New England is perhaps four hours north of the Metro New York/New Jersey region but it is a world away. As well it is convenient to Connecticut and other adjoining states.
It’s only about four hours of easy driving from the Metro area, mostly highway if you are looking to cut down on drive time; or add an hour and take local roads to enjoy the scenery.
One of the nicest ways to go is across Lake Champlain by a ferry. It’s not the Staten Island Ferry or even New York Waterways, but it does carry both passengers and cars across the smooth lake waters and into Vermont.
Okay. Now that you are on the way to relaxation pick a direction…unless you’ve already decided on a destination. This trip was heading to the beautiful little village of Stowe and the nearby Stoweflake Resort. Too many people picture Vermont as a two-season destination: ski and foliage when the flora seems to scream with vivid colors.
There’s an active summer season in Vermont as well. The Stoweflake Resort, only minutes from the heart of beautiful “downtown” Stowe Village is on the main drag giving you easy access to everything in the area.
Having said that it’s on the main drag, you should be aware that once you are in the resort itself, you’ll never notice the passing traffic. If fact, four cars is considered rush hour.
Only a handful of resort businesses are family owned and operated. Stoweflake has been in the hands of one family since 1948. It was first purchased by the Baraw family as a place for weekend ski trips. They bought three acres from a local farmer and built a small cottage for themselves.
Over the years their hospitality for family and friends brought more and more people to stay with them and they expanded the living quarters. Finally, in 1963 the family compound had grown to a point of where it was no longer practical to keep it to a closed group and they accepted guests in an enlarged facility. But the family atmosphere remained.
While not quite as famous as the nearby resort owned by the Trapp family (of Sound of Music fame), the Baraw family has developed a first class resort. That is attested to by the fact that AAA has awarded Stoweflake the very coveted Four Diamond designation.
Stoweflake is a resort that caters to families and couples without each encroaching on the other. Mom and dad can relax in a world class spa with its Aqua Solarium and spectacular view of nearby Mt. Mansfield while the kids are active in other pursuits.
The solarium offers a 102° Bingham Hydrotherapy Waterfall, a rock formation hot tub with cascading waterfalls named for a local landmark.
Mom, dad, gramps or grandma can take the junior family members for an easy bicycle ride along numerous paths with a variety of skills. There is even a former railroad track line that has been stripped of the steel rails and is now a nice and easy bike trail.
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If the kids (and adults) are somewhat more adventurous, rugged mountain biking offers a host of opportunities.
Check out the schedule for something that for most people is a once in a lifetime event…a ride in a hot air balloon. OK, so it’s tethered to the ground and you won’t become a member of the Bombardier Society, but it’ll give you an idea of what it’s like to silently rise into the sky.
The resort features a large pool adjacent to the building and a par 3, nine-hole golf course that, although abbreviated, still offers a challenge for most golfers.
The pool entices guests even during ski season. It’s heated to a comfortable temperature and the surrounding deck is heated as well. To soothe those tight muscles after an active day, try the outdoor Jacuzzi or head indoor for the unique coed sauna and steam room.
The entire family will enjoy dining at the resorts on-site restaurant, Charlie B’s. For the adults in the party there is a list of some 50 wines and 10 beers on tap to choose from. The youngsters can pick from a variety of soft drinks.
The menu is upscale pub and can be taken either indoors or outside on a deck. Except on rare occasions the Vermont weather is summery and quite comfortable. During ski season you might want to reconsider outdoor dining.
Adults might want to take advantage of a brewery tour to check out the numerous beer and wine locales within easy driving distance. One of the more interestingly named stops is at the Lost Nation Brewery.
Lost Nation isn’t named for an Indian tribe or for any disappearance. There was a quirk in establishing local boundary markers and somehow a small area fell between the cracks and wasn’t claimed by anyone. It became known as the Lost Nation.
Business travelers will find Stoweflake’s Conference Center a perfect place to meet and make plans for a successful corporate program. It’s the only Vermont Conference Center approved by the International Association of Conference Centers and has been given the Pinnacle Award from Successful Meetings Magazine.
Stoweflake has become a popular destination for weddings and other large family gatherings. There is a profusion of color in the tastefully designed flower beds and a meditative labyrinth for vows to be taken.
Image source: Stoweflake Resort.
Disclosure: The writers were guests of Stoweflake Resort but all opinions expressed by the writers are entirely their own.
Bob & Sandy Nesoff are members, American Society of Journalists and authors, North American Travel Journalists Association