STORY BY BENJAMIN LERNER
PAINTINGS BY PETER HUNTOON
To reach Stowe, follow the gentle curves of Route 100 North through the idyllic valleys of northern central Vermont. Located a stone’s throw away from the base of Mount Mansfield, this charming town offers visiting vacationers a wide array of enjoyable outdoor activities, compelling cultural experiences, and delightful retail, lodging, and dining options. Looking to enjoy the best of what Vermont has to offer? Look no further. There’s never been a better time to “Go Stowe”!
As you approach the intersection of Route 100 and Route 108, take a left at the fork and head towards the Mountain Road Village District. After proceeding down a meandering roadway past a number of enticing boutiques and restaurants, you will come across the Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa on your right.
With comfortable and luxurious suites and stylishly designed townhouses, Stoweflake is an ideal resting place for travelers of all tastes and preferences. The resort features a fully-operational fitness center, as well as a sumptuous spa with a fully-stocked gift shop. The two spacious wings of the Stoweflake compound are connected by a picturesque walkway, which pays aesthetic homage to the beautiful covered bridges that are found throughout the Green Mountain State.
In the warmer months, visiting guests can try their golf skills at a fun and approachable on-site 9-hole golf course. A seven-circle herb garden lies at the center of Stoweflake’s wraparound building complex, complete with a striking stone fountain built by a Vermont-based craftsperson. It’s a wonderful spot to enjoy a pleasant meditative stroll, a delicious beverage, or a good book. Once you’ve checked in, be sure to take a moment to unwind and acclimate to the tranquil and bucolic Northern Vermont atmosphere.
After settling in, it’s time to head out and explore the sights and shops of Stowe’s Mountain Road Village District.
Female fashionistas will dive headfirst into the splendid selections at Well Heeled, an elegant women’s clothing shop specializing in high-end designer pieces. Those who lean towards a more casual, sartorial approach will favor the eclectic offerings of In Company, a women’s boutique with a wide range of well-curated wardrobe pieces. The Yellow Turtle is the perfect place to pick up fun and stylish clothes for children of all ages, and Bohemian-chic aesthetes will no doubt adore the distinctive garments and home décor pieces available at BunyaBunya.
In the mood to browse through a fascinating assortment of locally-sourced vintage antiques? Head to Blue Moon Vintage & Artisan Market. Self-styled cosmetic experts will flock to Body Lounge to stock up on a variety of Vermont-made natural beauty and bath products, and discerning homeowners will adore the quality products and unparalleled customer service at Stowe Kitchen Bath & Linens. Cultured carnivores will certainly savor a trip to The Butchery, a premium fromagerie, butcher shop and fish market that offers the finest fresh seafood, meat, and cheese that Stowe has to offer.
Travelers who feel the urge to stretch their legs should make a beeline to one of the multiple entrance points of the Stowe Recreation Path, a five-and-a-half mile long scenic greenway. The path follows the winding turns of the nearby West Branch River from the heart of Stowe Village to
a picturesque covered bridge on Brook Road. For a panoramic view of Mount Mansfield, park at the Thompson Park entrance point and follow a short path to an open clearing.
In the warmer months, the Stowe Recreation Path is ideal for rollerblading and biking. In the wintertime, Stowe Nordic grooms the path for cross country skiers. Bike, ski, and skate rentals are available nearby year-round at AJ’s Ski & Sports, a long-established sporting goods store that has been serving the Stowe community since 1975. For those who prefer a more subdued and tranquil approach to outdoor exercise, the Quiet Path near the heart of downtown Stowe is a low-impact, natural-surface trail reserved purely for pedestrian traffic.
The Stowe region is home to several renowned breweries and cideries, including Alchemist Brewing, von Trapp Brewery, and Stowe Cider. Beer enthusiasts interested in picking up a batch of one of Alchemist Brewing’s storied ales from their Stowe factory location – such as their nationally lauded “Heady Topper” IPA – should place an online order in advance for pickup at the brewery. At the Stowe Cider Cidery and Taproom, patrons can come sample a wide variety of locally-made craft ciders, hard teas, and hard seltzers, including their beloved “High & Dry” super-dry cider.
Located down the hill from the historic Trapp Family Lodge, the von Trapp Brewery & Bierhall houses a state-of-the- art brewery and Tyrolean bistro. (For more information on the Trapp Family Lodge, be sure to check out VERMONT Magazine’s exclusive interview with Sam von Trapp.)
After a gratifying afternoon of sightseeing and shopping, it’s time to indulge your inner gourmet with a delicious meal at one of the Mountain Road Village District’s finest restaurants. Pizza mavens will fall head-over-heels in love with the inventive creations at Piecasso – such as their “Pesto Delight” pizza with fresh basil and eggplant. Fans of new-style American casual cuisine will relish the laid-back atmosphere and seasonally-rotating beer selection at Doc Ponds. Idletyme Brewery boasts a wide-ranging list of house-brewed craft beers and a well-balanced menu featuring fresh ingredients harvested from the on-site Idletyme garden, and The Bench’s hearty wood-fired Vermont comfort food is a favorite of Stowe locals and visiting tourists alike.
