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Stowe, Vermont Offers a Classic New England Mountain Town Vacation Experience

Stowe Vermont in the summerStowe, Vermont. (Photo source: GoStowe.com)

by Eric Hurwitz. Page updated on 11/09/16

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Stowe Vt. takes the high road when it comes to offering a wonderful New England mountain vacation.

More than 40 years ago, my parents took us to Stowe and we have been coming back ever since. As a kid and young adult, we stayed at the Smugglers Notch Resort in neighboring Jeffersonville, enjoying this 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 "Sounds 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 and so charming.

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 town!

Anchored by the landmark Shaw's General Store 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,

Location means everything and Stowe is certainly blessed 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. Truly a four season New England travel destination, Stowe's fall brings brilliant foliage, winter skiing, sleigh riding, dogsledding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and ice skating, and summer hiking, swimming, ziplining and bicyling. Other Stowe attractions include a community bike trail, myriad golfing and tennis opportunities, outdoor concerts and the Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Factory Tour in neighboring Waterbury. Cold Hollow Cider Mill, also in Waterbury, might just make the best apple cider and apple cider donuts on the planet!

Of course, Stowe offers tremendous dining and lodging opportunities. We love Gracie's at 18 Edison Hill Rd., for a casual meal. It's terrific for a burger, fried chicken, fish and chips or New England clam chowder. 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. It is our favorite Vermont vacation destination. Hope you get to visit and experience the special feeling of this wonderful New England mountain town!

For more information on Stowe, we recommend logging onto GoStowe.

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