At the foot of Vermont’s tallest peak, Mt. Mansfield, lies the picturesque town of Stowe, known as the “ski capital of the East.” A trip to Stowe, however, can be magical any time of year, with its balmy days in the summer, beautiful foliage in the fall and, of course, some of the best skiing in the country during the winter months.
Among the area’s resort hotels, Stowe Mountain Lodge ensures travelers full comfort, with amenities such as goose-down feather beds and iPod hookups. Private cabins offer front-row seats for autumn foliage from private decks and stone fireplaces to gather around in the winter. Summertime guests enjoy access to the Bob Cupp wilderness golf course that Golf Magazine includes among Top 10 New Courses in the U.S. After a day on the slopes or links, unwind at the Stowe Mountain Lodge’s top-notch spa or with a glass of wine at the resort’s four-diamond restaurant, Solstice.
Another of the storied hotels in Stowe is the Trapp Family Lodge, which offers a family-friendly atmosphere, upscale luxury and amazing historical significance. The von Trapp family—their story forever immortalized in the film “The Sound of Music”—fled Nazi-occupied Austria in the1940s and built their new life on a mountain in Vermont. There, they eventually built a lodge, the Trapp Family Lodge, now run by two of Maria’s grandchildren.
A trip to Stowe in the warmer months reveals a charming New England town. Stop into the Stowe Historical Society Museum to get acquainted with the town’s past, from the day it was officially settled in 1794 up to the present day. View a current exhibition of visual art across the street at the Helen Day Art Center, and then grab lunch and a microbrew at the Shed, a favorite pub among locals and tourists.
Next, head to Main Street’s Stowe Community Church, where time seems to stand still before one of the most elegant steeples in New England. Or, spend the afternoon shopping along Stowe Mountain Road and stock up on locally crafted gifts, jewelry, art and food, like Cabot cheddar cheese. For the kids, ascend Spruce Peak, home to a 2,300-foot alpine slide and a plethora of year-round activities involving music, arts and crafts, hiking trails and games.
In spring, take a trip to Stowe’s wildflower display along the 5.3-mile Recreational Path greenway, which starts behind the community church. In summer, hit the fairways at Ryder Brook Golf Club or let the kids tumble around on the inflatable obstacle course at Attractions Park. In the fall, take in the amazing colors on horseback from Edson Hill Manor stables or go rock-climbing up Smugglers Notch.
In the winter, Stowe becomes a wonderland of sparkling powder. For family fun, take a sleigh ride around town before joining the “mushers” at Umiak Dog-Sledding for a two-hour adventure. Or grab your skis or snowboard and take to the slopes to conquer all 4,395 feet of Mount Mansfield via 116 ski trails and 13 lifts.