Stowe, Vermont is one of my favorite ski destinations! It’s located in northern Vermont just 45 minutes east of Burlington, Vermont’s largest city, and easy to get to via air, car, or train. This quintessential small New England town is replete with over sixty restaurants, pubs, spas, and lodging establishments. Whether your budget is economy or luxury, you’ll find it in and around Stowe.
Stowe Mountain Resort, located on Mount Mansfield, is the premier skiing & snowboarding resort on the east coast with a 4,395 foot summit elevation, 2,160 foot vertical drop, 48 trails serviced by 13 lifts, and a whopping 333 inches of annual snowfall. Their recent opening of Stowe Mountain Lodge, a mountainside five-star luxury hotel and spa, further exemplifies their reputation as being the East’s premier skiing & snowboarding resort.
Skiers and snowboarders come from around the world to experience Mt. Mansfield’s storied terrain, comprised of Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak. The terrain is predominately intermediate, with 16% rated beginner, 59% intermediate, and 25% advanced. On Mount Mansfield, An eight-passenger gondola services Gondolier, Perry Merrill, Chin Clip, and the Cliff Trail. The Perry Merrill trail is a great run and lots of fun!!!
For a relaxed yet distinctively elegant lunch, the Cliff House at the top of the Gondola lift features fine dining within a rustic interior and spectacular panoramic-view seating of the surrounding alpine peaks. If you’re not watching your calories, grab a waffle (or two) coated in chocolate from the Waffle House at the base area or just as you get off the Gondola at the summit.
The downside to northern Vermont is that it can get very very cold and windy, and Stowe is no exception. Twenty degrees below zero off the summit is not all that uncommon. If you’re lucky enough to visit Stowe during one of those cold spells, the upside is that you’ll have the mountain all to yourself, but it will be so cold that you’ll have to limit yourself to the main runs around the Gondola so that you don’t turn into a frozen ice cube on the ride up the mountain.
If you only visit the area once and awhile, allocate some time to make your way to some neighboring resorts such as Smugglers’ Notch, Sugarbush, or Jay Peak. You’ll be glad you did!!! Sugarbush is much more challenging than Stowe but lacks the amenities of a surrounding town.
This quintessential small New England town situated around an old time main street is complete with century-old inns, a white steeple church, covered walking bridge, over sixty restaurants, pubs, spas, and lodging establishments, and lots of charm.
For affordable lodging, I recommend The Commodores Inn . It’s only a few miles from the base of Mount Mansfield and features clean rooms, full service restaurant, sports lounge, pool, three large jacuzzis, two saunas, a game room with pool table, table tennis, and video games. For a stay back in time, the historic Green Mountain Inn, built in 1833, offers moderately priced rooms right on Main Street in the village. But for the best experience, book your room in the main lodge, not the annex.
If your interested in high end establishments, then the Topnotch Resort and Spa (rated one of the Top 10 Resort Spas in the United States by Conde Nast Traveler) should be on your short list along with Stowe Mountain Lodge, the Trapp Family Lodge (Owned and operated by the Trapp family, the inspiration for the classic musical and movie “The Sound of Music”), Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa, and Ye Olde England Inne.
After an exhilarating day on Stowe’s challenging trails, loosen up in the hot tub then head out to experience some of Stowe’s nightlife.
Mr. Pickwick’s at the Ye Olde England Inne has an authentic english atmosphere and a really neat restaurant and pub, and a selection of over 150 different beers. The Rusty Nail is great for dancing and live music, and the Matterhorn bar packs them in with a dance floor, loud music, pool tables, and more.
For a really nice upscale dining experience (I’ll be back), Michael’s on the Hill will not disappoint. This fine restaurant is located within a Circa 1820 farmhouse just outside of Stowe, and features innovative European cuisine in a welcoming, refined atmosphere.
Ben & Jerry’s
Located just outside of Stowe and a few miles from routes 100 and 89, is the main Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory. They have tours of the facility and a small tasting area. It’s a “must do” — the ice cream and tour is fantastic!!!