Into the Belly of the Best
|An Ice Sculpture of the Ubiquitous Vermont Moose (Gretchen Greenhalgh)|
Burlington International Airport is the closest airport to Stowe, and is serviced by most of the major carriers, including Delta, US Airways, Continental, and United, as well as low-fare carriers including Jet Blue and Independence Air. Right now, Independence Air (1.800.FLY.FLYI; www.flyi.com)the new kid on the low-fare blockoffers highly competitive rates for nonstop flights in and out of Burlington via most major East Coast cities, including New York's JFK and Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C.
The town of Stowe is an easy 40-minute drive from Burlington. Most accommodations will assist in airport-to-hotel transfer, but securing a rental car makes getting around a breeze. Several rental agencies service the airport, but Thrifty (802.863.5500; www.thrifty.com) has some of the region's most competitive rates.
To reach Stowe from Burlington, take I-89 West to Route 100 North. The town resides at the intersection of routes 100 and 108.
Stowe Resort (1.800.253.4754; stowe.com) sits on Route 108, at the cradle in the Green Mountains that leads to Smuggler's Notch Ski Resort (the pass is closed during the winter; the detour to that resort adds another hour to your trip). Adult lift tickets at Stowe start at $65 (midweek and weekend), though there are discounts available for multi-day tickets, and special rental-and-ticket packages are available. The Stowe website (stowe.com) has detailed pricing info and a fantastic interactive trail map. Ski magazine also runs one of its demo centers out of Stowe at Pinnacle Ski & Sport (802.253.7222; www.pinnacleskisports.com), should you want to ply the mountain with the latest and greatest hard goods.
Stowe, the town, is scattered across Main Street (Route 100) and Mountain Road (Route 108), offering a wide variety of attractions, from art galleries and boutique shopping to spa treatments and salons. The Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Factory (802.882.1240; www.benjerry.com) sits on Route 100 just north of I-89 (a short drive from Stowe) and offers half-hour tours, which include free samples. Stowe is also home to the Vermont Ski Museum (802.253.9911; www.vermontskimuseum.org), a great way to lose a few hoursand to inspire you to emulate some of the region's ski-rich history. There's also a wealth of cold-weather outdoor activities other than alpine skiing, including (but not limited to) sledding, ice-skating, and guided trips on cross-country skis, snowmobiles, horseback, and snowshoes.
A seven-mile Rec Path weaves around the entirety of Stowe, traversable via cross-country skis and snowshoes in the winter, and open to biking, hiking, and running year round. Conditions typically dictate the best method of travel. If you don't have access to a car, you can also get around town and to and from the ski resort via the Mountain Road Shuttle (802.253.9200; www.stoweshuttle.org). Routes start at the Lower Village and weave all the way up Mountain Road to both Mansfield Base and Spruce Peak. Single fares cost $1.
Go Stowe (1.800.GO.STOWE; gostowe.com), the official visitor's information resource, has a wealth of material on the entire region regardless of the season and will happily point you in the right direction.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication