STEP 1: Book yourself a picturesque Vermont Inn.
Look no further than the Gables! Run by Yogi (a golden retriever) and his young owners (a couple 10 years out of NYC), the Gables offers all kinds of special treats which make you feel like you’re home… homemade soup and hot cider waiting by the fire when you return from skiing… a steamy hot tub tucked under the front evergreen tree where you can watch the moon rise over Stowe mountain… and breakfasts to die for (this past Sunday, it was mushroom-n-chevre crepes with a citrus sauce!)
You can choose from a room in the main Inn (private baths and WiFi) or, if you bring your own K9, one in the rear carriage house. If you’re a small group, you can even choose a Riverfront cottage, which come with Jacuzzi tubs and wood-burning fireplaces (and a river view)!
And best of all? All this oozing charm and culinary flair comes with great rates too!
STEP 2: Reserve your lift tickets, online, 7 days in advance!
You can get a 2-day lift ticket for the weekend for $130! That’s $65 pp, per day, to ski at a world-class mountain, where standard day lift tickets typically top $90.
We were also given a bonus! A free tune-up, which they did overnight, so we didn’t miss a minute of action on the snow!
STEP 3: Take an extra day and Go Nordic!
Stowe has an extraordinary cross country ski center, where you can get lessons and rentals on Nordic skis and snowshoes… even for “littles” as young as 3 years! The 45 km of trails are beginner to advanced (so the whole family can give it a try) and the passes are inexpensive ($15-23 per day)
A challenging but stunning ½-day ski takes you along the Ranch Camp trail, up to the Slayton Pasture Mountaintop cabin. Pack your own lunch to enjoy in front of the woodstove, or buy some soup and hot tea once you’re there! …for experienced skiers only!
If you brought your K9 to Stowe, he’s welcome on the trail, too! He requires no trail pass…only good dog etiquette!
STEP 4: Chow at Frida’s!
They told me that Frida’s was a taqueria, which conjured images of a Mexican-style cafeteria. Boy, was I WAY off!
Frida’s serves Mexican cuisine… but so much more! No baskets of chips and fishbowl margaritas here!
The menu is as titillating as the space, decorated in splashy art that’s mostly inspired by the café’s namesake Mexican painter!
A popular appetizer for your group is the guacamole pestle bowl, followed maybe by Tres Tacos – one fish, one shredded pork, one carne asada – which are petite, open-faced jobs, garnished with unique habanero-shallot sauces and served alongside scrumptious red cabbage salad and black beans.
The chef makes his own pepper pastes, which you can sample on some chips or request for your entrée. (Think Thai Hot, and you’re halfway there!) And the tequila bar…with such reposado offerings as El Jimador, Sauza Hornitos, and Milagro reposados…. is so decadent that we ordered a margarita for DESSERT!
You’ll find Frida’s culinary treasures in the historic Butler House in Stowe village.
STEP 5: Matterhorn – Stowe’s Apres-ski classic!
You ask 50-year-olds who cut their “ski teeth” at Stowe, and they’ll tell you: Go to the Matterhorn!
Right on Mountain Road, this low-slung wooden lodge gets packed at 4pm! Sometimes you’ll find live local bands like Toasthead or Bearquarium (cover’s only $3 or so), but you’ll always find a lively bar, 2 pool tables, and a roaring fireplace!
There’s a rear sunroom which overlooks the creek and Stowe woods, and (what many people call) the best sushi in the State!
Personally, I prefer the wood-fired pizzas – one with artichoke hearts, gongonzola, and tomato slices hit the spot the past weekend!
K9’s are not allowed in here, but kids are! (does that make sense?)
The next several weeks will continue to feature “sliding” stories and suggestions to honor this 2010 snow season!