When Sterling Ridge Resort first opened its doors, innkeepers Scott and Susan ran the modest eight-room lodging themselves, welcoming guests with home-cooked meals and warm hospitality. Some 20 years later, the resort has expanded from a quaint inn to a sprawling, 360-acre property with cross-country ski trails and private log cabins, many of which Scott built himself. Despite its size, there’s still a homey atmosphere at Sterling Ridge. The innkeepers even harvest their own maple syrup, which you can buy at the onsite store.
During the winter, snow blankets the forested ski trails that extend from the cabins all the way to Smugglers' Notch ski resort. Sterling Ridge offers complimentary snowshoes for exploring the area. Evening snowmobile tours supply an up-close look at large crags and frozen streams on the way to Mount Mansfield.
After a day on the ski slopes, you can lounge in the resort’s outdoor hot tub or warm up in front of an old-fashioned fireplace in one of the intimate two-bedroom cabins. Knotted-wood walls, rich crimson and blue tones, and quilted bedding enhance the cozy setting. There’s also a fully equipped kitchen in the unit and a fire pit out on the porch.
Jeffersonville, VT: Giant Boulders, Ski Resorts, and Small-Town Charm
Roughly 45 minutes northwest of tourist-heavy Stowe, the tiny town of Jeffersonville manages to keep things relatively quiet, despite the year-round popularity of Smugglers' Notch ski resort. Stretching across three snowcapped mountains, the skiing area features more than a thousand acres of downhill runs, snowshoe trails, and terrain parks. In warmer months, the Notch is where tourists go mountain biking or hiking on rocky trails meandering up Mount Mansfield.
The mountains create a dramatic backdrop for downtown Jeffersonville, a quaint small town with a covered bridge dating back to 1887. Maple syrup is part of a longstanding tradition in Jeffersonville. Though syrup-making season lasts only about a month or so, you can tour sugar shacks year-round for the inside scoop on how it’s produced.