5 Off-the-Beaten-Path Spots in Stowe, Vermont That Only Locals Know About 0 548

Stowe, Vermont is a treat in any season. In spring, the woods and mountains come alive with the freshness of new growth. In summer, everything’s in full bloom, and you can explore across the countryside with ease. Autumn brings the blaze of changing leaves, while winter is given to snow play of every type, from skiing to snowboarding to cross-country snowshoe jaunts. No matter the season, a visit to Stowe will have you making the most of life in the country. Make new friends during your trip with a stop at some of the locals’ favorite spots!

  1. Take a Walk

Somewhat ironically, the first off-the-beaten-path spot worth a mention actually is the path: the Stowe Recreation Path! This internationally recognized 5.3-mile greenway is a paved thoroughfare for walkers, joggers, cyclists, and everyone else. In any season, the “rec path,” as it is colloquially known, is popular with locals and visitors alike, and for good reason. With its numerous river crossings, forested surroundings, and easy accessibility, the path offers exercise, fun, and a place to meet up with friends. The rec path winds from the center of town to a beautiful covered bridge, though you can hop onto the path at one of several different access points with parking spaces provided. You can also get inspired to go a little faster with a bike or skate rental, which you can find along the path.

In winter, the path is still popular, but for different types of transportation. During the season, the rec path is groomed for Nordic skiers, though snowshoers and others can still use the path as long as they are respectful of the grooming. In all seasons, there’s also a rec path alternative for pedestrians: the Quiet Path, a natural-surface path that parallels the rec path for 1.8 miles along the beautiful West Branch of the Little River. It makes a great spot for picnics in nice weather.

  1. Hike Like a Smuggler

A fascinating entry point into Vermont’s history and wilderness lies at Smuggler’s Notch State Park, which is a narrow pass through the Green Mountains toward Canada. Over the past two centuries, it provided Vermonters an opportunity to continue trading with Montreal, despite an embargo; it also acted as a pathway for slaves escaping into Canada. Today, Smuggler’s Notch is a great place to spend a day exploring the mountains, breathing in the fresh forest air.

Depending on the season, Smuggler’s Notch is a fun place for hiking, bouldering, cave exploration, mountain biking, and ice climbing. Hiking trails range from kid-friendly (Bingham Falls), to difficult (Hellbrook). For moderate-level difficulty, check out the hike to Sterling Pond, a 3-mile round trip with a beautiful destination.

  1. Stop by the Library

If you want to know where the locals go, a stop by the community-minded Stowe Free Library is a good place to start. Not only do they have helpful staff and useful services for everyone, but they’re housed in “a beautiful mid-19th century building with a 21st century attitude.” Attached to the library is the Helen Day Art Center, a community museum which offers exhibits, workshops, classes, and lectures, as well as regularly-scheduled family events. Even if you’re not particularly interested in books or art, this is a community center to check out if you want to know what’s happening around town. And hey, there’s free Wi-Fi!

  1. Join the Pack

The dog pack, that is! An absolute must for dog lovers of all ages, Eden Dog Sledding takes visitors on a trip like no other, where you’ll make friends with a team of amazing dogs and get to know their world. This company is 100%-focused on an ethical approach to raising, training, and keeping sled dogs, so you’ll feel great about meeting these furry teams. Sled trips include a hands-on educational component, with plenty of time to ask questions.

Did you know that dog sledding is actually possible in all seasons? At Eden Dog Sledding, rides take place over miles of specially prepared exclusive dog sledding trails, and when there’s no snow, they use wheels! The dogs love what they do, and it shows. Eden is a unique place, where you’ll meet with the champion racing dogs in the cozy learning center, then help hitch them up for the ride. This is guaranteed to be a vacation highlight for anyone who enjoys dogs!

  1. Meet at the Market

If you’re visiting Stowe from May to October, you’re in for a real treat: the Stowe Farmers’ Market! The town flocks to the market every Sunday during the season for the freshest produce and unique Vermont delicacies. Maple syrup, anyone? Vermont is dead serious about locally crafted creations, and you’ll find everything here from farm pizza to home-brewed mead. The farmers’ market is the perfect place to grab a delicious lunch, get some ingredients for a special meal, or just find the coolest souvenirs to take home for friends. You’ll also find live music, cooking demos, and who knows what else? It’s the perfect chill Sunday activity in Stowe.

Have fun making new friends in Stowe, Vermont!

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Chezlani Casar is a librarian and traveler from the Big Island of Hawaii. In partnership with Stowe Country Homes, she hopes to help other like-minded travelers find unique vacation experiences.

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