Stowe is a sleepy town in northern Vermont that comes to life in the winter season renowned for its skiing. If you are craving the fresh powder of the Alps but don’t want to make the journey from the United States, Stowe is a wonderful alternative. In fact, the famous von Trapp family settled in Stowe because it reminded them of their home in Austria. And while Stowe is packed with people in the winter months, the town is also home to mountain biking, hiking trails, kayaking, and more with a backdrop of some of the best fall foliage you can see in the United States. Known as fall’s color capital, it is continuously ranked by TripAdvisor, Fodors, and Travel & Leisure as one of the top destinations to get your leaf peeping on! Spend a weekend here in autumn to walk the quaint village sprinkled with general stores and soak up all the fall activities that this town has to offer.
Start your Saturday by checking into the adorable Green Mountain Inn, which is in the heart of Stowe Village. Then walk down Stowe’s main road to Café on Main for a quick breakfast. For the remainder of the morning, spend time hiking Mt. Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak. To get to the top, you can either drive the Auto Toll Road up to the summit or you can take the Stowe Gondola SkyRide. Once you’ve reached the top, you have access to hiking trails, the Summit retail gift shop, and sweeping views of the sprawling mountains and scenery below.
Once you return to the bottom of the mountain, head to Cold Hollow Cider Mill for some of the best apple cider you will ever taste! Here you can watch apple cider and apple cider donuts being made. You can also take home these treats as well as many more offered in their store. CJ and I took home donuts (we came back a second time to nab some more!) and some of their homemade jam. Then have lunch at their Apple Core Luncheonette and Brew, where you can purchase their local hard cider and keep the glass as a souvenir!
For the rest of the afternoon, spend some time walking around the town itself. Notable stores are Laughing Moon Chocolates (they have some vegan options), Country Store on Main, and Tangerine & Olive. My personal favorites are Northwood Gallery and Robert Paul Galleries. Northwood Gallery is filled with many different art mediums by local artists, each labeled with the town the art comes from. We purchased a print from Hilary Glass, which we adore. Robert Paul Galleries is a bit pricier and has art from artists all over. Funnily enough, our favorite pieces from the gallery were from local artist Fred Swan. I implore you to check these artists out!
End the day with dinner at Harrison’s Restaurant. It is such a cozy romantic spot, and the acoustics are actually amazing. CJ said the bacon clam chowder was the best he ever had!
Wake up on Sunday and eat breakfast at the Butler’s Pantry. Let me just say that this is the best breakfast place in Stowe! They are known for their pancakes, but CJ got the biscuit French toast sticks and he could not get over how amazing they were. I ordered the classic French toast with a side of homemade sausage, and everything was positively delicious. The secret is out on how good this place is, so make sure you get there early.
Then walk to AJ’s Ski & Sports, where you can rent bikes. They give you the option to rent them in advance, which we did! Right behind the shop is an entrance to the Stowe Recreation Path, a 5.5 mile paved trail that is only allowed for bikers, runners, and walkers. No cars allowed! Either rent bikes from AJ’s (or take in the trail on foot!) After you return the bicycles, you are a stone’s throw away from Doc Ponds for lunch. CJ and I absolutely loved this very local spot. It is super casual with great beer selections and delicious food. We loved the bbq chips and onion dip, the taco bowl, and the rotisserie chicken.
After lunch, hike the Stowe Pinnacle Trail, which gives you views of the mountain you hiked the previous day, Mt. Mansfield. If you are all hiked out, drive 45 minutes to Shelburne Orchards, an absolutely gorgeous farm where you can pick your own apples. Head to dinner at Michael’s on the Hill, a chef owned restaurant with an ever-changing menu.
No matter what you decide to do in Stowe, you cannot go wrong! The town is extremely charming, packed with adorable shops, cozy food spots, and a plethora of outdoor activities. Head to Stowe today!