Blog :: 2016

The Shine Project

As we look back on 2016, there were many memorable events.  As the world wrestles with big changes, and impacts for so many people across the globe, sometimes we feel challenged about what we might be able to do individually on a social level, to help those in need.  There is a website we found inspiring, which offers many ideas about what we can each do as individuals, as well as  communities.  It’s The Shine Project.  By simply reading it, we hope it brings a smile to your face, and allows you the opportunity to offer whatever service to your community, you may have been thinking about.

Each member of our office has committed to a community project of their own personal interest.  We have some information on our website listing some local non-profit organizations and resources. 

For additional ideas of organizations in your community, you can also go to to discover volunteer opportunities in your neighborhood.

“Do something small, every single day, for somebody else”. 



Photo source:    


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    Stowe's Stone Hut to reopen soon!

    Almost a year ago, Stowe’s legendary Stone Hut burned to the ground.  With a lot of hard work, and community and state funding, the iconic one-room cabin will be available for occupancy again, on December 1.    On Tuesday, November 1, Governor Peter Shumlin, and Vermont State Parks Commissioner Michael Snyder rode a snowcat to the top of Mt. Mansfield to celebrate the rebuilding of  the Stone Hut.  The lottery system will be in place again, for those who want to stay there, and get 1st tracks at sunrise. 

    The hut, originally built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1936, burned last December 23rd, after a fire started when a wet log was left leaning against the wood stove.  The estimated cost to rebuild is around $276,000.

    It's been rebuilt pretty much as it was, with an attempt to keep the original character and the coveted experience. There's no electricity or running water, and you'll need to bring your own mattress pad this year.

    See you on the slopes!

    source: VT Ski+Ride

    photo source:

    There was skiing and riding this past weekend!

    First tracks have already been made after 11" of fresh snow fell on the mountain, this past Saturday night.  So, might be time to think about grabbing those early ski and ride pass discounts offered.  If you're planning on skiing and riding at Stowe Mountain Resort, they offer many discounted options.  You will find many great deals, including young adult and college passes. These prices are only available until November 6, so don't delay. 

    Another great option is the Vermont Travel Club Card.  Here you will find discounted lift tickets for individuals and families, at 11 Vermont ski resorts plus Sunday River in Maine. You can save up to $42 on some day lift tickets.

    Pay $49 for one card or as low as $34 per card if you're buying a family membership. Typically the card pays for itself after its second or third use. Quantities limited, and rates go up December 1!

    Here's to a snowy wintry winter, this year! 

    Introducing a New Macdonald to the Smith Macdonald Group

    We are proud to welcome Maggie Macdonald to our award-winning family business, the Smith Macdonald Group of Coldwell Banker Carlson Real Estate. Maggie is an experienced real estate professional with deep roots in the Stowe community, who brings a successful background in sales, advertising, and project management to the Stowe area real estate market.

    Maggie will join us in providing trusted advice to our clients. Like Peggy, who has been a pillar of the Stowe community since 1973, and McKee, who has been an award-winning real estate salesperson in both New York City and Stowe, she is committed to providing impeccable customer service. Maggie is forward thinking, innovative, and very tech savvy, which means our clients will benefit from state-of-the-art marketing and sales strategies. 

    As a multi-million dollar sales associate at The Corcoran Group in New York City, and Prudential California Realty in Lake Tahoe, Maggie consistently delighted clients and exceeded their expectations. She helped launch an exclusive riverfront condo development at Winooski Falls, as Director of Sales and Marketing at The Cascades.  Maggie’s advertising clients trusted her to produce cutting-edge digital campaigns that were both creative and technologically advanced. She will bring this wealth of experience back home to Stowe, where she is ready to help clients navigate the local real estate market.  

    Please join us in welcoming Maggie back to the Stowe area, where she will provide every client, no matter how large or small, with personalized strategies for success. With her first-hand knowledge of our unique community in the heart of the Green Mountains, Maggie will be joining us to help enhance the opportunities for all of our buyers and sellers in Stowe and the surrounding areas. 

    The Smith Macdonald Group, represented the Estate at Strawberry Hill, which sold for $6,700,000

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    Last week we sold the Estate at Strawberry Hill, the highest priced recorded sale in Stowe, and the 2nd highest in the state, within the past 10 years. 

    Our marketing efforts, combined with the world’s #1 luxury brand, Coldwell Banker Previews International, helped to secure a contract within 33 days, and a closing on this property in 48 days. This well known property was recently featured in the Previews online magazine Previews Inside Out, and in Architectural Digest.  See video of the property, below. 

    Our team is part of a small group of Vermont Realtors that can claim to be Previews International Specialists. This exclusive Coldwell Banker brand provides our sellers with an exceptional advantage in marketing and selling their luxury properties, over any other real estate brand. 

    Extraordinary properties require extraordinary marketing.  

    Stowe's Exceptional Properties

    Summer is the time when we see a lot of properties come on the market, in Stowe.  There is never a better time for buyers to have so many wonderful choices.   Stowe is highlighted by so many things, like being a world class 4-season resort.  There is skiing, riding, mountain biking, concerts, craft breweries, acclaimed restaurants, and a wide variety of arts and activities.  Stowe is also known for its exceptional properties, and luxury homes.  Each has its unique qualities, along with special features and benefits.

