Great Things to do in Stowe, Vermont

Great Things to do in Stowe, Vermont

Seeking respite in nature after visiting New York City was very welcomed!  We ventured to Vermont, in northern New England, after a few days of busy city sightseeing in the Big Apple.  Nicknamed the Green Mountain State, the rolling green hills rise up as you make your way through the state along with pastures, wildflowers, and distant mountains.  While here, be sure to visit waterfalls, hike the many trails, explore the quaint towns, and of course try some of Vermont’s famous gastronomic favorites:  Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Cabot cheese, and maple syrup…well, maple everything!

Vermont can easily be combined with a visit to any of the major cities in New England, such as New York, Philadelphia, or Boston.  Below I’ll share how we did it.  But first, I’ll share the wonderful things to do near Stowe, Vermont!

Where we stayed

The Lodge at Spruce Peak | Stowe, Vermont

We loved our stay here and would absolutely stay here again.  The Lodge has many options from studios to large suites, kitchenettes, and laundry facilities.

On site are multiple restaurants, from a coffee shop to a pancake place to quick bites near the pool.  There are also two sit down restaurants where you’ll be sure to have an incredible dinner.

One of our favorite parts of the lodge was the center green.  Strung with cozy lights in the evening, yard games are set up as well as chairs and picnic tables for lounging into the late evening hours.  

We loved staying at the Lodge at Spruce Peak

Great Things to Do Near Stowe

Hiking

There are countless trails of all types, from climbing Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak, to a short walk on a boardwalk to see Vermont’s biggest waterfall.  Here are the hikes we did:

Stowe Pinnacle Trail

The Stowe Pinnacle Trail is a 3.7 mile out-and-back with 1600+ feet of elevation gain.  It’s rated difficult and we did find it to be a tough hike, especially on a hot and humid July day.  

To get here:  We parked at the Stowe Pinnacle Trailhead, just off Upper Hollow Road.  There is a small parking lot on the left side of the road.

The trail begins relatively flat, walking on planks with tall grasses and bushes surrounding you.

The beginning of Stowe Pinnacle Trail

As you enter the forest, the trail starts to climb, which you’ll be doing almost completely till the end.  There are some sections that are tougher with steeper climbs over the rocks. 

Climbing over rocks

This trail is doable for kids, however be sure to have plenty of water with you and some snacks as well!

Once you reach The Vista, it will flatten out for a short bit before you start your final climb.  At the very end, as you are almost fully above the trees, you’ll be scrambling up over large, smooth boulders.  Once up, the views are incredible, it smells of pine, and the cool air with a breeze is very refreshing!

The views at the top are incredible and well worth the hike

Moss Glen Falls

This is an easy, 0.5 mile out-and-back with Vermont’s largest waterfall, Moss Glen Falls, as your reward at the end!  

To get here:  From Vermont 100, turn onto Randolph Road to Moss Glen Falls Road.  The trailhead will be on the left with a small parking lot.

The trail begins with walking on a boardwalk through tall grasses and sweet smelling berry bushes – I was keeping my eye out for moose or bear here!  The open field soon turns to forest with a short but vertical climb up to see the falls.  

View of the waterfall from the short but steep lookout

But don’t stop here!  Go back down the vertical climb and take a sharp left to follow the trail that goes along the river.  Go as far as you can until only large rocks and boulders will be in your path.  Now you have to take your shoes off and walk in the river!  It felt so good after a long hiking day!

Gorgeous Moss Glen Falls

Get Great Views From a Gondola

While the gondolas in Stowe serve the skiers in the winter, they are a great way to take in the views in the summer!

From our resort at The Lodge at Spruce Peak, we took the Over Easy gondola to cross the street and joined up to the Gondola Sky Ride. 

From the Lodge at Spruce Peak, take the Over Easy Gondola across the street

If you want to dine at Cliff House Restaurant at the top (only open for lunch) you must have a reservation.  There is also a small snack place, The Waffle, serving quick bites such as sodas and ice cream.   If you just want a drink while enjoying the views, head inside to The Cliff House restaurant and get a drink from the bar.  You can take it outside to relax on the chairs while taking in the views.  We hiked a short distance on the ski trail before getting back on the gondola to make our way back down.  We spent a couple of hours doing this and it was a great way to enjoy a beautiful day!

Enjoying the top of Mount Mansfield, thanks to the Stowe Gondola

Exploring Stowe

Quaint Main Street in Stowe has great shopping, restaurants, and cafes. 

