Stowe Mountain Resort, in northern Vermont adjacent to Mount Mansfield State Forest, is a major East Coast ski area with lots of on-snow and off-the-snow activities for visitors, year round. The nearby town of Stowe is a lively place of winter sports, great dining, shopping, and lots of fun activities that kids will love (image your kids on a dogsled ride). See below for plenty of vigorous or quiet activities that will keep even the non-skiers in your group busy and enjoying themselves on a winter trip to Stowe.
Ice Skating at Spruce Peak Village Center at Stowe Mountain Resort. Stowe Mountain Resort welcomes ice skaters with a fine rink just a few steps from the Spruce Camp base lodge. The rink is all-outdoors, surrounded by the comings and goings of people and activities in the Village. Music and lights add to the cheery feeling. Bring your own skates or rent them. You may also rent helmets and wrist guards. Open daily from noon to 6 p.m.
Peace Pups Guided Tours at 239 Cross Road in Lake Elmore. Here is an outdoor activity that veers into the unusual zone: a guided dog sledding tour with Peace Pups Dogsledding. Yes, you may ride a dog sled at this dog-loving establishment. From mid-September into mid-December, before the snow flies, you can ride a wheeled and dog-powered cart through the Vermont woods, Also in winter guided snowshoe tours and fat bike (riding on snow with fat tires) is offered. Isn’t vacation the perfect time to try something out of the ordinary? 802-888-7733.
Guided Snowshoe Tours. Expert guides from Stowe Mountain Resort lead you on a vigorous exploration of trails through forest and woods, past crystal waterfalls and across open meadows. The twilight tour is especially beautiful. Guests are fully outfitted with snowshoes and poles.
Stowe Kitchen Bath & Linens at 1813 Mountain Road in Stowe. If you love beautiful kitchenware and linens, this Stowe store is a dreamy place to browse and shop. Stowe Kitchen Bath & Linens features fine glassware, hand-painted dinnerware, placemats, napkins, cookware, rugs and furniture. You’ll relish the high-end copper cookware and bed and bath essentials, including lotions, soaps and gels. Find great gift ideas and don’t miss out on the free gift wrapping. Shipping is available. Sing up for hands-on cooking classes, from cookie decorating to entrees and brunch items. Class schedule. 802-253-8050.
Shaw’s General Store at 54 Main Street in Stowe. Got maple? Got plaid? Got plain, old-fashioned hospitality? Shaw’s General Store in the heart of town was founded in 1895, and it has been owned and operated by the Shaw family for more than a century. That means the store is trusted for the quality of its goods and the high regard for its service. Local people visitors shop here for outdoor clothing and footwear, sweatshirts, toys, Life Is Good apparel, and Stowe souvenirs. If you lay down your dollars at Stowe, most likely you will want to pass some of them over Shaw’s counter, like many visitors before you. 802-253-4040.
Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center at 122 Hourglass Drive in Stowe. This performing arts venue is pure Vermont; it is clad in red cedar shingles, with a cedar frieze, dark framed windows, and large sheltering roofs. The interior is finished in warm Douglas Fir and Vermont green slate. Performances run year-round, and have included highlights such as Dance Theatre of Harlem, Great Big Sea, Taj Mahal, Josh Panda and the Hot Damned, Belle Pines, jazz singer Audrey Bernstein, Scrag Mountain Music, and the Aquila Theatre of New York. 802-760-4634.
Stowe Rocks Indoor Rock Climbing at Stowe Mountain Resort. Stowe Rocks indoor climbing wall – located at the Adventure Center at Stowe Mount Resort -- operates a Kid Zone specially created for kids age 12 and younger. A 12-foot high wall offers a bit of extra silliness with fun climbing holds shaped like as airplanes, trains, letters, numbers, boats and trucks. Kids love to climb and they’re good at it, too! When it’s time for outdoor fun to end, this playful place welcomes kids to keep challenging their muscles and ingenuity. Stowe Rocks participates in the ClimbSmart!® Program, coaching climbers in awareness and responsibility.
