Stowe, Vermont is as quintessential New England as it gets. The people are friendly, the greenery is stunning, and there is no shortage of fun, outdoorsy adventures no matter the time of year.
Though Stowe is Vermont’s largest town, with a population of less than 5000 people it still feels as quaint as can be. Here are the top ten things that you can’t miss if you are planning a visit.
- 1 10 Things to Do in Stowe, Vermont
- 1.1 Make a splash at Bingham Falls
- 1.2 Stop by The Alchemist Brewery
- 1.3 Have breakfast at The Butler’s Pantry
- 1.4 Visit Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory
- 1.5 Try a famous Vermont Creemee
- 1.6 Peep the Fall Foliage
- 1.7 Get fresh cold-pressed cider and cider donuts at Cold Hollow Cider Mill
- 1.8 Ski the slopes
- 1.9 Walk or bike the Stowe Recreation Path
- 1.10 Zipline in the treetops
- 2 About the Author
10 Things to Do in Stowe, Vermont
Make a splash at Bingham Falls
Not far from downtown Stowe is a short hike to a popular swimming hole known as Bingham Falls. The trailhead is easy to find with parking spots on either side of the road.
The hike itself is easy, until you approach the falls. Things get more challenging quickly as you descend sharply down to the base of the falls. For small children or those with mobility issues, the rock scramble may not be feasible, but we made it with a 4 year old just fine.
Once at the bottom, you’ll find a gorgeous view of trees, rocks, and water – a classic New England swimming spot. Bring a picnic lunch, camp out on the rocks and be prepared to stay awhile, enjoying the sound of the rushing water.
When you need to cool off, dip your toes or your whole body in the crystal waters but be prepared – it is ice cold even in the heat of summer, as you would expect of a mountain stream. The bravest adventurers take a polar plunge closest to the falls by jumping off tall rocks and scrambling to the water’s edge to escape the cold.
Stop by The Alchemist Brewery
Vermont has several outstanding breweries and The Alchemist Brewery is no exception. Their famous Imperial IPA “Heady Topper” is only distributed in very limited amounts outside of Vermont, but is sought out by beer lovers everywhere.
The brewery boasts nice grounds and a relaxing atmosphere. They even serve water in their signature style beer cans which kids get a kick out of.
Whether visiting the brewery just to pick up some beverages to take home or to hang out for an afternoon, The Alchemist is sure to hit the spot for everyone, with a large variety of beer types and merchandise.
Have breakfast at The Butler’s Pantry
The Butler’s Pantry is a fabulous restaurant attached to the downtown Stowe lodging establishment, The Butler House. They make their delicious foods from scratch.
On a recent trip, we visited with a large group including multiple children, and not one person had a complaint. The food was stellar, the service was excellent, and we even had a lovely shaded outdoor table to enjoy the beautiful Vermont summer day. If you are a “breakfast person”, this place needs to make your list of places to try in Stowe.
The menu is filled with classics like waffles, eggs, and bacon but also contains some more intriguing and unique dishes. The breakfast salad and jalapeno cornmeal pancakes are must-tries!
Visit Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory
Unless you have an extreme aversion to ice cream, you really cannot visit Stowe and not go to Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory for a tour. There are only three Ben and Jerry’s factories in the world, and the location in Stowe is the only one that offers tours – allowing ice cream lovers from around the world to sample their delicious flavors.
Make your reservations in advance online for your family or group for this delicious tour that runs about a half an hour in length. First, you are shown a bit of history with a short film about how the company got its start, then you walk along a catwalk above the factory itself, watching employees pour ingredients and check for quality.
At the end of the tour, you are rewarded with a small sample scoop of one of their delicious ice cream flavors before heading back out toward a gift shop. It is not the most in-depth tour, but the whole experience is fun and nostalgic and even includes a “Flavor Graveyard” of all of the Ben and Jerry’s flavors that have come and gone over the years.
