Stowe is one of the most visited ski destinations in the northeast, but there's much more to this quintessential New England town than the slopes. The region's lakes, lush green mountains and picturesque woodlands attract adventure seekers and families throughout the year, while the town itself is a walkable treat of high-steepled churches, wooden bridges, lauded restaurants and independent shops that celebrate local artisans. Here, Passported contributor Elisa Brown shares her guide to experiencing the best of Stowe in every season.
Where to Stay
Stowe Mountain Lodge At the base of Mount Mansfield, Stowe Mountain Lodge is the region's premier sleep. A luxury alpine-style resort with unparalleled hospitality and the only ski-in/ski-out lodging in New England — it's a playground for the discerning traveler. Beyond the 116 trails, winter highlights include ice skating, ice climbing, snowshoeing, and nightly s'mores by the bonfire. Guests can choose from a variety of off-season activities such as hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, rafting, fishing and zip-lining.
Where to Eat
Hen of the Wood (Waterbury) Chef Eric Warnstedt is the genius behind Vermont’s award-winning culinary masterpiece. With seven James Beard nominations, beautiful farm-fresh fare, legendary wines and seamless service, you'll need to make a reservation months in advance to secure a seat to this show.
Prohibition Pig (Waterbury) Bacon and hooch are on the agenda at this hip, casual eatery serving up stellar southern style small plates and barbecue dishes. Expect to wait more than an hour for a table on any given night, but know that the 20-plus craft beers on tap help pass the time.
The Bench This hotspot, open format kitchen dishes up wood-fired pizzas and homestyle comfort dishes. Foodies will enjoy the kale caesar salad and Moss Glen pizza, while those in search of the perfect cocktail should opt for the Perry Merrill — a favorite tipple named for a local trail.
The Plate This chic dinner spot is owned and operated by two former Angelenos who now reside in Vermont. Menus marry the flair and fire of Vermont flavor with California's clean eating principles.
The Skinny Pancake Eat up and do good at this Stowe staple, known for its commitment to sustainable produce, as well as its delicious, authentic crepes. Ingredients for the fan-favorite salads come from more than 40 Vermont farms, and one percent of proceeds go toward non-profit organizations dedicated to protecting our planet.
Where to Après-ski
Doc Ponds Apres-ski spots are as important as ski conditions, and no one takes it more seriously than the guys behind Doc Ponds (who are also the creative masters behind Hen of the Wood). This modern pub serves up farm-to-table comfort food, rotating craft brews and live music on Sunday evenings. The Bayley blue balls appetizer and smoked half-chicken with adobo rub are crowd faves.
Idletyme Brewing Company A legendary family friendly pub with a simple and seasonal menu geared for locals and tourists seeking a cool atmosphere and solid meal. The brussel sprout salad and grilled salmon balance out the 2 a.m. cheese fries and homemade pretzel nuggets.
What To Do
Culinary Class at Michael’s On The Hill Personal cooking instruction and a hands-on lesson by Chef Michael focusing on classic techniques and full flavors.
Dogsled Rides Umiak Outdoor Outfitters offers daytime scenic adventure tours and evening rides.
Snowmobiling Tour Stowe Snowmobile Tours offer an adventurous 25-mile journey through the Mount Mansfield State Forest for both the beginner and advanced rider.
Shop Don't miss Laughing Moon Chocolates for delicious handmade chocolates, daily demos and classes for the whole family; the classic country store, Stowe Mercantile, selling Vermont-made gourmet goods, beer and more; the endless choices of craft beer to take home or enjoy at the bar at Stowe Public House; and cheese, wine and quality maple products at Stowe Wine and Cheese.