For Stoweflake guests in search of a tasty meal without the lengthy drive, Charlie B’s Pub & Restaurant offers a cozy and inviting dining experience in a traditional pub setting. Located in the west wing of Stoweflake, the restaurant features a Wine Spectator Award-winning drink menu, a wooden wraparound bar, and rural decorative accents adorning the walls. Barbeque buffs will adore their Baby Back Ribs, and vegetarian diners will revel in the refreshing flavor of their Coconut Curry. After finishing your last bites, why not step outside for a fresh breath of crisp mountain air? It’s the perfect way to clear your head before a quiet night of restful sleep.
Rise and greet the day with a delicious breakfast bite at the Stowe Bee Bakery, The Bagel, or The Skinny Pancake. After finishing your morning meal with a reinvigorating latté or cappuccino, the possibilities are endless. For a peaceful and therapeutic morning of pampered relaxation, be sure to book an appointment at the Stoweflake Spa. Spa treatment offerings include Ayurvedic herbal oil massages, Eastern bodywork, and a full range of salon services. The spa’s solarium features a 12-foot Bingham hydrotherapy waterfall (named after the famed Waterfalls in nearby Mount Mansfield State Park) and a Hungarian mineral soaking pool.
Regardless of the season, vacationers with an insatiable appetite for outdoor recreation will favor a spirited morning expedition to Stowe Mountain Resort The resort is located at the base of two majestic mountains – Spruce Peak and Mount Mansfield. As the tallest mountain in the state of Vermont, Mount Mansfield is well known for offering some of the best skiing on the east coast. Seasoned and proficient skiers and snowboarders will likely carve a speedy path toward the “FourRunner Quad” at Mount Mansfield for an exhilarating taste of fresh New England powder. Those who are newer to the sport and looking to hone their skiing skills will enjoy a leisurely descent down the lower slopes of Spruce Peak on the “Meadows Quad.”
In the summertime, vacationers with exploratory inclinations will marvel at the plethora of beautiful hiking and biking trails scattered throughout the greater Stowe region. In addition to Stowe Mountain Resort’s well-maintained hiking trails, trips to Pinnacle Meadows and Wiessner Woods provide breathtaking valley views and woodland walkthroughs.
Mountain bikers, rejoice! You have reached the promised land. Stowe Trails Partnership has built multiple groups of expertly-groomed mountain biking trails that cater to riders at all skill levels. One critically acclaimed “trail pod” is located right off of Route 108 at Cady’s Hill. With varied terrain and spectacular scenery, it’s no wonder it has become one of the most popular mountain biking trail networks in the Northeast.
Bikers in search of high-quality rental gear should look no further than Mountain- Ops Outdoor Gear and Ranch Camp. In addition to providing top-of-the-line ski and bike equipment, MountainOps is well known for their celebrated bike tour service. At Ranch Camp, you will find a full-service bike shop alongside a cheerful and lively beer bar and restaurant. With a slogan of “Bikes, Beers, and Burritos,” Ranch Camp has become a highly-rated mainstay of the Stowe mountain biking community. Nothing beats a well-deserved snack after a satisfying morning ride.
Whether you spent your morning at the spa or on the slopes, there’s no better way to recharge your batteries than a lavish lunch at one of Stowe’s finest eateries. Those who treasure tacos and traditional Mexican fare will feel right at home at Tres Amigos, and lovers of Asian-fusion cuisine will surely appreciate the harmonious flavor combinations at Sushi Yoshi. Looking for a stress-free early afternoon experience that provides food and fun for the whole family? Stowe Bowl has got you covered. The 8-lane bowling alley features artisan flatbreads and craft cocktails in a comfortably posh setting. A sporting round at Stowe Bowl will serve as a perfect metaphor for the rest of your afternoon: once you get the ball rolling in the right direction, everything just seems to fall right into place.
After lunch, head to downtown Stowe Village for a lovely stroll down Main Street. Looking to satisfy your sweet tooth? Stop by Laughing Moon Chocolates for a taste of artisan Vermont confectionery. Literature enthusiasts will find riveting reading material at Bear Pond Books, and craft beer connoisseurs can choose from an encyclopedic array of Vermont-made brews at the Stowe Public House & Bottle Shop. If a tantalizing glimmer catches your eye from behind a storefront window, it’s most likely a showstopping piece from Ferro Custom & Estate Jewelers or Von Bargen’s Jewelry. As established purveyors of high-quality jewelry, both shops are peerless in their respective specialty niches.
