Stowe, Vermont Offers a Classic New England Mountain Town Vacation
Stowe, Vermont. (Photo
by Eric Hurwitz. Page updated on 5/28/18
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Best known as a winter ski and fall foliage destination,
Stowe Vt. also takes the high road when it comes to
wonderful, family-friendly New England summer vacation mountain
More than 45 years ago, my parents first took us to Stowe. As a kid and
young adult, we stayed at the Smugglers Notch Resort in nearby
Jeffersonville, enjoying the all inclusive resort before all inclusive
was cool (it's an even better resort now!). These vacations were the
stuff that memories are made of including taking free tennis lessons
from the legendary late Arthur Ashe at a Stowe resort, hiking through
the woods, enjoying campfires at night, being mesmerized by the scenic
setting for the "The Sound of Music" musical at the Trapp Family Lodge, eating as much ice cream and
pizza as the stomach could hold, and walking up and down idyllic Main
Street wishing our hometown could look like this.
As an adult, my wife
and I spent a portion of our honeymoon at now-closed Foxfire Inn and
reveled in the quintessential old-time New England inn atmosphere while
finding perfect compatibility with a town that had remained timeless,
relaxing, charming and scenic. Yes, the winter skiing is legendary and
the fall colors among the best in New England, but never overlook the
glories of a summer vacation here, too.
Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe.
Outdoor pool set to a "The Sound of Music" mountain scene at the
Quaint, friendly and true to its small town roots, Stowe remains the
prototype for a classic New England mountain town. Sure, Stowe has
grown through the years with its myriad lodging, dining and shopping
choices -- especially apparent along the increasingly commercial
Mountain Rd. -- but what can never be taken away is the glorious
mountain scenery as well as the beautiful 200-year-old village that
exudes a kind of friendly Mayberry-RFD-in-the-mountains vibe. Let's not
forget that while hundreds of thousands of visitors enjoy Stowe each
year, the residential population is just over 4,000. Now that's a small
Anchored by the landmark Shaw's General Store at 54 Main St. and
a tall white church
steeple majestically rising above the village, this
postcard-picture-perfect scene has always warmed our hearts -- even in
the coldest days of winter. Browsing through Shaw's reflects that small
town vibe well as a welcoming, old-fashioned store that has been
family-owned since 1895. The local conversation flows with friendliness
between staff and residents (and tourists, too!), and you can find just
about anything here in the slightly disorganized isles, including
clothing, boots, candy, ski items, local gifts and souvenirs, hardware
supplies and toys and books. The classic general store looks good from
any downtown perspective...
Shaw's General Store.
Location means everything and Stowe is certainly
geographically. Home to Vermont's highest peak, Mt. Mansfield at 4,393
ft. lays the foundation for Stowe's high peak scenery and pathway to
fun activities in the area. Hiking Mount Mansfield reveals the natural
beauty of the area with stunning panoramic views at the peak. Always
check weather conditions before considering a hike and definitely
consult with your doctor, as trekking up such a high mountain can be a
bit of a challenge. I know it was for me, and I’ve hiked many mountains
across New England! The views here are really amazing, though,
and worth even a partial climb (like I did).
The Stowe Recreation Path in Stowe, begins in the downtown and meanders
5.3 miles through some scenic forests and meadows and alongside the
beautiful West Branch River. Although it feels like you're miles from
civilization, the path allows easy access to local restaurants, shops
The Stowe Recreation Path.
Stowe Golf Park, located at 1613 Mountain Rd. at the Sun & Ski Inn and Suites in Stowe, offers a nicely designed, well-landscaped
miniature golf course that simulates a real golf experience. It’s open
from May through October with rates surprisingly reasonable for such a
state-of-the-art mini golf course in a tourist area.
The Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Factory Tour, at 1281
Waterbury-Stowe Rd. in
neighboring Waterbury, offers a free ice cream factory tour that comes
along with a free ice
cream sample! Or, if more hungry, the factory features an ice cream
stand with all the favorite Ben and Jerry's flavors.
Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Factory Tour.
Cold Hollow Cider Mill, a vintage mill at 3600
Waterbury-Stowe Rd. in Waterbury, might
just make the best apple cider and apple cider doughnuts on the
planet! It's a fun, family-friendly local attraction with an
onsite cider press viewing room, a comprehensive bakery (try the pies
and apple cider slush, too), hundreds of Vermont foods including local
honeys (you can watch bees make honey behind glass here) and maple
syrup, jams, gifts and toys, and a luncheonette called the Apple Core
Luncheonette and Brew.
Cold Hollow Cider Mill.
Entrance to the Cold Hollow Cider Mill.
Breakfast sandwich with apple cider doughnut from the Apple Core
Luncheonette and Brew.
Of course, Stowe offers tremendous dining and lodging opportunities.
The Idletyme Brewing Co. at 1859 Mountain Rd., (formerly The Shed),
offers a spacious family-friendly setting with appetizers, salads,
sandwiches, pub fare, full dinners and for the adults, an impressive
beer list. Lodging is varied from the basic (Stowe Motel) to the upscale (Stowe Mountain Lodge, Topnotch Resort and Spa to the classic New England
inn (Stowe Inn and Tavern).
I have always thought of Stowe as having something for everyone. It is
perfect for families, romantic couples, outdoor enthusiasts and just
about anyone else who enjoys a relaxing, scenic setting with plenty to
do. Hope you get to
visit and experience the special feeling of this wonderful New England
For more information on Stowe, we recommend logging onto GoStowe.
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