Guests who exit The Essex's gravitational field can take a 15-minute drive to Lake Champlain, then rent kayaks and boats to cross its freshwater expanse. Those unsatisfied by nautical exploration can hike or bike up Green Mountain foothills, racing the peregrine falcons that perch on surrounding crags. Nearby Burlington hosts hoppy breweries and the boutique shops of the Church Street Marketplace, a pedestrian mall.The Links at Lang Farm's championship executive-length golf course provide ample 18-hole entertainment for all champion executives in the region, and the Essex's tennis lessons can rebuild shoddy backhands on six Har-Tru clay courts. Those staying the weekend can gather ‘round a classic Vermont bonfire on Saturday night, swapping stories, s’mores, and social-security numbers with fellow vacationers.
Dorset is a quintessential New England town, dotted with cozy homes and shops tucked into forested mountains and valleys. Visitors perusing the region's stores are bound to come away with a haul of fresh cheeses, local maple syrup, and warm woolens. The slopes of Stratton and Bromley mountains supply ample opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, and downhill speed dating. Ice skating, snowmobiling, and sleigh rides round out the area's wintertime offerings.
Stowe's location in a broad, fertile valley between the Green Mountains and Mount Mansfield—Vermont's highest peak at nearly 4,400 feet—makes it an ideal launching pad for outdoor recreation. Stowe Mountain Resort awaits skiers with 485 acres across 116 powdery trails, and snowboarders can catch big air or an aerial sighting of Bigfoot on the half-pipe.To counterbalance its adventurous outdoors attractions, Stowe also cultivates a more abstractly adventurous art scene. The West Branch Gallery & Sculpture Park combines a traditional art gallery with an innovative and spacious sculpture park, showcasing the handiwork of budding and mid-career local artists.
The Green Mountains, a branch of the ancient Appalachians stretching across Vermont, draw their name from the layers of stately conifers carpeting the range's slopes. Although itself ensconced deep in this undulating verdure, Chittenden also lies in range of a number of maintained wildlife-management areas and the expanse of the Green Mountain National Forest, opening infinite vistas for hiking, mountain biking, and game hunting. In winter, the towering peaks of Killington and Pico ski areas send snow buffs swooping down latticed networks of trails or flipping through freestyle zones. The Coolidge and Okemo State Forests are about an hour away by car.For a taste of history, lodgers can make their way toward the nearby towns of Killington and Rutland, both of which unfurl charters dating to 1761, before the creation of Vermont itself. From September 2 to 11, Rutland parades taffy pulls, pig races, and crossroads-conquering fiddlers at the Vermont State Fair. Throughout the remainder of the year, multiple weekly farmers markets studded with Vermont maple syrup and alpaca weavings array wares downtown, alongside frequent outdoor concerts and other family-friendly events, many of them free.Though The Mountain Top Inn & Resort sometimes features a discounted price online, this Groupon still offers the best deal available.
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.
A Country Inn off the beaten path yet close to all that Stowe VT has to offer. Rooms with or without fireplaces, highly rated restaurant, sauna, outdoor hot tub, cinema and bar make for a relaxing place to spend a holiday. Nearby are options for skiing, hiking, biking, fishing, golf and shopping.