Ferro specializes in Art-Deco and Edwardian style jewelry. The tasteful cuts of their jewels and the infinitesimally intricate details in their custom and restored estate pieces serve as a vivid testament to their steadfast dedication to their craft. Von Bargen’s Jewelry works with a number of esteemed artisan jewelers around the globe to provide their clients with an impeccably-curated range of unique and remarkable product options. Extensively-trained career professionals work face-to-face with customers to expertly advise them on their stylistic choices. Aspiring Vermont homeowners should venture a short way down Route 100 to consult with the internationally-known design specialists at Seldom Scene Interiors. No matter the scope or style of a project, their thorough and customized approach to interior design will help to transform any bare and unfurnished property into a gorgeous and unique home. The vibrant collection of artworks, home furnishings, and jewelry at Remarkable Things at Stowe Craft features many imaginative pieces from local Vermont-based creators, such as copper maple “wall trees” made by Weathersfield, Vermont-based artist Randy Adams.
No Stowe ski vacation is truly complete without a trip to The Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum. Their “Origins” exhibit tells the story of the formative stages of the ski industry in the Green Mountain State. The Stowe Historical Society honors Stowe’s earliest years through thoughtfully-arranged exhibits. Artifacts, postcards, and pictures from bygone eras paint a vivid portrait of life in Vermont in times past. After perusing the gallery’s permanent collection, head to Shaw’s General Store on Main Street to browse an immense reserve of amusing gifts. Open since 1895, Shaw’s General store is a classically styled country store that provides a firsthand taste of 19th-century nostalgia.
As the day winds down, the sizzling stoves of Stowe’s premier restaurants await your arrival. Make a reservation at Whip Bar & Grill or Harrison’s Restaurant & Bar to enjoy tasty and creative haute-cuisine in the bustling heart of Stowe Village. Discriminating wine enthusiasts will fawn over the extensive lineup of international wines at Cork Wine Bar & Market. Patrons can either take their bottles home or enjoy a glass on-site with a scrumptiously divine meal. At The Roost, a team of proficient and resourceful chefs utilize locally-sourced ingredients to craft a broad and flavorsome menu that boldly represents the best culinary aspects of Northern Vermont. The Roost is located within the grounds of Topnotch Resort, a grand and sophisticated vacation destination that offers its guests a refreshingly contemporary take on countryside hospitality. In the wintertime, horse-drawn sleigh carriages provide Topnotch guests with a quintessential Northern Vermont holiday experience. The resort has direct access to the Stowe Recreation Path, and multiple indoor & outdoor swimming pools. In the warmer months, a world-class on-site tennis academy draws athletes from far and wide to train at the Topnotch program.
Topnotch’s overarching country-chic aesthetic is visibly present in the rustic color palette of its plush suites and the modern decorative accents throughout its restaurant and patio areas. Whether your vacation plans call for a restorative family retreat or a resplendent romantic getaway, a stay at Topnotch Resort will certainly live up to its name.
Before you call it a night, be sure to treat yourself to a slice of The Roost’s apple tart or a decadent brownie sundae. Why not take it to-go to enjoy at your leisure in your room? You are on vacation, after all.
Sunday breakfast in Stowe is tough to beat. Stop by Butler’s Pantry in Stowe Village for some delectable buttermilk pancakes doused in Vermont Maple Syrup, and follow it up with a revitalizing cortado or coffee from Black Cap Coffee & Beer. As you sip your fresh-brewed beverage of choice, enjoy a final ramble through downtown Stowe Village. The time has now come to acquaint yourself with the flourishing “StoweBury” area that connects Southern Stowe to Waterbury.
own towards Waterbury on Route 100, take a scenic detour to pay a visit to the Gold Brook Bridge. Known locally as “Emily’s Bridge”, area folklore abounds with anecdotal stories concerning the bridge’s supposed haunted past. The mysterious, yet beautiful covered bridge offers a perfect photo opportunity.
In the colder months, courageous winter sport enthusiasts can visit Umiak Outdoor Outfitters on Route 100 to rent a “fat bike” equipped with wide tires perfectly-primed for riding on the snow. The trails at Little River State Park west of Route 100 are exemplary locations for fat biking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing in the winter. In the summertime, crowds converge on The Fly Rod Shop for comprehensive guided tours of the best Northern Vermont fishing spots. The knowledgeable staff working there are more than happy to assist clients with planning custom fishing adventures, and the store is stocked with top-quality gear suitable for both novice and seasoned anglers.
As your time in Stowe comes to an end, stop by Stowe Maple Products, Cabot Farmer’s Store, and Cold Hollow Cider Mill for some tempting souvenirs of your Vermont vacation. For a memorable last meal, stop by Prohibition Pig or Blackback Pub for a full-flavored and comforting lunch in a casually refined setting.