February 28, 2017

72 Hours in Stowe Vermont: Summer

Stowe is the quintessential Vermont village with a cultural edge: church steeples and country stores, a winding river meandering through the town, but also eclectic and varied dining and entertainment. Stowe and surrounding areas offer a wealth of summer activities for adventure seekers, and solitude lovers alike. It's no wonder Stowe was voted one of the top 10 ski resorts for summer adventure by USA Today .

3 PM
Pull into Goldilocks Cabin. Drop your bags, put on your hiking shoes, and head to Mt. Mansfield State Park (fifteen minutes from your door) and take the trailhead to Bingham Falls. This is a scenic and easy hike to start your Vermont weekend. Walk the 1/2 mile trail down to the spectacular waterfall. Dive from the rocks for a refreshing dip or wander down the river with the deep aqua rock pools (where the water can be a bit warmer.)

Head back toward Stowe village with a stop at Stowe Kitchens and Baths for a fun gift or memento to bring home from your trip, and then walk over to Stowe Wine and Cheese for snacks and libations for the cabin. http://www.stowewineandcheese.com

7 PM
After relaxing on the deck with a glass of wine, freshen up and head to Plate on Main Street, the hottest new restaurant on the dining scene. To give you an idea of the atmosphere, my caretaker calls it "very New York" and won't go there. So, not exactly Vermont-y, but if you are a foodie, this is the place to be. The savory cornbread with maple syrup butter is worthy of every calorie, and the banana pudding is addictive: not like any banana pudding your grandmother made. One is plenty to share. Everything in between is exceptional too, with vegan selections like Ramen noodles, and a perfectly cooked rib eye for the carnivores. One caveat: the restaurant does tend to get loud, so I then to go earlier before it gets too crowded. http://www.platestowe.com

9 PM
Snuggle in at the fire pit at Goldilocks and have a nightcap out of doors before rolling into bed to prepare for Saturday's adventures.

8 AM
Start the day at Black Cap Coffee (at the corner of Main Street and School Street) with a latte and a cinnamon bun or croissant, while perusing the morning paper.

9 AM
Take Stowe Hollow Road to Upper Hollow Road (3 miles) to the Pinnacle trailhead. This a 3 mile hike, round trip, ending in a steep climb, and opening up to a panoramic view of Mt. Mansfield. This should take 3 hours for a hiker in average shape. If you are lucky you will be accompanied by Baylor and Sampson, two Golden Retrievers who live next door, and haunt the trailhead in search of friends to join on a hike. These two are credited for once leading a lost hiker through the snow to safety.

12:30 PM
Stop for a quick lunch at the Cafe on Main. Soups and sandwiches, home-baked cookies and pastries. Quick, casual and well priced. Be sure to park in back and walk through the Mercantile to peruse the gifts and taste the samples of Vermont cheeses, snacks, and sweets.

1:30 PM
If you found the Pinnacle more than enough exertion for one day, call Rick at 4 Point Tours.( mailto:rick@4pointsvt.com ) He will pick you up for a craft brewery tour complete with snacks and tasting flights of award winning IPAs and lagers. (He also gives mountain biking tours along Stowe's 75 miles of world class biking trails.) If the Pinnacle just whet your appetite for the great outdoors, take one of Umiak's self-guided tours, for a peaceful ride down the Winooski river. The trip is a bird watchers delight, and you even catch a glimpse of a moose or a river otter. ( mailto:paddle@umiak.com )

5:30 PM
Back to Goldilocks Cabin to relax on the deck with a book or for a rousing game of Jenga with your favorite libation.

7:00 PM
Head two miles down the road to Doc Ponds, a casual eatery popular with the locals (yes, my caretaker goes here ) with tasty affordable food. They have a variety of local craft beers, and you can't go wrong with the hand-cut fries and a burger. For vegetarians, the beet and Brussels sprouts salad with feta and spiced pecans is a meal in itself. The main restaurant/bar area is a lively happening spot, and there's also a cozy back room with a fireplace for those seeking a quiet meal.

9:00 AM
Begin your leisurely morning with a scenic drive over Smuggler's Notch. (The Notch in local lingo.) Then have a hearty breakfast at 158 Main Street in Jeffersonville. It doesn't get any Vermont-y than this—and all of the baked goods are made in house. Be sure to visit the country store across the street for locally sourced goods, and Vermont maple syrup to take home from your trip.

10:30 AM
A Vermont weekend isn't complete without a fishing trip with Willy at Catamount Fishing Adventures. He supplies the gear, you buy the one day fishing license online. Willy always knows a scenic off-the-beaten-track fishing hole, and has all the local scoop—including where the fish are biting. ( mailto:info@catamountfishingadventures.com )

3:00 PM
Take a meander through the farmer's market on the Mountain Road. It' a fun spot for locals and visitors alike, with prepared food, local produce and meats, as well as crafts, gifts, and live entertainment. If you don't find all of your accompaniments for your trout dinner here, make a stop at Commodities on your way back to the cabin. Organic. Locally sourced. Helpful salespeople. Need I say more?

5:00 PM
A final night at Goldilocks Cabin. Fire up the grill. toss up a salad. If you happened to have a bad day fishing (but a great day by the water) call Piecasso Pizza and order a hand tossed thin crust pizza. Orders can be placed online and picked up at the restaurant.

8:00 AM
Breeze into town for a scoop of homemade, all natural ice cream at I.C. Scoops, on the Town Green. Choose from caramel sea salt, cherry chocolate almond, or lavender honey, and, of course, all of the traditional flavors are available , as well. I.C. Scoops also has premium quality soft serve and frozen yogurt, Jimmies optional.

11 AM
On your way out of town, swing into McCarthy's, a breakfast institution in Stowe. Order the Huevos Rancheros or the corned beef hash and eggs, and you are fortified and ready for your trip home.

12 AM
Be sure to stop at Cabot's Annex on Route 100 for cheese and other Vermont-centric snacks to take home as a happy remembrance of your weekend in Stowe.