Located 32 mi/50 km east of Burlington, Stowe is a delightful mix of New England charm and apres-ski sophistication. It has scores of inns, lodges, condominiums, restaurants and shops. Activities such as skating, sleigh rides, swimming, cross-country skiing and indoor tennis are available. The Stowe Winter Carnival (downhill and cross-country ski races, an ice-carving contest, snow golf and a "Village Night" parade and festival) takes place each January.
What attracts most visitors during the winter and spring is Stowe Mountain Resort, one of the oldest established ski areas in the state. Although it has been eclipsed somewhat by newer developments, Stowe is still very much worth skiing and snowboarding, and its facilities are first-class (including a state-of-the-art, high-speed gondola). The mountain (Mount Mansfield, 4,395 ft/1,400 m) offers lots of meandering scenic trails (many more than 1 mi/1.6 km long). For some thrills, challenge the expert slopes known as the "Front Four." Or drive north to Smuggler's Notch, a family-oriented ski resort offering a steep vertical drop and more than 1,000 acres/405 hectares of terrain.
Summer and fall visitors will enjoy hiking or riding the gondola to the top of Mount Mansfield. It's also possible to drive to the summit on a gravel toll road, but it's limited to vehicles no longer than a pickup truck—expect a steep drive. Mountain-biking down the slopes is another popular warm-weather activity, or try the resort's alpine slide for a different kind of thrilling descent. In-line skaters will want to check out the In-Line Skate Park, or try the 5-mi/8-km Stowe Recreation Path, which is also good for walking and biking.
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