Known as the ski capital of the East, Stowe has long been a retreat for New Englanders escaping to an idyllic winter weekend. The town—tucked in Vermont’s Green Mountains—is home to the state’s highest peak, but below the alpine trails winding down from Mount Mansfield’s 4,393-foot summit is a chalet getaway that boasts far more than pristine powder, providing a snowy oasis for ski bums and leisure seekers alike.
Previously Stowe Mountain Lodge, the newly named Lodge at Spruce Peak is the centerpiece of a nearly 200-acre property that houses the hotel as well as Spruce Peak village, with myriad shops and cafes situated around a spacious skating rink. The 300-room Lodge is hailed as the Northeast’s only luxury ski-in-ski-out resort and features amenities that rival Western mountain meccas. Guests won’t touch their skis and snowboards until they’re ready to hit the slopes—an attendant whisks away equipment before travelers even step into the grand lobby. Once you’re settled, grab a cocktail and get cozy by the upper level’s fireplace before turning in early to get some rest for your upcoming adventure.
In the morning, wander to the ski valet and give your name at the counter—by the time you’re done suiting up (with boots fresh off the warmers), your equipment will be waiting outside. Spanning legendary Mount Mansfield and eponymous Spruce Peak in the Lodge’s front and backyards, the resort’s ski area appeals to every level of skier. Adrenaline junkies can shred on Mansfield’s double black diamond Front Four, while recreational skiers can leisurely wind down Sunny Spruce and Easy Street. Don’t forget to enjoy the view before bombing down the slope: Stowe is one of the only mountains to offer above-tree skiing.
TAKE A PEAK: The Lodge at Spruce Peak offers plenty of mountain activities.
Warm up with an après-ski sip at WhistlePig Pavilion, which opened in mid-December. Located in Spruce Peak village, this spot features wood-paneled walls, communal tables and a central stone fireplace—where wheels of raclette cheese are warmed until gooey for guests to nosh on while enjoying hot cocktails highlighting the Vermont-based whiskey. Try the Hot Buttered Pig— a warming concoction of WhistlePig 10 Year and buttered cider with a cinnamon apple garnish. If it’s Saturday, stick around until 3:30 pm for the toast, when imbibers are treated to complimentary apple cider doughnut holes and a shot of the good stuff. Finish your evening with dinner downtown at The Whip, a mainstay for casual fare located in an old horse stable, and savor dishes like pumpkin seed-crusted Faroe Island salmon.
For a scenic start to your second day, schedule a private snowshoe tour with Spruce Peak Outfitters, the hotel’s outdoor activity concierge. Adventurous beginners should opt for the Mill Trail, a brief drive from the Lodge. Once a logging route in the 1800 and 1900s, this woodland path is dotted with historic cabins and buildings from its heyday along with spruce trees and, often times, fresh deer tracks. Those feeling nomadic can trek to Bingham Falls—a little ways downhill from the trail—to admire the sparkling, pale-blue icicles formed by the Little River cascading over the rocks.
Rest your tired feet at the Lodge’s spa, an earth-toned oasis tucked away from the hubbub of the mountain. Indulge in the Stowe Cider Uber Scrub—100 minutes of pure pampering beginning with a full-body exfoliation that combines mineral-rich Himalayan salt with apple pulp and lyse—a byproduct of fermentation from local Stowe Cider that’s rich in softening hydroxy acids. The treatment continues with a 50-minute massage using vanilla-chai body lotion and concludes with a frosty can of Stowe Cider in the spa’s lounge.
Photo: Cathryn Haight
To keep the luxurious feel going, dine at the Lodge’s signature restaurant, Solstice. If you can plan a day in advance, treat yourself to the chef’s table—a personalized five-course dining experience next to the eatery’s open kitchen, showcasing local culinary treasures accompanied by wine or beer pairings. If you get on the staff’s good side, you may score access to the invite-only Line House, a subterranean speakeasy in a secret location. Named after the smuggling buildings on the Canadian border in the 1920s, the bar slings Prohibition-era cocktails in antique glassware. Gin drinkers might cap off their night with the Long Farewell—a citrusy tipple topped with egg white foam.
Before you head home, take the afternoon to explore Stowe’s downtown. Settle in for brunch at Plate—where diners sip tea from mismatched china cups and munch on cheddar/maple doughnuts—before perusing shops like the Country Store on Main, stocking designs from Vermont’s Farmhouse Pottery, and Stowe Mercantile, peddling upscale local pantry items, housewares and bath products. With its enduring charm and winter whimsy, this little ski town may make you want to say “Stowe long” to city dwelling. ◆
— Thursday through Sunday, swing by the hot chocolate bar in the Lodge’s lobby, tempting guests with add-ins like chocolate-dipped marshmallows and Dr. McGillicuddy’s.
— Keep an eye out for the Lodge’s partnership with Vermont’s Jasper Hill Farm, releasing 500 wheels of cheese with Stowe Cider-washed rinds.
— Craft beer enthusiasts should drop by the Alchemist Brewery for a pint of Heady Topper, the beloved IPA.
Country Store on Main, countrystorevt.com; Lodge at Spruce Peak, sprucepeak.com; Plate, platestowe.com; Stowe Mercantile, stowemercantile.com; The Whip, thewhip.com