Mt. Mansfield, Vermont's highest peak, dominates the town of Stowe. But the village—a Rockwellian slice of old New England—will tempt you to spend at least a day at lower elevation.
Perhaps you'd like to wake up with an early-morning dip: The Swimming Hole opens at 6 a.m. and offers a 25-meter pool. If you have kids in tow, save this stop for the afternoon, when the water slide opens, and skip straight to a plate of homemade corned beef hash, eggs and home fries at McCarthy's, a local institution. Sit at the counter and eavesdrop before heading out to explore Stowe's time-capsule village. (A walking-tour map is available from the Stowe Area Association at the center of town.) Grab a paper or a candy bar at Lackey's Variety Store, which Frank Lackey will tell you hasn't changed much since he took it over in 1950. Next door, a barber pole marks the Stowe Barber Shop, replete with19th-century enamel barber chairs. A cut by Everett Lahue—who's been manning the scissors since 1953—costsa mere $10. Further nostalgia is on offer at Old Town Hall, dating back to 1818 and renovated in 2000 to house the Vermont Ski Museum, a collection of gear and memorabilia.
Lunch options include a picnic from the gourmet-friendly Harvest Market, the buffet of wood-fired pizza at Pie in the Sky, or a plate of goulash at the Trapp Family Lodge's Austrian Tea Room. If snow-covered hills and pastures beckon, you should know that the hill behind Stowe Elementary School is a popular sledding spot—and that Shaw's General Store rents plastic sleds. Green Mountain Dog Sled Adventures—based about10 miles north in Morrisville—offers pick-up at your lodging and a 10-mile trail ride. Sleigh rides are available at many local establishments, including stately Edson Hill Manor. Or, for a shot of pampering, the brand new spa at the Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa offers a mind-boggling menu of treatments.
Afterwards, if you want a drink by fireside, the Stowehof Inn offers at least three fireplaces, along with a bar menu. Locals often head to The Shed for a burger and microbrew, while the new Red Basil features a martini bar along with its Thai cuisine. Fine dining establishments abound, but you can't go wrong at the Blue Moon Café, a favorite "special occasion place in Stowe for more than a decade.
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