Places to Go and Things to Do in Stowe, VermontFood and Drink Essentials
BEST GROCERY STORE
88 S. Main Street
Located in the heart of Stowe's downtown, a few yards south of the main intersection of Routes 100 and 108, Mac's is a small supermarket with a wide variety of products. It has a deli; large selection of wine and beer; fresh produce; many locally made products such as bread and baked goods; organic and grass-fed meats; and dairy. Prices are on par with large chain supermarkets.
BEST SPECIALTY MARKET
1031 Mountain Road
The Harvest Market is a one-stop gourmet shop with delicious prepared foods, high-quality deli meats, cheeses, sandwiches, homemade baked goods, wood-fired artisan breads, and many other specialty and imported items. They also make excellent smoothies, cappuccino and espresso drinks, and have a few small tables where guests can eat.
BEST ETHNIC FOOD
128 Main Street
Located in the recently renovated, historic Butler House on Main Street in Stowe Village, Frida's is one of Stowe's newest eateries. A joint venture between Jack Pickett, whose recipes made the Blue Moon Cafe -- one of Stowe's most popular restaurants -- and Josh Bard, Frida's has quickly become a hot spot where locals can enjoy delicious food.
Try the inspired salsas, table-side-made guacamole, and authentic Mexican dishes such as carnitas (slow-roasted pork with potatoes, iceberg lettuce and salsa verde) and pato ahumado con mole (lightly smoked duck breast with pecan mole sauce and sauteed greens). In the summertime, enjoy margaritas sweetened with agave nectar on the sunny deck, and in winter, cozy up to the inviting bar where locals show up for apres ski (socializing after skiing).
BEST PLACES TO GET A DRINK
The Matterhorn Bar
4969 Mountain Road
The Matterhorn is host to Stowe's liveliest apres ski scene for locals and visitors alike. They have a wide selection of beers on tap, live music, wood-fired pizza and the town's BEST sushi.
Rimrocks Mountain Tavern
394 Mountain Road
Rimrocks is a solid pub with a great local feel. Local, organic and imported beers on tap, great burgers and multiple flat-screen TVs make it a favorite gathering spot for hockey, baseball and football fans.
BEST COFFEE AND DESSERT SPOTS
Black Cap Coffee
133 Main Street
Because Stowe only has one true coffeehouse, it's a good thing Black Cap Coffee makes the best espresso drinks around. The atmosphere is inviting and comfortable, with free Wi-Fi and plenty to snack on -- from paninis to biscotti.
Laughing Moon Chocolates
78 S. Main Street
Chocolate and coffee make a natural pair, and Laughing Moon Chocolate in Stowe Village is a great place to drop in and pick up a latte or cappuccino. There's no room to sit -- except in summer when there are a few chairs on the porch -- but the coffee is high quality. They also carry a vast array of handmade truffles and chocolate delights, which make for a great pick-me-up.
BEST THINGS TO DO FOR FREE
Stowe Recreation Path
Location: Multiple entry points to the 5.5-mile paved path are spotted up and down Mountain Road, but it begins behind Stowe's iconic Congregational Church in Stowe Village. Parking and entry is also available at the intersection of Luce Hill and Mountain Road, a mile beyond Luce Hill off Mountain Road, and at the far end of the path off Brook Road.
Cruising along the Stowe Recreation Path, be it on a bike, a pair of Rollerblades, snowshoes, skis or simply on foot, is one of the most scenic and enjoyable ways to see Stowe. The 5.5-mile path was paved for non-motorized use in 1989 and is considered one of the town's greatest assets. It's open for use year-round, and many businesses are located along the route, which crosses back and forth over the West Branch River. There are places to swim along the route in summer and many picnic tables and quiet places to enjoy a snack along the way. In winter, walkers, snowshoers and cross-country skiers enjoy the path, too.
BEST KID-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES
Summer Attractions at Stowe Mountain Resort
5781 Mountain Road
You may think that without snow there's little to do at a ski resort, but during summer, there's a ton of action at Stowe Mountain Resort. From an alpine toll road, which provides easy access to the state's highest peak and natural wonders, to an alpine slide, bungee trampolines, a climbing wall, obstacle course, gondola sky rides and more, there's plenty from which to choose. Rates for the attractions vary from $21 for a single attraction to $68 for a day pass, and kids 5 and younger get in free.
Stowe Free Library
90 Pond Street
The Stowe Free Library has a vibrant array of programs for kids provided to the community free of charge. They partner with the Lamoille County Nature Center for hands-on learning about maple sugaring and tracking animals, among other topics. There are weekly readings and even teen programs, which teach tie-dyeing, arts and more. And on a rainy day, it's the perfect place to go and cozy up with books in the children's room.
BEST DANCE SPOT
The Rusty Nail
1190 Mountain Road
If you're in the mood to groove, The Rusty Nail is the place to go. Friday and Saturday nights there's always a party at the Nail with live, local talent or a DJ mixing tunes. It's a fun-loving scene, with a blend of locals and visitors shaking it on the dance floor. Although drinks are on the pricier side, and the help can be brusque at times, the dance scene is the best in town.
Stowe has some of the best alpine skiing in the east, and the majority of people who live in Stowe take full advantage of the state's highest peak in their backyard. The lift opens at 7:30 a.m. mid-week, making it easy to get a few runs in before work.
Stowe is divided into two distinct areas by the recent, multimillion-dollar expansion of Spruce Peak. The Spruce side features gentler, more-maintained terrain, a deluxe base lodge, and many other mountain village amenities -- including the spa at Stowe Mountain Lodge, a great place to relax after a tough day on the slopes.
The Mansfield side features some of the steepest runs and best tree skiing in the east. The famous front four -- Goat, National, Starr and Liftline -- cascade down the face of the mountain, flanked by glades off both sides. Runs under the gondola are typically great for carving fast turns, and the halfpipe and terrain park can be found on Mansfield's less intense western side. Passes to Stowe are the most expensive in the state, but there's good reason for it.
Cross Country Skiing at the Trapp Family Lodge
700 Trapp Hill Rd.
More than 100 kilometers of the state's best cross-country skiing await at the Trapp Ski Center. Trails are impeccably maintained, and the terrain is suitable for all levels of skiing. The Cabin, a good climb from the main lodge, is a popular destination where skiers and snowshoers trek for warm soup, tea and fresh-baked brownies.
BEST OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES IN SUMMER
Hiking, cycling and the outdoors in Stowe
Stowe is a hiker's and cyclist's paradise. Many surrounding peaks, such as Stowe Pinnacle, Hunger Mountain and Mount Mansfield, are an easy day or afternoon trip from Stowe. Road and mountain bikers enjoy a bevy of rides from gnarly, rooted single-track trails to wide dirt roads of varying length and difficulty. It's also a terrific place for anglers and kayakers with many mountain streams, ponds and large rivers such as the Lamoille and Winooski nearby.
The Long Trail, a hiking trail that runs the length of Vermont, passes through Stowe, as does The Catamount Trail, used by cross-country skiers and snowshoers in winter. Among the resources for taking advantage of Stowe's natural beauty are The Green Mountain Club, The Catamount Trail Association, Stowe Mountain Bike Club, and Stowe Nordic and Bike Club. Local hiking and cycling maps can also be found at most all area outfitters.
BEST PLACES TO TAKE YOUR DOG
The Stowe Quiet Path
Parking for the Quiet Path is at the intersection of Weeks Hill Road and Mayo Farm Road, and off Cemetery Road.
The Quiet Path is an unpaved offshoot of the Stowe Recreation Path. Although it's not maintained in winter, plenty of foot traffic keeps the way clear. The path hugs the West Branch River, so there are plenty of places for dogs to swim, and several meadows make great places to play fetch.
BEST VIEWS OF THE CITY
Location: Trailhead off Upper Hollow Road at intersection of Pinnacle Road
A short, steep 1.4-mile hike leads to the sweetest view of Stowe. From the open summit, you look across the valley to Mt. Mansfield and down at Stowe Village. The Pinnacle also has great views of Camel's Hump, the Worcester Range, the Sterling Range, the Bolton Range and Hogback Mountain.