Farm-to-table menus, grounding spa treatments, sustainable living, and a never-ending list of outdoor activities, Stowe Mountain Lodge, a Destination Hotel, is the perfect destination, all year round, for an eco-friendly, adventurous traveler. On a recent visit I experienced all Stowe had to offer in the snowy season!
The Lodge, part of Destination Hotels’ Mountain Collection, is less than an hour from the Burlington, Vermont, airport and a short flight from the major metropolitan areas on the East Coast of the United States and Canada. The ski-in/ski-out resort is tucked away at the base of Spruce Peak, making it an optimal location for avid skiers and snowboarders. Snow bunnies can enjoy over 100 trails between Spruce Peak and Vermont’s highest peak, Mt. Mansfield which is an Easy Over gondola ride away. The alpine village behind the resort is ever-expanding and offers a feeling reminiscent of a mini Vail. Get set up with your rentals the day before you plan to head out on the slopes and have all of your gear set aside for you at the Ski Valet so you can simply walk down from your room and be on your way! If hunger strikes while you’re out and about, the grab-and-go options at The Pantry are excellent, local, and taste nothing like grab-and-go or head to the shoulder of Mt. Mansfield and enjoy a local brew and a burger along with some impressive panoramic views at the Cliff House. If you’re like me, and participating in the apres-ski activities is more your style, you don’t have to miss out on the outdoor fun. Stowe offers tons, from ice climbing to ice fishing to horse-drawn carriage rides and snowmobiling, the outdoor options in this four-season destination are endless! My personal favorite is the morning snowshoe hike, where an experienced guide takes you and a small group on a snowy morning hike through the woods. There are also headlamp-lit night tours that end with a dinner in a yurt. Take off the snowshoes and these hikes are just as majestic and peaceful in the warmer months, when even more outdoor fun is available!
Pulling up to Stowe Mountain Lodge is impressive in its own right. The expansive six-story resort features cut-timber logs, large glass windows, natural stone walls, and dramatic angels. The large open-air lobby greets you with a warm, inviting cinnamon aroma and the cozy couches and chairs near the wood-burning fireplace overlooking the slopes, will be calling your name. The resort’s 300 rooms are designed in warm, comforting tones with a rustic Vermont-Alpine aesthetic, most featuring large floor-to-ceiling windows and balconies and overlook the mountain terrain. The ample-sized bathrooms feature large soaking tubs and separate showers and the bed is pure heaven when you want to light a (timed and oh-so-environmentally-friendly) fire and snuggle in after a long day of activities.
Another great option for relaxing post day-of-fun is a visit to the Spa and Wellness Center. The 21,000 square-foot spa offers a full-service fitness center, an outdoor, heated, year-round swimming pool with Jacuzzis, a peaceful relaxation lounge, hot/cold treatments in the Healing Lodge, and 18 private rooms where the true magic happens. There’s even something for the kids (6 and older) at the KidsSpa, where they can Chillax and enjoy mini-spa treatments. While there, I had probably one of my top spa experiences with the Balance/Ku Nye Massage (80 minutes, $225). Honoring ancient Tibetan healing traditions this massage uses healing sea buckthorn oil (I’m allergic so I opted for a lavender blend) and begins with a foot scrub and soak before you start the massage. The techniques used blend tapotement, lymphatic drainage, and acupressure to awaken the body’s meridians, restore energy, and balance. The treatment, which includes a scalp and abdominal massage, hot Himalayan salt poultices, and hot stones, left me feeling both energized and peaceful.
In addition to an amazing spa the resort features unbelievable seasonal, farm-to-table cuisine, with menus created by Executive Chef Josh Berry. Dine at Solstice, where the dining room features an open air kitchen and mountain views, for an upscale meal in a casual atmosphere. For breakfast the french toast cannot be beat, both decadent and light as air, and for dinner start with a glass of wine and the Lobster Salad with a local buratta and follow it with the Brined Chicken Breast with a maple-infused rutabaga and apple jus brussels sprout petals. The soups here, as well, are not to be missed, they instantly warm you from the inside, out and are perfect after a chilly day spent outside. If you’re looking for more laid back fare, step outside Soltice to the Hourglass Lounge for a pint of locally brewed beer and the best 12 Spice Dry Rub chicken wings you’ll likely ever have in your life. For dessert be sure to ask about the delicious homemade ice cream cookie sandwich, because after working up a sweat on the slopes, it is well deserved!
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