Admit it: The airports are not pretty these days. And with long lines and airlines charging you about $20 for every additional piece of luggage you have, getting your gear out West for a ski vacation is getting way more time consuming and expensive. So, this begs the question: Why fly to a world-class skiing destination when you can simply drive or take the train to Stowe, Vt.?
What makes Stowe so unique is that it offers so much while still remaining beautifully intimate. There are the recent $400 million improvements to Stowe Mountain Resort, which means quick and easy access to the 116 trails of Mount Mansfield, but there is also a New England village right there. So you can take in the lovely quaintness of the 250-year-old town, before or after you take in the 40 miles of trails and 50 miles of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing of the newly modernized mountain.
Where to stay
B&B’s, resorts, condos and motels cluster on Mountain Road, which connects the village of Stowe with Mount Mansfield. We recommend the cozy Grey Fox Inn, which offers reasonable rates with many rooms boasting fireplaces and Jacuzzi tubs. If you want to join in on a lively apres-ski (and apres-work) hangout spot, its pub is becoming the go-to spot (802-253-8921,
Where to eat
There are almost as many great restaurants in Stowe as ski trails (there are more than 40 eateries surrounding and in the village proper). But the Cactus Cafe can’t be beat for food and ambiance. Monique Duckworth and her husband, Chef Doehne, cook up delicious Mexican and use an on-site smoker to add an extra kick to their yummy dishes (802-253-7770, www.thecactuscafe.com).