In the fall months, when the leaves start to change and the air turns crisp, there is no better time to take a relaxing weekend away from the city and head to nearby Stowe, Vermont. The quaint town of Stowe, with a population of just over 4,000, is most known as a wintertime wonderland. The mountains of Vermont are the perfect East Coast option for skiers, but the fall also brings brilliant foliage colors ablaze, outdoor activities, fine dining, spa retreats and special events to satisfy any traveler. To get the ball rolling, here’s a list of things to do, places to eat and where to stay while visiting this autumn.
What To Do
Vermont is known for popular outdoor activities like mountain biking, rock climbing, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, fishing and golf. Several well-kept hiking trails can be found around and on Mount Mansfield and Smugglers’ Notch State Park while mountain bikers have options of several public and private trails at the Trapp Family Lodge. For a mellow ride, The Stowe Recreation Path was completed in 1989 and runs 5.3 miles from Stowe Village through forests, meadows and streams over wooden bridges and is perfect for the whole family. Along the way, stop by shops, lodges, restaurants or try your luck in a corn maze, decorated with cute scarecrows decorating the borders.
Photo Courtesy of Stowe Theatre Guild
Stowe is also host to arts & crafts shows, a balloon festival, and many other special events throughout the year. The weekend-long British Invasion event is held annually in Stowe during the third week of September and is a must-see for car enthusiasts. The Stowe Theater Guild, along with Hyde Park Opera House, and the Waterbury Festival Players, combines to offer theatrical productions each year. For those seeking serenity and relaxation, check out the spa at Topnotch Resort. Complete with indoor and outdoor pools and a spa solarium, the services range from massages to facials and custom treatments.
Photo Courtesy of Cow Hollow Cider Mill
For another fun time only to be had in Vermont, visit Cold Hollow Cider Mill. Established in 1974 in a historic, old Vermont barn, it has become New England's most famous cider mill, along with a gourmet Vermont specialty foods and crafts store. Observe cider making and enjoy free samples, or stock up on cute souvenirs for family and friends like cider donuts, pure maple syrup and Vermont Cheddar Cheeses.
Photo Courtesy of Crop Bistro & Brewery
Where To Eat
Surprising for a town of 4,300 people, Stowe is a contender in the culinary world with restaurants having been featured consistently in Bon Appétit, SKI Magazine, The Wine Spectator, and Gourmet. Dining in Stowe brings together tastes from all over the world, with an emphasis on farm-to-table dining, fresh ingredients and local fare. Any fare can be found from Italian Trattorias to upscale micro-brew pubs and everything in between.
For Lunch — Crop Bistro and Brewery is a conveniently located pub and hand-crafted bistro bar on the Mountain Road, and features photographs by local photographer Peter Miller. The kitchen is manned by Tom Bivins, 2011 Vermont Chef of the Year, whose American cuisine utilizes fresh local and regional ingredients. Crop also offers local, national and international ales and lagers, as well as simple, innovative cocktails made from local hard cider, spirits and wine.
Photo Courtesy of Stowe Mountain Lodge
For Dinner — To enjoy dining at its finest, head to Solstice in the six-story, 300-room Stowe Mountain Lodge. The architectural design embodies woven timber and expansive glass to bring the beauty of the outdoors in. Contemporary, fresh and focused on natural beauty, diners will experience a rustic romance when dining at Solstice. The 110-seat restaurant boasts a AAA Four-Diamond dining distinction features Vermont artisan-inspired cuisine in a upscale yet comfortable atmosphere. Food is locally grown, with focus on all-natural meats, artisan cheeses and organic produce. Not to miss are the local cheeses, charcuterie that include assorted cured meats, sausage, tarines, fennel mustard, grilled bread and house-made pickled vegetables. For entrées, choose from seasonal standouts like the rack of lamb and filet of sustainable salmon.
Photo Courtesy of Topnotch Resort
Where To Stay
Just because you are in a small town does not mean you have to leave luxury amenities at home. For the perfect destination boutique hotel, head to Topnotch Resort. Recognized as "#41 on North America’s Top 50 ski hotels” by Condé Nast Traveler, Topnotch is carved into the side of a picturesque mountain. The 120-acre resort has impressive views, 68 comfortable rooms, 23 resort homes, a world-class award-winning tennis center, indoor/outdoor pools, a luxurious spa and an outdoor living room complete with a fire pit. Great for a romantic weekend couples getaway or offering fun for the whole family, Topnotch is a destination that will suit any traveler.