp Lager with Sam Von Trapp, Maria Von Trapp’s grandson, or brew master JP Williams, before a delicious dinner at the brewery.  If wine and beer aren’t your thing, you’ll be sure to enjoy a stop at the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream factory, where we’ll savor another special taste from Vermont.

For more information on the A New England Winter: Cross Country Skiing in Vermont vacation and our four other ski vacations click here: