They say there's no time like the holidays, but what they really mean is there's no time like the holidays in Stowe, Vermont. The New England charm of Stowe is undeniable, especially in the wintertime when the quaint town's rooftops are transformed into snow-covered wonders. This picture-perfect backdrop is the ideal scenery for the best winter ski trips on the East Coast and arguably the entire United States.
Couples and families alike from late December through early January call Stowe home to their annual holiday ski trip, and for good reason. Buzzing with the energy and joy of the holiday season, the storybook town of Stowe has been welcoming winter travellers since the 1800s. The plethora of winter activities, enchanting boutiques, delectably delicious eateries and body warming delights crafted at local breweries, makes it the perfect destination for your holiday vacation. Out of all the options for winter ski destinations in the Northeast, and even out West, Stowe is beautifully unique and special, even surpassing many of the larger and more well-known ones.
Stowe offers some of the best alpine vistas in the east. Courtesy: Stowe
Top Things to Do in Stowe
Covering approximately 72 square miles, Stowe has an incredible amount of amazing winter and holiday activities for you to choose from. Since the possibilities are virtually endless, we'll just leave you with a few of the top things to do in Stowe during your winter ski vacation. Just follow the advice we've laid out, and we can promise that your Christmas ski vacation will truly be an unforgettable winter getaway.
Stowe skiers can find as much terrain as they want to ski. Courtesy: Stowe
Best Hotels in Stowe
The holidays are a time for wonder and joy, and the lodging options in Stowe will provide you and your travel companions with all that and more. From four and five star luxury lodges to quaint Bed and Breakfasts, the ideal holiday hotel deal awaits. For the most awe-inspiring vistas of Stowe's magnificent mountains, choose from a variety of lodging options on Stowe's most iconic topography. From luxury hotels with multiple amenities to small, quaint inns or cabin accommodations, the perfect hotel for every traveler's personality awaits. One of the most popular areas to stay is right on or near Mount Mansfield, Vermont's highest peak. Two of these breathtaking lodging options are Stowe Mountain Lodge and Spruce Peak. Many of the larger hotels feature a variety of on-site amenities to indulge in. Get a relaxing massage at the hotel spa, work off the holiday pounds at their fitness center, take a dip in the indoor and outdoor pools, taste the interesting flavors at signature restaurants and even join in recreational programs to keep you entertained throughout your stay. For a more intimate atmosphere, additional lodging options including smaller hotels and inns are available, presenting guests with a more calm, relaxed environment with a personalized touch.
For an incredibly rewarding blend of history and charm, perhaps you would like to settle on a hotel in the Center of Stowe walking distance to the local boutiques, restaurants and galleries. The winter vibes of will be sure to please. These centrally located accommodations can be found on or near South Main Street.
The holiday season, especially from just before Christmas to after New Year's Eve, is a peak travel time for Stowe. You'll certainly want to book lodging early to guarantee yourself a room for the most wonderful time of the year in Stowe.
Picturesque days give way to nighttime ambience and a lively resort, with top-end dining and activities. Courtesy: Stowe
Getting to Stowe
If you're coming from the Northeast, one of the best ways to get to Stowe is by driving. The further north you venture, the even more beautiful the surrounding landscape and scenery becomes. Plus, road trips are a great way to spend quality time together, and there's no time like the holidays to do just that.
If you're coming from anywhere else in the United States, getting to Stowe can still be very simple. While there are some regional airports in Vermont, the most convenient, and usually most price effective, way is to fly into Burlington International Airport. This airport is only about 34 miles from central Stowe. If you're planning on exploring Stowe and its surrounding areas, definitely rent a car from the airport and drive down Interstate 89 until you reach your destination. If you prefer not to have a car, taxis and a few bus options (though not the most convenient due to the multiple stops) are available. Public transportation is pretty limited in Stowe, so if you plan on venturing outside your accommodations more than once, you'll definitely appreciate the freedom having a rental car brings.
Best Stowe Restaurants
If breakfast is your favorite meal, then you'll love waking up and starting your mornings in Stowe. No Vermont breakfast here is complete without a delectable douse of maple syrup. Maple Syrup in Vermont is the best you'll ever have – we're serious. You may be aware of the famed, authentic syrup, but did you know that there are such things as Maple Laws? Well now you do! This state has the most stringent maple guidelines in the entire country, something your taste buds will certainly appreciate. Read on to learn about a few of the most mouthwateringly delicious restaurants in Stowe for your winter vacation.
For that much needed morning cup of joe, seek out Black Cap Coffee. You'll warm right up with its chill coffee house vibes and lovely morning brews. Head to Butler's Pantry and be sure to chow down on the fluffy, buttermilk pancakes with syrup of gold. Cozy up at Picnic Social with tasty brunch options by the indoor or outdoor fire pits. The Biscuits & Gravy are a fan favorite, but for those craving something healthy, don't miss out on the Avocado Toast. When the mid-day hunger calls, you'll definitely want to make sure the Green Goddess Cafe is on your list of must-visits lunch. Choose from more than 10 scrumptious specialty sandwiches. You truly deserve it after working up that appetite during your day of exploring.
Longing for an afternoon pick me up? Stop by Laughing Moon Chocolates for a homemade sweet treat. Over the holidays, be sure to inquire about their candy cane making sessions for a tasty bit of entertainment. This is also the perfect place to buy some souvenirs, though they make it home with a few bites in them! You may also want to take a mid-day break at Stowe Cider, where you can taste a flight of locally made ciders for just $4. The cider is made in Vermont, with all of it's apples being locally sourced, and also distributed locally. For the final meal of the day, there are quite a few delightful options in Stowe. Plate Restaurant, one of the more trendy dining options in Stowe, brings together the healthy inspirations from California with the local flavors and ingredients distinctive of Vermont. Dietary restrictions like gluten-free and vegan are totally embraced! Bistro at Ten Acres brings a sophisticated array of dishes to dinnertime, specially designed to go along with the winter season. These selections will certainly not disappoint!
With a top-rated ski school, Stowe can easily handle the whole family. Courtesy: Stowe
Winter Activities in Stowe
Though Stowe is a beautiful place for visitors all year round, the wintertime is when this town truly thrives. From skiing and snowmobiling to cider tastings and musical shows, there's an activity for everyone.
Some of the best trails in the Northeast can be found right in Stowe. Whether you're a ski pro or ready for your first run on the bunny hills, there are over 100 trails and 465 skiable acres to choose from at Stowe's Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak. Enjoy a calming, picturesque run through a beginning course or challenge yourself to an exhilarating run with a black diamond. Around 15 percent of the courses are beginner (green), 56% are intermediate (blue) and 28% are expert (black diamond). Stowe Mountain Resort recently invested in new equipment to produce snow which has helped in extending the ski season and making better quality snow so your holiday ski trip is the best you've ever experienced. If you'll be in Stowe for an extended length of time, buying a multi-day pass will be more economical as each day will be a bit more discounted than a single day lift ticket.
Additional smaller ski mountains and trails are also accessible at Trapp Family Lodge and Smuggler's Notch. If you're looking for an even more unique adventure, try backcountry skiing at Trapp. They have 37 regular trails and more than 60 trails for skiing on ungroomed snow. Smuggler's Notch with 78 trails is another fabulous place to ski, as it features a great mix of greens, blues and black diamond trails. Day passes typically cost just over $100 per person. Though the degrees of difficulty range, first timers do not fear. If you've never skied before, or even if you just feel a bit rusty, there are plenty of options for ski schools and private lessons to get you going in no time.
If balance isn't your forte, you can still cruise through the beautiful powder snow on the back of a high-speed snowmobile. Glide through the snow on a guided tour or head off on an adventure of your own. Either way, you'll have an absolute blast! If your preferred mode of transportation is slower and more scenic, you'll love cozying up under a blanket on a private sleigh ride in a horse-drawn carriage or even one pulled by dogs. It'll be your real "one horse open sleigh."
Holiday trips deserve the highest level of entertainment, like holiday shopping sprees! Spend time exploring Stowe's Historic Village and find treasures to forever remember your trip by. Choose from works of art, handcrafted jewelry, local specialty foods and more. You should also check out the latest schedule of productions available at Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center or Stowe Theatre Guild. Live performances at either of these venues have been known to blow the audience away.
If you're bringing the kids along, family friendly activities are aplenty. A few miles south of Stowe is a dream come true for every kid and adult alike - the Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Factory! Take the half hour guided tour and see how Ben and Jerry's gets all that yummy goodness into every bite. They even have a Flavor Graveyard to pay tribute to all the flavors that have passed on. Kids will also love twirling on the outdoor ice-skating rink at Spruce Peak Village Center.
Treat yourself to a relaxing massage for those sore muscles or as a Christmas gift at one of Stowe's Spas during your holiday vacation. The Spa at Stowe Mountain Lodge is a visitor favorite.
Winter Weather in Stowe
Average temperatures in Stowe typically begin to drop in October, though November is when consistently cold temperatures really take hold. By December, average temperatures drop to a high of 22 degrees and a low of eight degrees. Average snowfall is around 45 inches in January, perfect for powdery fresh trails and ideal skiing conditions.
Packing appropriately is absolutely key for your ski vacation. Not sure what to pack for a winter ski vacation? You can't go wrong with layering. Make sure you have enough layers to keep you warm, starting with undergarments and thermals and topping the outfits off with waterproof jackets and snow pants. This is the easiest way to control your body temperature as you can peel off or add new layers as necessary. All ski equipment can be rented at the mountains, however if you own your own equipment, you should bring it if possible to avoid additional rental charges.
Skiing in Stowe During Christmas and New Years
Winter in Stowe is a special time, and if you've never been, we know that your first time there certainly won't be your last. The ideal weather for skiing combined with its beauty and charm makes Stowe a not only a popular winter vacation spot for those living in the U.S., but also a world-class holiday vacation destination for international travelers. Due to the plethora of incredible backcountry trails and beautifully groomed ones, amateur and talented cross-country skiers alike absolutely love spending winters in Stowe, Vermont. There's no better way to celebrate the holiday season or ring in the New Year than with a ski vacation in Stowe, Vermont. It's a trip you and your travel companions will be talking about for years to come. We're telling you here first - don't be surprised if you get so hooked that it becomes your annual holiday vacation!
What are you waiting for? Get started on planning your unforgettable holiday ski vacation in Stowe, today.