I grew up in New England, and yet, the first time I had ever been to Stowe was in 2020. Part of it could have been that it was my own backyard and I always ventured out of New England as opposed to exploring it. Part of it could be my loyalty to NH. All I know: I wish I had visited sooner.
Stowe oozes charm and the foliage around Smuggler’s Notch rivals any NH notch.
Shhh, don’t tell NH I said that.
One weekend in this northern New England town, and you will definitely add it to your foliage stop year after year.
HOW TO GET THERE?
The easiest way to get to Stowe is to fly and then rent a car. I would fly into Burlington International Airport (BTV). It is then only 40 minutes to Stowe.
Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (MHT) is ~2.5 hours and Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) is a~3 hours to Stowe. While they are a much longer drive, their pro is that you can choose the scenic routes from both of these airports if that’s where you end up flying to.
At the airport, I would recommend renting a car.
Stowe is a small town and most of the beauty comes from driving around peeping those leaves … you will want a car.
You will arrive in Stowe and get checked in to your accommodation.
The Trapp Family Lodge is a beautiful resort in the mountains if you are looking for something more upscale. Plus, it is owned and operated by the Von Trapp family!
If that is out of your budget, there are many hotels and AirBnB’s in the area to choose from.
Pizza is always an easy go to on a travel day, and Piecasso is a delicious family run pizzeria in Stowe.
And if you are too tired to go to a restaurant, you may be able to get delivery (depending where in Stowe you are staying) or they have take out so you can bring pizza back to your accommodations.
The highlighted falls is only ¼ mile from the trailhead. Because this is such an easy walk in the woods, expect it to be busy which is why I recommend it first thing in the morning.
*Just make sure to check that it is open. Due to the heavy traffic, they do close the trail for repairs. I like to use AllTrails to check trail conditions.
And if Moss Glen Falls is closed – check out Bingham Falls Trail; another easy waterfalls trail near Stowe.
After a hike, you earned your cider donuts. If you have never had cider donuts, then let me just say that hot apple cider with cider donuts is a favorite Autumn breakfast for this New Englander. And Cold Hollow Bakery has some of the best!
Also … you can never have too much cinnamon in the mix … but that may be a personal opinion.
*If you are looking for a little something more to eat, check out Green Goddess Cafe located in the beautiful downtown area.
While the beauty of Stowe is the hikes, the charm of Stowe is in the downtown.
Take a walk down main street and meander in and out of all the cute shops … including a country store because you have to visit a country store when visiting New England (or did you even go to New England?).
If you’ve googled Stowe, you have most likely seen the photo of Stowe Community Church.
If you would like to get your own photo of this famous site, then go to the parking lot of Salon Salon. It is the best place to photograph the church.
The pun was intended here, but it was a bad one … anyway, we are going to go on a mini microbrewery tour of Stowe.
From the outdoor atmosphere of Idletyme to the views at Von Trapp, we have a trifecta here of amazing Vermont microbreweries. But they aren’t the only microbreweries in the area (I may have also picked them because they are close to each other, so minimal driving), but Lost Nation is a favorite one outside of Stowe and if you want more, talk to some locals – there are definitely many more that Stowe has to offer.
*Please make sure to drink responsibly.
Can we all agree that one of the things Ben and Jerry do well is make some good ice cream?
Well, if you agree then you need to stop in for a scoop at the Ben and Jerry’s factory in Waterbury, VT – just outside of Stowe. And while you are there, make sure to take a walk around the flavor graveyard – a graveyard for all of your favorite fallen B&J flavors. RIP Fossel Fuel.
Even if you aren’t a huge ice cream fan, the silly gravestones at the flavor graveyard is sure to bring a smile to your face.
Since you are already in Waterbury, make reservations for dinner at Hen of the Wood for their daily changing menu based on what they can source locally.
If you are unable to get into Hen of the Wood, check out Pro Pig. There craft mac & cheese is an ultimate comfort food (they may also be another microbrewery if you haven’t had your fill yet).
You can’t go wrong with a “Notch” in New England for showing off the leaves, and Smuggler’s Notch does not disappoint for foliage during peak.
The beautiful switchback drive is umbrellaed under foliage during peak.
Just note: it can get narrow – so drive slow. But, that’s ok, because you’ll want to drive slowly to peep those leaves.
End your weekend with all the views on Stowe’s Gondola Skyride. And when I say views – I could put all the heart eyes I can, but you just need to see them for yourself.
And if it happens to be crappy weather (as can happen in New England in Autumn), as long as it isn’t raining to hard, I would still go and talk to the workers. Ask them if the views are clouded in. As long as it isn’t completely clouded in, I would go. Just bring a layer and good shoes for the mud.
PIN ME FOR LATER
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