Just three hours north of Portsmouth, Stowe, Vermont feels like worlds away. With a “ski resort meets rural countryside” vibe, this picture-perfect New England destination is overflowing with activities every season!
Growing up, my fondest memories from family trips to Stowe include indulging in delicious chocolate-drizzled waffles at the top of Mt. Mansfield, and, after skiing for the entire day and feeling a great sense of accomplishment, leaping into the steamy outdoor pool at night. To me, it was bliss and one of the many reasons why Stowe remains one of my favorite winter vacation spots years later.
Stowe’s reputation for being a skier’s paradise is accurate to the T (bar), however, there is so much more to see, do, and explore. Gear up with quality goods from local retailers, enjoy a yoga class with residents, pop into galleries and explore Vermont-made masterpieces, and taste artisanal delicacies at upscale marketplaces. If you’re looking for a more relaxing stay, treat yourself to a pampering-filled day at a spa, or wrap yourself in a furry blanket with hot chocolate and cookies by your side, and cozy up by the fire with a book!
So, what activities are at the top of our list??
Skating at Spruce Creek Rink (located at the base of Mt. Mansfield) feels as if you’re dancing in a snow globe. Centrally located in a newly-designed, historic-looking village with sweeping mountain views, this open-air, meticulously-groomed ice rink is heavenly. Added bonus: country music playing in the background and swinging benches if you need a break!
It’s no surprise that Mt. Mansfield is continuously named one of the top ski mountains in New England. With peaks that look strikingly similar to the Swiss Alps and trails that dart every which way, there is no shortage of terrain to cover during a day on the slopes.
Quick Tip: If you plan to ski on an upcoming visit, purchase your lift tickets online, and save!
Bowl-O-Rama’s “cosmic bowling” meets The Friendly Toast at this new Stowe hangout where bowling is king! The atmosphere is retro with a modern flare - think bright lights, music videos, vintage shoes, and a waitstaff that glides by the mod couches delivering fresh appetizers and drinks. The crowd was a melange of every age group - mixed with what seemed to be locals and tourists alike. This was clearly the place to be any time of day or night!
The Von Trapp Family Lodge could be an upscale, ornate, fancy hotel with the reputation of the Von Trapp family and their well-known story. But it’s not, and that might be my favorite part about it. With its slogan being, “A little bit of Austria, a lot of Vermont,” this hotel’s outdoor center has a European accent and a laid-back, country-living charm.
Upon entering the outdoor center that feels like it hasn’t changed since the 1950’s, we were welcomed by racks of cross-country ski equipment and a blazing fire. The friendly staff quickly suited us up with gear and we set out into the woods, where the natural beauty and snowy expanses instantly took our breath away! If we HAD to think of a problem about the Von Trapp Family Lodge, it was that we didn’t have enough time to explore the 37 miles of groomed trails; I guess we’ll need to go back soon!
Added bonus: After a day of hard work, treat yourself to dinner and craft beers at the Von Trapp Bier Hall on property!
The main road that winds through Stowe is called Mountain Road. About halfway between Mt. Mansfield and Stowe Village, you’ll find a fabulous new coffee shop called PK Coffee! The atmosphere here feels very similar to Lil’s Cafe but with more of a New York City hipster buzz. “PK” are the initials of this bustling coffee shop’s co-owner's great uncle, who was a coffee trader in Belgium many moons ago. I love that this cute spot is locally owned, incorporates family history, and cups some incredible Counter Culture coffee. PK Coffee provides a cozy environment in which to sit down and catch up on work, or relax while reading the paper, with a latte in hand…
The Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory Tour is a right of passage when visiting Stowe. Located right off the highway on your way to Stowe Village, the Waterbury, Vermont headquarters is where we can see for ourselves how the chunk spelunking magic happens! The hallways were decorated in vibrant color combinations and whimsically-drawn cows, tie-dye t-shirts were ubiquitous, and the smell of waffle cones wafted throughout the building during our visit… I never wanted to leave. The cherry on top (pun intended) was when our guide offered us a scoop of ice cream at the end; who says ice cream is just a summer thing??
If you’re looking for a beautiful place to rest your head after action-filled days in Stowe, look no further than our three favorite spots below!
This Lark Hotel property has “mountainside chic” written all over its cozy lobby. The colorful pops of orange accessories, fluffy white blankets, and white birch tree accents might make you want to lounge here all day. You don't even have have to take off your slippers to enjoy their restaurant Picnic Social - open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
Tucked away on a rolling hill, this is the secluded retreat to come to for some serious R&R. With land stretching as far as the eyes can see, and warm, inviting interiors, this home-y inn will take you far away from your normal routine…
This new luxury resort sits at the base of Mount Mansfield and provides unparalleled and attentive service. If you’re up for first tracks, and want a lively lobby in which to enjoy live music, multiple fireplaces, people watching, and a hot chocolate bar, the Stowe Mountain Lodge offers more than just a place to rest your head…
The fun doesn’t end here! Take a peek at some of our other favorite places to visit while in Stowe…
Quick Tip: The Mountain Road Shuttle is a free, fun, and reliable mode of transportation for traveling to and from Stowe Village and Mt. Mansfield.
Here's to you Stowe! For more information on Stowe or Vermont Tourism, head here!
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