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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Stowe Beautiful!

Venerable barns dot the countryside. (photos by Michelle da Silva Richmond)

Sometimes – especially this time of year – it’s important to just drop out of life, if only for a few days. I had the opportunity to do this recently, so I decided to visit Stowe, VT for a weekend before it got too crowded with the inevitable horde of leaf-peepers who invade the New England countryside every autumn.

No matter when you go, this beautiful little enclave beckons with something for the whole family. Sports enthusiasts revel in biking, hiking, kayaking, fishing, zip-lining and other outdoor options. Winter, of course means skiing, skating, snowshoeing and other frosty activities.
Autumn decor around every turn

But, fall is by far my favorite and as I pull into the welcoming AAA Four-Diamond Stoweflake Resort and Spa, I feel the weight of the world’s recent tragedies slowly leave me.  

The family-run resort, open since 1963 has a very welcoming staff, some of whom greet me at the front door leading to the cozy lobby when I arrive. 

Comfortable guest rooms beckon

After a seamless check-in I’m whisked off to my comfy room, which, were views of the lush, tree-studded courtyard greet me. Who could ask for more?

Spa Time

Before setting off to explore the area, I book an appointment at the resort’s award-winning spa. With 30 luxurious treatment rooms and more than 120 soothing services to select from, I can see that whittling the list of options is going to prove to be a challenge. 

I opt for the Green Mountain Body Treatment, which includes a massage and a delicious coffee scrub-exfoliation, guaranteed to leave my skin as soft as a baby’s.

Mineral baths add to the experience
Did I mention that the spa has an aqua solarium with waterfalls and mineral baths where you’re invited to soak your ailments away?

A fully equipped Sports and Wellness Center offers state-of-the-art exercise equipment and classes with everything from Nordic walking to Pilates, Yoga, spinning and more. In addition to the classes, consultants are on hand for fitness evaluations and nutritional consultations. A heated lap pool, sauna and steam baths top off the experience. 

I make a mental note to head back here at some point and promise myself a dip in the large, outdoor heated pool, which I spied along the way.

Surrounded by majestic mountains, Stowe is the ski capital in the East with a slew of winter activities around every corner, but the other seasons offer plenty to do with nearby golf, wilderness hiking, kayaking, sailing and more. 

Even dogs like kayaking!
 I’m happy just staying close to this cozy inn with its comfortably furnished guest rooms. Mine happens to have a gas fireplace and deep soaking Jacuzzi, so I’m pretty sure that’s where I’ll happily land at the end of each day.

Dining Delights

Dining turns out to be an exceptional experience at both the cozy Charlie B’s (named for the inn’s founder) and at the award-winning Winfield’s Bistro. 

Menus highlight recipes created with Vermont’s seasonal ingredients. To complement the choices, they feature a full roster of local brews and ciders, along with specialty cocktails and an ample wine list.

For light bites, the Spa Café features a host of soups, salads, sandwiches and ample cheese platters.

If you happen to be in Vermont in the fall, it’s almost mandatory to book a fall foliage boat charter, which I happily do. 

The Fly Rod Shop’s very capable guides will motor you along the tranquil Waterbury Reservoir. They also offer fly and spin fishing clinics as well as other tours.

Tour guide Walter is a local legend

Nestled between two mountain ranges, the reservoir offers the perfect vantage point from which to view Mother Nature’s colorful annual spectacle.  

Nearby, the town of Stowe beckons with traditional gift shops, cozy bistros and New England charm tucked around every corner.

All too soon my weekend draws to an end, and my soul-nourishing adventure comes is over. It was beautiful and I vow to return ... hopefully, next time with someone I can share it with!

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