FunZone at Smugglers’ Notch Resort 4323 VT Route 108 South in Jeffersonville. The 26,000-square-foot FunZone at Smugglers’ Notch Resort – already widely known as a very family-oriented place – is an indoor family entertainment complex, has two levels of high-energy play space for a full range of ages. Activities include a multi-course Smugglers’ Warrior Challenge, massive laser tag arena, Mountain Rally Races slot car track, arcade, and transparent climbing tower. Everyone in the family is included in the fun. At the Ozone, on the second floor, toddlers can ignite their imaginations in the Littles’ Loft toddler discovery area.
Cork Wine Bar & Market at 35 School Street in Stowe. Here at Cork -- a wine bar, restaurant, and retail shop -- you can taste and enjoy natural wine that is organic, biodynamic, unfiltered, free of additive, and wild fermented. Blend the wine with good food and pleasant company, and this is a place that will hold you for a full evening, or several. The bar’s calendar of events includes wine tastings, beer dinners, and live jazz every Wednesday and some other dates. 802-760-6143.
Trapp Family Lodge Weekly Wine Tastings at 700 Trapp Hill Road in Stowe. The Wine Cellar at Trapp Family Lodge is open weekly for wine tastings. The cellar is stocked with varietals from all around the world, including Austria, Germany, and the U.S. Come and tries a variety of tastes, including sweet, dry, robust, and fruity wines. At the weekly tastings, the sommelier will describe the wines, which are paired with cheeses and bread. It is a fun way to bring your family or group closer together, bonding over good wine and food. 802-253-8511.
Café on Main at 38 Main Street in Stowe. Café on Main is good for breakfast, good for lunch (including take-out, if you want to have lunch on the go), good for snacking and bakery treats, good for friendly hospitality among the local folk. New or old, everyone’s a friend at Café on Main. Open daily, and breakfast is served starting at 7:30 a.m., you early risers. Closes at 3 p.m. The Café’s Facebook page displays daily specials a recent day’s specials offered pulled pork sandwich, chilled gazpacho, clam chowder and veggie chili. 802-253-0077.
Whip Bar & Grill at the Green Mountain Inn at 18 Main Street in Stowe. The Whip Bar & Grill welcomes guests to enjoy fine dining in a casual atmosphere. The extensive menu is replete with Vermont food products and fresh ingredients from Vermont farmers. The Whip is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and it offers nuances for diners including a gluten-free menu, and dessert menu and a children’s menu. Homemade breads and delicious desserts are crowned by the famous Sac de Bon Bon. Vermont and New England microbrews are on tap and wine connoisseurs will appreciate the wine list. 802-253-4400.
Cliff House Restaurant and Summit Series Dinners at Stowe Mountain Resort. The Cliff House Restaurant is tucked into the shoulder of Mount Mansfield and accessible by gondola. Those details alone tell you that Cliff House takes fine dining to extra heights. The décor echoes the Austrian roots of the chalet and views of alpine cliffs through the floor-to-ceiling windows are stunning. On selected Saturdays through the year, Cliff House hosts the Summit Series Dinners. Dinner themes have included topics like the Caribbean, Backyard Barbecue, Tour of Spain, and Fall Harvest. 802-253-3665.
Tap 25 at 151 Main Street in Stowe. This beer bar offers a rotating selection of 25 American craft beer alongside a respectable food and wine menu. Live music starts at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Recent performers have included local favorites like Danny Cole, Django, Wylie Shipman, John Wilson, George Petit's Groovy Trio, Collin & Chris, Jacob Green, Christine with Mike Wilson, and Jeff & Abby Nicholson. Sports fans: game will be on TV, too.
Stowe Winter Carnival. This town-wide festival runs for two weeks in mid-to-late January, offering winterish indoor and outdoor fun for visitors of all ages. Watch or join in borderline-wacky sports like snowgolf and snowvolleyball. Enjoy the masterful sculpting of artists in the Ice Carving Competition. Turn your children loose and watch them have a ball at Kids Carnival Kaos. More than 20 major activities charm visitors of every taste.