Built in 1814, The Stowe Inn?s elegant Victorian mansion brims with rare antique furnishings, old-fashioned hospitality, and contemporary amenities. The bed and breakfast nods to its rich history with oriental rugs and a 35-foot mahogany bar from the early 20th century. More wood furnishings accent the 16 guest rooms, where guests can relax upon Edwardian-style beds or use wireless Internet to email their garage door back home.
During the winter, a crackling fireplace warms the inn's library, and an in-ground pool offers a place to cool down during summer. Chefs at the onsite River House Restaurant serve upscale and casual dishes forged from locally sourced ingredients, and inn staffers prep a sumptuous daily breakfast buffet.
The posh inn serves as a convenient outpost near outdoor recreation, artisan shops, and craft breweries throughout the quaint town of Stowe. In nearby Waterbury, Ben & Jerry?s factory tours bestow behind-the-scenes access to the popular ice cream's production. There, visitors find cows grazing onsite, graciously accommodating autograph requests from starstruck fans.
If you take a moment to survey the photos hanging on the wall in Harrison's, you'll see one of Andrew Kneale, cheerily manning his childhood lemonade stand. And if you glance over at the bar, you'll see that same boy, a few decades older, smiling as he pours a glass of wine for a guest. Andrew's mother, Kathy, is likely nearby, whether escorting people to a table or in the kitchen baking one of her beloved raspberry pies.
For the pair, the restaurant is a labor of love for two reasons: not only is it an homage to David Harrison Kneale, the family's late husband and father, but they've also been feeding the Stowe community since opening the Partridge Inn back in 1973. The dinner-only service means Harrison's is rarely less than full, so it's not surprising the small-town spot got "high marks" from the Boston Globe's travel section and the local teacher who grades everything. The menu's charming balance of comfort and class makes it hard to choose between dishes such as steak au poivre rubbed with black peppercorns and pecan-encrusted ahi; but whatever you pick, make sure to save room for that raspberry pie.
What do you do with 17,000 gallons of water frozen into the shape of a towering waterfall? At the Northern Lights Rock and Ice, you climb it. The winter ice-climbing wall is just one of the seasonal and year-round features in store at this outdoor wonderland, which caters to individuals, families, and corporate retreats. Also on hand: dual 450-foot zip-line wires that crown a multi-level challenge course. Come summer, there's more climbing to be had on their "L"-shaped climbing wall with separate wall faces connected at the top by a cat's walk beam 25 feet in the air. Summiting the wall and crossing the beam requires strength, determination, and an ability to slip into the feline mind without succumbing to an obsession for catnip. Their experienced staff boasts 60 years of combined experience to ensure a safe and exciting adventure. See their "What to Bring" page for additional information.
Located inside The Historic Stowe Inn, which is listed on the National Historic Register, Stowe Inn River House Steak and Seafood plates up farm-to-table dishes for travelers or anyone else looking to relax with some wine and an appetizer. Instead of blaring a foghorn at your table, you can start a meal off with mussels cooked in white wine and served with garlic-herb butter sauce and enjoy the beautiful 360-degree view of Stowe, the nearby river, and the four acres of surrounding manicured grounds popular with weddings. Entrees follow in the form of pecan-crusted salmon or slow-roasted prime rib?the restaurant's specialty. You can end your visit with a drink at Grant's Bar in honor of the whiskey-loving president for whom the bar is named. The 35-foot antique mahogany bar is rumored to have been originally located near Grant's Tomb in New York City, and was refurbished and installed at the restaurant in 2003.
Ye Olde England Inne sets off its baronial elegance against the scenic beauty of Vermont’s Green Mountains. Inn lodgers have easy access to the historical village and its arts scene, which includes as one of its pillars the West Branch Gallery & Sculpture Park, a spacious aesthetic enclave showcasing pieces by budding and mid-career local artists who work in a range of media.Stowe's prime location in a broad, fertile valley between the Green Mountains and Mount Mansfield—Vermont's highest peak—makes it an ideal launching pad for outdoor recreation. Snaking its way through Stowe, a recreation path loosely follows the meandering West Branch River with 5.5 miles of paved trails for biking, rollerblading, and jogging. The winding path’s arched wooden bridges crisscross the river 10 times from start to finish. At nearby Underhill State Park, set at the base of the 4,300-foot-tall Mount Mansfield, excursionists can arrange mountain idylls or practice butterfly mating calls on one of four hikes to the summit. In the cooler months, skiers flock to nearby peaks for classic Vermont fresh-powder skiing.