Main Street, Stowe

The best shop we found was Stowe Mercantile, located down Depot Street.  This large shop has endless Vermont souvenirs such anything maple flavored, shirts, household goods, and other high quality items.  Another favorite was Bear Pond Books featuring local books and guides as well as many popular titles and an ample children’s section.  We got some provisions from Stowe Public House and Bottle Shop to make a charcuterie plate for the evening once back at our resort.  The General Store sold good quality hiking items, everything from footwear to gear and clothing in addition to souvenir items.

A Sweet Time at the Ben & Jerry’s Factory

You can’t go to Vermont without having some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream!  And why not get a behind-the-scenes look at how this popular sweet treat is made?!  I booked our tour reservations as soon as they became available, about a week ahead.  You can also visit the factory site without the tour.  There is an on-site playground, The Scoop Shop, and Flavor Graveyard to Explore.

The tour is short and sweet.  The guide was great at explaining the process of making ice cream in this factory as well as sharing some history and factoids along the way.  In my opinion, the tour is perfect for kids.  Not only is it a familiar product but seeing behind the scenes of how the ice cream is packaged and prepared is intriguing.  And the most important part – free samples at the end!  On our tour day, the flavor was milk and cookies which was delicious.  There is a small gift shop indoors selling merchandise and pints to go. 

At the end of the tour, the flavors ranked by popularity

The Scoop Shop, located outside, serves up many flavors and toppings.  We did not want to wait in the 30+ minute long line, however, and were content with our free sample during our tour. 

The Scoop Shop

We made our way over to the Flavor Graveyard, a comical way of previous flavors “resting in peace”.  

The Flavor Graveyard

We spent about an hour here visiting Ben & Jerry’s.

A Great Place for Foodies

Stowe is a great town for foodies with a plethora restaurants to choose from.  From fine dining to simple cafes, you’ll not be left hungry here!  We tried the following while in Stowe:

  • Alpine Hall – This was our favorite restaurant in Stowe.  The dining room ambiance was wonderful and the food was phenomenal.  
  • PieCasso – We had a great lunch here with pizza, salad, and local brew.
  • PK Coffee – We grabbed a coffee and quick breakfast on our way out of town.  They offer prepared breakfast sandwiches, burritos, scones, and muffins.
  • Aqua/Mozo Tacos – This is located at the pool at The Lodge at Spruce Peak.  The chicken tacos were delicious and the street corn was unbelievable!
  • The Skinny Pancake – we got some skinny pancakes for a breakfast picnic one morning.  The strawberries were very fresh and it was tasty.

Vermont has become one of our favorite states.  The area around Stowe has so much to see and do for summer fun.  From hiking and swimming to riding a gondola and eating your way through town, you’ll find Stowe to be an incredible place to visit, all while surrounded by stunning beauty.

How We Did This Trip

We had plans to visit New York City when we decided to add some days in Vermont on to our itinerary.  It was the perfect balance of city sightseeing with rejuvenating nature.

Since we were staying in NYC, we took an Uber to Penn Station and caught an Amtrak train to New Haven, CT.  From there, we rented a car through Avis, which is right in the train station.  We then had a 4 hour drive to Vermont.

Our reason for doing it this way is because we didn’t want to rent a car anywhere around NYC and have to deal with the traffic getting out of the city.  New Haven was just far enough outside of the city where the driving was just a straight, easy shot to Vermont.  We considered taking the train from NYC straight to Vermont but it would have been an 8 hour train ride and we wanted a vehicle when we were in Vermont anyway, so this seemed to be the best way to do it.  Adding in the ease of the car rental company being right IN the New Haven train station, solidified our decision for doing it this way.

  • Uber:  From our hotel to Penn Station, it was less than 10 minutes.
  • Amtrak:  From Penn Station, NYC to New Haven CT, it took about 90 minutes.  We purchased these tickets a couple of months ahead of time.
  • Car:  New Haven station has two car rental companies on site, Budget and Avis.  We had pre-booked a car with Avis.
  • The Drive:  We had an easy 4 hour car ride taking us from New Haven, through the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and finally Vermont.  Having a car while in Stowe was necessary, in my opinion.  It allowed us to venture into town, visit some off-site hiking, restaurants, and of course visit Ben & Jerry’s.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Mike

    It looks awesome and I’m glad you guys had fun!

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