Don't be afraid of new things

love-opera-victoria-bakerThis year, my New Year’s Resolution is to try one thing that scares me once a week.

By scare I mean something that’s out of my comfort zone, yet always within a positive context of course. So first on the 2014 agenda was a winter sport that has long intimidated me: skiing.

I wanted to find a place not too far from home but different enough that it would feel like an adventure. That’s when I heard about Stowe, the most picturesque town in Vermont.

If you go to Stowe, you must stay at the recently renovated Topnotch Resort- it’s the best. They have easy access to the slopes, the best spa and horse driven sleigh rides in the snow. I had the most comfortable night’s rest of my life there, the crisp white bed linens and impeccably clean design esthetic inspires some serious relaxation. I awoke to a view of the snowy mountain top, opened the window to let in some fresh Vermont air and donned my ski wear.

Skiing has always been way out of my comfort zone, just sitting in the ski area with all the athletic looking people walking in their heavy ski boots intimidates me. Not to mention that every other person in Stowe seems to have at least one family member who was at some point involved with the Olympic Ski Team.

But destiny paired me with the sweetest instructor possible and he patiently helped me navigate down the bunny slopes. I fell twice and it was great fun. Doing things that scare you is wonderful —  it demystifies them and you realize your fear is just a silly story you told yourself.

Proud of having conquered the baby slopes, I headed to the spa. The facilities at Topnotch are fantastic for relieving a weary skier, indoor hot tub with cascading waterfall, sauna and steam, lounges with fireplaces and an outdoor hot tub overlooking the snowy mountains. I found myself there first thing one morning, just me and nature and a gentle snow fall.

I returned from Stowe with two new passions: one for skiing and the other for maple syrup. I got introduced to Slopeside Syrup, a family run maple business. The Cochran family, also famous for their Olympic Ski wins, uses the trees on their land to bottle pure maple syrup.

If you haven’t tried it (and, believe me, it’s nothing like the supermarket kind), you must. As I write these lines I’m sipping maple syrup- that’s right “sipping”, because when it tastes this good it seems wrong to dilute the flavor with a second rate pancake. Try it for yourself by ordering online

What’s your New Year resolution? Remember, you don’t need to wait for New Year’s…every day can be a new beginning!


Victoria Baker, of Greenwich, is an opera singer. Winner of many prestigious competitions, she has performed and worked with distinguished artists all over the world (notably at Lincoln Center). Should you have any questions that deserve answers and may be in print please call 203-531-7499 or e-mail [email protected]

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