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Stowe is charming town that was founded in 1763 and has a population of about 4,500 people. The town is the jump off point for the popular Stowe Mountain Resort, which has skiing on Spruce Peak and Mount Mansfield in winter and hiking, golfing, mountain biking, rock climbing, zip lining the rest of the year.
Vermont Route 100 goes through Stowe. It is one of the “15 Incredible Spots to See Fall Foliage Across New England”. The fall colors in this part of Vermont are nothing short of spectacular.
Since Stowe is centrally located to all the things we wanted to do in this area, we booked our hotel here, but hardly spent any time to explore the city.
What we did is take a short stroll in the downtown area with all its historic buildings between the covered Giles W. Dewey Memorial Bridge and the Stowe Community Church.
For everyone interested, the Stowe Recreation Path can be accessed behind the church through a covered walkway that goes down the hill to a parking lot where the trailhead is.
We also had a wonderful dinner at the Whip Bar & Grill at the intersection of S Main St and Mountain Rd where the covered bridge is.
Alchemist Brewery (map)
The Alchemist brew pub opened in 2003 in nearby Waterbury. Fairly soon, one of their beers, the Heady Topper, became very popular and the owners started bottling it. Even though production was greatly expanded over the years, it was often hard to meet demand as Heady Topper has gained a reputation locally and throughout New England and, even though not marketed outside Vermont, nationally and even internationally.
The Heady Topper is an unfiltered double India Pale Ale with 8% alcohol and hints of citrus flavors. Beer critics have described it as "a complex web of genius" and in 2018 it was rated the fourth best beer in the world by Beer Advocate.
Come on in and try some free samples before you buy your case of Heady Topper.
Other sights that you may want to explore and that we did not have the time to visit are:
- Emily's Covered Bridge – Typically called “Gold Brook Covered Bridge”, it is a covered wooden bridge over the Gold Brook river in Stowe. The bridge was built in 1844 and, according to legend, it is haunted by the ghost of a girl named Emily who hung herself from the bridge rafters after her lover did not meet her on the bridge as promised. There is no evidence that this is true
- Laughing Moon Chocolates - gourmet chocolatier committed to eco-friendly practices (e.g. compostable packaging) who makes everything chocolate like chocolate covered caramel apples, fudge, truffles and even sugar-free and vegan chocolates
- Mount Mansfield State Park - at 4,393 feet, Mount Mansfield is Vermont's highest mountain and a popular destination for hikers in summer and skiers in the winter. The park includes the popular 40 ft Bingham Falls with a cascade and natural pools for swimming.
- Smugglers Notch State Park - a narrow pass through the Green Mountains with 1,000 ft tall cliffs on either side. Historically, it was used for illegal activities like smuggling runaway slaves, cattle to Canada and illegal booze during prohibition from Canada to the US. Open year-round, it can only be accessed by snowmobiles and skis during winter
- Sterling Falls Gorge Natural Area - spectacular gorge with 11-50 ft tall walls carved by the Sterling Brook river over the last 10,000 years. It features a series of cascades, falls and pools. There is a scenic trail that takes about 45min both ways
- Stowe Cider – produce cider from locally grown apples from Champlain Orchards. Check out the tasting room and the cider blends with lemonade or strawberries, etc.
- Stowe Mountain Auto Toll Road – This road is called “Mt. Mansfield Auto Road” or “Stowe Toll Road” and was built about 150 years ago. It is a winding 4.5 mile road that climbs 3,850 ft up to the summit of Mt. Mansfield. It offers spectacular views of the Adirondack Mountains and the Lake Champlain Valley, especially in fall when the leaves change colors. It is only open from July to mid-December
- Stowe Mountain Resort – resort that offers spectacular skiing on two mountains: Spruce Peak and Mount Mansfield. On Spruce Peak, there are 116 trails and Mount Mansfield has 39 miles of ski terrain. During the rest of the year, there is golfing, hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing and zip lining and, of course, the Stowe Mountain Auto Toll Road
- Stowe Recreation Path - a popular paved 5.5 mile mostly flat end-to-end trail called “Rec Path” by the locals
- Vermont Ski and Snowboarding Museum - celebrates Vermont's ski and snowboarding history from the late 19th century to the present
- West Branch Gallery and Sculpture Garden – indoor gallery exhibiting works of emerging and mid-career artists and outdoor sculpture garden featuring stone and metal creations augmented by a scenic mountain background.