Family Travel: Stowe Vermont, Summer Edition
As some of you know I’m very lucky to have parents with a country home in Stowe Vermont. I’ve been travelling there on weekends since I was three years old, and we even got married there, so it literally is my second home. While Stowe is known as a quintessential ski town my family actually likes it best in the summer/fall. And it seems like many of you do too as I’ve been receiving many questions about your upcoming visits. I figured I would put together a round up of some of our family’s favourites.
If you don’t know Stowe, it is located about 45 minutes south of Burlington, Vermont. From Montreal, the drive in the summer is two hours when you travel through the very windy notch between Smugglers and Stowe. I wouldn’t suggest this route to first time visitors, arriving at night, as the roads can be challenging even in the daylight.
Where to Stay
Stowe offers many hotel options, from low to high end resorts. I’ve listed some of my top picks below, in order of price:
– The Golden Eagle – Very conveniently located between Main street and the Mountain this hotel offers rooms of all sizes. Clean and simple and a good home base.
– Sun & Ski Inn & Suites – This hotel recently underwent a renovation. Rooms are simple and clean but its the location that I like best. The hotel houses the town’s only bowling alley and mini golf course and is a very short walk to great shops and the weekly farmer’s market.
– Field Guide – One of Stowe’s newest boutique hotels recently opened with a chalet chic decor. Conveniently located just a 10 minute walk from main street and close to many points of interest. Note: this would have been on the top of my list but the very family-friendly restaurant within the hotel is temporarily closed for renovations over the summer.
– Topnotch Resort – Stowe’s best known luxury retreat features activities for the entire family from tennis to horseback riding to a luxurious spa. Various accomodation options are available from standard rooms to suites to resort homes.
–Stowe Mountain Lodge – Most conveniently located for those who want to stay on the mountain, this resort offers rooms and suites to accommodate parties of all sizes.
What to Do
Where do I begin? There are so many summer activities to choose from in Stowe Vermont and most of them involve lots of sunscreen and bug spray.
Sunny Day Activities
Rent a bike at AJ’s and ride the Stowe bike path as a family. This local shop offers trolleys, bike seats and other modes to accommodate even the littlest cyclists. Challenge your crew with a steep hike up in the notch to Sterling Pond and the views at the top will be totally worth it. Or keep your stroll low intensity and head to The Quiet Path to skip rocks along the shoreline. Go zip lining at Mount Mansfield, take a glider ride high up in the sky or head to the playground at the elementary school. If you’re visiting over a Sunday, be sure to stop at the Stowe Farmer’s Market for wood fired pizza, live music and lots of local delicacies to try.
Rainy Day Activities
There is still lots to do in Stowe Vermont when the weather isn’t at its best. Stowe Bowl is the nicest bowling alley I’ve ever seen with bar and food service. Rock climbing is always a good idea at the mountain too. Swim indoors at the Swimming Hole. Watch a matinee at the Stowe Cinema. Hop in the car and drive to Waterbury to visit the Cold Hollow Cider Mill and the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory. Or head over the notch to Smuggler’s to spend the day in their brand-new Fun Zone 2.0.
The majority of restaurants in Stowe Vermont are family-friendly. For lunch, try Café on Main for sandwiches and delicious soups (Afghani peanut is a must-try!) or Green Goddess for healthy salads and kid-friendly mac and cheese. Piecasso is always a good idea as it was voted some of the best pizza in the US. Sushi Yoshi is one part hibachi grill and one part sushi bar. The Matterhorn is the local pub but has great stream views and games for the kids, plus very decent food. If you get a kid-free night, Harrison’s and Plate are great choices.
Where to Shop
Stowe’s best and only kids’ clothing and toy stores are side by side. Be sure to stop in to the Yellow Turtle and Once Upon a Time Toys. I recently spotted Prime Minister Trudeau and Sophie Gregoire picking up gifts for their kids! Visit The Boutique for affordably priced women’s clothing, mostly made in the USA and Well Heeled for footwear. Ask if the Shoe Barn is open in the back for sales! If you’re looking to bring home gifts, the Stowe Mercantile is a good bet.
There is always something special happening in Stowe, especially during the summer months. Two of our favourites are the Snowflake hot air balloon festival, taking place this year from July 6-8, 2018 and the corn maze which usually opens in August. You can also often see fireworks up on the mountain at night. To find out what’s happening while you’re visiting, see the town calendar here.
So much to do, so little time. If you have any questions or need help planning a trip to Stowe Vermont don’t be shy, reach out! Winter edition to come in 2019!