After 18 years of marriage, my husband and I managed a week getaway to Stowe, VT. Stowe, and all of Vermont for that fact, is well known for its winter activities and for its beautiful fall colors, but summer is also a great time to visit. Not being skiers ourselves, summer was definitely the best time for us. Both of our children were away and so we decided to take advantage of opportunity to reunite with each other.
We found accommodations at Smuggler’s Notch Resort. The room we had was perfect. We were set a bit away from the main part of the village which meant that it was quieter, but that all of the amenities were still available to us. Our room included a kitchenette, living room with fire place, a large bedroom, bathroom, and balcony. The graciousness of the room allowed us to feel comfortable to just hang around together without feeling confined, and the kitchen allowed us to cut down a bit on expenses by cooking some of our own meals. Smuggler’s Notch was also well located, giving us the perfect place to head out from each day.
Because Stowe is such a resort town, it is filled with great restaurants. We were there for a little more relaxed atmosphere and so we found two restaurants that were perfect after a day of hiking: Pie-Cassos and the Blue Donkey. My husband was enamored with both of their names and decided that we just had to eat there. Of course, he thought that the Blue Donkey should serve waffles and not burgers (those of you that have children who watch the Shrek movies will understand his odd connection), but none the less these two locations offered us the best meals of the week. At Pie-Cassos we enjoyed a hand tossed pizza with fresh mozzarella and basil, and at the Blue Donkey, the burger was phenomenal.
Because skiing is such a popular pastime in Vermont ,the area is blessed with great hiking trails. Two of the hikes that we most enjoyed most were at Wissner Woods and Moss Glen Falls. Neither hike is very long nor is either very challenging. Moss Glen is more hilly, but isn’t long enough to be considered challenging. Wissner Woods was almost completely flat and provided us with a very private walk. Moss Glen had many more hikers, but the view of the falls was worth sharing. If we had been so inclined, we could have even had a bit of a swim at the Glen, but we were content to just hike.
The only group planned activity that we partook at Smuggler’s Notch was the Water & Wine trip. Mind you Smuggler’s had plenty of other activities that we could have partaken in, but Stowe has so much to offer that we didn’t need to add more. This trip we opted to do most of our activities off-site. The Water & Wine activity was well worth our time though and is offered not just by Stowe but by many of the local resorts. You can also book directly with the canoe and kayak rental places in the area. The canoe trip was accessible to people of various athletic levels and was carefully monitored by our guides. We didn’t think of it, but you may want to bring some water or snacks for the trip. At the end of the canoe trip is a short walk through a corn field to Boyden Valley Winery where you enjoy tasting several of their wines. Their ice wines are particularly tasty. The Vermont Ice Cider is sweet and the Ice Red goes down like velvet. It is certainly a great ending to an active day. Ironically, our best purchase here wasn’t their wine, but their syrup which I am still enjoying on my waffles and pancakes at home.
And I must say that while we enjoyed Boyden Valley Winery, our favorite vineyard was actually a few miles away in Charlotte. We had planned a trip over to Shelburne to check out the Teddy Bear Factory and Shelburne Vineyard. While we were there, my husband noticed a mark on our map of a vineyard that I did not have on our plan. It wasn’t far from where we were so we decided to take a ride. I am so glad we did. The Charlotte Village Winery is nestled along the banks of Lake Champlain between the Green Mountains and the Adirondacks. They are probably most well known for their Blueberry wines, but I will attest to that fact that all of their wines were superb. We have found that many times fruit wines are too sweet and taste more like syrup than wine, but Charlotte Village wines are a perfect blend. Best of all the tasting was free which left us with plenty of money to buy bottles of their wine to take home. The problem was trying to choose our favorites. If you go to the vineyard, plan to buy an extra glass of wine when you are there and just sit on their porch and take in their breathtaking views.
I could go on and on about all that is offered in the Stowe area. It is amazing what we packed into one week. There are plenty of summertime activities for couples, families, or personal getaways. You can enjoy touristy destinations like Ben & Jerry’s and Green Mountain Coffee. You can shop in the many handicraft stores and antique shops. You can gorge yourself on delicious food. Or you can just lose yourself in nature: hiking, biking, and canoeing. No matter what you choose to do, I can guarantee you that Stowe is not just a winter destination and that like us when you are done, you’ll be ready to plan a return visit.