For everything winter — from outdoor snow sports to fine dining by a fireplace — the scenic mountain town of Stowe, Vermont, is the do-it-all place to go. It’s been nicknamed the “Ski Capital of the East,” and no wonder: Stowe Mountain Resort, for instance, has 116 trails, 485 skiable acres, and 12 lifts, plus terrain parks and a cross-country ski center. For non-skiers, there’s ice skating, snowshoeing, and indoor rock climbing, not to mention shopping, entertainment, and spas. And you’ll find plenty of top-notch places to stay, eat, or enjoy a little après-ski. With all that in mind, here are some of our favorite things to do, places to eat, and places to stay in Stowe, Vermont, during the winter months.
Winter in Stowe, Vermont| Things to Do
ARTS & CRAFTS
West Branch Galleryis stocked with an array of contemporary artworks, including paintings and sculptures, while Stowe Craft has everything from fine arts and crafts to home decor. Northwood Gallery is the place to go to see the work of local Vermont artisans: jewelry, woodwork, paintings, photography, pottery, glass, and more. And Little River HotGlass Studio offers not only handmade glassware and decor, but also a chance for visitors to learn about glassblowing and to interact with the artists.
People come from far and wide to get their hands on beer from the Alchemist, a family-run brewery specializing in unfiltered IPAs. Its state-of-the-art brewery and visitors center in Stowe lets you sample and buy beers that are considered among the best in New England. If hard cider is more your thing, stop by Stowe Cider, which transforms Vermont apples into heady options ranging from a classic dry cider to a guava, ginger, and orange zest version.
Widely known as one of the top ski destinations in New England, Stowe Mountain Resort has 485 skiable acres and 116 trails, and with an average snowfall of 314 inches, it typically has a long season of top-notch skiing and riding (perfect for all ability levels). The cross-country center at the resort offers 45 kilometers of groomed trails and 30 kilometers of backcountry terrain, plus a rental shop whose inventory includes Nordic gear, snowshoes, backcountry gear, and kids’ gear (like little snowshoes, and sleds for the sledding hill). For non-snow-based fun at the resort, there’s an ice skating rink and an indoor climbing center. Alternatively, you can appreciate Stowe’s favorite winter sports without stepping foot outside when you visit the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum, which has rotating exhibits and a hall of fame.
Among the “classic Vermont” stops is Stowe Maple Products, a sugarhouse on Waterbury Road where you can stock up on maple syrup and goodies like candy and popcorn. Stowe Mercantile is a quaint country store with gourmet food, kitchen products, alcohol, maple syrup, and gifts and souvenirs (bonus: Bear Pond Books is right next door). Another worthy shopping destination is the Country Store on Main, where the lineup of gifts, home goods, and decor includes Farmhouse Pottery creations and organic flannel sheets. And for delectable handmade sweets, don’t miss Laughing Moon Chocolates, next to Mac’s Market. It offers free chocolate dipping demonstrations and create-your-own chocolates workshops, too.
Post-ski relaxation doesn’t get any better than a visit to one of Stowe’s luxurious spas. The spa at Topnotch Resort has 30 treatment rooms and a couples’ suite with a fireplace, plus a sauna and a steam room, a 60-foot solarium indoor pool, and his-and-hers lounges with fireplaces and juice bars. Over at the Lodge at Spruce Peak you’ll find a spa with rustic accents and views of Mount Mansfield, 18 treatment rooms, and a kids’ spa. And the Spa at Stoweflake has 30 treatment rooms, luxurious lounges, an aqua solarium with a hydrotherapy waterfall and a mineral soaking pool, and fantastic mountain views.
If you’ve worked up an appetite on the slopes and are in the mood for beer and pizza, Piecasso won’t disappoint. It serves traditional hand-tossed thin-crust pies — as well as all kinds of pub-food staples — in a laid-back atmosphere with great live music.
West Coast meets East Coast at this California-inspired restaurant. Open for dinner Wednesday through Saturday, plus Sunday brunch, Plate has an eclectic menu of carefully crafted starters and salads; burgers; and meat, pasta, and seafood entrées. Among the recent offerings: turmeric-and-garlic-rubbed cauliflower steak, and house-made fettuccine in sage cream with peas and prosciutto.
For a classic ski-town drinking and dining experience, head to Doc Ponds. Music sets the scene at this lively restaurant and bar, which hosts live acts in addition to having a vinyl record collection and turntable on site. And the beer and grub can’t be beat, with dozens of different brews available (many local), and a full lunch and dinner menu of casual favorites (baked mac and cheese, burgers, taco bowls, etc.).
Located in the heart of historic Stowe village, Harrison’s is ideal for an upscale dinner date in a rustic-chic setting. A recent dinner menu reveals a mix of classics (crab cakes, bacon-wrapped scallops, grilled rib-eye) and less expected options (ginger-blueberry ahi tuna, tofu carbonara). Just aiming to unwind with a drink? Check out the extensive wine list and creative house cocktails. Maple old-fashioned, anyone?
If you’re looking for a hearty breakfast before hitting the slopes, head to Butler’s Pantry for some made-from-scratch goodness. Eggs Benedict on a homemade biscuit, fluffy buttermilk pancakes, açaí bowls with granola, fresh fruit, coconut, and maple syrup — no matter what you pick, it’ll fill you up fast, and deliciously.
With options ranging from guest rooms to penthouses, this slope-side lodge is quite possibly the ultimate in convenience for skiers and snowboarders. It’s located in the grand Village Center — a hub of après-ski events, bistros, and boutiques — and provides ready access to a wide range of wintertime activities beyond skiing (ice skating, dogsledding, ice climbing, etc.), plus winery tours and tastings, and a full spa.
For a modern spin on a classic Vermont ski lodge, check in at Field Guide. This downtown boutique hotel has 30 rooms and suites spread across two buildings with their own distinct features, while special enticements include a hot tub, homemade breakfast every morning, and a guest lounge with a fireplace and vintage games.
Situated on 38 sprawling acres, Edson Hill is a luxury country inn that feels like a retreat — what with its historic gray barn, horse stables, and Nordic center — but is conveniently located just minutes from the center of Stowe. Choose from one of eight rooms in the Manor House, which is also home to Edson Hill’s acclaimed restaurant, or opt for a room in one of the four cozy guest houses on the property.
Most people know the von Trapp family only from the beloved musical based on their lives, The Sound of Music. But the story continues at the Trapp Family Lodge, a 2,500-acre resort with 96 rooms and suites, 18 villas, and 100 chalets, all with decor reminiscent of the family’s Austrian homeland. With plenty of dining options, a brewery, a ski center, sleigh and carriage rides, pools, and a fitness center, this is the sort of place where you can enjoy a full vacation without ever leaving the property.
With 103 guest rooms, luxury rooms, and suites, plus village apartments and townhouses, the Green Mountain Inn aims to accommodate the needs of every kind of traveler. There are two restaurants, a heated outdoor pool and Jacuzzi, fire pits, and a sauna — and families will love the kid-friendly game room.
Have you ever been to Stowe, Vermont, in winter? Tell us about it!
This post was first published in 2019 and has been updated.