In fact, on their website you can check out the graveyard flavors for yourself, vote for which one you’d like to try, and they plan to “resurrect” the most popular choice.
Try a famous Vermont Creemee
Speaking of ice cream, Vermont is known for another frozen treat known as the maple creemee. This oddly named concoction is essentially just maple syrup flavored soft serve, but in Vermont they are serious about getting this recipe just right. Aside from the local maple syrup, all of the ingredients are local including the cream.
If you enjoy soft serve, you should try this local delicacy for yourself. It is creamy, not too sweet, and is steeped in real maple flavor. In Stowe, you can grab one right downtown at the local ice cream shop called Stowe Sweets. They also serve regular ice cream of all flavors if that’s more up your alley.
Peep the Fall Foliage
Vermont is one of the most popular places in the country to see the red, orange, and yellow colors of autumn come alive. The local foliage season usually begins in early to mid-September and extends into late October.
If you find yourself near Stowe at this time of year, a popular place to leaf-peep is along Smuggler’s Notch Pass. Like many of the well-known scenic drives in the Northeast, this one can get a bit busy during peak season. Go in the early morning or on a weekday to avoid the crowds.
Get fresh cold-pressed cider and cider donuts at Cold Hollow Cider Mill
If you dreamed up the most Vermonty shop you could in your mind, it would look exactly like this place. Cold Hollow is filled with trinkets, local made jellies, jams, butters, and the like. It is the perfect place to pick up a souvenir from your trip.
In addition, they press their own cider and allow you to watch the process through a big glass window in the shop. It is fascinating to watch as the apples are pressed and pressed until all of the juice is separated from the pulp. Then you watch as the cider travels to its next destination. You are also welcome to try a sample of the fresh cider which goes great with a fresh, warm cider donut on a crisp fall day.
Ski the slopes
Though Stowe has amazing year-round fun, it is probably best known for its fantastic skiing. In fact, it is often referred to as the “Ski Capital of the East.” Stowe boasts Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak, which makes it a haven for skiers in the winter and hikers in the off-season. With 116 trails and 486 skiable acres at Stowe Mountain Resort, there is so much to be explored.
The Lodge at Spruce Peak, a Hyatt hotel at the base of Stowe Mountain Resort is Stowe’s only luxury ski-in ski-out resort, and a great option for lodging if skiing is on your agenda. The resort’s ski valet service makes preparing to ski as well as finishing your day and having some apres ski time a breeze.
Walk or bike the Stowe Recreation Path
The Stowe Recreation Path is over 5 miles of paved trail that spans from Top Notch Resort to Stowe Village. The path is centrally located parallel to one of the most traveled roads in Stowe and provides a decent option for getting around. For example, if you choose to stay at Field Guide Stowe, one of the town’s most popular boutique hotels, you can use the trail to walk from the hotel to downtown for an errand or meal.
It is also a great place to get some exercise, take in some nature, and even get to and from some popular Stowe locations. Incredibly, this beautiful, nature immersive path is open to the public and maintained for all season-use including for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter.
Zipline in the treetops
ArborTrek Canopy Adventures is located at Smuggler’s Notch Resort just outside the heart of Stowe in Jeffersonville, Vermont. Their rave reviews would indicate that ziplining here is a must do on your visit to the Green Mountains.
In addition to ziplining, ArborTrek Canopy Adventures also offers rappelling, and sky bridges year round, but this adventure really must be a sight to see at peak foliage time in the fall.
No matter the time of year, Stowe boasts a variety of activities to choose from. No matter your interests, this beautiful Vermont town is likely to meet your needs for a perfect vacation. From hiking and skiing to enjoying beer and ice cream, Stowe truly has something for everyone.
About the Author
Lauren is passionate about family travel. Based in the Northeast, there is so much to explore right in her own backyard, but she plans more distant excursions through travel hacking and credit card points.
Follow her on:
- Travel Blog: https://thefamilyrecess.com/
- IG: https://www.instagram.com/familyrecess
- Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/thefamilyrecess/