A Local’s #OnlyInStowe Travel Guide

June 21, 2021


To celebrate the “Power of Travel” and the current CDC guidelines for fully vaccinated travelers, allow me to share with you a local’s perspective of the experiences which must be added to your #OnlyInStowe Bucket List!

As a recovering Long Islander who (from the suburbs and the blocks to the Green Mountains of Vermont) found a place to settle in Stowe—and as our Lord and Savior Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead would sing, “Don’t tell me this town ain’t got no heart when I can hear it beat out loud!”—I stumbled into this town during a blizzard just a week before New Year’s 2020 and have a lot to say. It left such an impression on me that I left the Berkshire hills of Massachusetts for a job near Mt. Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak, where I get to assist skiers and snowboarders across the country with renting snow apparel from a company called KIT LENDER, which had just recently been featured on NBC’s Shark Tank.

Here are just a few of the sights, sounds, and local businesses which pump the life-blood into the vibrant heart of the town of Stowe (during but not limited to the pandemic era).

Food and Drinks 

  1. Breakfast in Stowe: Before a massive hike, you may opt to go with something light at The Bagel, but also consider the sweetest Stowe Bee Bakery options.
  2. Burger in Stowe: If you’re down for “Wicked Food,” be like Queen’s rapper and celebrity chef Action Bronson and check out the new and “Bronson approved” Backyard. A few words to describe their menu: Monstrous, banging, loaded, & WICKED. If you appreciate big eats and thoughtful creations, you will not be disappointed.
  3. Mexican food in Stowe: I’m sure you know what happens if you give a mouse a cookie. . . but do you know what happens when you’re in Stowe for some traditional Mexican food? That’s right, you’ll want some tequila to go with it. Don’t forget to lick the salt when you stop by Ranch Camp or Tres Amigos.
  4. Sushi in Stowe: “Wait, you’ve never had sushi?” (Most of us have had to say it to someone). Force the newbies to Sushi Yoshi off the rec path.
  5. Pizza in Stowe: Being from New York, I’ve had more Piecasso delivered to me than I’d like to admit. But they are more than just pizza. Take your family to the New Yorker-approved pizzeria & lounge and enjoy the atmosphere (Eat up. You also have the option to walk off those carbs on the rec path on your way out).
  6. Entertainment in Stowe: For the greatest addition to Stowe entertainment, check out the revamped Sculpture Garden at Stowe Cider Taproom & Live Music venue. This is a huge #OnlyInStowe bucket lister. Expect performances from many local artists, as well as artist-in-residence Zach Nugent & Friends.
  7. Outdoor ambiance in Stowe: If you see a bunch of vehicles with mountain bike racks in the parking lot, you’re within a stone’s skip from the most exceptional indoor/outdoor atmosphere for pub fares and beer samplers in town: Idletyme Brewing Company. Taste up to 10 samplers of residence brewmaster Will Gilson’s crafts served on a snowboard or a ski, and don’t forget the fried pickles and giant pretzel to go with it. If you’re eager to sample more of Stowe’s history, you can get more flights and giant pretzels in the elegant Bierhall Restaurant at Von Trapp Brewing.

Sights and Sounds

To help get you on your #OnlyInStowe bucket list adventures before you kick the bucket (i.e. “leave Stowe,”) stop by AJ’s Ski & Sports (conveniently located behind the rec path near a number of mountain bike trails) to pick up the finest quality outdoor gear apparel. Also, how do you think we get around in this town? AJ’s will hook you up with bike rentals ranging from full-suspension mountain bikes and e-bikes to road bikes and gravel bikes. If you and your family need gear for a camp + hike adventures, such as backpacking or car-camping, but don’t want to spend a fortune on gear you don’t have an everyday use for—rent the gear from KIT LENDER (the place I mentioned earlier that was featured on Shark Tank which is still my livelihood) and have it reserved or shipped to you. KIT LENDER allows you to rent a variety of camp + hike products not limited to tents, sleeping bags/pads, cooking/cutlery sets, hiking backpacks and boots, trekking poles, JetBoil stoves, headlamps, Yeti coolers, and much more—all packed together and reserved for you in what we call KITs.

If you’re curious about all the best trails, hikes, and mountain biking spots in Stowe—there’s an app for that: AllTrails. Pair up AllTrails with the Stowe Trails Partnership and Vermont State Parks websites for information on trail conditions. Here’s a breakdown of all the places I’ve visited which bring me back time and time again:

  • Stowe Pinnacle Trail –  A steep and rewarding out & back that isn’t “too, too” crazy, and still offers an amazing reward (the view at the summit).
  • Moss Glen Falls Trail – A shorter out & back which brings you to a beautiful and massive waterfall only ¼ mile through the trail.
  • Sterling Pond Trail –  A moderate and soothing out & back offering a large, scenic, picturesque view.
  • Cady Hill Trail – A thoughtfully groomed loop of bike trails that is an absolute blast for any level of mountain biking and is a fun workout (this is not for your tiny BMX bike).
  • Stowe Recreation Path – 12.1 miles passing through many of the amazing views and businesses Stowe has to offer. Run, jog, walk, bike, blade, skate, or even set up some beach chairs and swim right off the path in the creek with the family!
  • Bingham Falls – there’s a high rock above the waterfall called Africa that some people like to backflip off of. . . there’s also a lower rock.
  • Hellbrook Trail – Yes, this is the one. If you bring your mom and dad, just keep telling them they’re almost there.

Not just hiking (scenic views, camping spots, & more)

  • Sunset Rock – A Stowe postcard brought to life: take a short, easy hike to the best spot for photos of the town.
  • Green Mountain Reservoir – Only those who paddle there by boat will be rewarded by this remote camping location.
  • Lake Elmore – Coined “The Beauty Spot of Vermont,” this is a wonderful family campsite that offers a sandy beach, a picnic pavilion, and a 5.4 mile loop through to the fire tower on Mount Elmore.
  • Ski Museum – “Dedicated to collecting, preserving and celebrating the rich history of skiing and riding in Vermont,” this is an essential and unique place to add to your #OnlyInStowe bucket list. No doubt you’ll learn some things to pass down to your grandchildren.
  • Disc Golf at Trapp Family Lodge and Smuggler’s Notch  – One hand to hold your craft, the other to throw a disc into the woods (at least for me, but practice makes perfect).
  • Stowe Farmers’ Market – An absolute #OnlyInStowe bucket-lister. It’s every Sunday rain or shine. Candidly, you’ll regret missing it because what you’ll find is the best Vermont has to offer. You’ll find not only the best produce and baked goods but also some fine and unique artwork.
  • Spruce Peak and Stowe Mountain Resort– You just can’t not go to the resort. The #1 Ski Resort in Eastern U.S. by winter, the #1 center of activities in Stowe (for the whole family) by summer. Aside from the famous and scenic Gondola Skyride, Spruce Peak offers more than enough for the whole family. There’s mountain biking, mountain golf courses, multiple dining options, a heated pool + bar, concerts, a spa, tennis courts, hiking trails. . . yeah, I’ll see you there.

I hope this information finds you well and that you knock off as many of your #OnlyInStowe bucket list items during your stay before you travel back where you came from (if you’re here from Long Island please spread some love from Stowe). Take back some craft brews for the friends back home and thank you for celebrating the “Power of Travel.”

About The Author: Tyler B. is a Vermont transplant from Long Island, NY who, since relocating to Stowe, has traded off the rat race and rush hour traffic for bear sightings and swimming holes. The way he puts it “I just . . . felt like running.”

Images courtesy of: Savannah Brown, The Backyard, Go Stowe