27 Oct 2017, 3:01pm
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Top Reasons to Go to Stowe, Vermont

Stowe, Vermont

If you read my story Touring Country Stores in Stowe, Vermont with Mom, you already know that I recently had a lot of fun in and around this cute little mountain town. I’ve since done my write ups for Discovery Map, which feature Stowe-pendous Adventures and Vermont Country Shopping in Stowe. Do check them out and you’ll find a bushel of reasons as to why you should plan a trip to Stowe.

What surprised me the most about Stowe? Well, I have to admit I didn’t realize there was such a cute little historic town attached to this world renowned ski resort. Once there, I discovered this wonderful New England village that made its mark on this part of Vermont long before the ski mountain existed.

Since I’ve been living in Telluride, Colorado for over fourteen years, I couldn’t help but draw comparisons between these two mountain towns. They’re oh-so different yet both are very inviting and definitely integral parts to the overall ski experience.

To me, Stowe felt tucked in, it appeared nestled into the Green Mountains like a sleeping outdoor enthusiast beneath a pile of quilts. You don’t always see the mountains from town, but when you do–when you peek out upon a green space in between buildings–you gaze out onto bucolic vistas punctuated by old, well-worn mountains. These views–like the town–are quiet, charming and oh-so comforting.

Telluride in contrast, with peaks soaring up into the 12,000-14,000-foot range, is mighty and majestic. And the ski mountain inspires sometimes beyond reason, too.

We need both in our lives, don’t we? We all need some yang to balance out our yin.

As for the skiing, I’ve been told that Stowe holds its own, that there are many challenges to be met on their slopes. I hope to try it some day. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to heading back to T-ride and perhaps adding some yang to my yin.

Thank you to Stowe Mountain Resort for the use of the above photo.

Touring Country Stores in Stowe, Vermont with Mom

Mom and I Shopping in Vermont

Since 1895: Shaw’s General Store

Vermont Country Road

Mom at Stowe Mercantile

My how I’ve been blessed with being back East this fall. The weather has been glorious throughout upstate New York and New England. (I think it has actually been pretty beautiful along the whole East Coast with the exception of down south.) We’ve been experiencing true Indian summer weather–East Indian, in fact, with some days hitting temps as high as 90 degrees!

The annual autumnal festival of colors with regard to leaf peeping has started late this year. (The abundance of jewel-toned mums, however, rates among one of the most spectacular I’ve ever seen. I we don’t have such a display in Colorado.) A brilliant kaleidoscope of fall colors is just now emerging in many parts of the Northeast.

Designer Mum

Magnificent Mums

This fall is not likely to rank among the most spectacular, since many of the maple trees have been stricken with a fungus that has made their foliage look blah. Plus, we have not yet had enough chilly nights to force the color to change into eye-popping hues of red, orange and gold. But isn’t fall always beautiful? I think so. For me, it has already been memorable.

Brick-Toned Beauty Before the Leaves Even Change

Ready for Winter at Nebraska Knoll Sugar Farm

That’s because two weeks ago mom and I headed out for a road trip to Vermont. It was just a two-night stay, however, we packed a lot in. My mother and I have always traveled a good amount together but this was the first real getaway of its kind in two years. There’s no doubt that as you grow older, home offers greater appeal and traveling seems like more of a chore.

Still, mom rose to the occasion and off to Vermont we went. We beat the path that we had tamped down–heading northeast out Route 7 from Troy, New York–for many years throughout our lives. This time, however, we were venturing far beyond our usual destinations of Bennington, Arlington and Manchester, Vermont. This time we were headed way up. Three-and-a-half-hours up.

“I always wanted to go to Stowe,” mom told me as I navigated the sinewy roads of the Green Mountain state, by then dashing along Route 100 past Rutland. (Yes, mom thought I was going too fast around the innumerable bends in the road.)

Pumpkin Potpourri at Cold Hollow Cider Mill

“Really? I didn’t know that.”

“Yes, I wanted your father to take us all there on a ski trip.”

“Wow, that’s the first time I’ve heard that,” I said. I remember the very first time I skied. I had a terrible time. It was so cold and the equipment felt so heavy. But I remember the lodge and the whole ambiance. I just loved the cozy scene in Vermont. I think it was during a New Year’s holiday. I think I was about five–is that right, mom?”

Stowe and Skiing Go Together Like Rolling Hills and Vermont

And so we prattled on, trading thoughts and memories about what we loved so much about Vermont.

Salt and Pepper Shakers from Stowe Mercantile

In truth, most of our mother/daughter escapes to Vermont revolved around day trips. We’d leave early in the day, enjoy the scenic drive, have lunch in a country inn and then poke about in quaint shops. We’d return with the car loaded with goods and goodies, a mostly made-in-Vermont haul that we’d have to sneak in to keep out of sight from “the boys” and my father (six fellas in all). It was female bonding at its best. Sure, we’d share cider and syrup with them but many of our treasures were stashed away in order to avoid looking like spendthrifts.

In truth, we didn’t buy a whole lot, mostly wool sweaters, candles and knickknacks. It was how and where we bought everything that had the most significance for mom and me. It was out of these forays to Vermont country stores that my love for shopping and touring in authentic places was born. So many of these bastions of tradition and charm spoke to me, so much so that I could hardly tolerate shopping and browsing in department stores or other big, impersonal retail outlets the rest of the time.

Little did I know that these excursions would plant the seeds for me to found Chic Promenade, a Paris shopping service where I organized visits behind-the-scenes at the big names as well as tours to the off-the-beaten-path boutiques of the French capital. I later went on to write three guidebooks on Paris and one on the French provinces. (Read about The Riches of Paris: A Shopping and Touring Guide and The Riches of France: A Shopping and Touring Guide to the French Provinces as well as my travel memoir, A Tour of the Heart: A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France at Maribeth’s Books.)

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