Scenes from downtown Stowe – a Vermont vacation favorite.
Photo Credit : Aimee Tucker
The Green Mountain town of Stowe, Vermont, is a two-for-one winter destination. Known as the “ski capital of the East” thanks to Mount Mansfield, the state’s highest peak, Stowe also boasts a classic early-19th-century New England village that’s perfect for strolling, shopping, dining, and (of course) photo-snapping. At the invitation of Field Guide, Stowe’s newest resort lodge, I was lucky enough to squeeze in a recent holiday-season overnight that let me enjoy a taste of this charming mountain town during one of the most magical times of the year.
EXPLORING DOWNTOWN STOWE
Historic downtown Stowe is postcard-perfect (you’ll find it on our list of the 10 Best Winter Towns in New England), with plenty to see, do, eat, and drink. I had only a few hours to stroll and enjoy all it had to offer, so I did my best!
Here’s a quick look:
Our digs for the night, Field Guide by Lark Hotels, was the main reason we were in Stowe. I’ve long been a personal fan of the colorful, curated collection of Lark’s boutique hotels, and I couldn’t resist the invitation to check out Lark’s first foray into Vermont. Most recently the Ye Olde England Inn, the hotel (built more than a century ago) was completely renovated and had its grand reopening as Field Guide in the fall of 2015.
Perched high on Mountain Road, just minutes from anything and everything Stowe has to offer (including the famous alpine skiing at Stowe Mountain Resort, a mere 15-minute drive north), Field Guide didn’t disappoint. As with so many other Lark properties, the creative mind of Boston-based interior designer Rachel Reider was on display here in full force — from the silver tree-stump end tables and birch log “walls” in the lobby to the mounted papier-mâché deer heads and whimsical patterned wallpaper. Pops of softness, wood, mossy green, and burnt orange were everywhere. This is a stylish, fun, and relaxed hotel, ideal for folks wanting a bit more than a B&B experience but less than a traditional resort.
Our suite for the evening had all of our winter needs covered. Fireplace? Check. Soaker tub? Check. Birds in the bedroom? Check.
For dinner that evening, we headed to the inn’s on-site restaurant. At the time it was Picnic Social, helmed by chef Justin Perdue, but a new concept is currently in the works, so stay tuned! The colorful dining space features a large indoor seating area and bar, plus an outdoor dining deck and seasonal fire pit.
VERMONT CRAFT BEER
Even if beer isn’t your favorite adult beverage, it’s likely you’ve heard of the thriving Vermont craft beer scene. My husband, a New England craft beer enthusiast, was keen to sample some of the brews that have been crowding his must-try list, plus an old favorite or two. And naturally, this being Stowe, the first old friend was a Heady Topper. Brewed by the Alchemist just down the road, it’s one of the most famous and sought-after beers in the world, and it goes great with meatball pizza at Piecasso (as did my lunch beverage, High & Dry, a deliciously dry cider from Stowe Cider made from 100 percent locally sourced apples).
Note: The Alchemist has a brewery and visitors center in Stowe, but it’s open only Tuesday through Saturday. Our visit was Sunday to Monday, so we weren’t able to check it out. Next time!
Along with Heady Topper, we also managed to find and sample the following “hoppy, hazy IPA’s with a heavy citrus aroma” (my husband’s description) during our brief Vermont visit:
All in all, our holiday visit to Stowe turned out to be a mighty pleasant way to spend an overnight. By the time we woke up on Monday morning, there was even several fresh inches of snow on the ground, giving us yet another angle of this quintessential Green Mountain town to appreciate and admire — even if it did force us back on the road sooner than we’d hoped.
But not before a quick stop at PK Coffee for a latte to go!
Stay beautiful, Stowe. We hope to see you again soon!
HOLIDAY VISIT TO STOWE, VERMONT | FEATURED SPOTS
Bear Pond Books. 38 S. Main St. 802-253-8236; stowebooks.comThe Bench. 492 Mountain Road. 802-253-5100; benchvt.com
Field Guide/Picnic Social. 433 Mountain Road. 802-253-8088; fieldguidestowe.comLaughing Moon Chocolates. 78 S. Main St. 802-253-9591; laughingmoonchocolates.comPiecasso. 1899 Mountain Road. 802-253-4411; piecasso.comPK Coffee. 1880 Mountain Road. 802-760-6151; pkcoffee.comShaw’s General Store. 54 Main St. 802-253-4040; shawsgeneralstore.comStowe Mercantile. 38 S. Main St. 866-454-3482; stowemercantile.comVermont Ski and Snowboard Museum. One S. Main St. 802-253-9911; vtssm.com
Have you ever enjoyed a holiday visit to Stowe, Vermont? Let us know your favorite spots!
My thanks to Stowe, Vermont, for a beautiful visit, and to Field Guide for hosting our stay! This post was first published in 2016 and has been updated.