Our Weekend Retreat in Stowe Vermont


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My husband and I don’t downhill ski or snowboard anymore but we do enjoy the winter snow for snowshoeing and cross country skiing.  While we had our share of winter storms in southern New Hampshire, the snow never stuck around long enough for us to enjoy it. That’s why we decided to take matters into our own hands and head to Stowe, Vermont for the Easter weekend. Stowe is one of our favorite places to visit, and it had been over 4 years since our last trip there!

Let me introduce you to Stowe, Vermont.  It is a charming town nestled in the heart of the Green Mountains and it is known for its stunning landscapes, world-class snow sports, and eclectic  community. If you’re looking for a weekend getaway, Stowe has everything you need for a memorable trip. From outdoor adventures to cozy cafes and of course local breweries, here is our Stowe 3 day weekend itinerary!

Day 1: We’re off to Stowe

Living in Southern New Hampshire, Stowe is about a 2 and half hour drive from our house. To make the most of our three-day weekend we got off to an early start! We usually like to break up the journey by stopping in Lebanon for some delicious food. Our first stop was Taste in West Lebanon, where they serve breakfast all day. I opted for the eggs Benedict on crab cakes, while my husband enjoyed the avocado toast with a poached egg and hash browns. The coffee was excellent, and for those with a sweet tooth, they had a wide variety of cakes and pastries. If you’re in a hurry, they also offer a to-go menu.

Avocado Toast with hashbrowns and coffee

Avocado Toast at Taste

Ben & Jerry’s

No trip to Vermont is complete for us without a visit to Ben & Jerry’s in Waterbury. Despite having just had a hearty breakfast, my husband couldn’t resist getting a waffle cone of Cherry Garcia while we waited for our 10:45 tour.  The tour is short but informative and fun, starting with a video of how Ben & Jerry’s got started and their commitment to their values.  Next, you get to see where the ice cream is made and packaged. Finally, the best part, you get to sample some ice cream! On this particular visit, we tried Mango ice cream, which was a special flavor they had created for the first time in 40 years in business.

Entrance to Ben & Jerry's factory in Waterbury VT

Ben & Jerry’s Waterbury, VT

Lodge at Spruce Peak

We arrived at our hotel, The Lodge At Spruce Peak, a Hyatt Prive hotel around noon, and as promised they let us check-in early.  We had a beautiful room with a view of Mount Mansfield.  Our welcome amenity was a lovely selection of local Vermont delicacies  including Vermont Cheddar & The Maple Connection chocolates. You can read more about The Lodge at Spruce Peak in my review of the Hyatt property.

We spent the afternoon exploring the large property finding all the fire pits, fire places, skating rink and shopping.  Dave enjoyed a tasting flight of whiskey a the Whistlepig Shack.  We sipped on cocktails in the lobby bar listening to the pianist and ended the evening with a lovely dinner at the Tipsy Trout.

Whistlepig Tasting Shack at the Lodge at Spruce Peak offering whiskey tastings

Whistlepig Tasting Shack

Day 2: Fun in the Snow

The Alpine Hall at the lodge serves breakfast daily where you have a choice of their breakfast buffet or a la carte.  The restaurant is quite large but be warned it gets very crowded about an hour before the lifts open!

Spruce Peak Outfitters: Guided Winter Adventure

Spruce Peak Outfitters on the resort property offers a variety of daily activities and adventures for all ages and skill levels with expert guides.  We opted for the morning Spruce Loop tour which took us across the golf course and into the woods.   Our guide gave us some history and nature lessons of Vermont during our hike.  The golf course was impressive, and now my husband wants to go back in the summer months.  Apparently it has the most elevation change of any golf course in the USA!  Unfortunately the 18 inches of snow they got the previous weekend, and why we booked our trip, had disappeared (except on the downhill ski trails) so we were unable to go tubing!  We’ll be sure to do it next time!

Man and woman snowshoeing in Stowe VT. Standing in front of a river and small waterfall.

Lunch Von Trap Brewing & Bierhall Restaurant

While we have visited and stayed at the Trapp Family Lodge many times, we never visited the Trapp Brewing Bierhall. This family-owned brewery, run by the descendants of the famous von Trapp family, offers more than just delicious craft beer – it also serves up mouthwatering dishes inspired by traditional Austrian cuisine. The food was delicious and our server was gracious and friendly making beer recommendations.  We started with the pretzels with cheese dip!  Lunch was roasted root vegetables and spaetzle followed by the most amazing freshly made apple strudel!  And of course, no meal at the Von Trapp Brewery would be complete without a pint of their signature lagers or pilsners.

