I apologize for the language. I found that sticker in a little shop In Burlington, Vermont last weekend. Vermonters are a very liberal, creative bunch, and that’s just fine with me. That sticker now resides on my laptop.
But this review is not about the wonderfully interesting and creative people in the Green Mountain state. I’ll answer my title question with an emphatic yes, you should go to Vermont, but don’t do it like I did last week.
All of New England, and especially Vermont is especially romanticized in the fall. The rolling mountains covered with the tapestry of red and gold leaves are a beautiful sight to see. Breathtaking really.
First of all, before you go to Vermont in the fall, you have to plan your trip. If you go too early or too late you’ll miss the spectacular fall foliage that’s better than anything you’ve seen in a movie. Here’s how to enjoy your trip to Stowe, Vermont.
1. You’ll want to book your trip for somewhere between Sept. 20th and October 15th. That is the ideal time to go “leaf peeping” in Vermont.
2. Book your trip about 6 months ahead. And be prepared to pay for an expensive hotel or resort. During the fall the hotel costs are through the roof. When I went this past week, I went a little cheap, if you can call $250 a night cheap.
My wife and I booked a resort that we had driven by many times and once ate breakfast at many years in the past. The Stoweflake Inn and Resort.
When we first saw it over two decades ago it was beautiful. When we showed up last weekend, it looked like it hadn’t been updated in the last 25 years. Here’s some pictures:
We initially thought it might have been abandoned. After checking in we went to our room and were met with a blast of cold air as we entered. The thermostat was set at 55 degrees. So, we turned up the thermostat and left for two hours. Later, when we returned we explored our resort and room more:
When you book your hotel in Stowe, Vermont, make a note to self: Do not choose The Stoweflake Inn.
3. Things to do in Vermont:
-Go to the Ben & Jerry’s original location in Waterbury, Vermont. Great ice cream, fun tour and a great gift shop.
– Visit the Church Street Marketplace in Burlington. It about three blocks of a street blocked off and it’s full of interesting shops and great restaurants.
-Walk around the quaint, beautiful village of Stowe. Of course if you show up in the fall it will be very busy with tourists. A tip from friends of mine that live in Vermont: Go in April. You’ll miss the leaves changing, but you’ll also miss the mass of tourists that come in the fall.
-Skiing: If you like downhill skiing Vermont is your place. Mount Mansfield in Stowe and and Killington, in Killington are two very popular and top rated ski spots.
4. Good eats:
RiRa Irish Pub, Burlington, VT: Great, Irish pub vibe with great pub food. MENU
Big Fish, Stowe, VT: GREAT seafood, but beware; currenty they are asking for proof of Covid vaccination before letting you be seated. Bring your vaccination card.
Sushi Yoshi, Stowe, VT: Great food, all sorts of Chinese, Japanese and Asian food. Clean and great service!
The Prohibition Pig, Waterbury, VT: Spectacular barbecue restaurant and craft brewery. MENU
Things Not To Do!
-In Stowe, Vermont do not go on the gondola ride to the top of Mount Mansfield. It’s $67 for two people to get a ride up to the top of the mountain where there really isn’t anything to do but look around at the mountains and fall leaves, which you can do literally anywhere in Vermont for free. Don’t do it.
–The Auto Toll Road: Another thing you should skip. It’s about $25 to drive several miles up a single lane, poorly maintained dirt road up a mountain that has views that you can see for free everywhere you look in Vermont. The road feels dangerously difficult at times when it’s too narrow and there’s cars going both ways.
Safe travels! ~Phil