(Published in 7 Nights 2005-06)
(Published in 7 Nights 2008-09)
Stepping into Mr. Pickwick's at Ye Olde England Inne in Stowe is like entering an alternate universe, in which plaid carpets become a sensible decorating choice and dishes influenced by the Raj cozy up with classic English cuisine. The place has a masculine feel, reminiscent of an upscale hunting lodge, and servers approach with formal civility, more "English country house" than "Vermont casual."
It’s easier to negotiate Stowe on a bicycle than in a car, and the popular year-round bike path is a welcome alternative to the congested Mountain Road. The 5.3-mile trail starts next to the Stowe Congregational Church and crosses the West Branch River 11 times as it meanders north past shops and restaurants.
(Published in 7 Nights 2009-10)
If you’re headed for the slopes — to ski ’em or climb ’em — get a smart start. McCarthy’s Restaurant in Stowe has been dishing up hearty breakfasts for more than 30 years in a small shopping center just minutes from Stowe Mountain Resort and Smugglers’ Notch.
The folks at Lajoie Stables in Jeffersonville organize guided tours for all levels that on a clear day promise spectacular views of Mount Mansfield and Smuggs. They’re open seven days a week, all year round.
With 653 acres, Green River Reservoir is the largest “quiet” lake in Vermont. No gas-powered boats are allowed on the water, which makes it perfect for paddling. And you need a boat — and some muscle — to get to every one of the 28 remote campsites tucked in along the 19 miles of undeveloped shoreline; Some spots are as far as two miles from the launch. Parking is limited, and the park is considered “full” when the lot is.
The boating business that operates out of the Cupboard Deli in Jeffersonville is strictly a summer-only operation. Green River Canoe and Kayak Guided Adventures do floating tours on the Lamoille River. Guided paddles, at $65 per boat, include a “Sunset Beaver Watch” and “Water and Wine” — the latter is a 4.5-mile float that ends up with a tasting tour of Boyden Family Winery in Cambridge. “Self-guided” is also an option. The price — $35 per kayak for a 2.5-hour float — includes shuttle service and heavy lifting.
This European-style family-owned winery boasts 8000 grapevines. Tours take place at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. daily when the winery's open. Taste a dozen different wines for $5. From June until September, try the "French Gourmet" — $16.95 per person pays for four types of artisan cheese, pate or prosciutto, fresh baked bread and your choice of wine.
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