Nestled alongside Vermont's tallest mountain is the enchanting town of Stowe. Although Stowe is a premier east coast ski town, it also attracts visitors seeking a winter getaway without the skis. Thanks to the walkability of Stowe village with its numerous shops and restaurants, this little town exudes that much sought-after New England small-town appeal. At the same time, it showcases some of the most dazzling mountain views in northern Vermont, perfect for a romantic weekend for two or a relaxing solo-travel destination.
Take a Horse-drawn Sleigh Ride
Are you looking for an out-of-the-ordinary way to spend a winter afternoon? Look no further than the Gentle Giants Sleigh and Carriage Rides. One of the best ways to enjoy the beauty of some of Vermont's most scenic landscapes is from a horse-drawn sleigh. Snuggle into your own "one-horse open sleigh" pulled by a stout Percheron or Belgium draft horse. A skilled guide escorts you throughout your journey, beginning with an iconic covered bridge, then trots along streamside, just before gliding onto the winding wooded trails. The entire experience is simply magical! Be sure to call ahead to secure a reservation.
Grab a Pint at the von Trappe Bier Hall
In 1939, Maria and the Baron von Trappe, whose story was made famous in The Sound of Music, emigrated to the United States. Shortly after, in 1942, the von Trappe family purchased land in Stowe, where their youngest child, Johannes, still lives today. Over the years and his many trips back to Austria, Johannes acquired an appreciation of the crisp Austrian lagers. When the craft beer movement took off in the United States in the early 1990s, Johannes noticed a severe lack of Austrian-style lagers in the marketplace.
For more than two decades, Johannes dreamt of building an Austrian-style brewery in Stowe, and in 2010 he made his dream come true. Perched high on a mountain with stunning outdoor views, this brewery gives visitors a glimpse of Austrian-style bier hall dining, where a little bit of Austria meets a lot of Vermont. Grab a flight or a pint from the bar, or order from a table under the massive wood beams. If the weather allows, bundle up and meander outside. You can enjoy the mountain views from the first-come, first-served picnic tables or cozy up around the firepit.
Spend a Day at the Stoweflake Spa
It's no wonder that readers of Spa Finder Magazine ranked the Stoweflake Spa their top spa choice 4-years in a row. From classic spa amenities such as massage, facials, and ayurvedic treatments to luxurious soaking tubs and steam rooms, it'll be easy to let your stress wither away. Whether you want a single service or an entire day of blissful relaxation, the Stoweflake Spa has something on its menu to fit your needs.
While you're exploring the spa, be sure to check out the unique Aqua Solarium. A manufactured 12′ high rock wall modeled after the actual Bingham Falls (a beautiful waterfall in the region) will lure you into the warm water mineral pool where you can sit beneath the waterfalls and luxuriate in your surroundings. It's a truly memorable experience.
Take a Brewery Tour
Get an up-close look at the state-of-the-art copper brew tanks while learning the art and science behind each batch of unique New England-style beer at Idletyme Brewing. Even though Idletyme is considered a small, artisanal brewery, brewmasters here pride themselves on diverse beer offerings made with three types of yeast strains housed on-site.
After your tour, cozy up in the pub or grab a table in the adjacent restaurant to enjoy something from Idletyme's distinctive and diverse menu. Everything from great pub-food grabs like fried pickles to the more unexpected, sumptuous dishes like Chicken Cacciatore and Butternut Squash Ravioli is here, thanks to a unique partnership and support of local farms. Brewery tours are by reservation only, so call ahead. Restaurant reservations are preferred but not required.
Hit The Swimming Hole for an Indoor Workout
Stowe's Swimming Hole is a premier community pool and fitness center, far from its creek-side-spot to cool off namesake. As the founders like to say, "Vermonter's know how to fit a lot inside a barn," and boy did they ever. This small-town gem is one impressive facility with a competition-size swimming pool, a fully-equipped fitness center, and even swim lessons for adults and kids.
Visitors can purchase a day pass and enjoy all the facility offers. Book a lap lane for your water workout, request a private swimming lesson (for both adults and kids), or attend a fitness class or two. Whatever your workout style, you don't need to skip your routine during a visit to Stowe. Check their website for up-to-date class schedules and hours of operation.
Winter in Stowe is so much more than skiing. Whether you're looking to spend a long weekend or you're just passing through, making a stop at this magical mountainside town will surely leave you wanting more. For more information, visit the official tourism website Go Stowe at https://gostowe.com