Sometimes, your senses just need to feast. Blanketed in showy yellow sunflowers and lush green fir trees rather than snow, Stowe in the warmer months beckons you outside to sip and savor.
During weekend markets and village street fairs, local artisans offer handcrafted cheeses and chocolates, gins and vodkas made from ingredients like maple and wild honey, and beer so rare and sought-after, it has a cult following.
Bonus: Stowe is where Ben & Jerry’s calls home.
Let your five senses feast away in Stowe.
Vermont is known for cheese, maple syrup, and apple cider donuts. The Alchemist brewery, which recently opened its newest location adjacent to the Stoweflake Mountain Resort, is already a draw for diehard fans of its cult-favorite Heady Topper IPA. Ben & Jerry’s gives factory tours and samples of its indulgent ice cream for a perfect feast. And Lake Champlain Chocolates serves up a boozy, smoky bourbon caramel dark chocolate bar that would have made Charlie Bucket swoon, golden ticket or not.
Even before the fall foliage explodes in color mid-October, brightly colored perennials line walkways, lush balsam fir trees coat mountains, and waterfalls sparkle in the sunlight. A gondola ride leads to the top of Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak; from there, you can see the Stowe village, Lake Champlain, and onward to the Adrondack Mountains in New York.
Within the classic Stoweflake Mountain Resort lies Vermont’s acclaimed Spa at Stoweflake. Choose your treatment: perhaps a Green Mountain Coffee body wrap, followed by a Vichy shower? An Ashiatsu massage, where therapists balance holding ceiling bars and use their feet to compress your tension away? Perhaps a full body tuning, where sound waves from tuning forks are used to banish tension? Whatever you decide, await it in a European-style mineral bath, where a waterfall inspired by nearby Bingham Falls hammers away your stress.
Street fairs and farmer’s markets are known for sampling handcrafted treats. Here in Stowe, they make this tradition even more entertaining by handing out samples of spirits. You may find yourself breathing in the scent of Literary Dog vodka, distilled 23 times, made from maple syrup, or savoring the sweet floral notes of Barr Hill Gin, made from raw honey.
The zipline at Mount Mansfield sings every time a brave soul is sent down the 2-mile “fast lane” to the base. (More delicate constitutions can alternatively opt for the red gondola.) Fuel up your courage before the trip with a board of Vermont cheeses or charcuterie — and maybe a cocktail or two — at an Austrian-style chalet with panoramic views, Cliff House.
All images courtesy of Charlyn Keating.