Like a Local
Quirky, under-the-radar highlights only a local could recommend.
A short unmarked but well-treaded trail off Mountain Road leads to this 90-foot-tall series of cascades that plunges into a narrow gorge. Crystal-clear water has carved out various rock pools and makes for a popular swimming hole in the summer. Sections of the falls can be steep, so exercise caution – it may be best to leave the kids behind.
Sushi and pizza seem like an unusual combination, but it works – and works well – at this Mountain Road après-ski spot. Serving sushi for 17 years, the establishment has fish delivered six days a week from the largest fish market in Boston for the freshest product around. As for the pizza, it’s brick-oven made and tastes better after 5 p.m. when all 16-inch pies are an additional $5 off.
Slayton Pasture Cabin
Built by the von Trapp family of The Sound of Music fame in 1971, this tucked-away log cabin serves as a way station for skiers visiting Stowe’s 100 kilometers of cross-country ski trails. After a three-mile journey deep into in the woods, the small cabin sits on a knoll and serves soups, sandwiches, and hot drinks to those who make the trek through these hills that are alive with skinny-skied adventurers.
Sterling Forest and Gorge
The lower elevations of this forest park, located about six miles north of the Village of Stowe, actually used to be home to the now-abandoned town of Sterling. In fact, the trails that crisscross the extinct town, first settled in the late 1700s, are made up of the old roads and feature historical markers indicating where the schoolhouse, town hall, and prominent homesteads once stood. The trails themselves are great for easy hikes or intermediate-level mountain biking.
How to spend 36 hours in Stowe with Topnotch Resort as your base camp.
6 p.m. | Music Series at The Roost
Held every Friday from 6 to 9 p.m., the “Last Call, First Chair” music series brings local craft brews, a special menu, and live music to The Roost at Topnotch Resort. Challenge your friends to a game of shuffleboard, lounge by the fire, or dance to the music.
8 a.m. | Ski Stowe
If you came to Stowe in the winter, chances are you also meant to get some skiing in. Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak together offer a combined 116 trails and six terrain parks. Spruce Peak tends to be better suited to beginners with gentle blue and green runs, while the famed “front four” double-black-diamond runs make their home on Mount Mansfield.
1 p.m. | Lunch at Cliff House
Situated on the shoulder of Mount Mansfield, this chalet-style lodge serves up an epic view through floor-to-ceiling windows with your meal. An open kitchen that specializes in elevated New England fare lets you watch your food being made and includes dishes like pan-seared Misty Knoll chicken and saffron seafood cioppino.
3 p.m. | Shopping in Stowe Village
Main Street is a picture-perfect strip bookended by a white steeple church at one end and a covered walking bridge at the other. Independent boutiques and arts-and-craft shops make up everything else in between, from the old-fashioned variety store of Stowe Mercantile to Winterfell, a high-end skiwear paradise filled with the likes of Bogner and Colmar.
7 p.m. | Dinner at the Bench
This local favorite serves up Vermont comfort food in a way that marries the rustic with the sophisticated – think wood-fired scallops, poutine with fresh cheese curds, or roast duck. Along with a mouthwatering menu, the restaurant is dedicated to bringing in the best wine and beer from the area and beyond.
8 a.m. | Brunch at McCarthy’s Restaurant
There may be fancier places to eat breakfast in Stowe, but none more relaxed and satisfying than this diner, serving carb-loaded dishes, like corned-beef hash and eggs and maple-oatmeal scones. It’s the kind of authentic Vermont mainstay where you don’t have to ask if the maple syrup is real.
10 a.m. | A Walk through Ski History
The heritage of downhill skiing and the birth of snowboarding come to life at the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum, housed in the village’s old 1818 Town Hall building. From skis, snowboards, and boots to other art and memorabilia, more than 10,000 items chronicle the evolution of winter sports in Vermont, including several of the now “lost” ski areas.
The best food artisans, farms, and local markets.
Stowe Farmers’ Market
Every Sunday May through October on the green between the Blue Donkey and the Red Barn Shops, expect your typical produce (greens, cheese, meat, etcerera) at this market, in addition to a slew of prepared food vendors, serving everything from Asian dumplings and egg rolls to barbecue and pizza by the slice.
If you are a craft-beer enthusiast, you’ve likely heard of Heady Topper, a double IPA said to be America’s most-coveted and hard-to-come by beer – that is, until June 2016, when the Waterbury, Vermont, brewery opened a second Alchemist location in Stowe. Here, their Heady Topper and Focal Banger are for sale, but check their website as these beers can still sell out on any given day.
Based in a former market and deli, this production and tasting facility owned by a chemist and biologist specializes in dry, not-too-sweet ciders. Before committing to purchasing a pack of 16-ounce cans, first try a flight of their three always-available flagship ciders, as well as whatever other seasonal offering they may be pouring.
Mt. Mansfield Creamery
Located 10 miles north of Stowe, this family-run operation produces a number of raw milk cheeses from European recipes and ages them in a cave for a minimum of 60 days. Popular products include Chin Clip, made from a recipe sourced from a village in the Austrian Alps, and Halfpipe, a French alpine cheese.
Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory
The classic Vermont ice cream brand operates its factory just a few miles south of Stowe in Waterbury. Thirty-minute tours take guests through the production process and end with the sample flavor of the day. An on-site full-service scoop shop serves all your favorite flavors, including new experimental ones.
When simply “seeing” a destination just won’t do.
Hike the Chin | Mount Mansfield
One of the region’s most popular hikes is the moderately strenuous Sunset Ridge trail to the summit of Vermont’s high point: Mount Mansfield. The 3.3-mile trails winds through peaceful woods and over quaint bridges before emerging on an exposed rocky ridge that leads to the visible summit cone, called “The Chin.”
Backcountry Tours | Stowe Snowmobile Tours
Guided snowmobile tours journey two hours and 25 miles into the backcountry of Mount Mansfield State Forest for both the beginner and advanced rider. Go at your own pace, or challenge yourself on the varied terrain: hills, woods, and straightaways.
Evening Dog Sled Ride | Umiak Outfitters
Experienced mushers and their team of huskies lead 30-minute evening tours right through the heart of Stowe. In addition to learning a bit about the history of the sport, you’ll get to interact with the dogs.
- Like a LocalQuirky, below-the-radar highlights only a local could recommendRead More
- The WeekenderHow to spend 36 hours here, with the resort as your basecamp.Read More
A Gemstone Collection Hotel
Topnotch Resort, 4000 Mountain Road, Stowe, VT 05672 P: 800.451.8686