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Your guide to Stowe
Welcome to Stowe
This charming town occupies the valleys and rolling hills beneath Vermont’s highest peak, 4,395-foot Mount Mansfield. Popular as a year-round getaway by the mid-19th century, it soon grew into its own as one of the region’s first winter destination areas. Today the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum chronicles this evolution and includes vintage racing equipment, memorabilia from world-class athletes, and locally made craft skis. Savor an old-fashioned main street with lovely views in this mountain village, easily explored on foot or by bike. Shops and eateries line streets climbing up to Smugglers’ Notch, a pass flanked by 1,000-foot cliffs that cut through the Green Mountains, protected by a state park.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Stowe
Snow can linger on the ground, even at lower elevations, from December to March. Spring brings maple sugaring season, plus chilly and often rainy days. Expect pleasant summers with highs in the 70-to-80-degrees Fahrenheit range; just keep an eye out for thunderstorms. Autumn is brisk, but glorious, with foliage hues generally reaching their peak by mid-October. Start the year silly with snow-golf and snow-volleyball at the Stowe Winter Carnival (also known for its stone-cold-serious ice-carving competitions). February also brings the Stowe Derby — a race from Mount Mansfield’s peak to the village — and a fat bike competition with some extravagant spectator costumes. The Fourth of July ushers in the usual fireworks, but also a quirky parade full of quick-built, decorated-on-a-dime floats. Not to mention the Stoweflake Hot Air Balloon Festival, which includes tethered launches, first-come, first-served. Then greet autumn with the Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival, where guests can launch their festive gourds via catapults.
Top things to do in Stowe
This region supplies much of the headstone granite for the United States. Unsurprisingly, its Victorian-era stone cutters and artisans memorialized each other in high style. Thirty miles southeast of Stowe, this 85-acre graveyard sports lavish memorial sculptures, including a biplane and a giant soccer ball.
The state’s highest peak shelters almost 200 acres of alpine tundra and resembles a human profile, hence features named the Forehead, the Nose, and the Chin (tallest!). Drivers can switchback up the historic Toll Road, which unfurls jaw-dropping views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks (open June to mid-October, weather permitting). Hikers gravitate to the classic 3.3-mile Sunset Ridge route and the more sheltered 2.3-mile Long Trail. Also popular: the Wampahoofus Trail, named for a cryptid deer-boar hybrid with uneven legs, so it could only move in one direction around the mountain.
This abandoned farming community stands 15 miles southwest of Stowe in Little River State Park, part of Mount Mansfield State Forest. Established in 1816, the town thrived briefly before its steep hills and poor soil drove residents out. Today visitors can wander among its orchards, stone walls, cemetery, and a lone remaining house. Miles of trails lace this haunting landscape. To stay oriented, grab a History Hike brochure from the visitor center. And consider lingering to boat or fish in the Waterbury Reservoir.