    Here is a sampling of some of our current luxury properties, listed for sale.

    Luxurious living on 11 private acres with a winding driveway leading to an exciting contemporary home with beautiful landscaping. From the moment you enter the home you know this place was created for the view: every window looks to mountains, gardens, and pond.

    For additional details, price, and a virtual tour, you can go to our website.

    Want to be able to ski home or leave from you house to cross country ski, mountain bike or hike? This is the perfect home for you. This home has never before been on the market, and is located in a very desirable area, just before the Toll House.  Lots of privacy, yet easy access to Stowe Mountain Resort.

    For more information on this property, you can go to our website.

    Rarely does a home become available that checks the boxes for most every kind of buyer. Imagine walking into your home and looking straight out onto a massive pond with Mt. Mansfield as a backdrop. Enjoy the easy access to Stowe village and Route 100 South, yet have privacy on 11 acres of beautiful land, surrounding you.

    For more information on this property, you can go to our website.


    Weekend Events in Stowe at the end of July

    Summer events in Stowe, the weekend of July 29th, 2016

    July 29 - 30: 2nd annual Stowe Brewers Festival  featuring fine craft beer, cider, spirits, live music, food truck and vendors. 

    For more information and to buy tickets, you can go to their website. 

    Girls Guns and Glory - July 28: Boston’s own - performing at the well known Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center.  Girls Guns and Glory found inspiration from early ’50s rock ‘n’ roll icons such as Chuck Berry, Eddie Cochran, and Buddy Holly, as well as country greats like Hank Williams and Johnny Cash.

    You may want to take a peek at the brand new Spruce Peak Adventure Center at the mountain!

    Check out some of the new shops, restaurants and lodging facilities.  And, don't forget about some of the east's best mountain biking trails.


    What Are You Doing For 4th of July?


    Kick off your Fourth of July weekend celebration with the area's most favorite and iconic parade: The Moscow Parade.  This parade is like no other, and begins at 10:00 a.m.   Park on either River Rd., or Moscow Rd.

    Then, make your way to Stowe Village, where there will be live music, food, activities for all ages, a special artisan market, and other festivities and entertainment!  The Main Street parade starts at 1:00 p.m., and will be bigger and better than last year's!

    Highlighted events in the village, include a bouncy house, dunk tank, pie-eating contest, and climbing wall,  from 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.   Starting at 6:00, more Independence Day celebrations at the Mayo Farm events fields, including fireworks!

    Also, don't forget about the "7 Miles of Sales"; and the World's Shortest Marathon, which begins at noon.  A 1.7 mile Fun Run, starting at the intersection of Routes 100 & 108.  It's open to all!

    More fireworks, and a special show by Rusty Dewees will be taking place up at Spruce Peak, on July 3rd.

    The weather forecast is looking great, so enjoy whatever you might be doing, this 4th of July weekend!



    10 Ways to Boost Your Mood



    Have you ever felt a little bit sad, or slightly lonely?  Well, you're not alone, and actually, it can be quite normal.  Here are 10 simple and easy ways to increase your mood and well being:

    1. Go for a walk, outside.  Getting into nature, or into the garden, can be renewing and energizing
    2. Sing along with music, or your favorite songs
    3. Write down 5 things that you are grateful for
    4. Buy or pick some flowers for yourself
    5. Have a good laugh.  Better yet, with a friend. Watch a funny movie, or read an entertaining book
    6. Have a 5 minute 'dance party'
    7. Accomplish 1 item on your 'to-do' list
    8. Do 1 good deed, or random act of kindness
    9. Play with your favorite pet
    10. Speak with a loved one
       source: Renew by UnitedHealthcare  photo: Cyndy Knauf   


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    How to Cut Down on Food Waste

    Dana Gunders' book The Waste-Free Kitchen Handbook, indicates that every year, 40% of the food in American households gets thrown away.  The environmental impact is huge.  About 70% of our water and 50% of our land is devoted to agriculture. So when we’re not eating that food, it’s a huge unnecessary use of resources. About 33 million cars worth of greenhouse gases are produced to grow food that never gets eaten.  Dana says that we've come to expect large amounts of food, and that our culture is accepting of throwing things away.  Here are some tips from Dana's book for helping to save some money and the environment:
    1. Use a shopping list or an app so you're less likely to buy more than you need.  Shop more often and buy less.

    2. Be realistic. What tends to happen is you buy all these groceries on the weekend because you’ve got big plans for cooking all the yummy recipes you cut out.  But by Wednesday, you’re ordering takeout.  Meanwhile, the food goes bad.

    3. For two weeks, keep track of what you throw out to pinpoint what you are wasting and why.

    4. Toss a variety of leftovers onto rice or into a tortilla or pasta salad. You can also sauté wilted lettuce with butter or olive oil and garlic.  Throw yesterday's leftover salad into the blender with some tomato juice, and voila, a yummy snack!

    5. Don't worry too much about expiration dates, unless the food is moldy or rancid.

    6. Start a compost pile and keep a bin on your counter to collect compostable food scraps.  This turns into the best organic fertilizer money can buy. You can even get a Green Cone for your yard which will compost everything including meat and bread.  Both available at your transfer station or local dump.

      source: photo source: Peter Oumanski  


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