They also have an outdoor biergarten with lots of seating and a roaring fire.  I imagine it gets quite crowded in the warmer months.  After lunch we went up to the lodge for a quick hike and to take in the glorious views from there.

The bar at Von Trapp Bierhall

Von Trapp Bierhall

Tour of the Alchemist

My husband has been a fan of the Alchemist Brewery beer, specifically Heady Topper, for quite some time. While we have stopped here before to purchase beer we never visited or took a tour!  What a fun vibe inside with amazing murals on the walls and ceiling and a DJ mixing tunes!  The staff was amazing and the atmosphere was so chill!  We opted for the tour and while it was pricey at $25 per person, we thought it was well worth it.  You do get a beer sample to sip on while you take the tour and all the funds from the tour go to local students for scholarships for any sort of continuing education.  Throughout the tour we learned about the brewery’s mission to have low to no impact on the environment, recycling and composting is a top priority for them.    While they have all their beers available for purchase, they don’t have any of their own food or service on the premises.  They do however usually have some sort of food truck outside if you crave lunch or a snack.

Brewing tanks at the Alchemist Brewery in Stowe. Each tank has the design of the beer can.

Alchemist Brewery

Dinner at Doc Ponds

Whenever we travel, unless we are eating at our hotel, we always ask locals for their recommendations.  Doc Ponds was mentioned several times for its great atmosphere and Vermont comfort food.  Be warned,  it’s very popular and they do not take reservations!  They do have a waiting list online so be sure to take advantage of that during busy times.  We were seated in a cozy room with a roaring fire!  The menu was very eclectic!  We started with a delicious Smoked Bluefish Dip with crackers and pickled shallots!  I had the Old School Calamari with Smoked Chilies, Lemon, Olive Oil, Bread Crumb.  I have never had calamari prepared like this but it was so amazing!  Dave opted for the Falafel Plate with Tzatziki, Cucumber Salad, Pickled Veggies, Olives & Pita bread.

Day 3: More adventure before we head home

I’m always a little sad when the adventure has to end but we were determined to put in a full day of adventure before we head home. After our yummy breakfast at the hotel we decided to go for a morning swim in the heated outdoor pool and hot tub.  You can hop in the pool inside and then swim out.  I’m wimpy when it comes to pool water and though it was heated it was lukewarm at best!  So I made a beeline straight to the hot tub!  While we enjoyed the hot water and views it started to snow adding to the already amazing ambiance!

Afterwards we did a little retail therapy at the shops at the lodge.  Since it’s the end of the season we found quite a few things on sale and opted to get “Stowe” souvenirs for ourselves.  We also stopped in at the Beanery where they serve pastries and quick breakfast items and picked up a 5lb back of Vermont roasted artisanal coffee!

Next we stopped in the center of Stowe, we were looking for Laughing Moon Chocolates where years ago we took a candy cane making class.  While the shop is still there it’s now called Lake Champlain ChocolatesWe went for the nostalgia but came away with our own hand selected box of truffles as an Easter treat for ourselves and our son who was cat sitting at home!  The salted maple caramel was a big hit!

Idletyme Brewery for Lunch

After walking around the quaint center of Stowe we head to Ideltyme Brewery for some lunch.  They brew their own beer and had quite a selection available.  My husband opted for a flight so he could pick his favorite one to take home in a growler.  For lunch I had an amazing butternut squash ravioli in a maple cream sauce and Dave had the french onion soup and caesar salad with salmon.  Everything was delicious and Dave went home with a growler of their Helles!

A flight of beer at Idletyme Brewery

A flight at Idletyme Brewery

Cold Hollow Cider Mill

Last stop on our weekend getaway in Stowe was the Cold Hollow Cider Mill!  The Mill is a top producer of fresh apple cider in New England and the perfect place to grab some more goodies before heading home.  When you walk in you will be greeted with amazing aromas as they make their apple cider donuts right on the premises! The store is stocked with Vermont specialty foods and crafts as well as many things to sample!  We picked up some local cheese, maple candies and of course a half dozen of their famous Apple Cider Donuts.  And we both got some hot apple cider to sip on the way home.

Other Dining Spots for your weekend in Stowe

We talked to some locals to find the best dining spots, though we didn’t have a chance to visit them all they are worth a mention:

  • Michael’s on the Hill – described to us as a favorite date night spot
  • Ranch Camp – a bike shop with beer and burritos
  • Sushi Yoshi
  • Green Goddess Cafe – serves breakfast, brunch and lunch!

 

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Suzanne

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