A WEEKEND AWAY: 48 HOURS IN STOWE WITH THE KIDS
Stowe, Vermont is the perfect family getaway for a family living in Brooklyn at any time of the year. It’s an idyllic New England town with sweeping mountainous views, hiking trails galore, one of the best ski resorts in the country, a great culinary scene, and a multitude of accommodations in all price ranges. Quite frankly, Stowe offers a bit of Europe in the heart of Vermont. It’s full of charm and most Europeans will say the skiing is up to par with what they’re used to.
If you’re looking to escape Brooklyn to spend a relaxing weekend in Stowe with the kids and do something incredibly different, look no further – we have the lowdown on what to do, where to eat and most importantly, where to spa. Fortunately, we have done the research on the most family-friendly resort in Stowe and have all the tips you need to stay there. So, do read on. Besides, moms and dads need a break from work and everyday routine just as much as kids need breaks from school.
HOW TO GET TO STOWE, VERMONT FROM BROOKLYN (AND WHEN TO VISIT)
There are several ways to get to Stowe. One way is by car via I-91 N. It’s a 336 miles drive from Brooklyn and takes approximately five hours and forty minutes. It’s a long drive – so stock up on snacks, stop for meals and bathroom breaks. If you’re driving in the wintertime, just beware of icy roads which makes for more challenging driving. Another option is to get the train from NYC’s Penn Station to the neighboring town of Waterbury and then get a cab to Stowe. Most resorts have shuttles to the center of town, as well as to the ski resort, so it’s very doable to visit Stowe without a car.
Stowe is good for families any time of the year. It all depends what you and your family like. If you like cold weather and you’re a skiing family, then go in the wintertime which is typically in the months of December through March. However, be aware that prices are higher during ski season, so definitely book everything, including your hotel and ski passes, in advance. Fall (September to early November) is a great time to visit, too. Just picture New England during peak foliage season and you can picture its vibrant yellow and red leaves. Summertime in Stowe offers visitors chances to swim in rivers, hike up mountains, and pick fresh blueberries.
Opportunities to visit the always popular Ben & Jerry’s Factory Tour in Waterbury exist all year long. Also in driving distance are the Cabot Creamery and Cold Hollow Cider Mill, both worthy of stops, and Montreal and Boston are only a few hours away, as well for longer trips.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT STOWE’S HISTORY
Stowe is known for its hiking trails on its highest peak, Mount Mansfield. The ski resort opened up in the 1930s and has been growing in popularity over the years. It was recently bought by Vail Resorts, bringing it into a prestigious collection of ski resorts. Most locals ski and many work in tourism, which are both important pieces of the local economy. The historic part of town is in the center on Main Street, which is very much an homage to earlier times. There are some brick houses and some of the hotel have turn of the century architecture, such as the 1833 Green Mountain Inn.
WHERE TO STAY
Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa is the perfect hotel for a family to play and rest their heads for a few days. The resort is quintessential New England with it traditional and warm and cozy decor, gardens, a helpful and laid-back staff, and a plethora of in and outdoor activities for families. Members of a family can either stay together or do their “own thing” with a choice of skiing, hike or bike ride or play golf (depending on the season), a snowshoeing experience around the experience (what is coined as a “Nordic walk”), take a gym class, head into town on the hotel’s shuttle for a stroll and browse around the shops or sit in a cafe such as Black Cap Coffee & Beer, take a swim in the hotel’s indoor pool or use the outdoor Jacuzzi, enjoy family time in the game room or in the garden (you can pick blueberries in the summertime), or best of all, utilize the onsite luxurious spa (more on that below!). After dinner, the resort offers on site activities, such as family game night or live music in Charlie B’s.
If you can break away from the family during the day, definitely head to the Spa at Stoweflake for an hour or two of decadence. After your treatment (there are over 150 to choose from massages to facials), soak in the hot tub, and take a dip under the glorious Bingham Falls waterfall nearby. A childless, carefree, luxurious afternoon won’t hurt anyone, even the most caring parents.
WHAT TO DO
Stoweflake is great for families during anytime of the year. As mentioned above, a stay at Stoweflake is packed with onsite activities and careful input (a fabulous concierge) on what there is to do offsite. There is plenty of local hiking in the area, either locally or follow the Long Trail south from Smugglers’ Notch up Mt. Mansfield. Stowe Mountain Resort is one of the country’s most renowned ski destinations offering up 116 trails over 39 miles of skiable terrain. And the better the ski trails are, the more expensive it costs to ski on them, so starting in the summertime of 2017, the resort started to offer the Epic Pass, joining a roster of 45 resorts such as Vail, Breckenridge, and Park City which purchasers also have unlimited, unrestricted access to. The Epic Local Pass also saves skiers money, offering 10 days of skiing, the Epic 7-day or the 4-day pass.
Another great activity is to take a day trip to Trapp Family Lodge, where the original “Sound of Music” family settled after fleeing Austria. Walk around the property and channel the musical vibrations of one of the greatest films ever made, or simply sit in the restaurant and munch on Bavarian pretzels and drink Austrian beer. Other activities include dog sledding, and zip lining.
WHERE TO EAT
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served daily at Stoweflake’s two restaurants: Winfield’s dining room and Charlie B’s. where they have plentiful portions from healthy salads to turkey burgers to ninja duck rolls and chicken wings as starters.
Holly Rosen Fink is a marketing consultant and writer living in Larchmont, New York.