Smugglers' Notch resort rocks on, with a new summer emphasis on climbing. The ski area is offering weekly rock-climbing socials and family climbing-adventure days. Hard-core types will be more interested in via ferrata — Italian for “iron way” — a new adventure sport that combines climbing, hiking and high-ropes adventure. “Safely traverse local gorges,” the description promises. “Scale huge boulders.” Too ambitious? Smuggs also offers Segway excursions on those self-balancing scooter contraptions. Amazing, there’s an all-terrain “extreme” tour that goes for the glades.
You can’t get through the narrow pass that connects Stowe to Smugglers’ Notch in winter; it’s closed to traffic. But in summer, the Smugglers' Notch Scenic Byway — its official name — is a gorgeous drive through a rocky, alpine landscape, with 1000-foot cliffs on either side. You can have a picnic up there, or camp at the state park, knowing Vermont’s earliest “entrepreneurs” — and later, escaped slaves — once did the same.
Stowe is all about altitude and catching air — both essential ingredients of a glider ride. Stowe Soaring and its FAA-certified pilots run flights out of the Stowe-Morrisville Airport when the weather’s nice. The “intro ride” is $89 for 10 minutes; the “Mile High Mt. Mansfield Special,” which is $189 for 40 minutes, promises to be “life-changing.”
Vintage posters of pink-cheeked skiiers. Prehistoric bindings. Old accounts of ski adventures along Route 100. The Vermont Ski Museum chronicles the history of going downhill fast with a large collection of skiing artifacts and memorabilia. Vermont’s famous Cochran family figures prominently. Special exhibits this summer include, “From Schussing to Shredding: The Evolution of Ski Technique.” The museum is open every day but Tuesday.
Stowe’s hills are definitely alive, and no more so than at the Trapp Family Lodge. The Sound of Music association has worked well for the 2400-acre Austrian-style resort, which is a cross-country ski center in the winter. In summer, it offers hiking, horse-drawn wagon rides, bird-watching tours and Sunday evening “Music in the Meadow” concerts. The “Real Maria” documentary film shows twice a day.
Stowe Mountain Resort, like every other Vermont ski area, is in global-warming gear. An “All Day Summer Attraction Package” — $70 for adults, $64 for kids — includes use of an alpine slide that drops 2300 feet; a bungee trampoline that requires a full body harness; and an inflatable obstacle course. The traditional gondola skyride is always nice, especially when there’s a restaurant serving gourmet Vermont lunches at the top of the mountain. Prefer to get there on your own?
The West Branch Gallery and Sculpture Park is the place to go in Stowe to see outdoor art. Check out the native cedar “goddess” totems in the woods.
The Stowe area is a visual-art Mecca, and it has the fine art and craft galleries to show for it. Many, such as the Helen Day Art Center, are traditional indoor exhibition spaces. The West Branch Gallery and Sculpture Park incorporates outdoor elements. Check out the native cedar “goddess” totems in the woods. PICTURED: "RED NOTE," BY DAVID STROMEYER AT WEST BRANCH GALLERY
(Published in 7 Nights 2007-08)
Stowe's only delivering pizzeria is also its most funky and accommodating. Piecasso Pizzeria & Lounge offers sizzling-hot discs, but also a comfy lounge with cosmopolitan décor and Picasso-inspired artwork, plus a few choice prints by the master himself.
(Published in 7 Nights 2006-07)
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