We recently went travelling with kids to Stowe Vermont and I thought I’d post about it – basically because posting about our adventures is my favourite thing ever. First off, I took a lot of my recommendations from this post on Midnight Mom so please do check out her write up. I’ve been to Stowe, Vermont approximately once for two nights and she has been going for ages.
What to Do
My kids are pretty low key. My youngest is still too young for major walks, but too old to be carried around in a backpack. We chose activities that were simple, active and fun.
My kids favourite activity was probably just throwing stones into the water and building totem statues. We were recommended to head to this spot to the right of this covered bridge just behind the very Austrian looking Innsbruck Inn which you can’t miss from the road.
It had very easy access and lots of room to walk without falling in the river. Plus there were all these amazing rocks balanced on their ends. I don’t know how long it would have taken to do that but we couldn’t stop staring at it. There is a small parking area just to the left of the road.
Stroller Accessible Walking
If you’d like to go for a walk the parking lot mentioned above is also the start of the bike trail which is stroller friendly. There are a couple points where you can access the river as well. Don’t walk on the horse trail unless you like horse poop.
The mountains were fogged in pretty much the entire time we were there and we decided against paying to take the gondola up the hill. However, there is a free 90 second gondola that goes from the area at Spruce Peaks to just across the road and that was perfect for us. We rode it a few times.
The area behind our hotel is a shopping/adventure/restaurant area called Spruce Peaks.
While we were there, the parking was free for the public but it may change.
Near the parking lot through a covered bridge is The Enchanted Forest – a play area with places for both big and little kids to play.
It was pretty cool.
There’s also an indoor climbing wall. The bouldering area (without harness) is $16 and the climbing area (with harness) is $31 (as at June 2018). The are walking trails all around Spruce Peaks as well.
Next time I was there, I’d definitely rent bikes and bike the town bike path. It looks lovely. There’s also Bingham Falls which looks great and also sorts of hiking access points between Smugglers Notch and Stowe to explore. If you have older kids pretty much every family was rocking up to the hotel with mountain bikes.
Wander Around Stowe
I was surprised to see that most of the restaurants and shops were spread out along the small highway but the actual town of Stowe is quite cute as well with beautiful architecture.
Where to Eat
Piecasso – Great pizza and probably our favourite place in Stowe.
Green Goddess Cafe – I had the huevos rancheros with carnitas and it was fantastic. The boys buttermilk pancakes were pretty awesome too.
The Bench – Recommended by pretty much everyone we talked to, I liked this place a lot but preferred the above two.
Note: When we were in Stowe it was pretty busy and arriving at 6:00 without a reservation wait times were in average between 15-25 minutes.
Stowe Ice Cream – Get yourself a cremee and enjoy! Note that they only take cash. There’s an ATM on site or get your own from a bank.
The Family Table (Jeffersonville, VT) – We tried this place on the way out of town and it was awesome – one of our favourite places. I also stopped into an amazing looking bakery called The Farm Store which I’d recommend stopping into. Their doughnuts looked gorgeous.
Where to Stay
I definitely did not research hotel options, my husband did this 100% but we stayed at the Stowe Mountain Resort and it was pretty awesome. This was pretty much totally due to the fact that there was a great outdoor pool right on site and the location is right on the mountain.
We crossed the border at Philipsburg and granted it was St-Jean weekend but we had to wait an hour. Friends who make the trek regularly recommended taking VT-108 and crossing at Frelighsburg. We tried and there were literally no other vehicles.
The drive between Smugglers Notch and Stowe is pretty crazy and I wouldn’t recommend doing it in the dark or poor weather. It is very twisty and turny and at some points pretty much turns into a one-lane road. It is closed in the winter.
One last thought: Travelling with kids gets easier. I can remember travelling with my oldest and walking around with him in a stroller at 2am trying to get him to fall asleep. This trip he fell asleep quickly and in his own bed. Ditto for schlepping all the stuff around (diapers, creams, purees, etc.) Have faith. It does improve.
Have you been to Stowe, Vt? Any tips?
Ps I’m a family photographer here in Montreal. See my webpage here! I love doing casual, fun family sessions creating photos just like you see here! You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org